That's the historical difference due to the different approach to the idea of book storage.
Western idea is that the title of the book should be more convinient to read if the book is lying on the shelf, and Russian standard is that it soul be more convinient to read the title if the book is standing on the shelf.
So it's not really nice to read the titles of Russian books when they lie, but it's much better for western ones.
Previous 'Differences' entries:
Fast Food - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/14502.html
Cartoon differences - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/12193.html
Magazines - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/10372.html
Can Openers - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/9931.html
Russian passport - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/6989.html
Electric plugs - http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/6189.html