Don’t judge these books by their covers! They hide an amplifier, a speaker, and a plush compartment for your portable audio player.

Most amplifiers and speakers are flashy — shiny plastic and metal covered with lights, knobs, and indicators — and totally out of place in my reading room. I wanted a design with more warmth and feeling.

Nothing looks as perfect on a bookshelf as books. So the obvious solution was to put a speaker and an amplifier inside a book or three. Putting things in hollowed-out books is a trick as old as bookbinding, but with a little more effort we can even disguise some of the controls in a natural way, such as using a tasseled bookmark as the volume control.

The hidden speaker uses the covers of 3 books to disguise its true nature, with wooden frames providing stability and durability. A muslin cover allows the sound to escape unmuffled while keeping the look of paper. The electronics are based on a commercial amplifier kit that we modify slightly to move some of the components to more useful locations. A padded nook provides a safe place to keep a music player or radio.