We make things for bibliophiles, so you can show off your book love in all kinds of ways.
My name is Jane Mount, and I started Ideal Bookshelf in 2008. I believe books make us better, allowing us to visit other people's lives and understand them. And books connect us, to characters, to authors, and, most importantly, to each other.
I used to paint large paintings of people and animals, as a hobby, but then I lost my studio space and had to start painting small paintings at our small dining room table in our tiny Manhattan apartment instead. I had no idea what to paint. One day, staring down at a blank piece of paper, I decided to just draw some of the books sitting on our built-in bookshelves next to me, since I love books, and I think the colorful spines lined up next to each other are lovely. A friend of my husband’s happened to come by that day, and when he saw what I was working on he demanded to buy all four of them right then and there. That doesn’t usually happen to me (or to most artists I know), someone reacting so viscerally and instantly to my work, so I knew there was something there and I should keep going with it. I started painting friends’ books, as they lay on their shelves, but I soon realized it was much more interesting to ask them what books they loved, which books made them who they are today. That’s when I started Ideal Bookshelf, and began doing custom pieces for people, painting portraits of them from the inside instead of the outside. I find it endlessly fascinating to see what books people pick, and while painting or making a print I think all about what that person might be like, based on their choices.
I will make a custom print for you, of your favorites! And since then I've also created and designed many other kinds of bookish products, some featuring book spines on totes and mugs and stationery, and others featuring original interpretations of classic book covers, on enamel pins and stickers. We also make t-shirts, hats, aprons, and more, all to help you connect to other booklovers.
Also, I wrote and illustrated a book about books called Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, published by Chronicle Books in 2018 (and we've made a bunch of related products as well, you can see them all here), and co-authored (with Jamise Harper!) and illustrated Bibliophile: Diverse Spines, published by Chronicle Books in 2021 (also with some awesome related products!). In 2012 (with writer Thessaly La Force) I made a book called My Ideal Bookshelf, published by Little, Brown, and full of the favorite books of 100+ famous creative thinkers.
Ideal Bookshelf is now a tiny team of folks, working to create beautiful things and send them out to you as quickly as possible. Please don't hesitate to email us if you have any questions, and I love to hear suggestions on pins to make next, or genres of books to paint, or how you think this shop could be improved.
Jane Mount is an illustrator/designer/writer/thingmaker, and particularly makes many things for people who love books. She is the founder of Ideal Bookshelf, and the author and illustrator of Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany (Chronicle Books, 2018), and the illustrator and co-author (with Jamise Harper) of Bibliophile: Diverse Spines (Chronicle Books, 2021) and My Ideal Bookshelf (Little, Brown, 2012). In previous lives she studied anthropology and cofounded a couple internet companies. She now lives in a log cabin on Maui with her husband, three weird cats, and a speckled dog. You can see more at janemount.com, or follow her on Instagram at @jane_mount .