Book Buying Addicts Anonymous discussion

How do you shelve your books?

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message 1: by Mareklamo (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Mareklamo | 5 comments I prefer to arrange my books first by genre, then alphabetically by author. Series books get arranged by internal chronological order.

My husband prefers what he calls a "meme" arrangement: he associates titles with each other, and puts those books side-by-side.

We also have a book case just for to-be-read books. However, we recently moved, so right now most of our books are in no particular order.

message 2: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:20PM) (new)

Tiffany I have a new bookcase which holds the books I’ve read since January in chronological order. I also have another bookcase which is pretty random, except that all of my southern fiction is shelved together.

message 3: by Cristina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Cristina | 4 comments I have a big bookshelf that holds the bulk of my books. My mother put them in alphabetical order in the spring when she was staying with me while I was going through chemotherapy.

There is also is a great deal of book spill over. I have a bookshelf that holds smaller books as well as books about writing. There is still spill over beyond that. I have a little side table that holds a few more writing books. There is still more spill over. Those books are haphazardly tossed in a huge basket near my writing desk and yet more books are piled on the floor next to my writing desk.

I am constantly being told by my friends and family that I need to get rid of books. I have gotten rid of some, but it's hard to let go of a lot of them knowing my children may one day read them.

I was saddened to read about poet, writer, activist Grace Paley's death, but I was happy to find a photo of her sitting in her Vermont home. Next to her were tons of books in piles against her desk, not shelved just piled. I downloaded that picture to show people when they complain about my book clutter:)


message 4: by Shannon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Shannon I just did mine the other day, actually. I did it by genre and then alphabetical by author. I didn't have a lot of genres though, which depressed me. Cuz I need more books (I buy them constantly and haven't read like 80% of the ones I own, but feel I need more). The genres were like: classics, contemporary fiction, science fiction/fantasy, young adult, memiors, political 'uns, mysteries/thrillers, comic books, text books. And that was it. Still, it was a very satisfying task. YAY NERDYNESS.

message 5: by Neuromanced (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:22PM) (new)

Neuromanced | 4 comments Mine are by genre, and then within the genre I try to keep all the books by one author together, or if they are all different authors I try to keep similar topics together. I would like to shelve alphabetically by author within genre, but I need to keep similar sizes in line and stack on top of some of my shelved books. Shelving by author does not maximize my space.

My genres are: children's and young adult, science and math, philosophy and political science, comics, "erotica" (tee hee), drama, poetry, religion, asian culture, film and television, new york city, travel, reference, sci fi and fantasy, humor and games, pop fiction, gender studies and textbooks, beauty and self-help (mostly vintage), classic literature, art books, mystery, and modern literature. I have a large collection of Agatha Christie mysteries and my cookbooks shelved separately. We also have a couple of "to read" and "currently reading" piles on bedside tables.

message 6: by Mareklamo (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

Mareklamo | 5 comments Like Neuromanced, We also shelve our hardcover separately from the paperbacks to maximize our shelf space. Paperbacks get double-stacked or placed horizontally in front of larger books.

message 7: by MaryBeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

MaryBeth I too have my hardcovers shelved separately from the paperbacks since they fit better in the bookcases. I keep the books by one author together whenever possible, and like Mareklamo, doublestack the paperbacks in order to fit more on the shelf! I also collect cookbooks (which I actually use sometimes :-), and they are kept together in a built-in right off the kitchen.

message 8: by Kimberley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

Kimberley | 6 comments i shelf them by author, then in each group by series in order. if they are not part of a series, then its by yr it is published in.... i also write each book i have in a notebook, then if im ordering of the net, i no which ones ive got already....speically if the book has been updated, or nw title.

message 9: by Reza (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

Reza | 5 comments I shelve my books by size. I guess I'm OCD that way, but I like things to look orderly. However, it makes for finding books difficult at times.

message 10: by Seth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new)

Seth | 9 comments My girlfriend and I have gone back and forth on this. I don't want my books shelved by any arrangement. Oversized need to be on the top shelves, of course, and some of our shelves are suited to pocket sized, but I like looking for one book and discovering unexpected others nearby.

We have settled on a few shelves (17 shelf-feet or so) specifically for SF/F/M/H and a few random books only I would generally look for (she looks for the SF/F/M/H, but doesn't mind finding my political books and poetry in the mix).

I do keep "work" books together. Well, in three or four scattered bunches, but those are because I like having some nearby no matter where I'm sitting. I do buy duplicates for his sometimes (see the Organizing from the Inside-Out books for this design). Other "mostly-organized" sets include music books (shelved right by the instruments), a few subjects I'm researching for some writing, gaming, magic (prestidigitation), and NLP/hypnosis/New Falcon/etc. (mostly for my gf's ease-of-use). Stored magazines (keepables -- Locus, Mondo 2000, Aquarium Fish Magazine) are also bunched.

Anything my gf has aquired to sell on ebay is organized by her in a fashion I do not understand, but I have limited contact with those (so I don't grow attached).

She keeps "her" books organized and I try to respect that when I put them back. I put "my" books back somewhere other than, but nearby to, where I found them so they aquire new neighbors. This drives her a little nuts; she asks me to get books off of our shelves about half the time (if she can't find it immediately).

When friends want a book, I tell them what bookshelf (6-shelf, 13 shelf-foot unit) I think it's on and let them explore. They always come out with an extra book or two :-)

I only doublestack in readable ways (2 high, with the second layer flat so one or two from the lower layer can come out without having to rearrange). One friend doublestacks deep and I find that hard for me to use. He's hyper-organized, so he can find anything quickly; well, unless his wife has moved it. But he's also a little compulsive about his collection--you can't borrow one of his books unless/until he knows you won't open it all the way/crack the spine, won't bend a single page, won't leave it in the sun, won't let your pets or children mess with it, won't use it as a writing surface, etc.

I try to keep certain authors together (Kim Harrison, Steve Erikson, David H Ahl, George Lakoff, Steve Aylett, Rachel Caine, Terry Pratchett (several shelves in his own right!), Steven Saylor, Poppy Z Brite) and keep books in foreign languages together, but my success at this is extremely poor. I think only the Russian languge, Terry Pratchett, and Steve Aylett books are well-grouped right now.

A few books are always kept in well-known, easily-reachable, and obvious places: fish, cat, and people first aid, bird identification (I like to watch the raptors), etc.

We do have a large glass shelf unit (only 12 shelf-feet or so but designed for kitchens and perfect for odd-sized books) devoted to "childrens" books. It doesn't have our YA books (those are treated like normal fiction) but does have younger childrens' books--Eloise types, coloring books, popup books, Shel Silverstien, some art books--, comics, some "odd choices" for childrens' books that I hink children should read, etc. These books overflow that shelf and get mixed in to the rest of the shelves at random.

For the record, we neither have nor anticipate children, so the odds of my "interesting choices" in the childrens' section are unlikely to actually scar anyone.

message 11: by Seth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new)

Seth | 9 comments Oh, Reza. I organize each individual shelf by size (often in an unside-down arch, with tall books on the ends), but I'm not super-compulsive about it. I do *buy* books by size, though, trying to keep any author or series in the same size edition and binding.

I get rolled eyes from one of my favorite booksellers because "no one collects first paperback printing," but I want them to look neat on the shelf, too.

I get very annoyed when a series changes binding or size partway through. Steve Aylett's Accomplice novels did that in paperback, as did Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series--the first hardback was shorter in height than the rest as well as in length. I also have the Erikson Malazan books in a mix of pocket-size (but brick-deep), trade paper, and humungous hardback, based on whatever my bookstore was able to save me when the import came in (the line of reserves for these is huge).

message 12: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Rachel i also shelve by size and am seriously OCD about it. and i totally agree with seth that i hate when series change binding half way through. and if i am buying classics, i try to stick to one major series dealer like "penguin classics" or whatever...

message 13: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Kimberly | 2 comments I got a chuckle from Seth's post about trying to match his paperbacks by size. I had been trying to just buy hardcover for years, but a friend had lined the beams in his finished basement with books, and I thought it was a great idea, both for the look of it as well as the unique storage option, so I have started to do the same...but now I need more of the same sized paperbacks!

message 14: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:28PM) (new)

Christina | 6 comments My hardbacks and first editions I have grouped by author. The author is organized chronologically. The children's books and the vintage books are shelved separately. Non-fiction and fiction are separated. My paperbacks are shelved by author.The trade paperbacks are shelved separately from the mass market books. Even if I have paperbacks and hardbacks by the same author, I do not shelve them together, unless it is a special paperback like King's serial of The Green Mile.

I used to work in a bookstore so I guess a lot of the shelving habits have carried over into my personal collection.

For Christmas I am asking for another Barrister bookcase.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I have only bothered to keep my fiction organized by genre and then author. Non-fiction is just all mixed up on a big bookcase. Except for the health related books and herbals, they are straining some shelves I put up in a corner. I really want to get rid of my hard covers! I read in bed usually, so a nice soft paperback is preferable. Plus, it would be so much easier to shelve them all.

message 16: by Seth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:28PM) (new)

Seth | 9 comments The hardback/non-hardback issue always comes up in the evergreen SF Convention topic about which bookshelf arrangement makes for the most effective insulation for you house.

Until you can get fiber-fill book covers, at least....

message 17: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:29PM) (new)

Jason Rubenstein (jasonrubenstein) | 2 comments Recently I try to sort them by size, genre, and author but the truth is that these days I store my books wherever I have space. Thus, there's a "currently reading" pile, and "haven't read yet but I want to" pile, and a "technical manuals I need for the constant RTFM moments" pile. These, along with the "garbage-lit my roommate thinks is quality fiction" pile now gathering dust in a corner comprises the aesthetics around here....

message 18: by Jessica (thebluestocking) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:29PM) (new)

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) I'm usually the compulsive, genre-by-author's-last-name type, but I got new book shelves. Now everything is placed "randomly." Different sizes, backings, and genres. I do like looking for a book and finding a few other treasures. I do separate my collectible books -- first editions and the like -- from the masses.

I love books -- in any order.

message 19: by Darren (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new)

Darren | 42 comments I used to shelve them alphabetically by author, however I moved house two years ago and have only got halfway through decorating so all my books are currently in boxes or piles. I've thought about seperating the hardback from the paperback, to make the shelf heights easier, however have realised that this might not work as well as planned as some of my paperbacks are quite tall, and I have a few hardbacks that are only about 12cm tall.

Oh well, back to the drawing board I guess!

message 20: by Faith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new)

Faith | 2 comments Shelve? What is this shelve you speak of?

I bought a bunch of bookcases from a certain store which shall remain nameless (cough*Walcough*) and had many books shelved thereon. But one day one of the bookshelves collapsed while I was sitting on the floor next to it. After being showered with a multitude of heavy books, I took all the books off those particular shelves. My finances haven't permitted me to replace them with good quality shelves yet, so most of my books are either in boxes in storage or piled up all over the house.

But hey! Easy access, right?

message 21: by T.K. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 15 comments I'm such a mess.

I used to be so organized, alphabetized, and mechanized. Then I married a slob and had a kid, who is now 3.

I walk through my house with my eyes closed. That way, I can't see the God-awful mess, and it's always a thrill to reach my destination without breaking anything.

My bookshelves are the worst. I have a beautiful new built-in bookcase downstairs that I need to paint and varnish before I can shelve books there. Now, I need to wipe off 6 months' worth of dust before I can paint.

In my office, only my cookbooks are organized, and that only by major catagory (GF, Mex, Indian, Moosewood, other veg, single ingrediant, etc.)

My old texts and notebooks have their own shelf where their geekiness is quarantined from the cooler books. The cooler books have formed a nasty clique and would just exclude them, anyway.

Writing books get half a shelf. Quilting books get the other half.

Other than that, two layers of disorganized paperbacks novels Middlemarch next to Harry Potter, due to size,) books stacked on top of stacked bookcases and wedged to the 11' ceiling, and 7 boxes of books that I haven't unpacked from when we moved in almost 4 years ago.

I cringe when I post this, but at least I'm honest.

TK Kenyon
Author of RABID: A Novel
An "impressive medical thriller" (PW) that is nevertheless lost in my own shelves.

message 22: by Kellie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new)

Kellie (krheck) | 14 comments Absolutely no order at all! They are in several different locations in the house. I am planning on getting the Billy bookshelf system from Ikea soon and putting that in the den and then finally organizing all my books (hopefully).

message 23: by Cristin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new)

Cristin For some time I shelved my books according to genre and alphabetized each sub-category by author.

Right now I'm living in an apartment that features a large wooden bookcase that is built into the wall--(this is on of the main features that really sold me on the place)--and I find that I've just begun to pile the books here and there according to my aesthetic inclinations...all the while attempting to maintain some sort of order by haphazardly arranging fantasies with fantasies, classics with classics, Buddhism with Buddhism, etc.

I've been noticing that my delicate arrangement is being disturbed by my lack of attention...A beautiful bookshelf is kind of like a bonsai--it requires tender love and calculated, patient pruning.

message 24: by Ellis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Ellis | 49 comments Because I am such a visual person, I shelve my books by color and size--how crazy is that? And I have them all over the house--there are shelves in every room. So right now, in the sitting room, I am looking at two sets of 8 ft high shelves that have books, collectibles and LPs. One shelf is books with blue, gray or green spines; the next is red, orange, black and yellow spines; the next is white or tan spines; the next is black, red, orange, yellow. It sounds silly but it's pleasing to my eye and I actually can find books more quickly by visualizing where they are in my mind rather than by some logical order.

message 25: by Adriane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Adriane (justbooks4me) | 4 comments I arrange my books by category. My first shelf is for books to read and the followings ones are in category by height - I like things orderly! Other than that they are other places over the house in no order but I am kind of obsessed with the "to-read" shelf because I read so many and so much, it is sometimes hard to remember which ones I've already read.

message 26: by J.R. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

J.R. Randle (jrrandle) | 14 comments In one part of the Living Rm. near the fireplace my books are catergorized by color(home decor fanatic)height and author's collections, similar to Ellis & Adriane. Located in my office are shelves categorized as My Favorites, some work (rare collective pieces,etc.)still in packaging is displayed on my desk from authors of great importance to the literary/horror/poetry genres.

The other part of the Living Rm. I have an antique ladder-designed book shelf which holds great literary works that has affected my life and sense of thinking.

message 27: by Doreen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Doreen Payne | 3 comments lol we have lots of spill over at our house and am always being told to get rid of books but won't

message 28: by whichwaydidshego (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego Reza & Seth, I'm with you! Except perhaps worse as I'm first by size, then by color. I do the color thing with my DVDs, too, and drive my brother nuts when he comes over to borrow something or other (he's not a reader).

When it comes to my books, though, I used to store my already-read separately from my yet-to-read, but my space is just too small right now, so majority of my read books are in storage. What isn't (a couple hundred, I suppose) is mixed in with my yet-to-read now - in size and color order, of course.

Oh, and I too hate when an author suddenly jumps size mid-series. Bloody annoying.

message 29: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Christy Brannen (murdermostbritish) | 19 comments I group my books according to author. I double stack them vertically when there's room, and sometimes multiple rows. I try to hav eonly paperbacks, but some of the short story anthologies are hardbacks, it does throw things off symmetrically for me, but what'a bookaholic to do?


message 30: by Clayton (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Clayton | 52 comments Many of you have given me some interesting ideas for organizing my books. When it comes to my mass market paperbacks, however,I think I purposely do NOT give them in order. I have so many of them that I built floor to ceiling shelves in a hall closet and store them there (double stacked both front to back and one stack on top of the other on each shelf). I kind of like not having any particular order to them. It forces me browse through them when I am looking for something new to read and I rediscover some titles that I forget I have. My hardcover books are divided by genre, but I like the disorder and the digging I have to do in my paperback closet.

message 31: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) I shelve my books by genre. The genres I have are Young Adult , Lesbian Romance Novels, Novels, Memoirs, Death/Afterlife, Self Help, etc.

message 32: by Meirav (new)

Meirav Rath | 13 comments I'm what most people would call 'anal' about my book arrangement. I have different shelves for different subjects, like specific history subjects etc. Then, within the subject there are sub-subjects (like, within the second world war subject there's the Russian side's story is a sub-subject). Also, within subjects I arrange bunch together by authors.

message 33: by Bliss (new)

Bliss (blissreads) | 16 comments My books are shelved in various ways.

Some shelves are by type (fiction/non-fiction), then alpha by author's last name. Other shelves are done according to book size.

message 34: by LJ (new)

LJ (ljroberts) My books are separated into categories and shelved in separate areas: History, Poetry, Plays, Biographies, Reference, Classics, Management, Christmas, Art, Occult and Religion, Novels including fantasy, Romance and the largest category, Mystery. Mystery is split into Read and To-Be-Read. Within each category, books are organized by author and then order of publishing within each author.

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