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What’s Your Bookshelf Strategy?

Do you have a bookshelf strategy?

Like, what goes in your bookcase? And do you organize it any certain way?

Do you opt for the showcase books? Maybe hard covers you’ve never read.

Does your bookcase only represent books you’ve read?

Is it hardcover only, or is it filled with a mix of hardcover and paperback?

We have a large book case in our living room, and my wife has a lot of creative control on that one. So it’s all hardbacks, a mix of read and unread, with a bunch of decorative stuff scattered around as well.

In my “man room” I have a smaller bookcase that contains almost all books that I’ve read. Over in the corner, I have every single novel I’ve read from the Time list to this point. When I’m finished, I plan on putting them into one single bookshelf on their own.

Our bookshelf strategy is pretty basic. Honestly, I’m not particular about how the books are aligned and ordered and whether or not it’s hardbacks only. I mostly don’t care.

But I know it’s a big deal for some readers, so that’s why I ask:

What’s your bookshelf strategy?

Check out our previous Monday Questions. 

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60 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brandon #

    I currently opt for the pile-on-every-horizontal-surface approach. When I get a house with a library, I’ll organize by subject matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  2. Right now my strategy is finding someone to get me another bookshelf for Christmas 🙂 I have books stacked upon books, books where they shouldn’t be, and books still in bags because I have no where to put them…I have a 5 shelf and 3 shelf bookcase in my bedroom jam-packed with books. It is in desperate need of organization!

    Liked by 2 people

    November 24, 2014
  3. I’m with Brandon. Though I’m primarily moving to an electronic format which avoids the need for extensive woodwork and dusting.

    Liked by 2 people

    November 24, 2014
  4. ShenYiQing #

    All my books are crammed onto my shelf but in a very particular order! One section for kids books, one for teen fiction, one for fiction, one for non-fiction. And all in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Not that I’m obsessive or anything….but I love ordering my books 😀

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  5. yes

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  6. Ulysses

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  7. My books are organized by height – as in how high I can stack them.

    Liked by 2 people

    November 24, 2014
  8. I change my bookshelf strategy every week. I get bored really easily haha. I always start off with the typical strategy: bigger and heavier books on the bottom, lighter and smaller ones stay on top.

    After a while I change to use bookends and categorise all my books in alphabetical order. And sometimes I put them in separate categories like sic-fi, young adult, biography, etc.

    Or sometimes I let them lie around my room in no organised order.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  9. I’ve got a huge unit in my living room and yes I’ve read all the books in it at least once. There’s a mix of everything hardback, paperback, classics, epic fantasy, pagan literature, you name it. Generally, I group all books by the same author togather. I have two ‘favourite books of all time’ bookshelves where I keep my favourites like LOTR and Neil Gaiman, as well as two bookshelves full of Penguin classics. Apart from grouping them by author I also generally group them by theme, that is, ‘Celtic fantasy’ goes near ‘Paganism’, all vampire books are on the same shelf as are all haunting/ghost books etc 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    November 24, 2014
  10. Mine are organised by subject matter, mixed paper and hardback. I have a section for half-finished and to be read books . My books are double stacked, with older books and self help books discreetly placed in the rear. I have books I am proud of at eye level. That’s my ideal categorisation although I am not obsessive about the positioning and have a sort out periodically to get it how I like it

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  11. Cram, stack, stand and hide as many books as possible without collapsing the shelves. Acquire more shelves!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  12. I have two five shelf bookcases that flank my dresser in the bedroom. They are filled with paperbacks; one bookshelf holds TBR’s and the other with already read books. I arrange them alphabetically by author. I don’t keep every book I read. Some (many) are taken to the half price used bookstore and recycled. (Those with arthritis will understand that hardbacks are too heavy to hold so I read only paperbacks and e-reader books.)

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  13. My bookshelf strategy changes periodically. I have two bookshelves in my room and two downstairs. The books I intend to read or really love stay in my room, apart from some very bulky, old or expensive hardbacks that go downstairs in a glass cabinet (protected from the sun in there)
    Then I have hardbacks that can fit in my room on the top shelf of the big bookcase… then small paperbacks are stacked on top of one another down the left hand side of the shelf. Normal sized paperbacks are sort of grouped by author. Books I’m not keen on tend to be delegated to the bottom shelf.
    Then the little one has all my history and war books on it and some other books that didn’t fit anywhere else.
    The ones downstairs just kind of get flung in no particular order, waiting for me to decide whether to keep them or donate them to charity!
    Phew! My habits seem a lot more anal when I write them down…

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  14. My kindle ebooks are in collections. My physical books are in books I will read next. There are a lot of those. And ones that I won’t. Guess you can guess which group I usually pull a book from.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  15. I tend to get pulled into series so I arrange my bookshelf by series and genre. However my bookshelf is small and I’ve started adapting the horizontal piling on method. I also tend to have a little OCD with certain things, my books being one so since my bookshelf is beyond full, I’ve opted to stacking them under my table to avoid an eye sore.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  16. It’s so funny you blogged about this today! I bought a new bedside table which allowed me to shift some of my books so I did some basic organizing of them as it was getting out of control but this is what it looks like: My to keep and treasure books are on one shelf of a four shelf bookshelf and by my bed. The rest is just a hodgepodge mix of tallest to shortest and crammed in every which way. The only real thing to note is I have a teetering stack of “quick reads” that if I put my mind to it I could probably read the entire stack in under a month (20+ books).

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  17. K. #

    I opt for irony. Before I got rid of both books (they weren’t my favorites), I put an Ann Coulter next to a Michael Moore…just to see if the bookshelf would explode.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
    • Wow. Quite a bipartisan bookshelf you have there.

      Like

      November 25, 2014
  18. Susan #

    I have 3 large bookshelves in the family room. Cookbooks and cooking magazines are on 3 shelves closest to the nearby kitchen. Anthologies are next, alpha first by author and then by title. Fiction, ditto. I don’t sort by genre and enjoy having the Bronte sisters next to Marion Zimmer Bradley and Alexandre Dumas next to Charles de Lint (take that, literature snobs).

    Non-fiction books are sorted by topic and then alpha by title, rather than author – I seem to remember titles more easily than authors when it comes to non-fiction.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  19. Mine are organized loosely into Canadian, all other fiction, non-fiction, kids. Read and unread are mixed, hardcover and paperbacks are mixed. My biggest project right now is to find more space for the ones under my bed and piled up against the walls. 🙂

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  20. I only have a four-tier shelf, so I arrange them by size, color, and genre. I try to keep as many of the classics, fantasy, and nonfiction together as I can.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  21. Perfectly timed! I just set up my bookshelf in my new home, sadly tiny at this point.

    All comic books and graphic novels together, alphabetical by author, and within that alphabetical by book or series name.

    Other books, its a mix of hard cover and paperback, arranged in alphabetical order.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  22. When I got my kindle several years back, I purged a TON of my books – which was good since I’ve moved about 5 times since then. But lately, I’ve been wanting to read a mix of kindle and physical books, so have been accumulating books again slowly. Again, aptly timed since I now live in my permanent (for at least the next 20 years) home and have lots of space as well as built-in bookshelves. So, in the built-ins I have my nice books that I have always kept, as well as books I have read. Then, I have a shelf incorporated into my bedside table where all of my “to-be-read” books live, and once they’ve been read they get the “upgrade.” All books are arranged in a way that is visually appealing to me.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  23. My bookshelves in the office area were arranged by fiction and nonfiction with a mix of paperback and hardback. They were also organized by books that I teach and books that I read for myself, in alphabetical order by author. However, these shelves are no longer organized in such a way. I recently put together new shelves in the living room and some of my books have been moved to that room for both display and accessibility purposes. Most of my “to-read” books also go into a separate pile…usually on my coffee table or nightstand so that they are always within reach for when I finish one book and move on to the next.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  24. Rococopay #

    I used to have it organized by genre, but now my little girl likes to constantly take books off the shelf, so as for now it is a complete jumble.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  25. Ha, no strategy here. I just pile books wherever there is space. Works for me.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  26. Denise #

    Good question! I started my arrangement by subject and then author all nice and orderly, but over time and as I gather more and more books, they’ve started to become double stacked and piled horizontally in front of the original orderly set up. Now it’s a vague area of subject and not so much by author anymore. I have this fantastic idea that when I get a place where I can devote one whole room to library, I’ll shelve by subject like Powell’s Books does in Portland. Each shelf will have a name like The Blue Room (fiction), and son on. How’s that for book nerdishness! 🙂 I also only buy paperback and used copy. I sell back any hardback I acquire and keep things cheap and light that way. Still…too many books. I could definitely use a clean out.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  27. I have a dozen creaky, heavily laden bookshelves and an ereader with just under 70 books on it. Whatever strategy I am using is not effective evidently! 🙂

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  28. We have beautiful built-in, leaded-glass bookshelves downstairs. That’s where the beautiful hardbacks go. I have my cherished set of Jane Austen novels on the mantelpiece. I keep a double stack on the low shelf in my room upstairs, and also a small bookcase in the computer room down the hall of favorites that I read over and over. I keep my Lord Peter books together, Miss Manners books together, early 20th century novels together. Books that I want to read again but not urgently are relegated to our third floor. You can tell which are my best-loved books by where you find them in our house!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  29. I don’t have a physical bookshelf any more. I store all my books in my iPad and Tablet, on my ibooks, google playbooks and scribd accounts.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  30. I’m obsessed with organisation so my books are set by writer. I prefer paperback b but I have a few hardcover that were offered to me. My house is like a public library 😅I have around a thousand books. I didn’t read them all yet but most yes

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  31. I gave up on a strategy long ago. There are books here, there, everywhere. If I’m ambitious, I try to keep the ones I haven’t read yet from those I have.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  32. youngatheartbookclub #

    Right now it’s a “cram in every book I can” strategy… without hurting the book of course haha. Eventually I want to come up with some kind of organizational strategy though! Maybe by genre and author.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  33. Sam #

    I’m neurotic about it. I have one shelf that’s all the books my husband or I have read or have no intention of reading anytime soon plus series that we may or may not have finished, all in alphabetical order by title EXCEPT my books on the Titanic, all filed under ‘Titanic’ regardless of author. I put the Bibles here as well, filed under ‘God’ as the author.
    Then I have a second shelf that has all my autographed books along with all the books I want to read in the order I want to read them. When a ‘not read’ book is finished, it gets to go on the bigger shelf. I almost need a new second shelf. Yikes!

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  34. Similar to bookstores, I try to keep short story collections, poetry, science, literary theory/essays, philosophy, biography, science fiction, classics, travel, fiction, books on writing, etc. in separate categories. My son and husband feel no such compulsion, so their books are shelved willy nilly. I asked my blogging friends to take “shelfies” of their collections for my blog so that I could ogle other peoples’ shelves. The links to the shelfies can be found at this post: http://jilannehoffmann.com/2013/06/15/revealing-my-boo-ks-some-of-them/

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2014
  35. Mom #

    Crazy is as Crazy does…I have a whole shelf devoted to titles that I’ve bought second hand just because I thought they were so flippin hilarious. No one ever notices this shelf…or maybe they do and they’re too disturbed by it, so they politely over look it :).
    I don’t think I’ve ever made it past the 1st page or two of any of them, but the titles really make me laugh

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  36. Right now I have all my fiction books in alphabetical order. I’ve read most of them, but there’s a few to reads in there too. I’m running out of room so some of them are stacked horizontally, but that’s not a decorative choice! If I had more space, I would like to keep all my to read books on a separate shelf too. I then have all my nonfiction books on the bottom shelf. I don’t have so many, and some are massive and some are tiny, so I order these by size to keep it looking neat.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  37. I don’t know how people DON’T have an organizational strategy. How else will they find anything easily? Maybe this is my anal-retentiveness talking.

    I organize by genre, then alphabetical by author. I believe I have about 12 genres. I have so many books that they take up my entire 6’x6′ bookcase stacked two rows deep, and no, there’s barely an inch of space available. When I get new books, I have to re-arrange to fit them all. And that’s not including any of my academic books from college and grad school. They’re stored in airtight boxes under my bed and in my parents’ basement, since I have so many of them.

    If I ever feel REALLY motivated, I’ll make an electronic version of all my books so I can carry it around with me.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  38. 21st century English language in the reception hall, Greek and Latin bathrooms 2&3, science and philosophy in the drawing room, a discreet collection of erotica, prints, toys and dvds in the greenhouse.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  39. I arrange them according to Height. I separate the unread ones or those I haven’t finished reading, where I could instantly see them so I won’t forget–arranged by color.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  40. Reblogged this on Vintage Lady.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  41. My plan of attack used to be thus: Genre, Author, Series, Alphabet. Now that I have so many books on my kindle ebook app. Now I have no way to organize, and it’s driving me crazy! Any suggestions?

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  42. I don’t really have one. I have very limited space so the books have to stay where they fit (vertical, horizontal or something in between). 🙂

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  43. My books are shelved alphabetically by the authors’ last names, both read and unread. The books piled on the floor in various rooms are in no way organized. Heh.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  44. I have a special bookshelf in my room with all of my favourite books on it, that I like to gaze lovingly at all the time. Then a couple of other shelves scattered around the house that are in no order whatsoever!

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  45. sitanaik #

    I have those I want to read in my bedroom – and this was growing all the time till recently. Now I am forcing myself to but on Kindle – at least some of them. And then I have a book cupboard in my study and open shelving in the living area – arranged mostly by genre (religion, philosophy, history, biography, science etc.. and of course fiction in American, English, Indian writing in English, Indian language …… anyway a lot of books – bound and paperback all together!!

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  46. I take out a great number of books from the public library, and those are in the bedroom, being read or waiting for their turn. The books I own are either books I definitely want to read again, books I want to be able to lend out, or books I just know I’ll never find again if I let them go.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  47. Bookshelf? Really? I buy or download digital books only, unless it’s in another language than English and it’s unavailable in e-form. Kindle and UB Reader do the rest. Organized and dust free!

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  48. Chaos is my bookshelf strategy. If I find myself lining up the penguin classics next to each I know there’s something that I really don’t want to be doing.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  49. My bookshelf used to have an order. Mine were in order by what they were. Old text books on one shelf, philosophy books on another, spiritual books on a third, novels on the rest. I had space on my dresser and desk for books I was in the process of using/reading. Then I moved…and now my books are kind of haphazardly placed on the shelf.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  50. Reblogged this on The Private Practice Consultant and commented:
    I personally like to showcase all of my books (mostly because I will take them out and read passages, chapters, and even cover to cover on occasion). I also make sure I am fully stocked with audiobooks (for commuting), e-books and other materials when travelling. Great source of inspiration!

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  51. I have no strategy. It’s a bookshelf and it holds books. The end.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  52. Right now I’m in the process of buying a bookcase because my shelf is full. I combine both hard cover and papers backs but I usually put them in size order. Just so that it all fits well and is organized.

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  53. I put them in my shelf sorted by size. 😉

    Like

    November 26, 2014
  54. Shandon #

    I am so particular about my bookshelves, but I am the only person that can see the rhyme and reason behind my shelves. It makes perfect sense when I look at them- the books I recommend the most to people at eye-level, trying to keep authors together, all sizes and kinda-sorta by genre. All of my biographies are together, for instance.

    Organizing your bookshelves in order to easily find any book you could be looking for is key, I think.

    Like

    November 27, 2014
  55. Reblogged this on Claudia Vrabie and commented:
    Thats a great question!Thanks:)

    Like

    December 2, 2014
  56. Kindle is my book shelf

    Like

    December 7, 2014

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