How I Store All of My Books

My life revolves (maybe more than it should) around books and reading. It wasn’t always like this, but near the end of High School and especially once I started college, my obsession, addiction, whatever you’d like to call it took hold. I don’t think there’s a way to cure me of my need for books, but I’m cool with that. It could be a worse addiction.

As I said, college was where most of this started. I had a job and almost no expenses. Because of this and utter boredom between classes, I walked to the local used bookstore more days of the week than I should have. In no time my collection grew and grew. Even once I transferred to a college farther away, I took almost no time to sniff out a used bookstore up there. Strangely it is the top floor in an Ace Hardware, but I found it through seeing a sign in the top floor window. I’m good at this, and I don’t know how (not complaining.)

Even with this change in schools, I never forgot the bookstore I first fell in love with. Each visit home would include at least one if not two trips there. No matter how much time had passed I’d be able to find a book I was planning on buying in the same place. I think I memorized every inch of that store. It was, and still is, like a second home to me.

Because of this, and going to garage sales, a huge sale in a church basement (30 books at once,) now getting into giveaways and other internet book obtaining opportunities, my collection has made a drastic increase. At present I am the proud owner of over 1300 different titles. That number increases daily, and that’s not at all including the ebooks that I’ve been getting recently.

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Now after that intro as to how and why I have as many books as I do, I should get to the main topic for this post. I would like to share with my readers where my books are and how I can actually store that many books in so small of a room (my bedroom is roughly 7 feet by maybe 12, but with a bed and a big desk and a dog….there’s not much room left.)

Here in this first set of pictures, we have my paperback shelf. This is where a majority of my books are stores because they are small enough to created this cluster fuck. It is right at the foot of my bed and every now and then I marvel at the fact that this thing hasn’t collapsed upon me in the middle of the night.

In the these pictures it is shown that these books are stacked as efficiently as I can get them. They are stacked laying down. And each shelf has three stacks front to back and four stacks left to right. In the middle section of this bookcase I only have one row of stacks. But behind are five stacks of larger paperback and hardcover books.

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Above this shelf is a small stack of books that are too large to fit on the other shelves. These include my copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Kurt Cobain’s Journals, and various literary magazines and other titles.

This section of books is held in place my a make shift frame I made over the summer. Without it there would be unusable space left on top of this bookshelf that houses my dvd collection (and yes I made sure to show my complete 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I’m not ashamed to display it and I’m proud to enjoy the show.) These books are mainly the larger hardcovers that wouldn’t fit anywhere else and I can’t fit anymore in there.

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The next pictures are of other haphazard shelving ideas I had. In the first picture is the pile of books I had planned to read this year. Normally I don’t bother trying to plan a reading list of for a year, let alone a month. But for 2012, I tried. So far I have read around 20 books this year, and almost none of them have come from this shelf. But, hey, at least I tried. In the other pictures, I show the shelf above my closet. I was able to throw away a large amount of the crap that was up there, but there’s still A LOT to get rid of still. So far this is the space I have available. There is also an entire section for my Animorphs collection (that is almost a complete set).

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These two shelves have moved over the years. At one time I had them stacked on top of each other and that never seemed like a great idea. As of now they are safely nearer to the ground and form a corner in front of the closet. Sometimes I like to sit down in the floor and be surrounded by the book while I read. Though recently I’ve had to move my guitars into the corner since my puppy didn’t like sleeping that far away from my bed. His bed is now in front of the dvd bookshelf and children’s bookshelf (mentioned in a little bit.)

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In this shelf are housed many of the large paperbacks and hardcovers of the same general size. As with the other shelves (though I failed to mention,) the titles range from the classics to the newest titles I’ve bought. The only discrimination in these shelves (for the most part) is size. And I don’t have much against any one book size. It’s just easier to fit the puzzle of books together this way. This shelf, right now, looks like there are things missing. That’s because there are books missing. Normally this shelf is full, but with taking books out into the to read pile and letting my girlfriend borrow a few the weight on the shelf has been lessened. I think the shelf thanks me for that.

What bookcase is this? Why, this is my bookcase of poetry. Yes, that’s right. I have a bookcase filled only with POETRY. This shelf is home to some of my favorite books, and I haven’t even read many of them. (Mainly in the bottom two sections of the case) are the many of the oldest books in my collection. These date from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. My two oldest in here are a book of The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore from 1884. The second book, and my (for now) oldest is A Library of Poetry and Song dated 1872.

On top of this case is a selection of poetry books that didn’t fit down below anymore. Makes  it look a bit nicer up there at least

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The children’s shelf. Why does an adult book lover have a children’s shelf? Well I don’t know about you, but i think it’s only right to have children’s books on hand. Many of those stories are just as important to the literary world as any “adult” classic can be. There is also another reason: I realized a while ago that many of these stories that we seem to know and love because they are just part of culture, I have never read them. How many people have read a Winnie-The-Pooh book? Well I haven’t, but I’ve seen the cartoon. That doesn’t cut it for me sometimes. I have the Complete Winnie-The-Pooh in this shelf. As well as stories like Charlotte’s Web, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and too many others too name. There are novels, picture books, the Narnia series, the Harry Potter series, and many Roald Dahl as well. Some I have read, many (like the rest of the my collection) have remained untouched but awaited my eyes.

Everyone needs a little escape from the real world and from serious books of the adult variety. This shelf provides that when needed.


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To close this post out, I would like to present my newest book shelf. It’s also my smallest bookshelf while at the same time I can hold more books in it than all my other shelves combined. Here it is on my desk.100_8987

Ok, I know it looks like a book doesn’t it. It’s that black one in the middle of the picture. Now let’s take a closer look.

What’s that? is that my copy of Rebecca Hamilton’s The Forever Girl? Why yes it is, and it’s also a shameless plug. But who cares, it’s a great book and still fresh in my mind. Plus at the time I hadn’t started another book on my ereader, so it’s justified. Right?

So here it is, my humongous bookshelf. As of now it’s holding over 300 books, many of which I have in print (since I still love holding real books, hence the book turned ereader case.)

So there it was. That was my collection of books, as it stands for today as least (more are in the mail as I type.) Hope there was something interesting in there and you didn’t wait your time reading hundreds of words for no reason.

As always comments welcome and encouraged. I’d love to hear about your books as well.

Happy Reading!

20 responses to “How I Store All of My Books

    • Sounds like a great challenge you set for yourself. Are these all translated books or can you read in the original language? I think that would take a life time for me. Good Luck with it. I look forward to checking out your page as well, I’m interested in what you’re reading.

      • Thanks Robert. They’re all translations – as you say learning all the languages of the nations in the world in a year might be a bridge too far! Thanks for your interest. Feel free to pitch in some suggestions for the US (or anywhere else) – I’m particularly keen to hear of things that are great but may not be so well known outside their countries of origin.

  1. Nice. I got massively into building my own book storing solutions. Double depth, fine crafted. Breaks my heart having to get rid of books when I run out of space. Recently moved house (divorce, long and very funny story) and one of the things I took was a load of de constructed bookshelves in the hope that one day I will be able to build more solutions to store my books. Got books on dressers, in boxes, on top of fridges. Can NOT bring myself to go electronic. Doesn’t smell right.

    • I hear you. The smell is always great. I do read ebooks (and they’ve been dominating my time recently) but I’ll never give up on print.

      Through ebooks though, I’ve found some great authors who I’d never get to read with print. It has it’s pros and cons like everything else.

      Ultimately, like you, I’ll need a house JUST for my books and another for me to live in. Haha.

  2. I agree with all these book lovers. I applaud your storage solution. I have two tall bookshelves stuffed two deep. We gave a lot away, but they I buy a ton more. Love the books. Now I have a long commute, so most of my books are now audio books. A house for just books… sounds like a library, lol.

  3. WOW!! Amazing!! I have books all over my house, so I think you found a good solution to store them 😀 I feel quite identified with this post, since I am also addicted to books. I cannot stop buying books (both in print and in digital version). Isn’t it lovely to hold them and smell them? 😀 People think I am a freak lol Well done, Rob! Keep up with the reading.

  4. Holy shrimp. You have so many books! And I share your used bookstore addiction 🙂 I haven’t been in one for quite a while because the ones we have here in Hungary don’t have much English books, but I always make sure to visit one when I’m in London.

    And thanks for the tips! 😀

    PS. Is Koontz any good? I’ve wanted to pick up his books for a while but I don’t know which one to start with.

    PPS. I see Robinson Crusoe in the 2012 TBR pile! I flippin’ love that book. ❤

    • I like what I’ve read of Koontz. Which is one series of 5 books and another book of his so far. I have a good amount, but haven’t gotten to the rest yet. I don’t have one to recommend since I haven’t read enough but I know many people who love his work.

      Yea…the TBR “Pile” had some promise. Then I threw myself into the world of ebooks and indie authors and now it’s just a shelf full of books. Haha. I plan on getting to some of them more in the summer though. They need to be read….and I just went to my used bookstore today and came back with 4 more books. I’m almost out of space 😀

    • Yes, that happened early on. I found it hard to keep them from falling if they were vertical (when I didn’t have enough to fill the length of a shelf). Then it just made sense for space reasons after that.

      Thanks for checking the post out 😀

  5. I thought I had a lot of books, but I bow down to you, sir. You totally win. Although, I have more space than you do. My books have moved from my bedroom and grown like a fungus, making their way downstairs and piling on any available flat surface. If old books didn’t make me sneeze or have and asthma attack, I’d have SOOOO many more books.

    • Since when is asthma an excuse not to buy old books? haha, the blasphemy you speak on my blog! I should banish you!! blah blah smite this smite that and all that.

      It’s cool, as long as you have a large collection of books we can still be friends 😀 And yea, I can’t branch out of this room. Someone would destroy them I’m sure. I’m up to just over 1500 books now. I think at the time of this post it was a couple hundred less than that. I have a growing pile on my desk and on top of a few bookshelves now.

      Almost out of room…almost.

  6. This makes me long deeply for the rest of my book pile – it’s almost all still in storage, as it has been for two years, and the daily withdrawal moment of “MY BEAUTIFUL BOOOOOOOOOOOOOKS” hasn’t gotten any easier.
    Fortunately, I’m a rather slow reader, or I’d have acquired enough to push me out of my living space altogether, by now.

  7. Pingback: How I Store All of My Books…Revisited | A Life Among The Pages

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