I love reading books, and I’ve read them in all forms. I’ve used audible to listen to some audio books; I still use the kindle app on my laptop and my phone to read digital copies. But I have a weakness for hard copies. I think many of you can relate, especially if the book has amazing cover art. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I certainly do. Sometimes I have to compromise on this for a good book, but coffee table books are one thing I know I can be as picky and judge-y as I want to be when shopping for.
Here are five things to consider when purchasing a coffee table book.
1. The content: I don’t want the content to be too heavy, or something anyone has to commit to once they start reading. For example, Brown Bohemians features several artists, so if someone is interested, they can read a few features. Most importantly, I want my books to be POC-centred, as it reflects my own identity. I do have a coffee table book by Judy Chicago, which is the exception, but feminism in art is also important to me.
2. It HAS to be a hardcover: If the book is going to be on display, you should probably purchase a hardcover. Paperback books will experience more wear and tear in a much shorter time period.
3. I like my coffee table books heavy: If you’re a book worm, you probably have friends and family who want to borrow your books all the time. Coffee table books are an investment, I want it to be heavy enough that guests won’t even think about leaving with them. PS. The heavier the book, the more expensive it is, so I tend to mix low and high because it’s more practical and I’m not balling like that. Don’t overthink it, and don’t overspend. You can find coffee table books that meet all these requirements at a bargain bookstore.
4. If you’re planning on stacking them, make sure the dimensions of the books work well together. Some books are super wide and “short” or long and narrow so it might look weird when you stack them. In this case you can also invest in some cute bookends. I purchased my bookends second hand from the Facebook marketplace.
5. A captivating book cover: If I’m buying a coffee table book, my intention is to put it on display, so it has to look good, and complement the rest of the décor. I am not above buying something, purely for the aesthetics.
You can make your own rules, but I hope this gives you some ideas if you’re planning on purchasing some coffee table books.