Home Forums Welcome Hello! the library that ate my apartment

This topic contains 78 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of ninakk ninakk 3 years, 3 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #158503
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    A couple of us thought it might be fun to discuss the Question of ABC (Are Books Clutter?) and the impact of books in a space. Here is my confession to start things off.

    We have books in every room of our apartment except the bathrooms. And would probably have books in those if they were better ventilated.

    There is a glass-fronted Chinese bookcase in the dining room. That’s for art, jewelry, and nature-photography books.

    There is an antique Chinese hall stand by the front door. It holds books on aquarium-keeping, the theatre, and plays as well as some adolescent journals that are probably best burnt.

    There are two giant glass-fronted Chinese cases in the living room. Those hold classic science fiction, hard science, history, juvenile fiction (including Harry Potter!), leftovers from my thesis research, literature, and adventure fiction.

    There is a large Mongolian chest in our den. It holds scrapbooks, travel books, and maps.

    There are romance novels (Carla Kelly, Jill Mansell, Liz Carlyle, Patricia Veryan, Mary Jo Putney, Georgette Heyer …) in the upper kitchen cabinets, as well as a small collection of cookbooks in the pantry.

    There are Star Trek (OS) novels on the top shelf of my closet.

    There are books on fitness, nutrition, exercise science, finance, and other topics related to DH’s business in the home office.

    There are craft, design, and architecture books in the hall closet.

    And finally, there are three large Chinese rosewood glass-fronted bookcases in the bedroom. Those hold my collection of mystery fiction.

    At worst, I have a problem. At best, they are nicely organized and confined.
    :-) I would love to hear what you all think about this gentle madness!

  • #164846
    Avatar of Kamakazi
    Kamakazi
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    To be honest from talking to people it seems like even people who are very anti-clutter exclude books from the conversation. It is weird I have known people who purge seemingly monthly but keep books from elementary school (exageration yes, but not far from the truth). I think it is very important to realize that books are just the same as anything else you hold onto.

    I personally used to keep all of my books, I had alot alot. About a year ago I started to realize it was a problem and started to really consider why I was keeping all of them. I think a lot of it came down to a few things, the first being books I had read and liked and thought i would read again when in actuality I rarely, rarely do. The second being books I hadn’t read yet, which were a lot, or books I had tried to read and didn’t finish for whatever reason and thought I would go back to when in actuality I rarely, rarely do. And the third reason was that I felt some sort of attachment to physically having books like it made me a better person which I feel is the whole problem with “stuff” to begin with.

    So what I ended up doing was really going through my books and ended up taking a ton of books to the local library and donating them some of them were books I had read and wasn’t going to revisit or books that I have tried to read but didn’t finish and didn’t want to finish*. I felt good about myself and somebody can get some good use out of them. Now whenever I read a book that I have it either gets put back on the shelf to “keep” or put into a box i keep in my closet to donate. Then I have started every few months looking over all of my books and re-evaluating if I still want to keep it.

    *I feel like I should admit here that I kept my rather old copy of Count of Monte Cristo, I feel like it is something of my life’s work to read the book on account of the fact that I have attempted it every few years for the last 6 or so and gotten about 1/2 way through and stopped, having been lost in all of the dialogue long before, I will finish one day, I will.

  • #164847
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I probably should have noted that since moving into this apartment I have donated hundreds of non-fiction titles to our local library, and hundreds of fiction titles to Goodwill.

    I really do re-read a lot and my family is full of long-lived women, so I consider at least half the library to be part of my retirement plan. :-) But everything is on the table now, I’m feeling encumbered by the scale of the collection – and by the living space it requires us to maintain.

  • #164848
    Avatar of Kamakazi
    Kamakazi
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    How and where do you usually buy your books? Do you usually buy them new or at some sort of used venue? I only ask as a lead in to the question of how do you feel about e-readers? I made a thread around here somewhere about e-readers but decided not to get one mostly because I currently buy most of my books super cheap at used book sales. If you buy a lot of your books used, and you don’t have a problem with digital, it might be something to look into. It really would help with the clutter, that is for sure.

  • #164849
    Avatar of Kamakazi
    Kamakazi
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Oh, also. One of the things that helped me was culling through my author collections. Best example was I had pretty much every Robert Ludlum book ever written because I liked some of them and kept buying more to read. I would say I only actually liked about 1/2 of them so I went through and got rid of a bunch. I think I only kept them so long because I had the rest. The same goes for several other authors. Obviously this kind of falls apart if all of the books are in a series. I think the other author I kept all of the books for, out of about 10 that I had at the start, was Tolkien, and you will only pry those from my dead lifeless finger. ;)

  • #164850
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    My house is over-run with books and it’s a constant battle to keep them down. I buy ebooks whenever possible and hope to convert many of my deadtree books to e when I get a round tuit.

    I still recall fondly discovering ebooks in 2003 or so and realizing that I didn’t NEED to keep disintegrating Victorian classics in paperback on my shelves. I downloaded many free ebooks to my virtual library and dragged several garbage bags full of books to donate to the library.

  • #164853
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    The concept of an e-reader is attractive, but it does nothing to address the existing collection. I am holding out for Amazon to begin offering swaps – I send in a paperback for them to re-sell, and they give me credit to download the same title for Kindle.

    And I don’t really buy used books, except very occasionally an out-of-print copy of something for the permanent collection (as, recently, two nice first editions of Joan Aiken young-adult novels).

    Zora, “overrun” is how I sometimes think of it – as when I open the cabinet to get out the olive oil and there are romance novels winking down at me!

  • #164854
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I’ve noticed that even those who write uncluttering books exclude their own book collection from their decluttering attempts. It’s so odd how sacred we hold books. I think that it has a lot to do with how our teachers instructed us to handle our text books, how to turn the pages, never write in them, etc. Our English teachers waxed poetically on the Dewey Decimal System and proper library etiquette before we were allowed to make the sacred pilgrimage to the library. The privilege would be swiftly taken away if the teacher or librarian felt anyone showed any disrespect to anything within the hallowed library.

    ABC- Are books clutter? Love that.

    Of course books can be clutter:
    * Books you know you will never read again
    * Reference books with outdated information (computer books are a good example)
    * Atlases more than a couple of years old.
    * Text books – unless you truely use them regularly
    * Hobbies – (we should have a “your just not that into your hobby”, thread
    * Books you will never read again. Similar to books you *know* you will never read again, but this is the second, more honest sorting of your books.
    * That musty smelling dictionary. Do you really need a dictionary? Unless your dictionary is valuable, it’s just junk. Dictionary.com is far better than any $20 dictionary.
    *Books that you think you will read again, someday, but how do you know that? What about all those books that will be written between now and someday. If the book is widely available, get rid of your copy. If you don’t have a library card, get one and learn the pleasure of visiting your library on a regular basis.

  • #164856
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    My library has a lousy fiction collection. I have tried to get rid of our unabridged dictionary but DH clutches it tightly. I am being very ruthless with my craft books and last year reduced design and architecture collections by half. I don’t keep reference books (that’s what Google is for!) or textbooks, but DH is another matter. Don’t have an atlas.

    Books, in and of themselves, are not clutter – but in the quantity I’ve described, they have most definitely become so. And hence, the thread!

    And while I’ve reduced my collection greatly in recent years, I am not willing to make further wholesale reductions when the books remaining are all books I really want to read. So part of this year’s Net Loss of Stuff endeavor is to read at least one “old” book for every new one that comes in, and for every new one that stays, I have to get rid of at least one.

    I am well ahead of the game this week having culled out five beading books and four big fat jewelry books. :-)

  • #164858
    Avatar of s
    s
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I’m not great, but not bad, at minimizing my book collection. My mother was a librarian, so we seldom bought books when I was a kid, and I’ve stuck with that most of my life. Nowadays, I can surf the net and flip tv channels and waste so much time that I barely have time to read books.

    About ebooks, though, I have “Kindle for PC” on my laptop, but I don’t have an ebook reader. I thought I’d start with just a few books, but I find that if I’m going to sit in front of the computer, I’m not so likely to read the books as I am to check my favorite websites (like Unclutterer). Are you collecting ebooks but not reading them?

  • #164859
    Avatar of Jenett
    Jenett
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I’m a librarian, so you can guess the fondness for books. I also live in a little tiny house (400 square feet) so bookshelf space is complicated.

    My compromise is that I keep:
    - Religious path books (most of which are not readily available to me if I don’t buy them: libraries don’t generally carry books on smaller religious paths to any depth, and many of them aren’t available in electronic form either.) I don’t buy everything in the field, but do buy things I’m likely to use or want to refer to more than once or twice.

    - Books I want to read when I am miserably sick, insomniac, or otherwise can’t wait to get them from the library. (Comfort reading, basically)

    - Books I re-read regularly (every year or so), where getting them from the library is more of a pain than otherwise.

    - Things that I don’t use as often, but would be a real pain to replace financially or practically (my Riverside Chaucer, a half-shelf of books from medieval studies classes in college, a bunch of music theory books, etc.)

    I average reading 20-30 books most months (a lot of them light fiction): buying e-books for those, even if they’re out (and they aren’t, always) would be way out of my budget. So most of them come from the library. I use my iTouch as an ebook reader when I don’t want to cart around a lot of books, and am slowly acquiring stuff that I like to read in that format – lots of lighter reading, SF, etc.

    I’m planning to do another weeding pass through my shelves this summer to get rid of the stuff I really haven’t come back to rereading since my last move 2 years ago. On the other hand, there’s some stuff I regret getting rid of in that move that I now want to go looking for copies of again. It all evens out somewhere in the middle.

  • #164865
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    chacha – I’m not picking on you, but I get the impression that you’d like to gain some of your space back. If I’m wrong, tell me to shut up :)

    Let’s start with the romance novels in the kitchen cabinets. I’m going to repeat that… romance novels in the kitchen cabinets. At the risk of sounding rude, all romance novels are the same book with just a few things changed up. It doesn’t matter who the author is or how well they write, all romance novels are the same book. Take advantage of the used books store that give points for books brought in. These points can be redeemed for different books.

  • #164867
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    i have been brutal with the books since my decluttering began.
    and it isn’t over yet.

    i have read a lot of books in my life….i love to read….if i had hung onto all of them, i’d need a library to house them.
    i don’t want to live like that.
    i think it’s yet another example of simply making the mental adjustment to letting most of them go.
    and i agree….let the romance novels go to a new home! does anyone read those twice? :)

  • #164868
    Avatar of jsights
    jsights
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    This used to be a HUGE problem for me. My ex-boyfriend had a massive collection of role playing rule books. he had, I think, 6 6-foot bookshelves full of them! Yes, that many do exist, believe it or not. Then a whole case full of trade paperback comics, 6 of hardcover books, 4 of paperbacks (laid flat and stacked to the top of each shelf), and a few other miscellaneous shelve around the house. Aside from the clutter and dust, moving that many books stinks! Then we broke up, and I took only the books I thought I would read again, or had some kind of meaning to me, and left the rest for him to deal with. This left me with a nice bookshelf, one of those that looks like it’s leaning against the wall instead of the cheap particleboard ones from WalMart (nothing wrong with them, but the one I have now just looks nicer). This one has 3 sections, each wtih 4 shelves. It was full when I moved.

    2 years later, I’ve gotten rid of more books, my new boyfriend moved in and brought some of his books, but there is still an empty shelf or 2 on that bookcase.

    I used to want to have a huge library in my house, like you see in movies with filthy rich people where the shelve go up 2 stories and you have a rolling ladder to get to it all. But moving all those books several times changed my mind.

    So yes, I think books can be clutter. Over time, I will probably get rid of more as I decide to spend the money to replace them with a digital edition. I love my Kindle. :)

    Jen

  • #164880
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    jen, kindle is fast becoming part of our solution too.
    i just want the words and ideas and images….i don’t need an actual physical thing made of paper.

  • #164886
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Hey JJ, I don’t think you are picking on me, but I must wholeheartedly disagree about the romance novels! It’s been said that there are no new plots; every story is to some extent derivative, so if we demand a “new” plot we would never read fiction (or watch TV or movies) at all. The characters and setting, dialogue and circumstances are what determine a keeper for me. … I know that particular collection is going to be very comforting when I am old and alone (as I am statistically likely to be).

    Whereas I am not at all likely to cherish my big fat biography of Richard Feynman, so when I’ve read it, out it will go!

    Reclaiming my space is part of Net Loss of Stuff. Ultimately, I don’t mind having and keeping as many books as will fit in my various closed bookcases. But the next home probably won’t have as much closet/cabinet space, so yeah, some of this stuff has to go.

    And 90% of DH’s stuff could go (he really doesn’t re-read), but he’s intractable. :-)

    Trading in books is a waste of time for me. I don’t go shopping in used bookstores any more. If I want a new book to read, I can afford to buy a new one so that the author gets paid, and if I’m getting rid of a novel I’d rather give it to Goodwill so someone who *can’t* afford a new book can enjoy it.

    I will probably get a Kindle at the end of the year for new “disposable” reading, but as noted above, it doesn’t do a damn thing about the existing collection as I am unwilling to re-purchase things I already have neatly disposed about the apartment. None of this stuff is actually in my way.

    Like Jenett, I read 20+ books a month, so a clean sweep is impracticable. And you can’t convince me that the experience of “Leroy Neiman on Safari,” or Philip Plisson’s “The Sea,” if you even COULD get them on an e-reader, is anything close to the experience of looking at the physical object.

    Oh well, it was worth seeing if there were any kindred spirits out there! Hi, Jenett! ;-)

  • #164896
    Avatar of jsights
    jsights
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    bandicoot, you said “i don’t need an actual physical thing made of paper.” The only problem I have here is my collection of Laurell K. Hamilton books, all first edition hardcovers, that are signed to me. I don’t think I’ll ever part with those.

    Other paper books, though, I’d love to get rid of, and just have the digital copy. As so many people have said, I wish there was a way to trade in the paper copy for a half price digital copy. I should probably just start buying one a week. That would be affordable, and much less daunting than the mindset of “I have to replace them all.” Same thing, different mindset. :)

  • #164898
    Avatar of s
    s
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    @chacha1 – I can’t believe you’re dissing Richard Feynman!! But if you don’t want to keep the book, then definitely pass it on. =)

  • #164900
    Avatar of klutzgrrl
    klutzgrrl
    Participant

    the library that ate my apartment

    ChaCha, I’m with you on romance novels. THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. If it’s only plot that defines a book, as you’ve mentioned, then there are about 12 books in existence. Patently, that is not true. Like any genre, the quality of writing in Romance varies, but they are small books with a short shelf-life so authors don’t get to lavish the time on them that a mainstream novelist might.

    It annoys the heck out of me that people will diss romance in the most offhand way but still watch something like CSI Miami. Even the once cleverly written House has a template that never changes. Oh the other week they gave the sideplot-generates-moment-of-insight moment to Wilson instead of House, just to change things up a bit.

    There are some really excellent Romance writers – Samantha Hunter, for example, has a wonderful turn of phrase. Liz Fielding writes the most fabulous, warm and earthy heroines, while Kate Hardy’s medicals beat the hell out of Gray’s Anatomy.

    There’s always threads on forums with comments like “does anyone remember a novel where the heroine owned a ranch and …..” where people are trying to find a novel they’d loved. Some of these books have gotten me through really tough times.

    If you don’t personally like them, that’s fine – I’m not a fan of gumshoe detectives myself.

    Books take up too much space in my home, it’s true, but so do my children. I love them both.

  • #164904
    Avatar of nellieb
    nellieb
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I’m an eclectic, avid reader…with the vivid memory of obtaining my first public library card before I was 4 years old! I read almost every day. For most of my life, I considered books to be sacred, to be kept, and displayed. About 20 years ago, I looked at the literally thousands of books I owned and thought about all the times I’ve packed and moved them…and that I rarely re-read a book! Thus began my quest to lighten the book load!

    The Internet has changed everything! I no longer keep many reference books because the information exists with a few clicks! I’ve kept a few childhood books, a few books in different categories (such as art, needlecrafts, and photography) that I enjoy browsing every now and then. I have a shelf dedicated to books I have not read…but understanding that if I have not read them within two years, they must leave my home.

    Last year I realized that the library is the best way for me to read as much as I want. I go through the monthly published titles at http://www.fanasticfiction.com and then request books that look interesting through my local library. I have saved a small fortune by borrowing rather than buying. And every month, I continue to return to my bookcases and discover there are always a few more books I can donate, take to a nursing home, retired neighbor, swap with a friend or sell.

    P.S. I love time travel romance stories, when well written, political intrigue, mystery, military, and devoured fantasy sci fi books before they had their own category name!

    You can also see a photo of some of my organized bookcases (before and after weeding out books) at my blog, http://drawerbydrawer.wordpress.com/

  • #164915
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    o i won’t be parting with the autographed copy of angela’s ashes or my grandmother’s “four plays for puritans” , or the poetry books, or a whole HEAP of my childhood favourites, either.
    i am not that maniacally ruthless and disciplined!
    i’m just talking about the disposable reads.

    funny story about angela’s ashes.
    my mother posts me a copy.
    i open it and it is inscribed in the front.
    i think good lord, this book has been published five minutes ago and my mum has ALREADY found a second-hand copy? awesome!
    then i look closer.
    it says, to patti, regards, frank.
    and i am thinking, frank? i don’t know any frank. did frank send me this? who the heck is frank? i get the post wrapper out of the rubbish bin to check where it is from.
    go back to book.
    the penny drops.
    frank. frank mccourt! THE frank.

  • #164922
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    ^LOL! THE frank, indeed!

    Yes, “disposable” reads. And there are many. My challenge now is finding the books previously assigned to the “permanent” collection that don’t belong there. :-)

    s – re Feynman – I have read all of his own books for the general reader (including his memoirs, “Six Easy Pieces,” and “QED”) and these may well stay in the permanent collection because they did a great job of waking up my brain in my 20s and I expect will have a similarly salutary effect in my 60s! The biography, however, I expect to find of interest but not an essential item. Not to mention it is the size of all the Feynman-authored books put together.

    klutzgrrl – thanks for standing up for romances!

  • #164940
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I love the title of the post!

    It sounds like your books are very well organized and displayed. That’s terrific!

    But oh my gawd, what I would not do for a signed copy of “Angela’s Ashes”! HA! I just found a couple online.

    I am a bibliophile and darn proud of it. There are much worse “vices” out there.

    It is genetic. A friend of my uncle’s once visited his apartment and counted 20 piles of books.

    I also collect vintage Nancy Drew books and sell them on Ebay. I love it and have met scores of wonderful people.

    I have never read an entire e-book. And I am a vociferous reader but I do not find them comfortable. I also think they are charging way too much as the publishers have very little overhead.

    I do love the idea that Gutenberg is out there. I refer to it often. Public domain is a blessing.

    My sister has a built in bookcase that lines her living room. Very neatly arranged are HUNDREDS of quilting magazines. I thought it was pretty funny but she likes them and they look fine there.

    I am bad about library books although I am crazy for libraries. But if I bring a book from the library home, I am a lot less likely to read it than if I purchase it. I have no idea why. So I buy a lot of used books at the library. I buy news ones. I buy vintage ones. I buy them online.

    I treasure most books. I do not think of them as junk. I will never think of them as clutter but I certainly need to be more judicious. Twenty useless plastics bags that will fall apart are junk.

    Recently I have gotten rid of a lot of books. And I have also tossed bags of misc stuff. “Hoarders” really motivates me. LOL.

    But anything I would like to read again or refer to and cannot be replaced I keep.

    My Mom use to throw everything out- it was awful. My Dad died when I was 4 and I have only a couple of his things. Like his college class ring I would have cherished. Lots of his stuff I would have been thrilled to have. It is all long gone.

    Mom threw out my shoebox brimming with Beatle cards. Grrr. I am still mad about that one. It was only one mere shoebox and full of things I loved and cherished.

    To her it was junk.

    So I do not so much want to get rid of clutter (I do want to get rid of a lot of it) but more importantly I want to get it under control and I would like to do neat things like hang up vintage board games I collect. (If I could figure out a way not to damage the boards. Ideas encourage!) Show it off and enjoy the neat stuff! I want to get the stuff under control. I can be very organized so I am really working on that.

    Of course, the my stuff is not confined to books but with me that is the bulk of it.

    I had a very sweet neighbor last week driving me crazy wanting to give me a heap of old clothes. I wanted to run in the other direction. After telling her several times, it finally sunk in that I was not going to take any.

    I got rid of a lot of clothes given to me by other people that I just did not wear. I can move the hangers in my closet now! Sure I feel bad as they were nice enough to give them to me but basically that was easy.

    And it IS just stuff, objects but a lot of it is sentimental and very useful and enjoyable.

    I think in terms of the size of the objects too which I readily learned from doing a lot of travelling. So I save tickets from old concerts? They bring back fond memories and take up very little space. I would like get them into a scrapbook.

    I took photos of my beloved suitcase that I used to travel all over Mexico. I love that suitcase. So I photographed it. It was taking up a lot of room. There was a bit of rust inside. Then I got rid of it as it was no longer usable.

    The power can go out. Hard drives crash. The Mac was in the shop for weeks. I could not access anything online.

    I am not parting with my 20 pound Spanish dictionary! It is extensive ergo it’s weight. A lot of those words I cannot find online. Those translators can be pretty basic. It takes up way too much space but I am keeping it.

    I have a set of encyclopedias I do not want to part with but they are a bit cumbersome. So I keep debating. I use them not so much research, although I sometimes did, but I would pick up a volume and read it from cover to cover skipping the parts I found boring.

    I have a small apartment and a limited amount of bookshelf space. I have a huge rubbermaid container. I started filling it with books I may want to keep but that I do not need now (like teaching resource books as I do not need them now). Maybe later I can get rid of some of it. They are out of the way.

    I have space on my bookshelves for books I want to access now. It’s great!

    I would not suggest you get rid of romance novels. I may not care for them but I do not care for most sc-fi also. But you may enjoy them!

    There might be some paperbacks that have seen better days. If you can replace them by buying them online later, you can toss many of them. If you get an urge to read them, you can gain access to them or order them online or at the library.

    I do want to mention one thing. I would LOVE a ScanSnap but my computer is too old so I cannot use them.

    One of my software programs I recently finally figured out was corrupt. Just before I did I went to access my Password application and it was blank. I was horrified. I tossed the offending application and the Password one. I reinstalled the Password one from my external hard drive. My external hard drive is fine. I opened up the newly installed application. It was still blank. I tried importing a back-up. Nothing.

    I wrote the software developers and have yet to receive a response.

    I was in a panic.

    So to soothe myself I ordered a pound of Fannie May chocolate buttercreams that were half price because I figured I deserved to treat myself. What with all that trauma. ;o)

    Now before I got the application I use to write the passwords down. So I can access some of them, maybe half. But for some stuff there is nothing like hard copy. I am kicking myself for not having had scanned the passwords. And then I should have printed up a copy.

    Oh well… the chocolate arrived today and definitely cheered me up!

    Lots of luck!

    KT

  • #164942
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Frankly (heh) “Angela’s Ashes” made me want to drive into a tree, but the writing was beautiful.

    Signed books: a lot of my mysteries are signed first editions and most are out of print. Back in my bookhunting days (weekend entertainment: the used bookstore) I found a decent hardback of “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin (the basis for the TV show “the six million dollar man,” oh my did I have a crush on Lee Majors back in the day!) and only a couple of years ago, when I started the Great Purge, looked carefully at it and realized it is a signed first edition. It is, perhaps needless to say, still on my shelf.

    KT: Nancy Drew rules!

  • #164944
    Avatar of habithacker
    habithacker
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    This subject certainly strikes a chord with me. I’m a writer (literary short stories and fiction…though I made my living in advertising) and I adore all books. I was nearly buried, however. At one point I not only had 3000 books (no romances, here, folks! I’m a literary snob & most were hardback) but I was also terribly devoted to keeping a database of what I had and what I had yet to acquire. My first step was to throw the database in the computer trash and empty it so I wouldn’t be tempted to continue this ridiculous time-consuming work.

    Then I boxed up hundreds of books to give/or send to all my reader friends. Donated some to the library. Sold some at a rummage sale. Donated many more hundreds to Goodwill. I read on a Kindle and on my iphone when I can. And I cherish the books I’ve kept.

    Thanks for starting this thread! I’m now going to write a post about it for my website and do some research on great places to donate books (after all, I’ve got lots left).

  • #164951
    Avatar of Vivace
    Vivace
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Seconding Jennett – I keep religious research books because they are hard to find again. A lot of them, I haven’t even been able to find for sale as ebooks so I can’t replace them even if I want to.

    Aside from that, I keep nice hardcovers that I love and reread, paperbacks I haven’t been able to replace and that I like casually rereading, a few treasures I’ve gotten signed, and a to-read pile of things that simply aren’t electronic or were bought cheap.

    Mostly, though, I read on my Sony Pocket and I love it to death. I revisit the hard copies and the ebooks regularly and I do delete fiction or reference material I don’t plan to revisit. (I keep a lot more reference material for the long run than I do fiction.)

    Somehow my S.O. and I still have plenty of shelves of books. They breed. And there’s already another stack by the door for the used bookstore…

  • #164970
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    @ habithacker, I don’t have a database but I DO have an inventory! Had to start it after inadvertently buying the same title twice. That is definitely an occupational hazard with collecting books.

    I’m positive at least 3000 books have passed through my hands, but I think the total currently stands at around 1000. The inventory isn’t numbered. Perhaps it should be … .

  • #164997
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Cha-cha! “The Great Purge”- I love it!

    Habithacker! I started an inventory of my Nancy Drew books. I love making databases. But I had so many books coming and going that I stopped. Now I am doing a database of Nancy Drew covers! LOL.

    Gee, I can think of a place for some fine books. Hint, hint. Media mail is cheap! ;o)

    KT

  • #164999
    Avatar of klutzgrrl
    klutzgrrl
    Participant

    the library that ate my apartment

    My ‘problem’ books are the Greek and Latin ones – especially the ones that are written in Greek and Latin with no translation. (The volumes that have latin and english concurrent are fair enough since I can read them easily) as I haven’t studied for years and have forgotten most of my grammar. So while I’ve accepted that I’ll probably never be able to read Greek properly again, the books stay stubbornly on my shelves. Especially the lovely brand-new hardbacks I ordered of the Iliad. They are lovely things. I’ve also got a lot of classics (everything from Homer to Caesar) that I’ve ‘rescued’ from secondhand book stores…

  • #165002
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    has anybody read “the name of the rose”?
    that scene where the library is burned…..utterly harrowing.
    i felt desolate reading about the loss of all those beautiful manuscripts filled with centuries of learning.

    terriok, the chocolate sounds like the perfect cure.
    i am right with ya on that one.

    i’d never sell or give away my copy of angela’s ashes.
    i remember once seeing a signed copy off the hobbit on ebay.
    tolkien’s godson or the child of the godson was selling it.
    it made me feel so sad.
    some things are worth more than the money.

    amazon one-click (most fabulous thing ever invented) has enabled me to get my claws on some beloved old books from childhood.
    i feel that while i have *overall* reduced the books around our place, i have concentrated my share of it into items i truly love and re-read.

    right now i am reading alistair maclean on my iphone.
    the perfect place for him.
    he and agatha christie are my reliable old comfort re-reads.

  • #165007
    Avatar of Julia H.
    Julia H.
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Thanks for starting this thread, chacha1. I’m a two-English-degrees, romance, mystery & fiction speed-reader with beading, knitting, dog training and cooking book-habits. Until recently. I live in >800sf with a scientist (papers & computer cords galore!) and two shedding dogs. Our books totally ate our home, and we couldn’t take it anymore. Ceiling high shelves gave me claustrophobia – I felt like they were looming over me. When I decided to paint, we did a huge purge – library & Goodwill donations, all. Now we’re getting ready to move, and there are only 50~ books in here and it’s great. I read with Kindle for Mac, and on my iPhone. I get info from the internet – recipes, spelling, etc.. And I feel much better about not needing to pay for an additional few hundred square feet of warehouse space . . . in a ridiculously expensive real estate market.

    I love books. They’re part of my personal history, my memories, my career . . . but I don’t like dusting, hauling, looking at all of them, keeping track of all of them, knocking over stacks of them. We’ll see. No system’s perfect. But I can’t see living inside a library ever again.

  • #165014
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Up until maybe half a year ago I had considered books sacred territory. Why? Because that’s how my dear mom views them and that’s how my sister and I were brought up. I guess.

    There just happen to be some facts that don’t get questioned unless you experience a thorough shaking and this was one of them, until I stumbled upon Apartment Therapy as well as Getting Things Done, that is. (Shortly, I flirted with FlyLady as well, but only as long as it took to grasp the value of a clean sink.) I developed my own version of GTD since I don’t need more clutter on my computer in the shape of yet another software to master and use successfully; the Finder folders and colours you can add to them are more than enough for me.

    But the rest of my life… I recently moved by combining two homes of mine (due to studies in another country I had a smaller home there for years) and I was completely appalled. I am a clutter bug. Yes, I do hold on to some things, but mainly I have books. Lots of them too for such a small apartment. It’s insane really! I scanned through them and only during half an hour was I able to come up with several bags of books I’ll never recommend to anyone as first choice and I certainly won’t read them again. So why hold on to them? Clutter!

    @Julia H.: Linux runs on my laptop and I warmly recommend the Gourmet Recipe Manager http://grecipe-manager.sourceforge.net/ which runs on Windows too, I believe. Once I’ve bought that much-coveted scanner I’ve been eyeing forever, I’ll begin the project of scanning recipe paper clips that I’ve collected (as well as the rest of my paper clutter). I also have some books that aren’t that great, so only the highlights will be scanned. You can also add downloaded recipes to it and already now it seems to work just fine!

  • #165022
    Avatar of rw86347
    rw86347
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I agree with what others said books can also count as clutter. If you really plan to reread them, then digitize then. If not donate them. I have reduced 3 large book shelves down to one small book shelf.

  • #165043
    Avatar of klutzgrrl
    klutzgrrl
    Participant

    the library that ate my apartment

    I just went to the book fair and got a bagful of books… I’m happy as larry, got several from a favourite author’s backlist and a bunch of others. Many happy hours of reading there!

  • #165046
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Our library’s book fair is next week. If I go, I must get rid of the same amount that I bring home.

  • #165226
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Oh, books *dreamy sigh* I’ve decluttered my books from two full (!) tall IKEA IVAR shelves (2,20 x 1,60m, umm, roughly 7×5 feet) to just two rows of books in these shelves, I sometimes think the used bookstore where I donated them probably paid its rent for two months with only my books… hehe. Like ninakk, I was amazed at the amount of books that I would neither reread nor seriously recommend to a friend. But I think my hugest step was to finally admit that about one shelf has never been read yet (presents, books bought in the spur of a moment, books I thought I ‘should’ read) and will never be read, so I donated them too :o) Very freeing!

    The only thing I couldn’t bear to part with (yet) are certain dictionarys and other reference books. I know I haven’t used some of them for years because I usually look everything I need up on the internet, but it still feels a bit wrong to let them go, it’s funny.

  • #165246
    Avatar of Julia
    Julia
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    The last time I moved I got rid of 27 boxes of books. That was five years ago and they were creeping out of control yet again.

    Inspired, I think, by something in this forum, a few months ago I started a “decimation” project – one book in every 10 had to go. I tried to keep to that rule with some minor adjustments – (getting rid of 2 in ten gave me a “get out of jail free” card for a book on another shelf – very useful when I got to shelves filled with collected works of favorite authors.)

    Those books are almost all out of the house (a bigger pain than culling them) – and when they’re gone, I will start another round of one-in-ten.

    But I was delighted to see, earlier, a reference to books as retirement fund; I just had that thought a week or two ago and am glad to see it is shared.

  • #165247
    Avatar of MellieTX
    MellieTX
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Timely thread for me. I am culling a few books so as to avoid buying more shelving to store them. My sister and I each took a set of hardback classics from our childhood home. She has the set we used more often as kids and I took the one we didn’t use very much. Why do I think I will use them now? Off they go unless she wants those too.

  • #165258
    Avatar of iamme
    iamme
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but most libraries are part of some inter-library loan system. If my tiny, local library doesn’t have something, I can almost always get it through the loan system. Unless a book, DVD, or CD is a new release, I usually have it in hand in a week. Being able to request items online and just run in and pick things up upon arrival is nice, too.

  • #165259
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Sigh. Our library system here in Hawai’i is always underfunded, always struggling. They decided to raise a little money by charging a $10 fee for every inter-library loan. BUT … it gets worse. If the book you want is available from the state university libraries, it costs $20 to borrow it. It’s cheaper to have a book shipped thousands of miles, across the Pacific, than it is to get a book from a few miles away.

    It’s often cheaper to buy the book, used, than it is to ILL it.

    One out-of-print book wasn’t available used at anything under several hundred dollars so I (looking around nervously for a cop) paid $10 to ILL it, and then scanned it with my flatbed scanner. It’s a reference work that I might need again.

  • #165264
    Avatar of CarolineD
    CarolineD
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    That’s utterly ridiculous – my life depends on interlibrary loans! I’ll never take them for granted again! I have a long commute and really depend on audio books. I haven’t purchased a book to read (except Harry Potters, and kids’ books) in years. I’ve been getting rid of my paperbacks by sending them overseas to the troops via Operation Paperback. It’s better than having them yellowing on my shelves. I’d like to pare down my collection to keep only books I plan to read or re-read (particularly if they’re hard to find or out of print or expensive – like art books) or otherwise can’t give up, or that I hope my kids will eventually want to read. I’ve gotten rid of hundreds so far.

  • #165265
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    at one time I had nearly no furniture other than a bed and kitchen table and chairs–and bookcases. At the peak I counted a couple of thousand (counted one whole bookshelf,divided by number of shelves to get an average, counted bookcases. It is not really that many, when they are organized tidily and there is no other clutter.

    But then…I was really impressed when I got it down to about 400 books. I thought I was the bees’ knees of minimalism. And I stored them all when I moved to Europe, then last year went home and emptied my storage locker. They’d somehow multiplied and I still had 10 boxes or so to donate to the library before packing up only the most special(written by friends etc) or hard to replace reference works. The DH is an avid reader as well but we are getting quite ruthless about passing on paperbacks asap. I have a hundred or so classics on my iPhone, where I can read whenever I am in a lineup or getting a manicure or on the train–but I have really gotten tough about only the best getting real estate in my flat. My Vancouver place was more than twice the size of our current place and even there I got tired of storing books JUST TO HAVE THEM. I started using the library extensively and considered it my personal storage facility:)and refused to buy a book unless I had already read it and knew it would be one that required permanent space with me. Those were few. And now I don’t know, we have 4 bookcases but they also hold all our reference material, files, and work materials (we both have to work from home frequently). So I am learning that when I think I’ve let go of enough there really is more that can comfortably go without being missed.

    My dream house is one with a big library which can accommodate middle-age spread (its and ours) and get comfortably plump.

  • #165279
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    There have been some great comments along here. I guess my dream is to get the book collection down to what will fit into our bookcases – nothing in closets or cupboards! I’ve decided to get Kindle for PC – that will, at least, keep me from acquiring any more “disposable” physical books.

    We’ll see, though … it’s back to that old issue that dogs many of us, we can manage our own Stuff but then what about the other people in the house? If they’re not on board, I think it’s even more frustrating because we’re *soclose* to achieving Unclutterdom.

    Ultimately, it’s great if I get my reading library under control, but if DH still has 600 textbooks in the home office, I fear I will feel I have given up something I really valued without receiving my reward.

  • #165282
    Avatar of cutenila
    cutenila
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I moved from India to US for my grad studies and had to choose between hundreds of books to bring to US. Due to space and cost restrictions, I could bring only my text books and reference books and ONE novel. After landing here, I discovered local libraries and my university library. They satisfied almost all my reading needs. After five moves all over US, I’m happy that I just kept my book collection to a bare minimum – no packing and unpacking books for me!

  • #165283
    Avatar of sjwilde
    sjwilde
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    My biggest problem is the books I haven’t read yet. I buy them because I’m eager to read them, then I buy something else and the older ones get buried in the stack. When something new comes out, I always feel that I need to get it RIGHT NOW and read it. I also shop at the Strand Bookstore in NYC where I can get proof copies for $2. My lease expires in about 15 months, and I know that what I should do is work through the books I have and not buy any new ones until then, but this is a pledge I always fail to keep.

    I’ve been like this forever; part of the problem is that for the past 20 years or so I’ve been able to afford all the books I want. I had quite a time getting rid of all the books in my basement and garage before a cross-country move 2 years ago, but they’ve stacked up again, and now I’m in a studio apartment. Do I want to change? Perhaps not!

    I read not primarily for relaxation but for intellectual stimulation and growth, about 200 books a year.

  • #165291
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    sjwilde, I have to continuously cull my TBR pile, too. It was all gone a few years ago and now it’s out of control again. I have to go through and think, am I *really* going to read this, or do I just want to be the kind of person who reads this?

    We have a core library that will never go away – some of it is keepsakes, books people in my family wrote, a cookbook my great-grandmother inscribed to my grandmother, 70s paperbacks with racy covers my partner stole from his dad when he was a teenager.

    But other stuff – kids books my son has outgrown, fiction i loved 10 years ago that hasn’t stood up to rereading, disposable fiction – I have finally learned to let go of.

    That said, when I look at who I really am and what I really want to keep, our shelf has mostly romance, sci fi, and poetry on it – the history books are enlightening but don’t get re-read, the programming books get out of date, etc.

  • #165295
    Avatar of ozazure
    ozazure
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I have decluttered my book collection. In fact today I am going to declutter the baby’s board book so they fit the place I want to store them.

    I love reading, that doesn’t mean I need to love the actual books and save them for just myself forever. I have bookcase full of books I know I can reread, and the rest comes and goes. I still buy books on occasion (less now because we have one income) but I mostly pass them on, not lend them out. The sea of literature is so immense, it seems ludicrous to imagine even a house full of books as more than a child’s plastic beach bucket filled up with ocean water.

  • #165329
    Avatar of OogieM
    OogieM
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    We have thousands of books in our house. Every room does have bookshelves, including the bathroom. But I am slowly getting rid of the light fiction books I only read once. Most of the new fiction we read now we get on our kindles. Our library also charges for ILL and in a recent case it was cheaper to buy 2 books about competing notetaking systems as new books from Amazon than it was to try to get one of them via ILL. I picked the system I am using now and the other book will be donated to a thrift shop in town.

    One thing I found is that I started to collect books related to a thing I wanted to learn for several years before I finally had the space and time to actually learn it. To a lot of people they seemed like clutter, to me it was saving up for the eventual use.

    While I love electronic books there are many that just aren’t available in electronic form.

    If the books are bothering you then look at culling them out. Otherwise I’d say keep them even if they are in places most people would not consider normal.

  • #165331
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    For everyone stumbling upon this, there is a new thread in the forum on how to purge books:

    http://unclutterer.com/discuss/topic/my-effective-tips-for-purging-the-library

  • #165341
    Avatar of DebF
    DebF
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Have found this a fascinating topic, wanted to say a few things.

    1) Kamakazi, given the issues you’ve been having getting through ‘Counte of Monte Cristo’, can I ask if you’ve tried the audio book? I’ve discovered that books I find hard to get through are much easier if I’m listening to them while out walking, rather than sitting at home thinking ‘boring, what else could I be doing’.

    2) A number of you have suggested e-readers as an alternative to books. I would urge caution. Some of you may have purchased Beta video recorders and cassettes when they first came out. You may end up in a similar situation here. I’d suggest unless you’re buying something that’s platform independent (Baen, for instance, allow you to buy an ebook and view it in many different forms) then you may not be saving money in the long run – just something to keep in mind, particularly if you’ve never had a computer catastrophically die on you.

    3) I re-read a LOT. I also use a database to keep track of my books. It synchronises to my handheld device, which means that whether I’m in a new bookshop or a second hand garage sale, I can determine whether I already own the book I’m looking at. It lists title, author, hero, heroine, ISBN and a number of other things. It also includes the location where the book may be found, so I know exactly which box or shelf to look in. All the boxes are labelled with the names of the authors inside. It works for me and I’ve saved a fortune not buying books I already own.

    4) JuliaJayne, because chacha1 was too polite, and on behalf of all people who’ve actually read romance novels, and don’t just make assumptions about them, ‘shut up’. Kitchen cupboards, especially if you don’t have heaps of kitchen clutter, are a great place for favourite books, they’re easy to access, and generally well ventilated. There’s an old saying “everything important in life, I’ve learned from romance novels”. It’s true, and they’re fun. There’s a reason they are the biggest in terms of genre sales, but attitudes like yours make people feel they can’t be loud and proud about reading them – they’re no less valuable than obscure Russian literature, they’re just different!

    5) I know this is a site about clutter, but please keep in mind that it’s only clutter if you’re not enjoying it. If you’re the type of person who dives back into their bookshelves again and again, then don’t feel pressured to throw out favourite books that you love. But, if there are books you can get rid of, your local library is always appreciative!

  • #165351
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    DebF – defender of romance! – to each her own. I don’t read “literary” fiction -e.g. Oprah picks – find ‘em mostly a snore. Give me a good genre book any day! … If I didn’t HAVE the extra space in my kitchen cupboards, I would no doubt be more stringent about what makes the cut as a keeper.

    That’s one of the many great things about our apartment, though – it was one of those built to live in, not as a waystation, and there is so much kitchen storage we have all our patio and picnic gear there as well. Now if there was counter space to match … .

    Someone above mentioned her “decimation” system and I thought that was brilliant. I am going to try it out on DH, the hoarder of the house.

  • #165363
    Avatar of lahope
    lahope
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I’m a college English professor, so of course many books have passed through my hands. Books and papers are major forms of clutter in an otherwise rather spare home environment. In my home office all four walls are covered by bookcases with the exception of the space where my desk is located. My office at the college is similarly arranged. However, little by little I’m finally managing to get rid of these books. Today I tossed a large, expensive coffee table art nouveau book, once beautiful until it got wet and moldy while being stored in a friend’s garage many years ago. Before I tossed it, I opened it and saw that it had been given to me by a college boyfriend–I had even forgotten why I had been keeping it. I was alternately disgusted at myself for falling prey to such ridiculous sentimentality yet proud finally to be done with it.

    Although I haven’t yet purchased an i-Pad, the thought of getting one is further spurring me on to declutter my library. Even though I’m planning to wait until some of the bugs have been worked out, I’ve been playing with it at the local Apple store. The other day while I was messing around with it, I read several chapters of a book and was absolutely impressed. The resolution is great and I don’t even need my reading glasses to see the text. Furthermore it is a comfortable size for holding. It will be much better for reading in bed and on airplanes with the additional advantage that I will be able to leave my laptop at home. I came away feeling that if nothing else, it will render the printed, bound book obsolete.

  • #165380
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Deb

    “I also use a database to keep track of my books. It synchronises to my handheld device, which means that whether I’m in a new bookshop or a second hand garage sale, I can determine whether I already own the book I’m looking at.”

    WHERE do I get one? What are they called?
    ~~~
    Oprah’s Books? Hmm. I have seen a lil bias, shall we say, amongst her selections! I have no need for her help! ;o)

    My stepsister use to refuse to go into bookstores with me after a while as I would be in there for at least an hour and a half (and I was rushing).
    ~~~
    Lahope

    You can read on the iPad without your glasses? I take it your close-range vision is not bad?

    I would LOVE to read without my contacts and glasses on! Or with just the contacts. Do I miss the vision I had as a kid! (For everything but the mirror!;o)

  • #165409
    Avatar of DebF
    DebF
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    terriok,

    You can do it in a number of ways – Several years ago I set mine up in Microsoft Access, and now have about 4,500 entries (including books I’ve gotten rid of, which are listed with an appropriate location, and those I want to buy, where the title is prefaces with (*) so I know I want it). I have similar databases for CD’s, DVD’s, and Recipes.

    I then then run an application called Pocket DBViewerPlus to Sync it. The latter, in particular, is not brilliant, it’s search is slow but it’s functional. If anyone knows of a better solution?

    The other difficulty is that MS Access is no longer included in the basic installations of MS Office, so you have to pay for a much more expensive version to get it, especially if you upgrade.

    If I were doing it again from scratch, I’d probably go with an MS Excel solution, as these with Synch automatically to a hand-held device. The only issues with that are that it’s easy to change all the entries in a particular row/ column without meaning to – or realising you’ve done it – so multiple dated backups would be vital. Additionally Excel has a row limit of around 11,000, which you’d have to be aware of.

    Re your step-sister, you just need to find a couple of friends who love books as you do, and take them bookshopping. It’ll restore your faith that your aren’t alone! I love it when I discover new friends are also bibliophiles!

  • #165414
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Deb, kitchens can also be very humid and perhaps greasy (depending on one’s cooking style). I wouldn’t store signed first additions in a kitchen, that’s for sure. Now that I think about it some more, kitchens are the perfect place for romance novels ;).

    Anyway, total difference of opinion on the romance novels. The OP said she has enough room in her kitchen to store the books, so I guess it isn’t really a problem for her.

  • #165422
    Avatar of GardenGirl
    GardenGirl
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    DebF, do you enter items into the database manually, or is there some way of scanning, say, the ISBN and having the rest of the book info populate the database record? Just wondering.

    Like some others who have posted, I used to want to have a big library in my home, and I generally think (or thought) of books as sacred, but that is changing. (The library part, anyway.) I have 5-6 boxes of books that need to leave the house (get sold or donated), and 1 box of books to sort through and decide whether to keep. Also, a shelf’s worth of sci-fi novels that can go away, as I’ve read them all twice and probably won’t read them again. (I do like sci-fi, though, and may have to pick up some new novels, if I find them cheap, or maybe finally get a library card.)

    I might consider getting a Kindle or some other e-reader at some point, but there are some kinds of books I prefer to keep as physical books.

    I don’t generally feel like I’m home unless I have my books with me. I have a small bookcase in my bedroom, a beautiful barrister bookcase in the dining room (that one has religion, theology, and some poetry books in it), two matching bookcases in my living room (not deep), and three matching bookcases in my spare room. Oh, and there are bookshelves on the wall above my desk in my home office. (I am an editor, and I work from home.)

    At age 49, I at least no longer feel like I need or want to keep everything I read. I do enjoy having a stack of books that I have not read yet, so I can “go shopping” on my bookcases when it’s time to find the next bedtime-reading book. (Always have a stack of books on the nightstand.) It’s not out-of-control, though. (Limited by finances, for one thing.)

    Sorry if this is ramble-y; I’m whupped from a day’s worth of yard work. (I suppose I could have used “Garden-Middle-aged-Chick” as my username, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “GardenGirl.” Hee.)

  • #165452
    Avatar of Vivace
    Vivace
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    DebF, I’m curious what use you put such a thorough database to? I’ve owned quite a lot of books in my time, but not so many that I was regularly forgetting and rebuying books I’ve already read and enjoyed. (At least, not unintentionally – I’m in the process of converting a lot of my “yeah, I sort of like having that around” books to ebook.)

    As far as your concerns about the portability of formats, it’s definitely important to think long and hard about what ebook formats you use before buying your reader. Many readers will read open formats like epub and good ol’ txt, though. However, as long as you have a reasonable data backup solution, truly catastrophic failure is unlikely. I can re-download ebooks from many vendors, including Amazon, as long as I’ve signed into the account that bought them, and any natural disaster that destroys all my data and my backups is likely to have done serious damage to the physical books they replaced, too.

  • #165456
    Avatar of Bobbi
    Bobbi
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I recently cataloged all our books. Mine are on LibraryThing.com (125 titles). My husband’s books and all our music are in Delicious Library for the Mac (1,400 titles). I keep it in my Dropbox folder so it it backed up. Why? For insurance purposes. If there is ever a fire, flood, etc. this major replacement expense is documented for the insurance. My husband’s books are reference and work-related, very little fiction. Before reading this thread I never thought about having shelves of paperback novels. We move too often for me to tolerate that.

  • #165537
    Avatar of DebF
    DebF
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    GardenGirl, I do it manually – I’ve found that as I progressed, the database has evolved, so it gives me more control. I also find that keying the data in makes me think about links (other books by the same author for instance) that give me opportunities to look for new books. It also makes it easy for me when friends ask for recommendations – want authors who write for kids? I have a stack with a category of ‘Childrens’; want to know who writes like Kelley Armstrong, I can make some suggestions. I think there are solutions which look the data up online- if you find one, perhaps you can let us know what you thought?

    Vivace – I have a rotten memory. I read fabulous authors like Nora Roberts and Terry Pratchett, who write extensively, and while each book is different, keeping track of which ones I own, and which I read from the library and which ones I borrowed from friends but didn’t buy was meaning that I was spending a lot of money on books I already owned. That was the main driving force. It requires discipline, but it’s saved me a lot. Well that’s probably not true. It meant I spent that money on OTHER books ;-)

    I should clarify that I love e-books, but I’m concerned at the number of people who are converting to e-readers without considering the implications. Given the number of friends who have phones stolen/damaged/dropped in the toilet each month, I just wanted to ensure those people who were thinking about going that way were actually thinking, not just going with the marketing! I’m also deeply suspicious that any company (Amazon is one) which produces it’s own e-reader will eventually stop giving its consumers other options – hopefully I’ll be wrong about that!

  • #165538
    Avatar of Vivace
    Vivace
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    DebF, I definitely agree with you that an ebook reader is not for everyone. For me, it’s perfect, but the simple fact that I used to bring an “emergency book” with me in case I finished my primary book probably tells you all you need to know about my reading habits. ;) I think everyone should take a good look around before choosing an ebook reader that suits their comfort level. I love my Sony Pocket but it’s a little more hands-on than a Kindle or a Nook and I know that’s not everyone’s style.

  • #165559
    Avatar of terriok
    terriok
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Thanks, DebF!

    I have a Mac and I bought FileMaker Pro 8.0. Terrific application.

    I bought an older version as my computer is “older” and it is a lot cheaper than buying a later version.

    My idea of a good time is dreaming up and implementing databases!

  • #165984
    Avatar of paulawylma
    paulawylma
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    A few months ago, I purchased a Kindle because I had books in so many places I couldn’t find the ones I was looking for. Not all books are available yet in ebook form–apparently some publishers don’t appreciate the potential yet. Unlike some ebook owners, I have no intention of getting rid of all my DTBs (Dead Tree book). I think that keeping your Shakespeare, Milton, etc are a good idea. As well as any book that brings you tactile pleasure. books with graphs and craft and cook books are probably better in paper (though many disagree with me). But for all other reading, an ebook takes up no physical space and can be backed up and organized using Calibre (a free library program). IMHO, the ipad and other computers do not make good reading devices. To get that real book feeling you will probably want an ereader with e-ink, such as the Sony, Kindle or Nook. Plus the ipad, tablets, etc are backlight and cannot be read in sunlight–eink can be read in sunlight and is easlier on your eyes. There are pros and cons to each. BTW, I still use the public library for DTBs if I think a book is too expensive or it’s one, I probably will only read once. But I use the “sample” feature on Amazon (B&N has it for the Nook as well) to decide if I want to read it.

  • #166132
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Good lord, this post seriously *speaks* to me and I know I will re-read it many times.

    During the past couple of years I’ve had a hard time justifying buying novels, but I’ve still purchased the occasional reference book. Now it seems to have become a real trend of mine, I’m sad to say, and I need to fight the urge to start buying the latter type on a bigger scale, partly due to space issues (or real estate as someone called it above) and partly due to the emotional stress that I’d be creating for myself. While I’m trying very hard to declutter the rest of my home, I realize now the value of not slipping when it comes to my library.

    It’s not like I have to stop reading either, because I have more unread books that I care to remind myself of and then there’s the library, which I should make a detour for a bit more often. I still remember one Summer while still a pre-teen, when I didn’t have anything in particular arranged, so I read practically the whole section of interesting girls’ books during those weeks. Thanks for reminding me of this option!

    I don’t see myself becoming an ebook reader anytime soon, because I use computers and other electronical equipment so much already that “DTBs” are a luxurious option (or so it feels like to me). The trees have been killed regardless of my choice to keep a certain book versus to chuck it out, so if I like the paper version and choose to keep it, even if it takes up some space, then why not?

    Very good thread, thanks guys!

  • #176482
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    And now, seven months later, I’m researching e-readers.

    I’ve read through some old posts and have added the tag e-reader to those, which hadn’t been marked yet. If you’re interested in researching before buying, check them out via this tag. You might also want to familiarize yourself with the very good tables available at wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_readers
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats

    Finally, an interesting article on the blog (don’t miss the readers’ comments either):

    http://unclutterer.com/2008/01/08/sony-and-borders-join-e-book-forces/

  • #176496
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I had no interest in e-readers–until I was reading over someone’s shoulder on the uBahn around mid-November. Now the idea is buzzing around my head like an annoying mosquito. I swat it away sometimes, but it keeps coming back…hmmm…

  • #176502
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    DH got me a Kindle for Christmas. I immediately downloaded a book for *him* to read on it. :-) I have jury duty next week and am hoping I have to report to the courthouse so I can dig into my queue!

    I divested several hundred books last year. Just last weekend, I took two cartons of art/design/architecture books to a local specialty store and traded them for credit plus a copy of “More is More: Tony Duquette” that I have been coveting for months.

    The title, perhaps, many of us can relate to?

  • #176541
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    djk, there’s a mosquito here too! chacha1, More is More, huh? :) Well done on the purging.

    While writing my post seven months ago I didn’t use the library very often, but now I’m a proud, frequent guest again. I haven’t bought a magazine on interior decoration in a long time and I’ve borrowed some books that I thought would be nice to have, only I wanted to make sure first. One I decided to scan a couple of passages from, two I ended up buying with gift money, and two others are on my wish list. These are reference books, not novels, and I wouldn’t use them on an e-reader either, so they need to be more scrutinized as they seem more permanent to me. It is okay to want glorious pictures shown on huge spreads and to want the texture, smell, weight of a real book, but not all books are like that – and I’m released somehow.

  • #176564
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    ninakk, that’s exactly the frame of mind I’m in. A lot of those art/architecture/design books had just a few photos that I wanted to “keep” for reference and inspiration. So I hauled the books to my office a couple at a time, scanned the pages I wanted on the high-quality color scanners here, and then the books could go … away.

    And the majority of the other books I divested last year were novels I had already read and was keeping for the proverbial rainy day, but are now available on Kindle, so should I ever have the overwhelming need to read one again, I can. In the meantime, I have gained glorious space!

  • #176565
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    love love love my kindle. it goes everywhere with me!
    Got one for one of my daughters and my Dad this xmas. they love theirs too!
    so convenient, you always have something with you to read or a game to play…

  • #176568
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I love my iPad for the same reason, esp when traveling. I still read “real” books (mostly from the library or borrowed) at home, but I read a lot and taking enough books for a trip was overwhelming my luggage. I always take the iPad when going for appointments or anywhere I might have to wait (like last night when I was picking up some friends from the airport). I am happy I got one with 3G capability as the house we are renting in Hawaii does not have inernet access, and while we can easily go to a nearby coffee shop, it’s handy to be able to use it where we are.

  • #176575
    Avatar of Charity
    Charity
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    oooh good thread. I don’t want an e-reader, it just doesn’t seem right, plus I imagine my to-read list would be even bigger than the physical pile I have and hence way more expensive. It would be just too easy to spend spend spend.

    Great food for reflection. As a child/teen I couldn’t buy more than a book a
    month, if that, and as I had read practically every volume in the local library, I endlessly re-read everything my family had at home. I eveloped eclectic tastes! Now, I can buy whatever I want, and have had to learn to control the natural urge to binge and hoard (see above re e-reader). I think I’m doing well – very little of what I buy gets a permanent home, once I finally get round to reading it (I have a lot less time now, thanks to small children).

  • #176586
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I have that urge too, Charity. I satisfy it by putting books on my Amazon wish list, and not actually buying one until I’m ready to read it. It’s almost like having it waiting on my bedside table, and I don’t pay for it until just before I read it.

  • #176591
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    There are many FREE ebooks out there. You can find them at Project Gutenberg, or at Manybooks.net. I have thousands of ebooks stored on my computer; all but twenty or so were free.

    Anything pre-1923 is public domain in the US and might have been converted into an ebook (that’s what I do, as a volunteer). Project Gutenberg Australia has books that are public domain in Australia but not the US. If you buy something with a large screen, you might be able to read PDFs, and Google has millions of those, for free.

    Most of the English-language classics, like Dickens and Eliot, have already been turned into free ebooks. At Distributed Proofreaders we’re working on the less-well-known authors, some of whom shouldn’t have been forgotten! You can find some cracking good free reads.

    I’ve enjoyed boys adventure novels by Joseph Altsheler, who wrote the Young Trailers series. Young backwoodsmen on the American frontier. The author is surprisingly even-handed in his treatment of Indians/Native Americans (well, surprising for the time). Some of the noblest characters are Indians.

    Don’t refrain from buying an ereader because you think you will buy too many books. You may find that you can read all you want for nothing more than the initial cost of the reader.

  • #176594
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    I do get free books for my reader as well, but much of what I want to read does come with a cost. And since I do read a lot from the library, I don’t mind paying for some. I browse Amazon regularly for things I want to get from the library as well. I miss the part of my job (I was a library director)that gave me access to lots of book reviews, notification of all new books coming out, etc. Not that I couldn’t get it still, but it’s too expensive for a private person…..

  • #176608
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Oh WOOOOT!!! We celebrated my mom’s birthday yesterday and I told them about this e-reader thingy that I’ve been looking into. All of them went “Hrm, I could never use one of those, I like the feeling of a real book too much”, then mom “And I know from experience how annoying it is to read on the screen, my eyes hurt”, me “But there’s this thing called e-ink now, new technology and all”, then mom again “Oh okay, well my eyes still hurt”. Me thinking “Oh you old fart, you won’t even give it a shot :P”. Then mom “Well, you know, if you pass your exam in February, dad and I will buy you one if it really matters that much to you”. WHAT!? YIPPEE!!! So if you guys are interested, this is what my new baby could look like:

    http://www.bookeen.com/en/cybook/?id=2

    It’s the white Cybook Orizon by Bookeen. Gosh, I’m excited! Now I just have to focyyyz. Then I can start from the library books if finances are too strained. I just checked what they have here so far and it’s rather business focused, but there seem to be some interesting ones in between too. Not forgetting Project Gutenberg either, Zora :)

  • #176612
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Our library does e-books, I haven’t checked out their selection yet but you just log on and download the book and after a limited period it disappears off your e-reader, genius and free :) They also do e-audiobooks. I think I’m going to get a Kindle, I really hate having to print out all the papers I need to read for uni and my laptop is too bulky for taking out and about.
    I’ve begun using the library more frequently again. Last year I was so busy and kept forgetting to return books so the fines were stupid. However over Christmas I had time to read again and ds1 ran out of books to read so I’ve started going to the library again. I culled my books a lot last year, so pretty much all of ‘my’ books have been reduced to the ones I love and will re-read. I still have to put up with dh’s addiction to buying books and never ever throwing them out, but I refuse to let them take over the house more than they have already. He bought a Kindle last year and has been buying plenty of books for it, so he appears to be slowly moving to more e-books. Phew!

  • #176632
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Our library has e-audiobooks, which I use all the time. I’m sure they’re considering e-books as well, so I keep checking (this is the large library system in Anchorage – which I have access to because I take classes at the local branch of the University which is part of the same system – as our small library here could not afford it).

  • #176635
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    The e-book lending system our library uses won’t work on a Kindle – my mom uses our mailing address, and our library system, since they don’t have a permanent address, and she can’t borrow ebooks for her Kindle because Kindle doesn’t support the format.

  • #176639
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    the library that ate my apartment

    Rosa: I think there are ways to convert other file types to the Kindle one, but not the other way around unless one does it illegally (in some countries anyway). Since I don’t know what format your library books are, I can’t help immediately but I could take a look if you want. Or you can google “convert to kindle” or similar.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.