It is not waffling if it is more fun looking than buying! Consider this like online shoe-browsing, but with advice required. Besides, how can you not love bookcases if you're a booklover?
Anyways, the story: I am short. This is germane because long ago when I started grad school I bought cheap assemble-it-yourself bookcases from Officemax. I was pretty good at assembling them, but it was a bitch and a half getting the boxes home and up the stairs. (I think I had to call someone with a truck since it would not go in my tiny car.)
Furthermore, I'm not the right size or shape to wrangle bookcases across the room or into new apartments. So my cheap bookcases got torqued and tweaked and pretty much fell apart. (Although they looked nice with the paint color.) (And, I still have one of them stuck on my hands.)
So I am having fun looking at bookcases for the new place, as I will still have tons of books, but I am not finding the perfect bookcase for my needs. This is where you come in for advice. I want something a little nicer than what I had (and hopefully something a little less heavy?) that will hold up across some moves. Unfortunately, Cool Scientist Friend had the nicest wood bookcase, solid pine but very light, that her boyfriend and her stained a lovely oak color. And of course that unfinished wood shop went out of business not too long ago. And I can't see any listings for places like that in my new area. In fact I found the furniture available in my new area kinda horrifying. Particularly the used stuff on Craigslist.
Anyway. How well do open shelves work? Are they sturdy enough for tons of books? My niece bought something like this from Pier 1 for her paperbacks, but I'm not really liking it.
Especially since they seem to have very wide bottom shelves and narrower upper shelves. Hmm.
Now I am keeping my folding stacking bookcases and they work fine, so these are a possibility. They are a level of "assembly" I can handle. They are pretty portable. I'm just worried about attaching two together stacked and not having them fall over in an earthquake or cat-related incident. Am I overreacting? Also, if you stacked them next to each other you wouldn't get the cute mission spindle effect.
This is another possibility ---- some assemble-it-yourself but not solid bookshelves. These wouldn't come apart into two pieces, though they might fall over, I guess, and I both like and don't like the open bookcase look. It should be lighter. But is it sturdy enough? Do you not need all the extra parts of a bookcase like the back? This would also not work so well stacked up next to each other.
And I found an office supply store that sells metal bookcases ... I pondered that for a while, seems durable. But their site claims metal is lighter and cheaper than wood bookcases and then the list price was much more expensive. Don't get it. These are wood bookcases from another place. They are pricey, but they come fully assembled and I like the color of the wood. They also have a page with bookcases that are veneer over particleboard stuff, but have a steel bar reinforcing the shelves and are guaranteed to 120 pounds. I like the sound of that. (Don't know if I need that kind of strength, but I hate when bookshelves bow.) Those are even more expensive than these, though.
And this one I just like because it has pedestals. I don't think it would look too good if I assembled it myself (and I always have problems with the pieces looking bad or having holes drilled in the wrong places). There are some already-assembled bookcases like this out there, but they are pricey, again. Dissertation Buddy bought some insane fancy bookcases from Pottery Barn at just the right time, as they are now discontinued and I hate what they have there now. But those were big honking huge bookcases and they were about 2 feet deep. I don't have books that need that kind of storage --- I have lots of cheap used Penguin paperbacks and Dover Thrifts. They really don't belong on a fancy-looking bookcase, even!
So I don't know what I should pick. I love looking at bookcases, though. So you know what to do ---- don't just tell stories and give advice in the comments; I want links to pretty and shiny bookcases! Bookcase porn! Bring it on, people! And tell me all about your book storage fantasies.