From iBooks to iKea – what a ‘novel’ idea.

Frankly, I can’t understand why the iBooks backdrop has such a cheap look. For those who don’t have an iPhone or iPad, it looks like a badly illustrated imitation 1970’s wood bookcase.  Here your electronic books are displayed on it.

I like the idea that it presents the books as a virtual bookcase but really, does it have to look so naff?

Most of my real books sit on various IKEA bookcases or shelves at home or in the office, which gave me a ‘novel’ idea – why doesn’t IKEA develop a series of backdrops for iBooks? They can call it iKea backdrops. A great way to engage the growing number of people downloading books. High on engagement and low on cost.

You could then choose from a white or black classic Billy (IKEA’s best selling line) or the more stylish Expedit. Then there’s always the Besta, Stockholm, Kilby, Grevback, Liatorp, or the more traditionally looking Hermes. If you do like a wood look try the Traby range.

With so many bookcases and shelving units like Ivar or the very stylish Lack (comes in red too), the range is endless and it’d allow you to change the wall backdrop as well.

You could have exactly the same shelving on your iPad as you have at home – familiarity is always an emotional plus.

Of course this could result in a reverse marketing approach, IKEA offering customers downloads to put on their virtual bookshelves, ranging from useful books to candle holders and lamps – why not add some fun?

Plus there’s the opportunity for lots of predictable ‘off the shelf’ promotional and social media ideas.

Of course, they may have had the idea already but as nothing came up on my Google search, I’ll claim the idea first.


If you haven’t discovered it yet, check out the world of IKEA Hacks on a great website by IKEA fans with ideas of how to modify IKEA furniture for new uses. There’s even an IKEA Hacks app on iStore.

The IKEA Hacks will show you how to make speakers from salad bowls, turn a stepstool into a laptop desk, create a private bar from various kitchen parts, turn a bathroom shelf into a stylish kitchen pot rack and convert a Stolmen post into an indoor bike rack. Or why not earn some money on the side – add a pizza carrying tray to your bike with a Gorm shelf and Lansa door handles. And there are endless examples of how to hack a clock.

One of the great things I’ve always believed had enormous potential for IKEA was encouraging people to customize their furniture more.

There comes a point in life when all your middle class, suburban dwelling media friends have homes looking like an IKEA showroom. Everyone likes to personalise, hey, who wants to be a sheep?

Leading Spanish trendy clothing brand Desigual now offers a customisation service in their Regent Street store and it’s a massive hit (not that Desigual’s clothes aren’t already unique enough).

Customisation also offers a way of encouraging people to give products a second life rather than throwing things away (so very eco) because they are bored with it. Such is the way of a consumer society, mindlessly hell bent on churn.

I know one person who has converted an old IKEA bedside cabinet into a rabbit hutch, sorry “designer rabbit hutch” as he likes to say.

It was actually in Scandinavia that I was made aware of our desire for churn in the UK when I was speaking to a Norweigan farmer (as you do). In his hallway was a broken chair. “I guess that’s destined for the bin and you’ll be off to IKEA for a new one,” I said.

“Certainly not,” he replied, “That’s the problem with you British, you see everything as disposable. I’m taking it to the carpenter to be fixed this afternoon.”  Made me think.

And if you don’t have a local carpenter you could always use your imagination and create something new with your 3 legged chair (post suggestions below).

In the age of co-creation, maybe someone should write ‘101 ways to customise your IKEA furniture’ – now that’s one book I’d download onto my trendy IKEA iBooks shelves.


If you are twittering this article, add #ikeaibooks