The New Yorker has an article about a bookstore that supplies custom-made libraries for purchase or, for comercial displays and movie sets, rental.
Although prop books are meant to be seen and not read, they have to evoke a mise en scène, inside and out. For Indiana Jones, the filmmakers specified that the books cover such topics as paleontology, marine biology, and pre-Columbian society. They had to be in muted colors and predate 1957. “People have gotten so character-specific nowadays,” Jenny McKibben, a manager at the store, said. “It can’t just be color anymore. With high-def, they can just freeze the film and say, ‘Oh, that’s so inappropriate.’ “