Book Buying Addicts Anonymous discussion

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Just for Fun > How do you organize your books?

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message 1: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments So how do you guys organize your books?

I have three bookcases in my home office. The first (and sometimes second, depending on how many I have) shelf contains all of my anthologies that are not tied to a particular non-anthology series. They're organized by book title, and in the case of the series they are then put into series order.

The rest of that bookcase and the second bookcase house the rest of the books I've read. They're organized alphabetically by author (in the case of multiple authors I go with the first listed author), then by title unless the book is part of a series. Series are arranged by series title in the case of two or more series, then by order in which events occur in the books (as opposed to when the books were written) and stand alone books by the author are placed after series.

The first shelf on the third bookcase holds the spillover of books I've read but that didn't fit on the first two bookcases. After that I've put books on writing (alphabetized by title) and reference books.

The rest of that bookcase is taken up by all the books I own but haven't read and they're arranged just like the first two bookcases.

In my bedroom I have a smaller bookcase. One end of the top shelf has all of the books I've borrowed from friends or family but haven't read yet (I try to return books as soon as I've read them). It also contains my many library books. I always intend to shelve them by the date they were checked out, which is particularly helpful when I've picked up a lot of books from the interesting read sections since the library doesn't list those titles (they show up on my account record as Month pick year, which isn't helpful when I've picked up multiple picks at different times). But somehow, I generally end up with various stacks rather than neatly shelved books.

I also have books scattered randomly around the apartment, of course.

Someone (Signals catalog, I think) used to have a beautiful library plaque that I always wanted to hang up in my office, but alas, they appear to no longer be offering it.

So how do you guys organize your books?


message 2: by Susan (Suz) (new)

Susan (Suz) (sharney) I would love a system time that, but alas the TBR books are piled in whatever free space I can find in my extra room, and ones I have read but have not loaned out are in boxes...... I really need to organize my extra room, which also doubles as my closet and get some bookshelves put up! LOL


message 3: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments I feel your pain. I hate organizing generally, but books seem to be one of my exceptions. Which isn't to say I don't have books scattered around the apartment. Usually books I've read that need to be shelved.


message 4: by Joseph (last edited Aug 13, 2009 04:06PM) (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Schnaucl, are you sure you want me to answer that question? You are asking a librarian, you know. lol

Ok, here I go.
In my appartment I currently have 10 bookshelves in my living room, for a total of 48 shelves, many of them double stacked. I also have 4 bookshelves in my bedroom for a total of 24 shelves. Among those shelves, my books are generally organized like this:

Living room (Fiction):
4 shelves- Urban fantasy
3 shelves- Fantasy
3 shelves- Adventures/Sea Stories
1 shelf- Horror
5 shelves- Sci-fi
5 shelves- Witchcraft fiction
1 shelf- Westerns
2 shelves- Romance
1 shelf- Theatre
11 shelves- Mysteries
2 shelves- Historical fiction
4 shelves- Juvenile mysteries
3 shelves- Classics
2 shelves- Childrens fiction
1 shelf- Humor, Games, Art, Cooking

Bedroom (Nonfiction)
9 shelves- Religion
4 shelves- History
2 shelves- General reference
7 shelves- Science
1 shelf- Medical

And I plan on getting two more bookshelves for 12 more shelves in my living room in the near future.
So, what do you think? :-)


message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Winters | 2 comments i organize mine in alphabetical order, by book title. i just got started really buying books, but when it hit, it hit hard. in the last 3 months, i've probably bought 200 books. most of them on ebay, but i enjoy them just the same. my husband says that i should sell them after i read them, but the crazy thing is, i just like the books. not necessarily reading all of them. i'm sure that i will read them all, but just looking at them is a pleasure. lol, i'm sure this is nuts, but, i guess i could spend my money on worse things.


message 6: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Angela wrote: "i organize mine in alphabetical order, by book title. i just got started really buying books, but when it hit, it hit hard. in the last 3 months, i've probably bought 200 books. most of them on eba..."

Angela, you're not nuts at all, in fact, it sounds like you'll fit in just fine around here.



message 7: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Joseph wrote: "So, what do you think? :-)

I think I'm really impressed! I also think it's interesting that you separate fantasy and scifi since bookstores and the libraries I've visited have lumped them together.

With the rise of urban fantasy I think the line between fantasy and horror is just as blurry as the line between fantasy and scifi.





message 8: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 106 comments well this one is easy. since all the money I save up to buy a bookcase goes to either books or something else.... all my books are just in piles on the floor. or on nightstands or dressers. The only order I have is this pile is read this pile is uread. Some day I will get that bookcase. Maybe if i had a coupon hahahaha.


message 9: by Joseph (last edited Aug 14, 2009 05:43AM) (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Schnaucl wrote: "Joseph wrote: "So, what do you think? :-)

I think I'm really impressed! I also think it's interesting that you separate fantasy and scifi since bookstores and the libraries I've visited have lumped them together.

With the rise of urban fantasy I think the line between fantasy and horror is just as blurry as the line between fantasy and scifi."


Schnauchl, interesting you say that. My bookshelves flow just like that. To get more specific, Bookcase 1 with shelves 3, 4, 5, and 6 are Urban Fantasy while Bookcase 2 next to it has shelves 2, 3, and 4 being Fantasy. Horror is on Bookcase 1 shelf 2. Bookcase 2 shelf 2 and Bookcase 3 shelves 1, 2, and 3 are Sci-Fi.

I try to keep similar genres together.



message 10: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 106 comments Joseph I love it! you are so organized.


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "Joseph I love it! you are so organized."

Yeah, I'm organized, but only when it comes to books. My file cabinets are a mess! lol



message 12: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 106 comments Haha.


message 13: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Joseph,

Sounds like me. I'm pretty good about organizing books but bad at organizing just about anything else. Well, except CDs and DVDs. Maybe it's just my media that's organized...


message 14: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle (GSKoret) | 5 comments I saw this thread and knew I had to join. Just a brief apologia and then I will post more about my book organization soon.

The main manifestation of my Goodreads mainia appears to be my fixation on categorizing books. I am approximately half way through, I have 'purged' over the years and don't regret it, because I keep only what I love.

I have always collected books, a habit I learned from my parents. In college I began to seriously invest in my shelves as a defensive measure because the libraries I used were highly competitive and also frequented by art students who regularly cut images out of books.

Never one to be mollified by platitudes about knowledge, I enjoy the thrill of learning something myself. Kant's motto was 'Sapere Aude" DARE TO KNOW. But all quotations aside... How awesome is the CLOUD VIEW?! I could sit and look at different ones the whole day through.


message 15: by Joseph (last edited Aug 17, 2009 09:44AM) (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Gabrielle, welcome to the club. I know what you mean about the cloud views, it is pretty neat to look at, it's practically art.


message 16: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Gabrielle wrote: "I have always collected books, a habit I learned from my parents. In college I began to seriously invest in my shelves as a defensive measure because the libraries I used were highly competitive and also frequented by art students who regularly cut images out of books."

Wow. I went to a small liberal arts school and I remember my adviser, Jeanine, who was a graduate of Duke, talking about how students there were so competitive they'd cut the assigned reading out of books so other students wouldn't be able to complete the assignment. She was amazed no one at Whitman would even dream of such a thing. (First of all, you're vandalizing a book, second, that's just rude and childish).

I actually haven't played with cloud view much, I'll have to give it a try.

Incidentally, Librarything has a bunch of random trivia about a person's bookshelves that I find pretty cool. I haven't figured out yet how it works with collections though. If I can narrow it down to just the books I own I might start adding in the books I've read but haven't owned. But if not I'm content to use Goodreads for books I've read and Librarything for the books I own. I've often wished that goodreads could do some similar trivia things because I think it'd be fascinating to know the same kinds of things about the books I've read.


message 17: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle (GSKoret) | 5 comments Joseph wrote: "Gabrielle, welcome to the club. I know what you mean about the cloud views, it is pretty neat to look at, it's practically art."

Thanks for the welcome Joseph. I look forward to participating in the group. I am in AWE of your collection! And yes, I agree the cloud view is somewhere between an algorithm and art.


message 18: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle (GSKoret) | 5 comments Schnaucl wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "I have always collected books, a habit I learned from my parents. In college I began to seriously invest in my shelves as a defensive measure because the libraries I used were hig..."

WOW. thanks for the Librarything tip. I am sure there is nothing this little group doesn't know! That's the marvelous thing about readers, isn't it?

It is sort of appalling how students at university are set against each other for books and time and resources. It ruins their natural curiosity and really the whole purpose of opening their minds to the world.

But then again, your college sounded just right. Leave it to the good, small liberal arts colleges to teach their students how to truly think for themselves and to enjoy enriching themselves with knowledge.

I look forward to being part of this group.


message 19: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Gabrielle - Glad you're here! I feel a little bad mentioning LT on goodreads, but I really do use them completely differently. I see them as complimentary rather than opposing services.

My college was pretty special and lots of fun. Of course, at the time I seem to recall large amounts of stress but right now it sounds like fun. Learning, living with friends, random discussions about grammar...




message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne (booklover6) I organize my books with goodreads, online, and at home I have 2 large book cases in my room where books are arranged more or less by alphabet, and of course by author, separated by size (trades on the lower shelves since they are heavier). I also have a smaller book shelf with some series in my room, and a couple shelves in my computer room with some hard backs and keepers and my James Axler series.


message 21: by Unapologetic_Bookaholic (last edited Aug 22, 2009 09:48PM) (new)

Unapologetic_Bookaholic I organize best virtually on Goodreads and using Google Doc. Whenever I make a new purchase [or get a new swap:] I record the book and write it in the proper 'shelf'. I store them sorta alphabetized but since my shelves aren't made for books [they are more for closet space storage:] I can't get my books organized until I get my shelves. That is why Have SO many GR shelves. I love the ease of being able to search by author, genre, series, etc with just a click. My lone book case next to my bed is for my absolute TBR next books and challenge reads.

I love you alls organizing too =D.


message 22: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
I wish Goodreads had been around about 5 years ago, that's when I started keeping track of my collection. When I was going for my Masters in Library Science, I created my own database to catalog my books. And having to enter myself all the data like author, title, publisher, etc. for 2272 books did take quite a while, but it was certainly good practice. :-) Even with Goodreads I do still like to catalog myself, since now I only have to do a couple at a time. It's interesting to see that now having 3683 books means my collection has grown by 1411 books in five years, which means I seem to buy an average of 283 books a year, or about 24 books a month. Yikes! :-O


message 23: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Joseph wrote: "It's interesting to see that now having 3683 books means my collection has grown by 1411 books in five years, which means I seem to buy an average of 283 books a year, or about 24 books a month. Yikes! :-O
"


Wow! That's truly impressive! I don't even know where I could store that many books!


message 24: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Kenjii wrote: "I organize best virtually on Goodreads and using Google Doc. Whenever I make a new purchase [or get a new swap:] I record the book and write it in the proper 'shelf'. I store them sorta alphabetize..."

I'm a fiend for random statistics. LT tracks the date of publication of the books you put in their system, I've thought it would be interesting to track the date of original publication of the books I read as well.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic Schnaucl: I used to keep notes like: Date bought, date read, date swapped. But as my home collection got into the hundreds I just make sure that my OCD doesn't get agitated and record the books in GR and Google, lol. But your idea seems interesting. Does LT allow to record personal notes like GR?


message 26: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Kenjii wrote: "Does LT allow to record personal notes like GR? "

It does! I'm thinking of starting a second LT account with books I've read just for the stats. Right now I use LT to keep track of the books I own. If I could get the memes/stats to sort by collection I'd just put the read books in a collection, but I don't think it works that way.



message 27: by Queen (new)

Queen | 13 comments Hi all. reading about how everyone organize their books is interesting. Even if you don't have any bookshelves, you know what you're read and want to read. I have two very tall bookshelves (6 shelves on each) 1 shelve is for religious knowledge and the other is for other than that. i organize according to categories: literature, fiction, poetry, self-help, and magazines. i need more bookshelves which indicates i need a bigger place to live. for now there is double stacking provided the cat don't occupy any space she finds suiting at the time.


message 28: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 43 comments Queen wrote: " for now there is double stacking provided the cat don't occupy any space she finds suiting at the time.

They are masters at that, aren't they? And she probably tries to squeeze in on top of the books, I bet.


message 29: by Queen (last edited Aug 29, 2009 09:14PM) (new)

Queen | 13 comments indeed they are schnaucl. she even lays on whatever book is on the bed and my desk too. no matter the size of the book somehow she lays on it. you understand how they network. you have a cat schnaucl?


message 30: by LemonLinda (new)

LemonLinda (lwilliamson0423) Most of my books are organized on shelves alphabetically by author - first those not yet read - then those that I have read. I have shelves in the den reserved for hardbacks that I enjoyed as a way of honoring them. In my bedroom I pull in books that I plan to read in the near future. That shelf is always in a state of fluctuation - moving in and out.


message 31: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia | 13 comments I have bookshelves in almost every room of the house. Some books are organized in an obvious fashion (cookbooks in the kitchen, for example), with books in that area organized by subject and (sadly) size. I keep fiction together, separate from children's lit, but both are organized alphabetically by author's name. I've had to subdivide my gardening books into reference, essay, design, and so forth. Poetry is by poet, alphabetically, with the few anthologies that I have at one end, also organized alphabetically by main editor's name. Other shelf areas include politics, memoirs and biographies, travel, psychology, religion, journalling, writing, simplicity (!), creativity and art, family history and genealogy, women's issues.... Oh, and I have a couple sections of "to be read" where I keep a mishmash of different books.

Hmmmm. Some people might even think I'm an addict!


message 32: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "Hmmmm. Some people might even think I'm an addict!

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, you know! ;-)




message 33: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn (26kathryn) | 42 comments I only have two small bookcases, which are pretty crammed so I have several piles of books lying around. But the books that have shelf space are organised by the author's name and then by the order they were published.
Also cookbooks are in the kitchen and craft books are in my craft cupboard. Any books that I'm currently reading have a habit of following me around the house and then getting lost when I want them :)
Recently I've been thinking of rearranging everything. I remember when I was a kid I would always order my books by their height and I used to think it looked pretty cool. It would probably be hard to find what I was looking for though...


message 34: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Choat (beckachoat) Organized? Well, sort of...at least all of my antique books are on one shelf in my bedroom. The other shelf in the bedroom is a small shelf, really designed for CD's but I found they are perfect for paperback, that holds some of my favorites - The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, my Madeleine L'Engle's, Catherine Marshall's, Jan Karon's. The smaller shelf in the living room holds mostly reference books - dictionaries, concordances, Bible commentaries and atlases, Harper's Book of Quotations, and a few poetry anthologies, a Texas history textbook. The larger shelf in the living room is double-stacked with classics, favorite authors that wouldn't fit in the bedroom - C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Eugenia Price - devotionals, hymnals, and miscellany. My currently-being-read books also rest on top of this bookcase when not in use. The nice large shelf in the entry holds pretty travel books, a couple of multi-volume children's collections, a few more classics, some more history books, a couple of quilting books, and a 1954 set of Childcraft. Cookbooks are in the lowest shelf of the pantry. The converted garage/schoolroom holds the rest of the reference books, my collection of old literature textbooks, a few of hubby's old college texts, and various children's books that aren't the right age level to be in use by any of the children right now. And finally, little girl's library books at any given time are ALL OVER THE HOUSE.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I also have bookcases all over my house, but they are mostly concentrated in the family room. My books are organized by fiction and nonfiction, and organized alphabetically within those parameters. Finally, I have a bookcase dedicated to only mass market paperbacks. Those suckers don't fit well with my trade paperbacks and hard covers. And art books!!!! They are hard to fit on any shelf.


message 36: by MsBeaglely (new)

MsBeaglely | 18 comments I have a large bookcase, a small bookcase & even my headboard is a bookcase. I'm beginning to run out of space & starting to pile them up on the floor. I group all my hardcovers, trade paperbacks & mass-market paperbacks together & then alphabetize them by author. I've begun to stary using goodreads to organize my book lists, but I still have a number of Word & Excel documents.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Your headboard is a bookcase!! That's so awesome. Do you fear the books will fall on your head in your sleep?


message 38: by MsBeaglely (new)

MsBeaglely | 18 comments Not really, I don't stack up the books on top of the bookcase & it's pretty sturdy. All the books are in the "cubicles" & are in no danger of falling out unless I tip the headboard.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, that's a good thing. No jumping on the bed!! Do you keep your favorites in this bookcase?


message 40: by MsBeaglely (new)

MsBeaglely | 18 comments Most of those books are from series that I have already started & actually liked. I rarely keep books after I read them. I just don't have the room & I have tons of books that I still need to read. I used to keep books, but when we moved down to Florida we couldn't take them with us. After our garage sale, we ended up donating almost 2,0000 books to the library. These days I usually swap them online.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

I find it hard to get rid of books unless I really didn't like them. But I'm sure if I made a big move like you did, then I would have to make myself get rid of some. It would be a sad day.


message 42: by MsBeaglely (new)

MsBeaglely | 18 comments Greta wrote: "I find it hard to get rid of books unless I really didn't like them. But I'm sure if I made a big move like you did, then I would have to make myself get rid of some. It would be a sad day."

I'd be more inclined to keep them if I had the room. However, houses in Florida don't have basements & they are much smaller than they are up north. Especially, those built during the building boom. I barely have enough room to store all the books that I still have to read. I really don't miss any of the books that I got rid of because I rarely ever read a book twice.




message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

I rarely read a book twice, either. And I often find when I do I'm disappointed. I can't recreate just how I felt and just who I was the first time I read the book. Sometimes timing really counts.


message 44: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
If I ever move, one main thing that house will have to have is room for all my books. I'm a chronic rereader. I often buy books I could get at the library mainly because if I want to read that book again, I want to be able to just pull it off the shelf at any time. I don't want to waste time driving to the library or risk it not being there or even have to wait for the library to be open. When I move, I'll probably have to get a truck just for all my books. :-)


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to ask, if you reread and reread, don't you feel that you are missing out on new books? That's part of the reason I don't read books a second time. There are soooo many books I want to read before I die. I'd love to read a book a week, and that won't even make a dent. If I stop to reread then I've wasted time.

What's funny is as I write this I keep thinking, but what about the journey? Is the journey more important than the destination? Is reading and enjoying my favorite books over and over more important than reading as many as possible? I'm not sure...


message 46: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Greta, to be honest, I read so much I'll often go through on average four books a week or about 16 a month. Really only a quarter of that is usually rereads. I never really thought about it before, but I figure so long as my new books read stay the majority, nothing really is lost in rereading an old favorite every so often.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

But how do you find the time?


message 48: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 1845 comments Mod
Well Greta, being a bachelor, when I get home from work I've got several hours before turning out the lights to do whatever I want, which is usually read. I can usually finish a 300 page book in about 3 hours. Do that almost every weeknight and maybe on a weekend day too and it's not that hard to read on average at least four books and maybe more a week.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I can see how being single would lead to more reading time. It's always a struggle for me. I often yearn to read, but I have to balance that with quality time with my husband. I'm sure there are pros and cons on each side. :) Still! To be able to consume that much literature (and I use that term loosely)! I'm jealous.


message 50: by MsBeaglely (new)

MsBeaglely | 18 comments Wow. I'm jealous. I'm single too but I don't think I could come close to that. I can usually average about 50 - 75 pages and hour. Now that I'm done with school, I have been able to read more; however, not as much as I would like. I up to 34 books this year & I'm hoping to get one or two more in there by year's end. A friend of mine could speed read & she tried to teach me how to do it, but I could never get the knack of it.


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