I have always perceived a conventional book display to be boring.
When I found myself forced to buy, due to space restrictions, a 2-self wall unit instead of a funky vintage-esque vertical bookcase, there lay the pain in making it work.
Over the course of a few months, my ugly and boring bookshelf has undergone a masterclass in looking groovier.
I first got rid of the redundant bookends and used the books to prop themselves up, thereby opening up the shelf space to more content. I then balanced the books with tiny framed art work and pottery collected on holidays abroad [with a mix of nailed to the wall and leaning free-style against the wall]. And eventually added a small money plant [since they can be put in water without the messiness of soil] to inject that extra colour and life.
I feel the fuller and busier look lends a lot more character and appeal now.