Monday, July 24, 2017

Hardcover Lover Confessions: How Many Books Until it's Considered Hoarding?

Hey there all you little Hardcover Lovers! Welcome to the latest edition of Hardcover Lover Confessions. 

If you aren't familiar with Hardcover Lover Confessions, they're basically discussion posts. I don't have a set schedule for them - they just come as I think of different kinds of bookish posts. Basically, they're just really informal discussion posts wherein I write (or sometimes rant) about certain things going on in the book community or things affecting me as a reader. The posts are fun, and you, my readers, are always encouraged to confess your own thoughts in the comments!

It's been awhile since I've had a discussion post up on my blog, and I thought this one would be a fun one to mull over with you.

Hardcover Lover Confession on Book Hoarding

I've recently been thinking about the amount of books that I currently own. No, I don't have an exact count as to how many I own. I also wouldn't be able to tell you where all of my books currently reside. They are literally all over my house - on shelves, in plastic totes, in bags, in dresser drawers.

Sometimes I feel like Rory Gilmore, especially when I think about how my dresser drawers are lined with, or just entirely full of, books. It's hard to believe that I can somehow function, right? (Okay... I'll even admit that I have piles and piles of books on my sister's bed. She moved out... it's totally okay!)

That poses the question... 

How many books can you own until you're considered a hoarder? 

Is there even an answer to this question?

For me, I'd say I have a problem, and that problem is not hoarding books. The problem is really my lack of space. My room's not a mess; it's just full of literary goodness! I'm the type of person who thinks that books are like money. Just like you can never have too much money, you can never have too many books.

So what's a poor, bookish millennial to do? It's not like I can just buy a house with rooms to spare, right? Psh, I can barely even afford to live with my parents! I just love books and reading so much!

So what have I done?

Honestly, I've kind of slowed down on buying books recently, especially when one of my bookshelves collapsed onto my bed. I didn't want to slow down on purchasing books that I read, but I felt like it was something I had to do to keep things under control until I move out.

Another thing that I've done... I bought an iPad so I could read more e-books and advance copies. Yes, I had a Kindle, but the screen was much too small for my eyes, and I've had much better luck finishing e-books on the iPad. Having the books available digitally has saved me some shelf space, and it's helped me get my room back under control.

I also have books set aside for donating. Have I donated them? Only a few. This is honestly the hardest thing for me, and the reason that makes me think that I could potentially become a real hoarder. 

I have two teen neighbors that often ask me for book recommendations, but only one of them has ever taken me up on my offers for free books. Many of my ARCs have been passed onto her, and she really appreciates it.

So do I think book hoarding is really a thing? Yes, but I don't think it's an unhealthy habit. I think as long as bookish folks do what's needed to keep a healthy library, we'll (and I'll) be fine. 

Tips for Book Hoarders

I've learned a few things about keeping a good book collection from my work in the library and also from just being an avid reader, in general. Here's some tips I have from one book hoarder to another.

  1. Is the book being read? If it hasn't been read or borrowed within a reasonable amount of time, pass it on. For me, I'd say a reasonable amount of time is five years, unless the book is a classic or a favorite.
  2. Do you have a way to organize your books? Chances are that if your books are organized, you're less likely to buy books just because you want to. (You're also less likely to accidentally buy duplicates.) Knowing how your books are organized is essential in keeping a healthy book collection.
  3. Is the book still relevant? This mostly applies to non-fiction materials. If the information in the book is outdated or has been updated, you need to let it go. 
  4. Are you low on shelf space? You don't want books piled two rows deep. You also don't want books sitting on top of other books. It's bad for the binding. If you don't have room for all of your books, it's time to think about what to do with your books. Whether it's buying a new shelf or adding an addition on for a library (if you have the space and money), you need to really think about where you are keeping your books and how long they'll be there.
  5. Are e-books for you? If you would be happy with having e-book copies instead of physical copies, I say go for it. While I'm not 100% converted to ebooks, they do save on space, and you never have to worry about the damage - no yellowing pages, no water damage, and no fading over time. 
  6. Do you have a library card? Public libraries are great places to find the newest, oldest, and most popular books. You can borrow and read them as you need them, and you never have to worry about needing to find the book a permanent home in your house. Most public libraries even have a digital collection, so you could even borrow from the comfort of your couch.

Your Confessions

Now I want to know what you're thinking! Are you like me and not afraid to admit that you currently own more books than you have room for? Are you a full-blown book hoarder? Have you ever had to stop, reflect, and think about what you're doing as a reader/book collector? Feel free to share your thoughts and confessions in the comments below. 

As always, this is a judgement-free zone, so feel free to speak your mind. Just remember that bullying and rude comments will not be tolerated. 

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