A bookcase should be, first and foremost, sturdy and durable. Solid wood is an obvious choice both for its beauty and durability, but may be out of your price range. Powder coated steel is a more accessible option for contemporary shelving, one that wears well, is easy to care for, and carries plenty of clean, contemporary flair. Ultimately, though the materials used in making the modern bookcase or shelving unit you choose are less important than how carefully it’s been crafted. Materials as varied as injection molded plastic and wood composites, if made with care and integrity, may hold up to use over time as well as modern bookcases made with seemingly indestructible hard wood. As with all modern design, honest materials and integrity in craftsmanship are keys to pieces that stand the test of time.