A Complete Guide to Dark Academia Book Shelves

Last updated on March 30th, 2023 by Sarah Pereira.

Let’s be honest, having aesthetic bookshelves is the best thing in the world. This blog post will be a complete guide to how to make dark academia book shelves. This list will not include books that are out of print/no longer available.

If you don’t want to buy books.

If you want your shelves to look academia but don’t want to buy new books, not to worry. The simple solution is to remove the dust jackets from books that have gold, brown, black, or tan inside cloth. As an alternative, you can flip your books around so the pages are only visible. However, were you to do this, make sure you only flip a few around or the shelves don’t look dark academia anymore. This gives such a vintage vibe to the shelves!

Be a little messy!

When we think dark academia, we don’t think pristine, perfect bookshelves. Experiment with your shelves a little bit. Stack them sideways or upside down. Layer your books and give them some depth. Your dark academia library should be reflective of you, it’s not a bookstore!

Shelf Decor

Dark academia shelf decor includes, skulls, potion bottles, statues, crystals, wands, flower pots, candles and perfume bottles. Here are some examples:

Dark Academia Bookshelf Examples


Some Aesthetic Books

In addition to the specific books I’ve listed below, leather bound books are so dark academia. For cheaper leather bound books I’d recommend barnes and noble. If you’re willing to splurge a little, visit The Folio Society or Easton Press! Another brand I love is the Penguin Classics editions. The black and white spine of the penguin classics gives the perfect poet in Paris aesthetic.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This is the American hardcover edition of Norse Mythology but I believe the UK edition is all gold which makes this book even more stunning!

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

As someone who has read this series, I can attest to it being one of the best fantasy series of all time. These covers are perfect for a book like that. This edition also comes with a reader’s companion.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The cream white of this 50th anniversary edition works great with the dark academia bookshelf vibe.

Circe by Madeline Miller

It’s not visible from the angle it was taken from but the cover actually has a beautiful gold foiling that perfectly matches the dark academia vibes. There are so many editions of this book and they’re literally all so stunning. I’d totally recommend the UK hardcover as well.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A timeless classic! There are many editions of the Great Gatsby, but this one is probably the prettiest. Like many others on this list, this edition of the Great Gatsby does have gold foiling.

About Author

Lover of all things books, cats, and art, Sarah is currently a student in high school. When she is not reading, Sarah is usually writing and can be found in libraries and bookstores. Sarah is always looking for new adventures to write about (her Hogwarts letter didn't come so she's waiting to turn 50 for her adventure to the middle earth).

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