This is what I've got for my bookshelves so far... and as you can see, it's not straight.  It's still a little wobbly because I haven't put in a crossboard I intend to add to limit racking, so I think I can secure it right if I can get it right.

What do I do to get this guy to stand up straight?

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I did this.  I took one of the shelves and made it into a back for the bottom shelf.  Two crosspieces at the bottom and one at the top, and it feels stable.

I think the main things I did to make it work this time were:

* loosen the crosspiece at the bottom that I think made it lean to begin with

* made damned sure all crosspieces had right angles at the end,

* ...and were exactly the right size, so they could just fit in their respective holes

* clamped a spirit level to the side and made sure the case stayed level as I put all those crosspieces in.

Thanks, gentlemen.

Since you only braced the bottom, I suggest you put some weight on the upper half and see if you are still satisfied with its stability before you make the other three shelves.

I also put a crosspiece at the top, but it's still a good suggestion. I'll wiggle it when I get home. Thanks!

the suggestions below are all workable.

Using a sheet of plexiglas for a back would allow let you see the wall behind the shelves.

Next time around, Woodshop I:  Shelves inset into dadoes on the sides.

Dadoes are simple to cut if you've access to a radial arm saw., Just make sure the boards are a tight fit.  You won't need any nails or screws, just wood glue to secure the shelves

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