Bookshelf vs. Floorstand

What is the difference between bookshelf and floorstanding speakers. There are lots of very expensive bookshelf speakers... do they perform better than cheaper floorstands?

I know it is usually the bass that is weak for bookshelf speakers but what if you have a sub? Will that make them comparable to floorstands? Can high end book shelf speakers from say focus or sonus fill in a big room as good as say hmm... paradigm 100s?
A good bookshelf will perform better than a cheap floorstander as you suspect and can hold their own against even many good floorstanders, you do need good stands for bookshelf speakers so you must keep that in mind in your choice between the two. That said, if you like the sound of Paradigm 100's (I do) won't find many or maybe even no bookshelf that can outperform a floorstander of this size in shear weight and output. With a sub that is well matched to your speakers and room you should have no problem surpassing the Paradigm.

If space is an issue and you prefer bookshelf speakers I'd recommend Green Mountain Audio Europas. There are many testamonials on this site that speak to the Europas greatness.
Give a listen to a pair of paradigm studio 20's with the servo 15 sub. An awesome combination. Sub/satellite combos don't always sound that great though. I prefer the sound of stand mount speakers without a sub the best, however.
Stands are VERY important. Fundemental extension of your monitors. Great monitors deserve great stands. I have the Revel M20s matched with the Sistrum Mini Monitor Platform System. Now that's a support system. They (Starsound Technnologies) also have another stand (less expensive) that is, also, fabulous. peace, warren
In my opinion the difference between floorstanders and bookshelves (and I mean real bookshelf, not any speaker that sits on a stand) is a matter of taste.
Whilst it may be true that a similarly priced bookshelf is of higher quality (and this is not always true because not all speakers are well designed) your personal taste may be, like mine, that music simply isn't enjoyable without a decent bass response going down to at least 40Hz, no matter how pure the midrange, or crisp the treble.

So I think your question has no answer because it's a matter of your taste in music and your taste in sound reproduction. Some people can live without the bass for a better midrange and treble, and others cannot.

As others have mentioned stands are important, and often when these are factored in (Several hundred dollars) then the bookshelves are similarly priced to the floorstanders.

As for full range speakers versus bookshelfs and a subwoofer I would say that, again, there are no absolutes. I have heard very good and terrible floorstanders, and very good and terrible sub+sat combinations. The one advantage of sub+sat systems is that they can be easier to place in a room, placing the satellites for imaging and the sub to load the room. However good subs are expensive and often drive the total cost above that of a floorstander.
I second Sean99. Subwoofer is essential. It's only a matter of ( a short) time 'til you'll realize that you're longing for what's below 40Hz. As you can see, I use a sub, as well.
Yep, same here. I use a sub/sat combo as well. Monitors with a sub allow you the flexibility to set up both independently so you can maximize the performance of each. However, finding the right place for the sub will require a lot of experimentation, and integratin gthe two isn't easy.
Just for the record I use floorstanders (Spica angelus) AND a sub !!!!! (Belt and braces). Many floorstanders only go to around 35Hz and can benefit from a good sub to fill out the really low stuff. For monitors I'd view a sub as essential.

Just out of interest do you have a budget for speaker upgrades, because then some others might be able to give actual suggestions.
Well... space is not an issue because my room is 22 x 20. I have personally compared the Sonus Cremona Auditor, Grand Piano Home, B&W 804 and Studio 60's and I should say that the Auditor creamed all of them in terms of mid range (well according to my taste). However, it does lack in bass and I figured that it can be addressed by a sub while a good mid-range comes with the speaker itself. Now what I cannot stomach are the stands - $1000 for the sexy Cremona stand! Actually I was planning to match it with a cheaper stand but hearing you guys mention how important stands are for bookshelf speakers I want to know more. Cant I match the Auditors with cheaper $100 stands? What is the net effect? Honestly I'd rather spend the $1000 for the stands on the speaker (i.e. a floorstander). For me that is better value but the mids of the Auditor are just to die for :)

Dilemma dilemma. If I go floorstander then I chooser between the 804, Grand Piano or Studio 100s. Which one???
Doodleboy ..I would go with the Grand Piano over the other two floorstanders you have mentioned.I am not a big fan of metal dome tweeters and prefer the sound of a good silk dome tweeter any day! I was auditioning the Sonus just the other day..nice speaker!
imo you should go with the auditor. not one of the floorstanders you have listed is full range. they only provide a little more bass extension then the auditor. in order to get full range sound from any of the four speakers you listed you are going to have to add a sub. if you get the auditor you have the midrange magic you want plus you can add a sub for bass if you missed it anytime. however if you get one of the floorstanders, and you missed the midrange you can't just add another component for it. you would have to replace the speakers and you might end up getting the auditor anyway.

stands are very important just like everyone has stressed. there are good stands at $150 new, ie atacama nexus and sound organisation z522 just to list a couple. you can get great stands here for about $300 used, ie, sound anchors and orisis though both are hard to find. you can also get sound anchors 3 post stnad new and custom made for about $450 still less then the auditor stands which are about $700. but keep in mind that the auditor stands offer a couple of features that the other don't. first, you can mount the speaker on to the top plate, that will give it extra stability. second, it puts the auditor at an angle, so that the woofer is closer to you then the tweeter. i don't know how that affects the performance of the auditors. when i auditioned them they were on their stands. so if you are considering other stands you might want to have your dealer set them on flat so you can compare them.

hope this helps, good luck.
I would go with two smaller sub as apposed to one larger in your room, this will give you better bass responce once they are dialed in. If that cost is to high then I would go with a much larger floorstander that has true deep bass without a sub.

Loki7177 - GOOD point. That was what I was thinking he he he... :)

Actually, I am also pondering how good the sonus auditors will be with my rotel 1055 and 1080 amp set-up. It will give them 200 solid watts but hey rotel is not mark levinson :). I cannot audition the auditors with the rotel so have to just guess or listen to your opinions. For sub- everybody says Rel but it is not available in my country. Will Velodyne match well too?