House Rules: On how to look Intelligent

What to do do if you (a) don’t read, or (b) have consigned all your literature to Kindle?

Books do furnish a room, noted Anthony Powell in the title of his 1971 classic. But what do you do if you (a) don't read, or (b) have consigned all your literature to Kindle?

How do you add that warm glow of literature to your lounge, and how do you let people know how intelligent you are, if it’s all secreted on a small tablet?

Welcome to the world of the Fake Book.

Look like you had literary ancestors with aged vellum gold-embossed spines by the square metre. Hide secret doors and panels, or even acquire a fake book covered safe for your treasures. Now you can furnish all the rooms you want with books, without ever feeling guilty for not actually having read any of them.


Based in the UK, Original Books ( are the go-to specialists.

They’ve just completed a project for Epic Ireland at CHQ in Dublin (, cover cruise liners, pubs, clubs and private homes, and also have the VIP room at Victoria’s Secrets on London’s Bond Street to their credit – and sure who’d be thinking of reading in there?

They’re also more than happy to quote for domestic jobs, and are the only people in the world (they say) to do fake paperbacks, which would be handy if you think your pals wouldn’t quite swallow acres of leather bound classics.

Prices from stg £400 (€505) per sq m.

For individual fake books with secret storage, try where prices start at around €16, plus shipping, for a hollowed-out book to stash your cash, fake passports, or whatever you're having to hide yourself. Just remember, do be smarter than I was and select a dull title. Try Applied Mathematics and Computation, the Cisco Exam Guide, or the latest Dan Brown.

I went for The Playboy Gourmet and, as you’d expect, everyone who comes to my house picks it up for a browse. These days I keep my Kindle in it.