Bookshelves in science fiction

Every once in a while, in a futuristic science fiction movie or TV show, I notice that the office of the captain or the head scientist or some other important personage has a fancy bookshelf with real books.

I understand why this is there. It serves as a visual short-hand to audiences, conveying high social status based on learning and erudition. Yet in most such shows the Sci Fi world portrayed has moved beyond books, generally to some sort of system of touch surfaces or floating holographic projection screens.

I understand the concept — the owner of these books expresses his/her high status through the display of an archaic and undoubtedly highly expensive technology of old, much as the CEO of a large corporation in Tokyo might decorate his office with a rare Samurai sword.

Yet in real life we do not decorate our offices with archaic information technology. Except in very rare cases there are no ancient Athenian scrolls or Egyptian papyri on display in high-status offices.

Information technology does not seem to age as gracefully as weaponry, when it comes to using symbols to express high social status. So I wonder — hundreds of years in the future, will there really be rows of old books displayed in offices as signifiers of power and intellectual importance? Or would such a thing merely come across to visitors as quaint, and more than a little odd?

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