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Limited Edition BILLY Bookcases Celebrate 30 Years

Posted on October 1, 2009 at 6:38 am
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The ubiquitous BILLY bookcase, the most versatile of IKEA bookcases, is turning 30 years old this month!  Over 41 million BILLYs have been sold worldwide since its introduction in 1979 – enough to circle the globe twice.  Holy librarian, batman! That’s a lot of bookcases!  To celebrate, IKEA has introduced limited editions of the BILLY bookcase, BILLY BJÄSTA and BILLY and some new BILLY accessories. (We’re working on details of contests with IKEA around BILLY’s Birthday as well, so stay tuned for more info!) See what’s new after the jump!

gillis-lundgren-portrait1Gillis Lundgren Designed BILLY in 1979

Designed in 1979 by Gillis Lundgren who’s other distinction is being the one who originally developed the flat-pack concept – as IKEA co-worker #4.  Today, the BILLY bookcase is produced non-stop in the Gyllensvaans factory in the village of in Kättilstorp, Sweden which produces only one product for IKEA – the BILLY bookcase. Four bookcases at a time are loaded into plain brown flatpacks by a highly efficient, customized robotic solution that puts 20 per minute into packaging. Each night-shift sees 6,000 flatpacks go out the door.

It was 30 years ago when I got the assignment to design a simple, functional and smart storage solution for books. I would never have imagined then that BILLY bookcase would wind up in so many homes across the world. I remember being especially pleased with the adjustable shelves and the depth of the bookcase – perfect for books. We were also able to transport it in a flat pack – an idea I was actually first to develop. The bookcase is still one of my favourites, and I hope it continues to be around for many more years.”

Since it was introduced 30 years ago, the BILLY has become a favorite of many throughout the world.  BILLY’s price is but one reason – it is actually costs 30% less than it was when first on the market (price adjusted for inflation).

Limited Edition Billy Bookcases


IKEA Designer Annika Bryngelson created the BILLY BJÄSTA and BILLY JÄDER special edition BILLY bookcases for the 30th anniversary of BILLY.  They’re limited editions which means they’re only available from October 1, 2009 until January 31, 2010 or until they run out, whichever comes first.

To celebrate the 30th birthday of BILLY, I wanted to make a practical piece of furniture that was also a work of art that makes you feel happy.

BILLY JÄDER was designed with a young, romantic man in mind.  Says Bryngelson, “that’s why I used quotations from William Shakespeare’s love sonnets.  There’s plenty of strong emotions, love and heartache – yet the pattern is still cool with tis graffiti-inspired look.”  BILLY JÄDER is available in black on white patterned, green on white patterned and orange on white patterned at 80cm x 202cm / 31 1/2″ x 79 1/2″.

BILLY BJÄSTA was designed with a colourful, trend-conscious young girl in mind. Says Bryngelson, “My inspiration came from Japanese manga, which I transformed into something like furniture graffiti.” BILLY BJÄSTA is available in white with the colorful pattern above in the 80cm x 202cm / 31 1/2″ x 79 1/2″ size.

The BILLY Family

Coordinating Bookcases – BENNO and BERGSBO

BENNO bookcases are perfectly sized for DVDs and CDs and the available colors, finishes and sizes coordinate with BILLY, making it easy to extend your library to include your video and audio collections.  Introduced in 2007,  BERGSBO bookcases coordinate and extend the BILLY product range; the deeper shelves accommodate larger, wider books.  The push-touch catches add a bit of sophistication in function and the lack of handles makes for a sleek look.


BILLY Corner Units, Height Extenders and Doors

BILLY corner units allow you to turn the corner, making an entire room into a library or just utilize the available space in your room to the greatest extent. BILLY height extenders allow you to expand your collection vertically.  BILLY BYOM, BILLY MOREBO, BILLY YDRE doors help you to protect your collections, while BILLY NYCKELBY, BILLY JADER and BILLY KIABY do so in style. BILLY book/magazine rails and allow you to display your magazines and journals on a slant.

BILLY Accessories

Add extra shelves to your BILLY bookcase for shorter collections, and now add a half-shelf in a metallic finish for CD or small item storage or display.  Also, introduced for the 3oth birthday of BILLY, the new BILLY bookends are available in 2 sizes and 4 bright colors in addition to black and white. I want a bunch in RED!


Do you have a BILLY bookcase story to share? A library full of BILLYs? Tell us about it!


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