It's common to use "there is ___" or "there are ___" when you're describing a scene or situation:
When you go in his office, there are books scattered all around.
You could also describe a scene this way:
When you go in his office, books are scattered all around.
But that's not as common, because it doesn't communicate the sense that you're giving a description. It sounds more like you're stating a fact. "Facts" are pieces of information like this:
Math textbooks cost a lot of money.
But a "description" has a slightly different feeling. It kind of invites the listener to imagine that they are in the situation you're describing:
There was a math textbook at the campus bookstore that cost a hundred and ninety dollars!
So when you're describing a scene, it's more common to use "There is", "There are", "There were", etc.:
There were books scattered all over.