Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Cull Your Books

2018-03-17 07.43.49 1.jpgIf you’re a long-time bibliophile, chances are that you have had to cull your book collection at least once.  We hit this point on a yearly basis – usually when we’ve reached the point where piles of books have begin to breed and take over the floor space, as well as countertops, drawers and chairs. For much of this time, we’re in denial – hoping that we can somehow re-arrange our bookshelves to stop the flood of printed pages, but eventually it becomes obvious that we’ll have to force ourselves to do that most dreaded of deeds and part with a few of our precious titles.  At first, it seems impossible, but on closer inspection, maybe there is a little scope for whittling down.  These are some of the questions that we ask ourselves and hopefully they’ll help you too:

Would I reread this book?

I think this is a pretty good indication of whether you should keep a book or not. If it’s an absolute no, don’t let it take up your shelf space.

Have I read this book at all?

The to-be-read (TBR) pile is a constant in our lives, but sometimes we have books that gather dust for years.  If you still haven’t got around to picking a title up, then give yourself a deadline of say – three months to finish it.  If it still doesn’t hit the mark, then maybe it’s time to pass it on.

Do I have multiple editions?

Guilty as charged! And I’ve only just realised this while writing this blog post. The answer is obvious – unless collecting editions is your thing.

Am I only holding onto this for sentimental reasons?

Ugh! Another one which gets me every time. I keep books because they’ve been written by people who I vaguely know, or because I’ve received them as a gift – even if they didn’t completely rock my world. I know I should be more ruthless but when heart enters the equation, it’s a much more difficult decision. Do you find the same?

Would someone else I know enjoy this more?

Gifting books is a pleasure and if you haven’t read The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane, go buy or borrow it now! You may be uncertain about a title but someone else may love it so why not give it to them? That way, the book gets a good home and you make someone’s day. Win-win!

Of course, the ideal is not to get rid of any books at all, which means more bookcases or wiser purchases – both of which I hope to cover in future posts.  If you have any other tips for streamlining your collection then please share in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Build a Book Collection on a Budget

When we first met, Al and I both decided that we wanted to create a library.  It’s taken decades to reach that point, but a few years ago, we finally achieved our aim of having a room that is entirely dedicated to books.

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I estimate that we have over 2000 titles now and we’re still collecting.  We like to mix our purchases up, regularly paying full price (someone has to fund the publishing industry and bookshops!) but very often finding bargains – particularly as I’m taking a short career break to retrain at the moment. If you’re prepared to put a bit of work and time in, then you should be able to find great books without shelling out.  Here’s our top tips:

Charity shops (or thrift stores)

I’m always surprised at the amount of premium titles available.  It’s possible to pick up newly-published works for a fraction of the cost if you can spare the time to forage.  Occasionally you might even discover a first edition, although these tend to be snapped up by the retailers themselves.

Second-hand booksellers

Not always the cheapest, but good for sourcing classics at a lower price and of course, essential for building a vintage collection. We try to support indie bookshops wherever we can.

Competitions and giveaways

The bigger publishers and booksellers such as Penguin and Waterstones run competitions constantly, but you’re likely to have more success with smaller giveaways on social media. The bookstagramming community is really generous so if you haven’t joined and you love books, then I would highly recommend it (be careful not to only enter giveaways though as this makes your account look spammy!).

Reviewing

This involves a bit more work, but it’s very rewarding. I reviewed books for a website few years ago and built up a good chunk of my YA section. Look out for openings on social media, follow a couple of bookbloggers or if you’re super confident about your writing skills, apply to magazines such as Kirkus. If you want to go down this route, it’s best to start your own blog or have some samples at the ready so that you can share your work.

Gifts

For those mega-expensive treats, why not compile a gift list for family and friends? We collect Folio Society editions but tend to save these buys for birthdays and Christmas. Patience required but it’s worth the wait!

Do you have any tips that you can share in the comments below?