Bookshelf or floorstander?

I'm wondering what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of a bookshelf speaker versus a floorstander... assuming both are run with a sub (and ignoring the need for a speaker stand for the bookshelf speaker). I'm wondering if it is easier to integrate a sub with a more full range speaker, than with a bookshelf that may only go to 40 or 50 Hz. Anyway, I'm curious about what the thoughts are on this. TIA.

Great question...most of the advantages of a bookshelf design are due to improved imaging(how accurately instruments and vocals are presented)...that is the smaller enclosure does not "smear" the sound as much...(difraction)...that being said...the added bass extension of a floorstander can have a more "seamless" intergration with a near field listening...this is less of an issue...but your right...the hidden costs of stands...which are pricey (for good ones)...can inflate the cost of a bookshelf substantially....hope this helps....
Warren, if I'm not mistaken, Eeerie1 acknowledges the need for stands in his question. Regardless, to try to 'answer' (ha!) the darn thing, I'm going to waffle - I think in some situations, it can be easier to integrate a sub when the speakers are not strong in the lower ranges, and the reverse can be true in other situations.

But I will say this: I wouldn't choose my speakers based on any theorizing about the sub factor - I'd try to get the speakers that sound the best in my room for my budget, a criteria that could wind up pointing towards either type of speaker, and then worry about integrating a sub afterwards. If the sub is for movies, and it's not seamlessly integrated, it often won't matter all that much; OTOH, it it's for music and it can't be seamlessly integrated, then you're better off without it anyway, providing you've already chosen the speakers that sound best to you in your application.

My own personal preference is: If you mostly listen to full-range, dynamic music, or in a larger room or at higher volumes, then try to get a full-range speaker if you can fit it into the room and the budget; if you listen mostly to small-scale, quieter music, or in a smaller room, you might well be able to take advantage of better quality for the same price (excepting those pesky stands), and quite possibly better imaging, with a stand-mounted speaker. In other words, everything I've said basically = saying the sub is not the determining factor when it comes to deciding which or what kind of speakers to get, but rather that the sub should follow the lead of the speakers (and therefore by extension [Sorry!] also the room and the source material used).

Complicating the matter some more is the fact that not all floor-standers qualify (or try to) as 'full-range' speakers in the first place, so simply dividing your choices into groups based on configuration is somewhat of a false distinction. Also, if you are using an amp the isn't a great choice for trying to control the woofers of a larger speaker design, you may be better off relegating more of this duty over to a sub with its own internal amp, so speaker/amp matching, as always, can come into play. Hope that made sense...I have my doubts...but anyway it may not be of much practical help... ;^)

This article talks some about bookshelf/monitor v. floorstanding design.

"I'm wondering if it is easier to integrate a sub with a more full range speaker, than with a bookshelf that may only go to 40 or 50 Hz"

The deeper down low you can cross, the phase and directionality issues become easier to integrate to a certain extent--longer wavelengths. The question is still to tough to answer given all the variables.
Oh this is one that's not a simple answer situation indeed. So much here depends on the gear being used, and the application, as well as the skill and knowledge of the person setting it up! I can't understate that last part enough.
ONe thing to consider, would be whether you are only doing 2 channel application, or multi channel HT/music set up. The latter tends to work best crossed over through some kind of crossover network, where the sub is playing the demanding bass info, and everything else is handled by the monitor.
I've heared a lot of people's systems for 2 channel, where it's better to play a full range speaker "full range", and play the sub in parallel. Usually however, this set up works best for the less demanding bass and heavy dynamics stuff I think. Surely most any passive speaker played full range for movies needs to have the bass chores taken off it's shoulders, and carried by the active powerd sub(s). In the case of DD/DTS movies, you're largely going to be better off crossing over even large towers as "small", playing the bass to a sub bellow about 80hz(also note proper sub set up for integration and localization is mandatory). THX recommends this situation, and it works very well set up correctly. And unless your speaker are active, and play low with bigger bass drivers, or you have active subs at least in your main speakers, playing your speakers as as "small", with the sub playing bellow that is the way to do it for DD/DTS movies.
With lots of music however, given the quality of the gear and actual set up appication, alot of people may get overall better results playing the speaker(bookshelf or floor stander) full range, and letting the sub play in parallel up to where the speaker roll off. If the speaker playes down low enough(like a lot of floor standers), you might have some overlap from where the sub plays up to and where the mains play down to. This is a compromise probably in ultimate "ideal terms", especially when you consider most subs adjustable crossovers start at like 40hz and go up! If you're full range speaker plays down to say 25-30 hz, you will be overlapping. But, notthings perfect. And there's likely an accepable balance to be had there.
Still, I find that for most of my needs, using either full range or bookshelf isn't that critical to match with a sub for most applications. I do prefer the smaller monitor with a sub, but I can get great results with either. They just take different care a bit. Either way, I'm crossing over the mains as "small" through a pre/pro for HT, and maybe heavy rock, techno, whatever. Dynamic bass heavy stuff does better through an Active sub bellow 80hz in my oppinion/experiences, and I don't care about "ultimate sonic purity" when listening to that I don't mind enlisting the help of my digital pre/pro for that kind of music, so it's a trade off. But dynamically, the sound is more held together, more effortlessly dynamic, and distortion free when using the crossover. Again, everything still needs to be set up right. And if someone's not experienced in setting things up correctly (most aren't), then playing your speakers full range, and trying to fill in the bottom a bit with a sub might be the best scenario.
I've seen my share of set up's with small monitors and full rangers a like, where the sub isn't set up well in relation to the speakers, and it's better to have the sub maybe "off" for music. Alot of why subs get a bad rap from audiphiles, stems dirrectly from poor set up, even more so than quaility of product!
I would mostly recommend full range passive speakers for people who are going to listen to more full range music, and want to keep the ultimate sonic purity and full range sound together as simple as possible. Then they can use the processors internal crossover set to "small" for movie applications, letting the sub do bellow 80hz. I find this the best for dynamic capability.(like THX). I do however think for most peoples applications and high end music tastes(if that's your gig), small quality monitors on stands might be the best way to go, even played full range in parallel to a sub filling in the bottom, or without. Then, for movies, you still cross over to "small"(80hz or so), and let the sub play bellow that. Or, basically even play the small monitors just by themselves for music, as with most types of music people are likely going to listen to, you might not need the sub. INfact a lot of small monitors will still play respectably down to the high 40hz reigion just fine. I happen to prefer the smaller monitors for quality, price, flexibility, immaging, and convenience often. But again, you can get excellent results either way if you know how to set things up.
All in all, I think either full range or bookshelf can do excellent with a sub if set up right. But I tend to prefer the flexibilty of the smaller monitor, as I'm still going to cross over even the larger speakers as "small" when it comes movie time.
Hope this helps
Lots of variables here. We all seem to agree with that. I prefer to let my main speakers run full range and let my sub handle only the Hz my mains cannot. Therefore, a very low crossover is desirable, for my taste. If your mains are very limited in the lower end, this can be very problematic. Subwoofer integration will be much more difficult. Certainly, not impossible, but tricky.