Are YOU buying books in Danish that you Can't Read?

judithnNovember 8, 2012

Okay, maybe this is apropos of the "Spending too Much on Decorating" thread, but over at Joss & Main they are selling collections of books (about 7 - 9 books), all of them in Danish and Swedish, for $199 bucks.

I don't think they're first editions or anything rare. Pretty books, nice bindings but I've seen books like these at my local library sale and used bookstore for a fraction of that price. And the ones I see locally are in English and by well known authors whose work you might actually look at.

I guess this is a little rant. I don't get the attraction of sites like Joss & Main. I signed on because This Young House really was into the site. Well, after a couple weeks browsing online (um, aka "wasting time") I just don't get the fuss.

To me paying top dollar for items that you can't "test drive" and can't return (it's all final sale) seems silly. Some of what I see on their looks like it's only about HomeGoods quality (which is fine, I love Homegoods, but they're charging a pretty penny for it).

Also, while each of these collections is promoted as individual and unique, I keep seeing the same items repackaged with new individual and unique collections. I have the sense that they are just reorganizing the items that don't sell into new themes and putting them back up for sale.

What do y'all think? Would you pay about two hundred bucks (plus shipping) for old Danish books for decor? What am I missing here?

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They don't exactly go with Danish Modern either. :D
I wouldn't spend the money. If I wanted Danish books, I'd go to a rummage sale at a Danish church. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:21PM
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From where I sit, you aren't missing a thing.

WTH is the point of buying an old book you can't read (when you don't intend to learn the language)? I can only guess at one - to be pretentious. It's unflattering and unkind (risky to be that way so close to Christmas) but there it is.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:22PM
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I sure as heck would not pay $199 for a set of 7 random old books. However, I do like collecting old books (mostly from book sales) and I bought some old books w/ beautiful covers written in German from a mennonite book sale even though I can't read German and don't intend to learn how to (you could fill an entire box full for $10 and the books I bought were all pre-1900).

I know it is probably not a popular opinion, but I think books can be beautiful and can be a form of art for decoration even if you don't necessarily intend to read them all. My DH and I also have a lot of fun going to estate, garage and book sales and collecting and arranging old books, just like w/ any other collection! It is especially fascinating for me to see inscriptions people have written in old books. We found an illustrated Little Women that had an inscription from a mother to her two daughters dated 1908! (and paid $1.50 for it too). And I am a reader- I just prefer to read on the Kindle.

Our library- the Little Women book is on the right:

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:39AM
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Judith, I've been collecting old books for at least the last 20 years, a few first editions, althought not of any significant value, but just old. Recently, I've started collecting French books, just because, and have a few German, and at least 1 Danish, but that's because it was given to me by a Dane.
For me, because the books are old, it means there is a history behind each torn, yellowed, and penciled on page. Somehow, I find it romantic.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:33AM
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As P.T. Barnum once said: "Der er en sucker f�dt hvert minut!"

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:26AM
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I'm an avid reader. I have a Kindle but I use it to read the few books I might read for any given reason but not want to own. In most cases I want to read a physical book, and I make a point of buying it via my local independent cute little downtown bookstore, even thought that often means dropping in, making a request, waiting a few days and coming back.

That said, I find no issue with books as decor, too. My DH's old law books are filling some niches for now, although they're out of date and largely supplanted with digital.And in our stonehouse project, I will want instant gratification by filling it with books for my girls, probably from library sales. My daughters want to cover them in pretty paper. Fine with me.

For those who like books as decor , the link below is the non plus ultra of that look. Ive linked it before so sorry!

PS Beagles, I think the books might look better if they were closer to the edge. I wonder if you could just lay a wood block in back to achieve that?

Here is a link that might be useful: these are beautiful

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:41AM
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As a rabid decor book lover -- you KNOW that I'd be spending that money on the latest decorating books at Amazon .... LOL! :)


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:43AM
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I've found some very good deals at Joss and Main and I love their low/free shipping costs. As for buying decorative books, I fear that my shelves are jam packed with books I actually read, so I have no room for those that are simply decorative.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:29AM
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I read somewhere that taking the covers off books to reveal the binding is another great way to decorate with books. Sounds simple but it was something I never thought about doing myself.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:42AM
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or have you seen the trend of stacking them with spines in? again, pure decor

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:44AM
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jakabedy LOLOL...

And beagles, you have my *dream* bookcase. We have a living room that would *love* that arrangement and I've always dreamed of having a sliding bookcase ladder. How archaic of us to love that, hm? : ) I'm showing your bookcase to my husband tonight.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:03PM
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We've had this discussion before and, while I can't recall what my previous position on the issue is, today I'm with Beagles and mtnrdredux.:) I like to read actual books and I also like the idea of books as decor.

I once arranged a set of bookshelves with the books by color and height. Very pretty although not very efficient when searching for a book, so that idea got scrapped.

I have bought books because I liked their appearance, e.g., a book on bridge with a brown velvet-like cover; a miniature book (in English if read from left to right and in French if read from right to left) about a mischevous cat (un chat mechant); a book on antique Japanese prints the pages of which, when the book is opened, unfold in accordian fashion, etc. I haven't done it often, but why not place a book with a beautiful cover or illustrations on a stand or easel, so that it can be enjoyed as if it were a piece of art? I have one probably published in the early 1900s about a pet dog with photos of the time in it, and I had it on a small stand with one wonderful photo of the dog and the girl who owned it showing.

Most of those books were very inexpensive, costing $10 at the most, with most under $5; some are valuable (e.g., some of Teriade's Verve art and literature series). In all cases, I chose them because I liked what they looked like though. Since I can't get onto that web site, I don't know what the Danish books look like. However, I can't imagine spending anything approaching that amount on random books, particularly when common sense says that 7 random books might not even fill a bag on a book sale's $2/bag day.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Ah... yes, books as decor!

"Would you pay about two hundred bucks (plus shipping) for old Danish books for decor?"

Never, regardless of the language! IMO you are not missing anything but there is no accounting for where or how other people spend their money. Buying books by the yard has no appeal for me. For $200.+ I could get more than 200 old books at yard sales/thrift stores. I've found some in the free boxes at yard sales and others priced at 25 cents to $1.

While I'm an avid reader I have bought books to use as decor based on the color of their bindings. A bonus if they have interesting titles and might at some point be a good read.

I've also used one of my childhood books propped as decor. It's a large book in the shape of a dog and is about 65 years old. I displayed it with some of my childhood toys. Very nostalgic.

Back in the 80's when my decor was peach and blue I covered shelves full of books with wallpaper samples in those colors. I cringe now but at the time it seemed like a good idea! LOL

I now sort of regret giving away my old encyclopedia set from the early 60's as it was bound in blue and would match some of the blue accents I use.

I've edited my book collection and have relatively few left. Wondering if I can part with even more. I found I reread them so seldom that they were really only dust collectors which I'm trying to eliminate.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I'm still kicking myself for agreeing to let my ex husband retain numerous books when we split. They were all on subjects that were near and dear to my heart, but had absolutely no appeal whatsoever to him. When I went to the house to collect the last of my things, I asked about the books, and he said he preferred to keep them. He and his new woman were using them to "decorate" with.

Grrrrrrrrr ...

(Sorry, little trip down memory lane made me rant a bit.)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Best use of "books as decor" ever:

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Fori is not pleased

I've bought books I don't intend to read that look neat. But that's different from spending a premium on books someone else picked out and thought looked neat.

I know I won't read that Mary Baker Eddy poetry book. It's terrible. But it's cute. Same with the turn of the century text on how to dissect a cat. Not something to curl up with. But they amuse me greatly. It wouldn't be the same if I purchased them online being sold as decor.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:48PM
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I love the Alice In Wonderland books, and have 4, one from the 20's. A 1st edition? I wish!

Here is a link that might be useful: 1st edition

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Me too, Fori. Or the 19th century book on fertilizing fields a sweet old friend of a friend thought I'd like because I garden. It may may be the most unreadable (tables on every page) and outdated how-to book ever, but it reminds me of him. I'm sure I'd keep the book on dissecting cats; after all, Atlas Shrugged is sitting there somewhere even though I'm about as likely to dissect a cat as to read it again.

Judith, obviously I don't belong in this study group. :) Fact is, I love books, and I like even ugly rooms if they have books that are obviously there to read in them. They just say the good life to me.

As for using them as decor, my books are all ages and colors, and my display technique (there ARE thousands of them) is to stand them all snug together so they're vertical (not leaning this way and that) and tidy on our built-in bookcases. This way the shelves create horizontal lines across the wall, and the books on the shelves show as rows of short, colorful vertical lines--a graphic design that can act as a major feature or become a background "wallpaper" to something more striking in front of it. I do also occasionally set a painting or plate here or there into the books, just for fun, like in winter when a more "layered" look feels good.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:28PM
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