We’ve long suspected that people with big libraries and even bigger mouths about their big libraries haven’t actually read their own books. Niko Economidis’s Read-Unread contraption would be a great way to find out.
It’s a bookshelf that organizes books according to whether you’ve cracked them open or not. A leather strap draped across wall-mounted metal pegs balances books at both ends, with one end designated for books you’ve read; the other for those you haven’t. Rigged that way, the whole thing works like a weight scale. Complete a book, and add it to the “read” pile. The more books you power through, the more the scale tips toward the “read” stack, providing an instant visual of your erudition.
“Read-Unread physically weighs the balance of books that have been read, against those yet to be read,” Economidis says. “Rather than being a fixed object, the bookshelf changes with time, recording your acquisition of knowledge.” Or, if the scale tips the other way, it could assume the role of a friendly to-do list, gently goading you into picking up new reading material. (Maybe that’s the kick in the pants we need to finally start Freedom?)
One problem: The books are strapped in tight with a buckle and look like they’d be difficult to remove — which would counteract the added incentive to snap them up in the first place. Economidis tells Co.Design they’re actually pretty easy to pull out; you just loosen the buckle and yank. Still, that’s more effort than plucking something off a regular old bookshelf. And if Read-Unread is going to encourage reading, especially among non-readers who need the encouragement, it has to make the act of grabbing a book as easy as, if not easier than, reaching for the remote.
[Images courtesy of Niko Economidis]