IKEA Billy Bookcase -- The Most Sold Piece Of Furniture Worldwide
November 26, 2017 12:36pm CST
In 1979 the designer Gillis Lundgren designed a simple bookcase which got the name BILLY after the Swedish word for cheap = billig (same in German, btw). By the year 2016 77.558.438 specimens had been sold making this piece of furniture the most sold one worldwide. We've got three BILLY bookcases which have been standing side by side for more than 40 years doing without the slightest complaint what bookcases have to do, namely, hold books. This means we bought them a short time after they hit the German market, just like nearly all our friends. They were cheap then, they still are. They look good in a no-frills way. We've got some other pieces of furniture from IKEA, small ones, shelves and drawers for the kitchen and the bathroom. I've assembled them myself. I don't find this difficult and prefer doing it on my own. I couldn't assemble BILLY, of course, the different pieces are too big for one person. For your information: My husband and I survived the IKEA assembling test and are still married. One bookcase measures 80x80x202 cm (I don‘t mention inches because members from English speaking countries wouldn‘t mention centimetres, either). The bottom is 6 cm high, on it lies the first shelf. Five other adjustable shelves, each 1.8 cm high can be put in according to the wishes and needs of the users. Thusly there are six shelves to put books on. The instructions tell you, "This furniture must be fixed to the wall with the enclosed wall fastener." Sounds sensible, but we haven't done it. The whole bookcase leans slightly towards the wall, the upper part touching it. What with the weight of mostly hardcover books is has stood there bomb-proof up to now without being fastened. We've got the birch veneer variety. The veneer covers only the visible parts. Naturally, because covering the invisible parts would mean wasting money, an alien concept for IKEA. You can get Billy in different heights, widths, in birch veneer, white, dark brown and with glass doors. The depth of the shelves has always been 28 cm. There's now a new generation with a depth of 39 cm. You may think that this is just another piece of boring information. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's been the topic of heated discussions in the media. In IKEA ad speak the extra width has been introduced 'to give the customers more flexibility'. What does that mean? The Economist asked, "Does the firm truly reckon that customers will increasingly use them for ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome - anything, that is, except books that are actually read?" The end of books as we know them is nigh! The end of bookcases as we know them is nigh! Who needs them if one Amazon Kindle can store 1.500 books? (My older Kindle version could stock even 4.500 books). Oh no, say the IKEA peepz, Ebooks didn't factor at all in the decision to build deeper bookcases. BILLY bookcases with the narrower shelves will still be stocked, production won't be curtailed. The deeper ones are merely an effort to respond to how customers are presently living their lives. Whatever that means. --- P.S. Photo from IKEA online catalogue.
23 people like this
• United States
I need that wall of bookcases. I have two in the office but I would like to have four for the living room. If anything else goes on the shelves it would be a piece of silver or crystal. I don`t collect much junk anymore. EDIT : I put together all my shelves and my dining room table and chairs.
5 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
I have Ikea bookshelves and other book shelves. All of my shelves are overflowing with books. Oddly enough, most people I know think I'm a bit eccentric because my bookshelves are full of books instead of dust-collecting bric-a-brac. I also have a Kindle full of books. My husband thanks I have a problem .
• United States
Those are really nice-looking bookcases. Wider depths, I suppose, could provide for a mix of items in those handy bookcases. I have quite a few pieces of Ikea furniture here. I have had no trouble putting the pieces together by myself.
It's the first time I hear the word "tchotchke", so it derives from Yiddish. My bookshelf has books, and 'stuffed toys'. I've never assembled IKEA furniture by my own, but I helped my parents with that. I don't know when we'll need to buy more, because we moved to a furnished home and we're planning to move soon, furnished again. Less trouble, but I like to be free to 'personalize' my own space.
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
@MALUSE I know the term tchotchke and I am not an older perosn from new york! =) I have looked it up in the past from reading the word. But am afraid i am unable to pronounce it. I like both Kindle and books and have plenty of ebooks on my Kindle and tons of books in different areas piled with them. I need a Billy of i had space for it, that is!
• Riga, Latvia
@MALUSE never said there had to be a conflict just that I prefer reading books as opposed to reading them on a Kindle. I do find the idea interesting because if I had all of the books here on a Kindle I would have no problem when it came to moving now when the time comes I have to find out what I will do with all of the books.
• United States
I LOVE IT and really could use one of those but to accommodate the length of the wall it must be in the way of the television screen, hmmmm what a dilemma. Thank goodness the site can show you which dimensions these built in book cases will accommodate up to. Thanks @MALUSE and what a stunning piece of furniture too
We have five Billy Bookcases and only two are chock full of books. The others hold vintage suitcases, photos, fabric covered notebooks, pretty boxes, ornamental vases, Russian Dolls, candles ... our coffee table is also from IKEA. I love our coffee table. Most people that I know have at least one Billy in their home.