bookrack

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, a bookcase has "shelves" for holding books. So the following furniture is a bookcase.

ySZuuIi.jpg


A bookrack, on the other hand, is a "rack" for holding books, which doesn't need to have "shelves". So the following items are probably bookracks, not bookcases.

VSfJ3wg.jpg


dHLFRit.jpg


Can the furniture in the first picture also be called a bookrack (or just a rack)?
 
  • cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    "I bought shelves" is fine; a shelving unit suggests more enclosed shelving to me (side and back panels, perhaps).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I recognized this rack. I have one of these from my picture framing business. It is not a book rack. It is a mat board sample rack. It is being used upside down and being repurposed.

    VSfJ3wg.jpg


    Here are the racks being used for their original intended purpose:
    1627561810116.png

    I have seen carts with a similar rack as in your illustration. It was being used by a librarian who was reshelving books. I believe that they are called "book trucks" or "book carts". I found this image by searching for "book trucks, librarian".
    WBC_334.jpg
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    But what about when you want to say you bought two of those? Would you say "I bought two shelves?" Doesn't it mean you bought two flat pieces of wood (or metal etc.)?
    A shelf is a narrow, flat piece of wood (plank) used for a specific purpose.
    The shelves in your first image look as if they were bought as a "shelf kit".
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It is not a book rack. It is a mat board sample rack. It is being used upside down and being repurposed.
    Interesting!

    A shelf is a narrow, flat piece of wood (plank) used for a specific purpose.
    The shelves in your first image look as if they were bought as a "shelf kit".
    So...would you say "I bought two shelf kits"?
    Do you find it odd that the following site sells these pieces of furniture as "bookcases" (including the one shown in my first picture)?
    Wayfair.com - Online Home Store for Furniture, Decor, Outdoors & More
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    A shelf kit contains the necessary elements to put up/assemble shelves.

    Do I find it odd? Not at all - it's a convenient label: Some of them even contain books.:)
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I wouldn't be surprised to see the item in the first picture described as a bookcase, a bookshelf, a shelf unit, a bookshelf unit, a bookshelf kit, a shelving kit, a set of shelves, a set of bookshelves . . .

    It really doesn't matter much. You can see what it is, and what it looks like, and what it's useful for.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Do I find it odd? Not at all - it's a convenient label: Some of them even contain books.:)
    OK, so it's fine to say "I bought two bookcases" (if I bought two pieces of that furniture shown in my first picture). :)

    It really doesn't matter much. You can see what it is,
    Well....but the listener wouldn't be able to see what you had bought. If you had bought two of those, which of the terms you mentioned would you use? I don't think you would say "I bought two bookshelves," because it sounds like you bought two flat pieces of wood that you mount on the wall.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'd probably call it a shelving unit. It doesn't seem to be designed for books even though it's possible to use it for books.

    If I had it full of books than I might refer to it as "the bookcase" to someone else living with me for convenience sake. We would both know what I meant if we were used to calling it that.

    But I wouldn't expect someone else to picture something like that if I used the word bookcase.

    For instance, if someone was doing me a favor by looking for something for me in my apartment I would probably say "I might have left it on one of the shelves", but I don't think I'd say to them "I might have left it in/on the bookcase".
     

    Le Gallois bilingue

    Senior Member
    English (U.K.)
    OK, so it's fine to say "I bought two bookcases" (if I bought two pieces of that furniture shown in my first picture). :)


    Well....but the listener wouldn't be able to see what you had bought. If you had bought two of those, which of the terms you mentioned would you use? I don't think you would say "I bought two bookshelves," because it sounds like you bought two flat pieces of wood that you mount on the wall.
    One, they are not bookcases, They are shelves. In BritE you would likely say I’ve bought a couple of shelves/I’ve bought some shelves. N.B. The shelves in your picture are simply shelves as they are not produced specifically for any item or items to be placed upon them. That’s down to individual choice.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I agree. The first item in the photo is not a bookcase, at least not a useful one. The position of the poles makes the ends of each shelf unusable for books, and you'd have to get bookends for each shelf (as are used on the bottom shelf) to keep the books from falling.
    If I bought two of the things in the photo I'd say "two sets of shelves." If I had two of them in my living room, I'd say "the shelves between the windows" to distinguish them from "the shelves by the door."
     
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    Leeeroy

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    Bookcase (or anything-case really) strongly implies enclosure (encasement, hm?) IMO and none of the items in your pictures offer that.

    If I were to name the items in your pictures, #1 would be shelves; #2 would be a book tray (even though rack is objectively better, and there's no actual tray there, and we already know it's not made for books); #3 would be a book stand (because you'd only see something like that in a retail setting; also, it looks like a number of these small bookstands you use for reading glued together to make a tower).

    "Bookrack" is too close for comfort to "poo crack" and I'm not cracking a joke here either. I'd strongly suggest using the spelling book rack, especially since Google has a strong preference for it.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It doesn't seem to be designed for books even though it's possible to use it for books.
    The first item in the photo is not a bookcase, at least not a useful one.
    Bookcase (or anything-case really) strongly implies enclosure (encasement, hm?) IMO
    I agree. So I personally find it odd that the shelves are sold as bookcases on that website.

    In BritE you would likely say I’ve bought a couple of shelves
    Are you sure about this? I mean, if you had bought that one set of shelves shown in my first picture, would you say "I bought a shelf"?

    If I bought two of the things in the photo I'd say "two sets of shelves."
    So you prefer "two sets of shelves" to "two shelving units" or "two shelf units". Is it because of the same reason cidertree gave in post #4 ("a shelving unit suggests more enclosed shelving to me (side and back panels, perhaps).")?

    "Bookrack" is too close for comfort to "poo crack" and I'm not cracking a joke here either. I'd strongly suggest using the spelling book rack, especially since Google has a strong preference for it.
    I used the term bookrack just because I found it in some dictionaries. I actually don't know what a bookrack looks like. (I know what a magazine rack is.)
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    So you prefer "two sets of shelves" to "two shelving units" or "two shelf units". Is it because of the same reason cidertree gave in post #4 ("a shelving unit suggests more enclosed shelving to me (side and back panels, perhaps).")?
    No, it's because the word 'unit' is meaningless to me in this context. A shelving unit could just as well be a single shelf as several shelves joined together.
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    Not really. A set of shelves without the posts are "planks".

    Edit: To be fair, planks, mounted horizontally to the wall, are shelves.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    So....should I say "I bought three planks", not "I bought three shelves", if I bought these?

    yTGd3ao.png


    Also, according to the couple of dictionaries I've checked, a "plank" is a long, thin, flat piece of timber/wood. Maybe it's not the right word for the wire shelving shown in my last post?
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    If you mount them on the wall, planks become shelves. Shelves are, in general, horizontal surfaces to put things on (books,...whatever); why the insistence on ultra-definition?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    So....should I say "I bought three planks", not "I bought three shelves", if I bought these?

    yTGd3ao.png

    I would call those 'shelves' or 'wall-mounted shelves'. There is a limit to how much information you can expect your reader to get from a name. If you want your reader to have a more precise idea of what you have, you will have to describe them.

    Also, according to the couple of dictionaries I've checked, a "plank" is a long, thin, flat piece of timber/wood. Maybe it's not the right word for the wire shelving shown in my last post?

    I would call those 'shelves'. They could be called a 'shelving unit' but in my experience that term is more likely to be used by people who are selling them than by ordinary customers. If I were going to use them for books, I might tell my friend that I had bought book shelves, even though that was not the specific purpose for which they were made. If I wanted to describe the material, I would say they were metal shelves, rather than 'wire shelves' because that is what we say where I live.

    'Wire shelves' sounds flimsy to me. It will sound fine to people who are accustomed to talking about 'wire shelves'.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    If I wanted to describe the material, I would say they were metal shelves, rather than 'wire shelves' because that is what we say where I live.

    'Wire shelves' sounds flimsy to me.
    I think "metal shelves" apply to these shelves as well.
    dc04ijV.jpg



    If so, would you use "wire shelves" (for the ones shown below) if you want your friend to correctly understand what you bought?

    nV1MNg6.jpg
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    I would describe the shelves in the first photo in post #1 as "(wall- mounted) industrial look shelving unit", the industrial look furniture have been popular for some time now.
    As for the shelves in post #24, they are also industrial or restaurant kitchen look shelving units, perhaps describes as "stainless steel kitchen rack shelving".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    For me, a bookcase has to be capable of standing alone - something like this:

    G2592-surrey-oak-small-bookcase-roseland-furniture-1_7d2626af-6457-494a-bd4c-b637983145ed_2000...jpg

    I would call mejin's first item [a set of] bookshelves.

    I would happily describe his second item as a bookrack.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    If so, would you use "wire shelves" (for the ones shown below) if you want your friend to correctly understand what you bought?
    If I wanted my friend to correctly understand what I'd bought, I'd have to describe them in detail. "Wire shelves" just describes the stuff they're made of. It doesn't say how many shelves there are, how tall the whole thing is, whether the sides are enclosed, or whether they are meant to be attached to the wall.

    So that my friend understands correctly what I bought, I'd begin talking about the first item in #24 by saying "some industrial-type metal shelving/shelves" and for the second item I'd say "restaurant-type wire shelving/shelves" and then I'd go on to give a much more detailed description.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    As for the shelves in post #24, they are also industrial or restaurant kitchen look shelving units, perhaps describes as "stainless steel kitchen rack shelving".
    So that my friend understands correctly what I bought, I'd begin talking about the first item in #24 by saying "some industrial-type metal shelving/shelves" and for the second item I'd say "restaurant-type wire shelving/shelves" and then I'd go on to give a much more detailed description.
    Thanks both. These are really helpful. "Industrial" and "restaurant" make sense.

    I would happily describe his second item as a bookrack.
    That's good to know. Thanks Loob.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, those kinds of shelves are not the kind you would normally expect to find in a home. They are industrial style. The first ones in #24 you might find in a warehouse. They are certainly not bookshelves.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The restaurant-type shelving units are actually quite popular in Japanese homes. I have one too (and I'm not a chef). :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Here is a home library. These shelves are designed to hold books. They sprinkle in some tchotchkes to break up the uniformity that a wall of books makes.
    image
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    The restaurant-type shelving units are actually quite popular in Japanese homes. I have one too (and I'm not a chef). :)
    I have some restaurant-type shelving, too, for storing food like flour, canned tomatoes, cat food, etc. And I used to have some of that industrial-type shelving in the basement of my house, for storing cartons of important stuff that must not be thrown out.

    The photo in #31 shows fancy built-in bookcases, which I suspect most Americans don't have (and it's odd that there are books for teenagers on the shelves...).
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That looks like a staged photo you might find in a decor magazine. Nobody has probably ever lived in that room as it's shown. It's too perfect. :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I have some restaurant-type shelving, too, for storing food like flour, canned tomatoes, cat food, etc. And I used to have some of that industrial-type shelving in the basement of my house, for storing cartons of important stuff that must not be thrown out.

    The photo in #31 shows fancy built-in bookcases, which I suspect most Americans don't have (and it's odd that there are books for teenagers on the shelves...).
    I believe “NSF” is the standard term for that type of shelving. It stands for “National Sanitation Foundation”. That does not describe the shelving, it describes a design and materials that can be easily sanitized for food contact. In any case if you google “NSF shelving” that is all that seems to come up.
    nsf shelving - Google Search
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Béarla na hÉireann (Hiberno-English)
    Shelves! They're all just shelves! Put whatever you want on them, call them whatever you wish, describe them as you would La Gioconda: They're simply horizontal storage surfaces.

    Aside: We really should have an emoji that depicts exasperation.

    Afterthought: ...and another that depicts getting something out of your system. :p
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Shelves! They're all just shelves! Put whatever you want on them, call them whatever you wish, describe them as you would La Gioconda: They're simply horizontal storage surfaces.

    Aside: We really should have an emoji that depicts exasperation.

    Afterthought: ...and another that depicts getting something out of your system. :p
    Just to be certain, I googled “types of shelves” and found an article called “22 types of shelves” (residential). And then there are specialized shelving systems. Some that hold bottles of wine, ones that hold 35mm projection films (in movie theaters, I would guess), refrigerated shelving, etc.

    So “shelves are shelves” until you learn that that there are ”shelves and then there are shelves”.
     
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