Too Many Books?

We know there's no such thing as too many books...but sometimes there is such a thing as too many in one place.  The bookshelves are groaning, the tables are covered, and putting away your latest haul of fantastic reads is starting to feel like a game of Tetris.  It's not a problem, per se, but it might be occasionally problematic.  So what do you do when books start taking over your space?  We asked our booksellers for their expert opinions.

Sharon:  My previous response to this "problem" was to have Sandi's [a fellow bookseller's] husband build me more shelves (they are sturdy and lovely, the best!).  But now that I've sort of embarked on The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, I need another solution.  Garage sale?  I stock the neighborhood Little Free Library boxes with some of my discards.  I'll probably always keep my favorite authors, and books written by friends.

Kajetan:  Aside from a few absolute favorites, I try to recommend the books I've read to friends.  That way there will be room on my shelf for something new, the book is being actively read as opposed to collecting dust, and I can discuss the book with someone who I know will be as passionate as I am.

Sandi:  As I've gotten older, my tendency now is to read books and then give them away to friends or resale shops, etc.  I just don't have space in my house to store them and honestly, life is so short and there are so many books to read that I really don't re-read many books.  Those that I do keep tend to be classics, some nonfiction or those written by friends locally. 

Anthony: I collect books for their aesthetic value as much as I do for readability.  They're part of the decor in almsot every room and I will buy new furniture to store more books.  Everything is a bookshelf if you put books on it.

Andrew:  I second Anthony's opinon.

Kendall:  Honestly, in my humble opinion, there's no such thing as "too many books."  I'll let them pile up, put stacks on my already full shelves, and use the space under tables for storage.  It does help that I'm not too precious with my books and will happily lend (most) copies out to my friends and family.  Even if it means I won't always get them back.

Jodie:  I'm sorry, what was the question?  I couldn't hear you from inside my Fortress of Bookitude.

Rachel:  I just recently moved into a new home--which has a library!  I'll think about "too many books" once I've filled it up...maybe.  There are always more rooms.

Erin:  The last time I needed to think about this was when I moved into a small apartment.  I went with the Marie Kondo "What sparks joy?" method.  Now most books I have are either reference, sentimental, signed, or part of a collection.  I do a lot of borrowing from friends or the library just for practicality's sake, plus I can sometimes use my classroom for "storage" depending on the book.



Of course, the only reason for clearing out some of those older copies is so there's room for something new.  If you're looking for your next brilliant read, check out the books these booksellers are loving right now:

Browse Staff Picks