Politico Magazine has a piece Saturday about Books by the Foot, a service run by the Maryland-based bookseller Wonder Book. It does just what you think it does; it helps pick out books in bulk to fill out a bookshelf to make the person whose home or office it is appear more well-read. The story says that the service has been around for a while, but it’s only since the coronavirus pandemic that the service has been called in to dress up Zoom backgrounds and the offices of cable TV panelists participating virtually.
A 3-acre warehouse full of 4 million books in suburban Maryland curates shelves for Washington offices, hotels, TV sets—and, now, Zoom backdrops https://t.co/FaYpkBBSdW
— POLITICO (@politico) December 26, 2020
The Wonder Book staff doesn’t pry too much into which objective a particular client is after. If an order were to come in for, say, 12 feet of books about politics, specifically with a progressive or liberal tilt—as one did in August—Wonder Book’s manager, Jessica Bowman, would simply send one of her more politics-savvy staffers to the enormous box labeled “Politically Incorrect” (the name of Books by the Foot’s politics package) to select about 120 books by authors like Hillary Clinton, Bill Maher, Al Franken and Bob Woodward. The books would then be “staged,” or arranged with the same care a florist might extend to a bouquet of flowers, on a library cart; double-checked by a second staffer; and then shipped off to the residence or commercial space where they would eventually be shelved and displayed (or shelved and taken down to read).
“Books by the Foot’s books-as-decor designs have become a fixture in the world of American politics, filling local appetite for books as status symbols, objects with the power to silently confer taste, intellect, sophistication or ideology upon the places they’re displayed or the people who own them.”
— Jerry Christmas (@JerryDunleavy) December 26, 2020
On some level I always suspected a service like this existed to help make the powerful and influential look better read, but seeing proof is still startling
— בנימין ? (@BenJSilverman) December 26, 2020
I was wondering what the deal was with all the bookshelves! Definitely noticed.
— PatriotParty20 (@alisong779) December 26, 2020
This reminds me of Gatsby’s towering shelves of uncut books
— Nat Buchbinder (@Nat_Buchbinder) December 26, 2020
I hope the Great Gatsby is one of the displayed books for peak irony
— Catherine Cai (@catherinewcai) December 26, 2020
This is the deserved fate of most political puffery books
— Premium Steve (@Premium_Steve) December 26, 2020
Unbelievable! I’ll never be able to look at bookshelves in the background of someone’s live shot the same way.
— Carol Pietila (@carolpietila) December 26, 2020
That is grim.
— Ida rules. (@Whoda_Ida) December 26, 2020
This is super believable
— Brian Coles (@BrianColes11) December 26, 2020
The people who use this service are so fake and lazy. The books I have on my shelves were selected by me, because they're interesting and I'd like them at hand to refer to. They're not a prop!
— Sam *Yoda* Bronkey (@TheYodaPagoda) December 26, 2020
Wait, it's just books for…. decoration?
— Cartright (@Vandalay_Inc) December 26, 2020
there was zero chance this wasn’t a thing.
— Marc (@mbalm85) December 26, 2020
I get the interior decorating piece of this for, say hotels, restaurants, and bars. But other than that, ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— ?? Deep State Human Scum ?? (@CAGOPUnknown) December 26, 2020
There’s a reason they call it “Hollywood for ugly people”
— cscatch (@CScatch) December 26, 2020
The majority of urban liberal animosity towards rural conservatives is driven by feelings of inadequacy/insecurity.
When they start screeching about pickup trucks, guns, traditional masculinity, or the “uneducated”…….here’s a tell for where that’s coming from. https://t.co/pvInNFuWAw
— Oilfield Rando (@Oilfield_Rando) December 26, 2020
People in DC are so full of crap that even their book collections are fake! https://t.co/6jre6sylDL
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 26, 2020
Public radio journo calls out that ‘Room Rater’ account, finds out he’s not alone https://t.co/Z63OkgQRhB
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) November 23, 2020