Firstly, the notion of a pile of anything less than 10 books confuses me.

Secondly, the standard is correct. I don’t think I understand the line “If I’m reading the titles from left to right, and the spines are printed descending, then – from the perspective of my eyes – I’m reading from bottom to top: i.e. backwards!”

If you’re stood looking at a shelf, you read the titles L>R in ascending order of classification system, and those titles that are printed with descending titles are printed the right way round – you tilt your head, and walk along the shelf with your eyes tracking from left to right, going up the classification sequence, and each descending title is presented to you in the correct alignment. Ascending titles ruin everything (that blasted dictionary in the picture sticks out like a sore thumb because it’s misaligned), but basically in scanning a shelf, you just tilt your head to turn the shelf into a horizontal stack, and everything else lines up nicely, barring ascending titles which are completely back to front (but then they always are), and transverses which are mildly annoying just because you usually have to look up higher, ie, further from the labels, to see what they are. But the whole shelf becomes a slightly-bigger-than-average stack which you read as you go up the sequence, and nothing apart from ascending titles is backwards…

(I’ve literally just stood in the shelves trying get this to *not* happen, and the only way I could make it work was by uncomfortably standing back-to-front with my right shoulder closest to the shelves, so that as I walked along the shelf I was stepping backwards). .

Possibly this is just one of those accustomisation things – I guess if I were used to scrolls I’d find the descending orientation confusion since I’d not be used to spines – but I’m genuinely struggling to see how you can possibly scan a shelf of books and somehow be reading the descending titles from bottom to top!