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Does an upsized IKEA bookshelf spell doom for print publishing?

IKEA’s BILLY bookcase, as ubiquitous a presence in undergrads’ apartments as ramen noodles, has now become, to some pundits, at least, a symbol for the decline of print publishing.

According to The Economist, the upcoming launch of a larger BILLY model means the Swedish furniture giant believes “customers will increasingly use them for ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome “ anything, that is, except books that are actually read.” In response, Time Magazine declared IKEA “more than wise to keep up with buyers’ trends,” especially as “the demise of paperbacks is increasingly imminent.” Technology website TechCrunch called the update an “alarming style change.” But The Toronto Star spoke to an IKEA Canada representative who says, This design update is quite simply to accommodate a wider selection of books.