Book people, readers, and bibliophiles, I’m curious about some of your book habits. Especially in three areas: Acquisitions, Storing, and Weeding.
Beyond the more basic ones (“I didn’t have this one,” or “It looked like it needed a good home.”), what are the qualifications a book must fulfill before you can justify spending your money on it or it taking up valuable “shelf space”? Are they different for different types of books, such as Fiction vs Non-Fiction? How discriminating are you?
Where do your books live? Bookshelves/bookcases, boxed up, stacked up? Which room(s) of the house do you keep them in? Do you have specific books (aside from cookbooks) in certain rooms?
What, if any, organization scheme do you use? Do you have a “To Read First” shelf?
This is pretty much the inverse of Acquisitions. When do you get rid of a book? And again, how discriminating are you?
Are you like the cat lady down the street who has 27 cats, but would never turn away a stray? “I’ll find a spot for you, dear.”
Or are you the cold, heartless landlord? “No rent, no room. Get out!”
I have hundreds, if not thousands, of books. About half of them are currently boxed up and stacked on a pallet. The others are about evenly spilt between shelves and stacks on the floor. I have too many books for the shelf space I have available, so weeding is pretty much a necessity for me. I take a few things into consideration.
First, do I really need this many books on this topic? I was super interested in the War Between the States (the Civil War, for the mis-educated) when I was in my teens and early 20s. Now, I really don’t need books on tactics, unit histories, etc.
Second, (this one especially applies to the boxed books) in the almost 10 years since I last saw this book, have I forgotten I ever had it? In some ways this can be like Christmas. Sometimes it’s like seeing an old friend. “Hey, so that’s where you’ve been!” Other times I paraphrasingly quote Gandalf, “I have no memory of this book.” If I never once in 10 years wondered where a book was, I usually put in the Donate box.
Third, the “buy it again” test. I try to ask myself this about every book. If I didn’t own this book and I saw it at the thrift store for 50 cents, would I buy it? If the answer is Yes, then I keep it. If I would say No, I usually get rid of it.
Well, that’s all I have for now. I would really appreciate your answers or other comments. Thanks for reading.