Discussion: Keeping Books

Posted September 24, 2018 by Nicky in General / 9 Comments

Do you hoard your books? Or do you keep everything you’ve ever bought in a massive book hoard?

While I do have quite the book hoard (ahem), it’s mostly books I haven’t read yet, or intend to read again. I try not to be overly sentimental, or precious about having spent money: even having paid full price for a book, I’m still quite happy to let it go, preferably to a charity shop or a library if I can’t recoup much of the cost. (There was a store in Belgium that bought a lot of my second-hand books as they were in good condition and in English, which people do want in Belgium but can get very expensive. I doubt that’s going to be as easy now I’m back in the UK full time!) Even having received it as a gift, I’m in line with Marie Kondo on this one: the purpose of the gift has been fulfilled, and it’s no disrespect to the gift to hand it on where it can be enjoyed more. In the case of books I bought myself, I’ve supported the author and now handing on their book has a chance of introducing someone else to their works for the first time.

I do keep a fair number of books, though. You can bet I still have Ancillary Justice and Assassin’s Apprentice and The Grand Sophy and Gaudy Night… and a whole succession of other books. If I’m pretty sure I’ll want to reread it someday, I’ll keep it. After all, there’s no point in buying it twice (though I have done that in the case of ebooks, to have a handy e-copy). Still, if it’s easy to get from the library and it wasn’t a 4-5 star read, I probably won’t keep it even if I could see myself rereading it (e.g. to finish the series). I’m not much for keeping books for pretty covers, either.

Personally, I have limited space (alas) and I always need room for more books. Donating them (or sometimes selling them, or giving them to a friend) is the best way to keep my library rotating. Okay, financially I shudder to think of the turnover, but the joy I get out of it is more than enough.

So how about you? Chronic keeper? Or do books barely touch the shelves before they’re out again?

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9 responses to “Discussion: Keeping Books

  1. Oh man, I am the worst kind of book hoarder. It’s honestly getting out of hand. One of these days, I really must do a big clean up and donate the books I don’t want to keep anymore, but I just keep finding excuses to put it off.

  2. I’m a book hoarder!! I am willing to lend my books to friends and unless its a special or favorite book I’m not super upset if it never makes its way back to me, but in general I don’t have any irl friends that read so I keep pretty much every book I acquire I have an entire room dedicated to books and it is my goal to fill it up!!!

  3. I don’t call my bedroom The Book Cave for nothing! When I read a book I always ask myself if I’m going to read it again, and if the answer is yes or maybe, I keep it. At a later date or after a reread I might change my mind and get rid of a few I’d once called keepers. If I don’t like it, I either trade it or donate it to charity shops so someone else can get the use of it. I’m getting better at picking out what I like so fewer books are leaving which is causing me a shelf crisis!

  4. I definitely lean towards hoarding, although most of my acquisitions these days are digital so it’s become less of a problem to manage 🙂

    That said, I’m planning a complete review and cleanse of the shelves this autumn. There’s definitely things there that I can bear to let go – I definitely want to hang on to things I absolutely love and think I’ll reread, but I’ve got some filler up there too that I should probably send on to a good home!
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