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For book lovers, finding new reads isn’t usually a problem — but finding the right place to store them can be a challenge. The best bookcases for lots of books come in a huge range of sizes and styles, so you’ll definitely want to opt for a model that fits your space and decor. Also consider that if you own a lot of books, your collection is probably quite heavy, which means a flimsier case won’t do; make sure you choose a bookcase that is designed to carry at least 20 pounds per running foot — or even more if you own a lot of hefty textbooks or hardcovers.
When considering the weight your shelves will be carrying, keep in mind that shelves can sag over time when they’re overloaded — even if they seem totally fine when you first load them up. (Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before!) That’s why you should always make sure to check the weight capacity for the shelves to ensure that they won’t buckle under the pressure. If you’re looking for a bookshelf that can handle lots of big, heavy books (which can weigh up to 50 pounds per running foot), opt for a model with solid wood shelves. That said, while solid wood tends to be stronger than manufactured wood materials, bookshelves are also commonly constructed from manufactured wood materials. It’s fine to go with either type of material, but manufactured wood might be better-suited to a collection of paperback books rather than textbooks. Regardless of which material is used, the manufacturer should clearly list the weight capacity of each shelf — if they don’t, you’ll run the risk of getting flimsy shelves.
Weight capacity isn’t the only thing to look for in a bookcase. Depending on the types of books you own, you may find that different shelf styles may work best for your needs. Adjustable shelves, which can be moved around to accommodate taller books, can be quite convenient if you have both short and tall books. Deep shelves can be useful for storing children’s books, as picture books are commonly as large as 10 inches long. Units with cubbies can also assist in keeping different genres organized.
From tall industrial-style shelving units to more traditional-looking bookshelves, here are six bookcases that are up to the task of storing all of your favorite reads.
1. A Large Bookcase That Can Hold 600 Pounds Of Books
With a capacity of 120 pounds per shelf, this HSH Bookcase is cut out for the heavy lifting that books require. The frame is made of square steel tube with an X-shaped bracket in the back for extra support, and each shelf is made of solid wood. The bookcase comes in four different heights, ranging from a short two-shelf model to this five-shelf beauty.
It’s always a good idea to secure bookshelves to the wall, especially tall ones, and this bookcase comes with a kit that allows you to safely anchor it. Anchor aside, according to the manufacturer, the bookcase only takes about 20 minutes to assemble. If you’re not happy with it, you can return it for a refund within 30 days.
If you have any concerns about using a bookshelf with open sides, here’s a tip: Stack a few books horizontally at the ends of each shelf or snag some unique bookends to keep your reads in line.
Positive Amazon review: “I loved these shelves so much that I bought another set. Excellent value with real wood shelves, sturdy metal frame, easy to assemble with instructions.[…] These shelves can handle the weight of real books.”
- Assembled dimensions: 47.2 by 9.1 by 70 inches (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 120 pounds per shelf
2. A Folding Bookcase Made of Solid Wood
There’s something about the simple design of this folding bookcase that reminds me of a library book cart, and I am here for it. According to the manufacturer, the whole bookcase is made of solid wood and has a whopping 150-pound capacity per shelf. And true to its name, the bookcase folds up flat when it’s not in use. (Imagine how much easier moving would be if all bookshelves were foldable!)
All you need is a Phillips screwdriver to assemble it. In addition to this natural finish, it’s available in a dark brown espresso color, and in a narrower 16-inch width.
Positive Amazon review: “Great small bookshelf, perfect for a small space, foldable so easy to setup, quality is very good, real wood. fits all my books (about 40 books of various thickness from [paperback] to text book size) with a little room to spare, able to put a lamp at the top shelf.”
- Assembled dimensions: 32 by 11 by 45 inches (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 150 pounds per shelf
3. A Sturdy Corner Shelf For Your Books
Maximize the oft-wasted space of an unused corner with this Coaster Home Furnishings corner bookcase. Constructed of an engineered wood product called medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particle board, and engineered veneer, it can hold 45 pounds of books per shelf. This statistic stands up, since according to reviewers, the six shelves feel quite strong. Each measures just under 12 inches tall, which is plenty of clearance for many books.
Positive Amazon review: “Love this bookshelf! It doesn’t take up a lot of room but holds a ton of books! It looks amazing […and] I love how I can put larger sized books on top. It’s very sturdy & was easy to put together.”
- Assembled dimensions: 35 by 11.75 by 70.75 inches (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 45 pounds per shelf
4. A Sleek Ladder Bookshelf That Attaches To The Wall
I researched many ladder bookshelves and was surprised that most of the ones I came across simply weren’t cut out for the weight of books — but this 6-shelf bookcase is certainly an exception! Each of its six shelves is designed to carry 55 pounds. The metal frame and laminate wood shelves look super sleek, and it comes in versions with three, four, and five shelves, as well as in a variety of finishes. You can even grab a model with a drawer at the bottom. And while I’m doling out tips, here’s another one: Consider purchasing two or three to line up and easily create an impactful wall of books.
The bookcase attaches to the wall, and all you need is scissors and a Phillips head screwdriver to assemble it in under an hour. Foot protectors help to keep your flooring free from scratches. If you don’t love the bookshelf, you can return it within 90 days.
Positive Amazon review: “I needed a bookcase for my office/guest room that could hold a LOT of books without taking up a lot of space. This was the perfect solution! […] These things can hold a ton of books without putting any stress on the wall where the frame is attached.”
- Assembled dimensions: 30 by 12 by 85 inches (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 55 pounds per shelf
5. A Low Bookcase With Organizational Cubbies
If you’re looking to organize your book collection, give this Bush Furniture organizer a try. Use the cubbies to group books by genre, color, size, or however your heart desires. Each of the six cubbies has a capacity of 25 pounds, and the top of the shelf has a 50-pound capacity. (So go ahead and display some of your favorite books on top!) The two center cubbies are fixed in place and measure 11.9 inches tall and 14.4 inches wide, but the other two shelves are height-adjustable, which can come in handy if you need to accommodate taller books. The tapered legs and curved base rails add a fancy flair to this bookcase.
It comes with Bush Furniture’s one-year warranty. In addition to this Antique White finish, it’s available in white, gray, and black, as well as a version with doors. It’s made from manufactured wood.
Positive Amazon review: “The book case will hold a lot of books – the two bottom [centerposts] help support the weight and prevents sags. […] All in all I am very pleased.”
- Assembled dimensions: 48 by 14 by 30 (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 75 pounds per shelf (25 pounds per cubby)
6. A Space-Saving Narrow Bookcase
If you’re on the hunt for a bookcase to fit in a narrow space, take a look at this Better Homes and Gardens bookcase. It has a small footprint but stands nearly 6 feet tall and each of its five compartments has a capacity of 22 pounds. You can even add baskets for other kinds of storage if you’d like. It comes in packs of two shelves, as well as in 4-cube and 3-cube versions, and it’s available in white, pink, and gray finishes, among others. You can also buy it in a two-pack. To assemble the bookshelf, you’ll need a hammer, Phillips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, and about an hour of time.
You can also opt to lay the bookcase on its side if you need a multifunctional TV stand. It can carry up to 128 pounds on top when lying horizontally. If you need a narrow bookcase like this one but happen to prefer a more industrial look, you might want to consider the slightly larger but still narrow Walker Edison Furniture Company bookcase instead.
Positive Amazon review: “Love the bookcase! It took me less than an hour to build it by myself. Feels very sturdy.”
- Assembled dimensions: 15.35 x 17.17 x 71.46 inches (width by depth by height)
- Weight capacity: 22 pounds per shelf
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