Bookish Rants or Raves: The Big (Bookish) Dilemma

Filed in Bookish Rant or Raves , The Quirky Lover Posted on September 24, 2012 @ 2:18 pm 19 comments

It’s probably safe to assume that many, if not all, of our viewers are book lovers, just like us. As a book lover, I think we all approach our ‘collections’ in different manners. I spoke once with someone that worked in publishing who told me she rarely kept her review books as they just tended to clutter her shelves. I was shocked! How could anyone give away such a precious commodity, right?!

But here’s the thing now: I’m moving. I’m not moving far. In fact, I’m literally moving around the corner from my current place. Regardless of distance, I have to move ALL of my books. At last (estimated) count, there are somewhere between 800 and 1000 books in my small two bedroom apartment (are you all getting claustrophobic right about now?). I will have lots of room once I move but there’s that intermediate point where all of these tomes must be packed, stacked, and brought down two flights of stairs before making it out to the moving truck. And if I can get, say twenty books in each box (most are hardcovers, did I mention that?), and going with the minimum count, that’s 40 boxes of books! I think that might be even more than everything else I have combined, including my daughter’s Barbie collection!

What I need now are suggestions. Should I pack them all and just stop worrying about the numbers involved? Or should I try to get rid of some of the lesser loved titles? I will admit, there are many books on my shelves that I’ll probably never read, but giving away books is (almost) like giving away a child! What if someday I do have time to read that Barbara Taylor Bradford book I got free with a book order fifteen years ago?!

Okay, even I recognize the foolishness in keeping unnecessary stuff, but still I am a BOOK LOVER and as such, must be surrounded by them, right? No? So, what are my options now? Do I keep them all and continue to hope that one day, I own a castle in the Scottish Highlands and can fill many rooms with them? Or do I thin out the collection to a much more manageable amount?

How do YOU, dear reader, determine shelf worthiness of your books? Do you keep them all and, if not, how do you pass them on? At this point, all advice is welcome 🙂

About Jackie

Jackie is a quirky mom, living in Ontario, Canada. She's a bookkeeper by day and a book lover by night. She also blogs at The Novel Nation and writes occasionally for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • Jamie September 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I JUST moved this summer after getting married and I had this same dilemma. I did cull some books (not as many as my husband would have liked) but I got rid of books I knew I was never going to read or books that i didn’t like or even books that I enjoyed but probably would never read again. But using those guidelines I could have gotten rid of a LOT more but I didn’t. Only the ones I felt ready to part with. I gave them to people who I knew loved reading and were interested in them. I don’t think it made a HUGE difference in my insane amount of books to move but I have to believe it helped maybe not have one more box.

  • Sullivan McPig September 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I have limited space, so I judge every book I read on the likeliness that I’m going to reread it. If the chance is small to none it goes in the pile of books I need to find a new home

  • Laura September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’m exactly like you! I recently realized my book collection was getting out of hand as well, but I also absolutely hate getting rid of books. I forced myself to go through all my books and separate them into read/not-read piles. I bought new bookshelves and put all the not-read books onto those. Any of them I knew I’d never be interested in reading, I brought into work and gave away or posted on paperbackswap (you can post HC there too, but you don’t get any more credit for them). I did the same for the read ones, but only the ones I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or want to read again. Everything else I kept. My collection is way over 1000 books, but I’m lucky enough to have the space to keep most of my babies! Good luck to you!

  • aurian September 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    O that is a big dilemma. I can’t give you advice, I am a hoarder, and a book addict, and I keep buying more and more books, knowing full well I will never be able to read them all. For now, I do have the space.
    Can’t you let the boxes of books slide against a ladder thingy moving companies use? That means not carrying them all.

    But I do say: if you go against your heart to get rid of them, keep them. You will only regret it, and have to buy them again for much more money then you already paid for them.

  • Diane September 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I moved 10 years ago and did in fact move 46 boxes of books; the movers did not like me, nor my husband to tell the truth. I had to purge once we got into our new home since we didn’t have the same amount of rooms. It broke my heart but it also broke the ice so to say. Now I purge regularly!!!

  • blodeuedd September 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I am the wrong person to ask since I live in a one bedroom with bf, and all my books are at my parents. And even when we move to a bigger place, I will still not take all of them. Some will be left behind..the sucky ones

  • draconismoi September 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I feel your pain. Moving to Alaska forced me to make some SERIOUSLY tough decisions. This was my weeding process:

    1) Are there multiple copies of this book?
    1a) Are they both physical books? If yes, pick the preferred edition and purge the superfluous one.*
    1b) Is one an ebook? If yes, only keep the physical copy if there is something so spectacular about the physical book that you can’t bear to part with it (amazing international cover edition/signed by author/regularly loaned out).

    2) Have you read this book before?
    2a) If yes, are you ever going to read it again? If yes, then keep. If no, why do you still have it? If it’s that book you thought [INSERT NAME HERE] would totally love GIFT the damn thing already. If you felt like you should keep it because the author signed it/awesome cover or whatever – tough shit. It was an inferior book and is infecting your awesome books with it’s poor plotting/crappy grammar.
    2b) If no, keep. Unless it was one of THOSE books that SOMEONE gave you because “oh she likes books” and you would never in a million years pick it up.**

    3) Is the book on death’s door?
    3a) If yes, and it is an easily replaceable copy, time to purge. Why move something that will likely fall apart in the process?
    3b) If yes, and it’s an out of print book that you love dearly, keep.

    *I never buy multiple copies of books, but for some reason, people keep gifting me copies of Stephen King. I had SO MANY random Stephen King books in my room it wasn’t even funny.

    **Raise your hand if you’ve ever been given multiple copies of Chicken Soup for the [YAWN] Soul on x-mas.

    I’m not going to lie. This is a grueling process. But it can get you down to a more manageable number of books.

    • draconismoi September 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      As for passing them on – friends get first dibs. Anytime I move, my friends end up getting random packages in the mail with books in them.

      Then I donate to libraries.

    • pattepoilue September 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      I smell a lawyer brain, can you smell it? 😉
      Your way of purging is awesome and makes sense. I guess when you REALLY need to purge it’s the best way to go.
      I don’t think i’m ready yet though. If i follow your reasoning I think I could easily get rid of 30% (or more) of my books LOL

      • draconismoi September 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        Whoa, it’s like you could tell I spent the weekend working on my outlines for direct and cross examination and am now incapable of thinking in anything other than extremely pointed questions.*

        It is a rough system, but is sometimes necessary. Marlene understands. Getting things (to or from) Outside can be a Herculean chore.

        The length of my comments reminds me HOW LONG IT’S BEEN since I’ve posted a review. Draconic-fail!

        I did read a lot last week. I should write reviews. I have opinions.

        *In case anyone was wondering, I TOTALLY won. The ass showed up late, seriously drunk, and perved out on the victim. It really helps make the “abusive drunken scumbag” argument for the judge when they do that. I probably could have just pointed and said “no further questions.”

        • Marlene September 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

          OMG yes. The job I had paid for us to come to Alaska. The job I had on the way out did not. It was at that point we found out we actually had a TON BY WEIGHT of books. This is not, I repeat NOT, a joke. That was an eye-opener, let me tell you.

  • pattepoilue September 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    That’s a really tough dilemma indeed! I keep saying I should give away or sell some of the books I will NEVER read again or even those books I know i’ll never read. but it’s just too hard. I completely understand.

    Right now , since I still live at my parents I only have my room and I’ve put to use my many years of playing Tetris. 😉 For now the Less Loved books are hidden behind rows of Loved Books. But I know the day I move to an apartment I’ll need to do something about these useless books.
    I really don’t have a solution for you but Cass/draconismoi ‘s solution seems very reasonable. Question is, can you be reasonable when it comes to books? (I think I can’t) 😉

  • Janet Lee Nye September 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve had to purge my book collection several times for moves. I send them to new homes: a local literary association that teaches adults to read, nursing homes and the hospital. I know they are going to good homes where they will do much more good than merely sitting on my bookshelves.

    It helps.

    A little.

  • Marlene September 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    We move about every three years. We seriously move. As in, we lived in Anchorage, Alaska for three years, and left. At that point, we ditched some of our furniture rather than purge too many of the books. We sold our car on our way to the airport. No joke.

    But that was before ebooks. Things have changed.

    The last time we moved states, we purged from 4500 books to 2500 books, and it was painful. I blogged about it at in the April, May and June 2011 posts. A LOT.

    We sold some books to Powell’s. I gave some to the library. I sent some through Book Mooch, but not sure I’d do that again. I sent some to friends.

    If neither of us was going to read it again, it went. If neither of us was going to read it AT ALL, it went.

    If one of us couldn’t bear to part with it, it stayed. (Tolkien. we have multiple, multiples. Illustrated editions don’t do so well in ebook) Signed books by Neil Gaiman, you bet we kept those.

    Remember, we still kept about 2,500 books. (Yes, my hubby hoards books too)

    We moved a year ago, within Atlanta, and we haven’t unpacked most of our books. We think it’s a sign that it’s time to purge again.

    And we’ll still have a ton.

    • pattepoilue September 25, 2012 at 7:44 am

      O_O I’m in awe. The number of books in question is O_O wooow. I guess it’s bound to happen when both person in the couple love books! =P

  • Susan September 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Fabulous points/guidelines from draconismoi and Marlene!

    There was a time that I wouldn’t get rid of ANY book. Even if I hated it, I kept it. Because, you know, there were those rare occasions where I reread a book that I initially didn’t like and ended up really enjoying it. You just never know.

    But I have so many books now (many thousands) and no space. A lot of my books are in storage–and inaccessible. How stupid is that?!? I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can let go. And ebooks are a blessing, to say the least. I’ll still keep duplicates, but only if they’re really special for some reason.

  • Carin W September 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I totally understand where you are coming from, we moved in January but we moved across the country. We pared down but with 5 of us in the family all of us book lovers (did I mention that we have bookshelves in every room in our house except the bathrooms) we still ended up moving close to 40 boxes of books. So good luck is all I can say. I have no good answer because I still think about the books I got rid of :O( Carin

  • Kerry September 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Every once in a while (read years) I do this – I find the books I have not ever reread and donate to the library. It breaks my heart, but I need the room and my DH wants a bonfire LOL – seriously – if you cant keep them, someone will love them! And yes I do have thousands of books – my hubby just sighs after 13 years 🙂

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.