Its duty was once to blend into the background, but the humble bookshelf has finally come out of the woodwork in bold new forms.

The virtual age has infiltrated virtually every aspect of modern life. Living out our fantasies through lifelike avatars, we socialize, shop, even buy homes at the push of a button, without venturing far from our computer screens. Modern technology is moving with such precipitancy that, at only 25 years old, even the CD is facing early retirement in favor of MP3 technology.

However, it is interesting to note that the humble tome, a concept dating back to the bible and beyond, is faring more favorably against the digital age. According to Nielsen Bookscan, the international data monitoring and analysis service for the English-language book industry worldwide, book sales are rising steadily and show no signs of abating or facing the same fate as their musical counterpart.

Designers have cannily tapped into the trend, finding unique and innovative ways to flaunt prized editions, while creating sublime storage that could surely convert even the most devout surfer to return to the bound word.

Modular units stack up in favor of the traditional timber tower, creating versatile displays that grow with collections in creative, contemporary forms, while traditional shapes take on new a new look in bold tones. Materials have also become as diverse as their appearance, as Corian, cement, glass and, in the case of Marc Newson's Volopoi, even marble have become acceptable substitutes for wood. Bookshelves have come a long way; no longer showcases for treasured classics, but showstoppers in their own right.

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