The island in our kitchen is nice, but, from the beginning, I wanted a different color...AND I had way too many cookbooks! The island is 27 inches wide. I asked my husband to build a bookcase the entire length of the island...using 12 inch wide shelving. The height is such that it slips under the islands outside edge. No back was needed because the outside of the island became the back of the bookcase. When (and if) we get around to replacing counter tops and the island surface, the top of island will be a 38 inch wide surface that covers everything. In the meantime, I have the bookcase as well as the extra surface that its top provides.