First, start with a standard handbook for solicitors, available in many varieties, but for this example, make it a Company Law one.
Give it many, many, paper-thin pages, in order to fit the masses of information into it without it becoming large enough to risk it becoming sentient.Then give it a floppy cover: this ensures that, not only is it impossible to make it stand on a shelf itself, but its floppiness is also contagious, and it'll merrily take out neighbouring books during its slide to the ground.
Evidence: an action shot, taken when I tried to get the book to stand upright for a second while I took a photo. And its normal position/look, when placed on a shelf and left to its own devices.
So: with those ingredients, you have created a book that annoys the librarian (as when it's on the shelf it's like a limp eel, and a Bad Influence on the other books), and the solicitors (who can't store them standing upright like the other books on their desk, so they have to lie flat / get buried under paperwork / annoy them when they can't find them due to the burying).
To make the librarian happy again, you need to do one simple thing: provide stiffer covers. Then the books can do amazing things, see?
I left them alone, unsupervised, for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES, and came back and they were still upright like that, yay!
Yes, it's the small things that make us happy...thank you Butterworths, for rescuing my shelves from the Attack of El Collapso.
P.S. The solicitors like them too: drawing most comments so far is the attractive dot design.