Simplifying vs Collecting

Today I want to talk about how we build our libraries. I’m pretty sure every reader ever fell in love at first site when we saw Belle’s library in Beauty and The Beast. Her collection is # goals.


Christmas is just around the corner and most book lovers have a long list of books they want; myself included. I cannot wait for the new books I’ll be adding to my collection.


Now to the point of this blog,  earlier this year I counted my books, including Manga, Christian Non Fiction, and Graphics. I had about 400 books with 300ish of them unread. That’s 75% of books that were unread and unloved.

So I started considering my books. By this I mean I started thinking about  what I own, my library goals, and the books I own that I want to read. There are books on my bookshelf that I’ve tried reading and couldn’t get into. Do I get rid of them? There are books on my TBR that I’ve tried reading multiple times and couldn’t get into. Do I keep them? I feel like I know a quite a few in the book community who collect books. They buy books that they’ve never read the blurb for or know they won’t read because they lend out their library.

There was also this book that became popular about simplifying your stuff. The life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I know that growing up we sold most of our books back to McKay’s. I only needed one tiny shelf and everything on it was a TBR book. My mom still does this to an extent. She has a few precious books but she gives back almost everything else.

I do not lend out my library due to what I call “The Perks of Being A Wallflower Incident.” Also, I damage my books enough with adding the possibility of OTHER PEOPLE spilling drinks, breaking the spine, or ripping a page. Just Saying.  And tidying up, I think, would devastate me. Like my Harry Potter series. Those books are my tweens. I started in 5th grade when the 2nd one came out and never stopped. Or my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, my favorite book. So what to do?

I realized that for me personally, I wanted the books on my self to either still hold possibility for my reading pleasure or mean something to me. So I started by unhauling a ton of books. I gave away books I’d read that I didn’t care for and weren’t super gorgeous. Heck I gave away some that were my aesthetic. But I needed to make my collection MINE. I also decided that for my TBR if I couldn’t say that I’d be sad if I never read this book then it came off my TBR. If I’d tried reading it then I considered whether it was worth a second try. I do still have a trilogy or two that I didn’t love but I have the completed trilogy so I want to display it. I also have a couple  copies because the books mean something to me.

Finally I started doing this thing. See, I’ve been using my library regularly since I was a kid. When I moved to Austin it was one of my great excitements to have such an expansive system at my reach. And I’d realized during my personal library inventory that when I book shopped I would buy an entire series/trilogy that way I wouldn’t have to wait for the next book in line. But there were more than a few series I was giving away that I hadn’t enjoyed. So I started making myself read the first book in the series from the Austin library. This way I know if I really enjoy the book or not. No wasted money. It’s actually worked out well for me. And I AM going back and purchasing books that I loved. This way the author receives royalties twice. Wait… authors get money when you check out their library books? Yes sorta. The library is paying the publisher to use their books. Even when I check out 8 books, DNF 4, and only loved 2 each of these authors is getting a paycheck.

Now my TBR is down to 161. That’s 52%. Since it includes Manga and a few short nonfiction books I’m not too worried. I’ll talk more about how I want to deal with this percentage in another post. But I guess today I just wanted to ask you guys how you do your library. Are you a minimalist? Are you a collector. Is there a way that you limit yourself? How to you do your TBR? Talk to me in the comments about your collection and TBR.

I hope you’re having a lovely week!

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10 thoughts on “Simplifying vs Collecting

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    Wow I wonder if libraries work like in my country?! I’ve never heard of that before! But YES I use my local library A LOT and I’ve been tracking my reading stats for 2016 and I’m excited to calculate them and see how many books I’ve read that I’ve libraried. :’) I also don’t mind collecting lots of books I don’t “adore” because I just love being surrounded by books! I plan to live in a house with bookshelves on ALL THE WALLS someday…so I don’t really ever get rid of books hahah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sydneysshelves says:

      Girl I totally understand that desire to be surrounded by books. I went for a while where I kept EVERYTHING. But I’m in an apartment currently with less room… Maybe when we rent a house next year I’ll be able to expand. then I can display cupcakes on my shelves too. 🙂


  2. dreamingthroughliterature says:

    I’m a total collector, but only of books that I like or rare books. I have a few books from the late 1800s and quite a few c. 1950 and earlier that I love having even if I don’t necessarily plan to read them.
    But, I love having lots of pretty books on my shelves, new and used, to the point where each shelf looks almost too cluttered, but not quite. I also am a sucker for multiple editions of my favorites. I just received another copy of Alice in Wonderland for Christmas, bumping my total up to 4 copies and also just bought the 50th edition of The Outsiders, which bumps that up to 3 copies owned. I’m kind of ridiculous.
    However, if I don’t enjoy a book, I won’t keep it. Anything I don’t like gets sold to the used bookstore I frequent for a few extra bucks to spend on new books that have new potential to be loved by me. I buy most of my books used (from used bookstores or thrift stores), so it’s easy and fairly cheap to find rare books and awesome editions to fill my shelves with!
    My TBR on the other hand is a total mess. I pretty much just keep track of it on Goodreads, and I currently have over 1,000 books on that list. I just want to read everything, haha.
    Such a great post. Really enjoyed reading it! Glad you posted about this topic 😀 I don’t see it around too often.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. dreamingthroughliterature says:

        It’s so hard to take books off and so easy to add them on, ahah. That’s how I feel, especially being a part of the internet book community. I’m always coming across books I want to read :O

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Briana says:

    I own a lot of books, but I don’t necessarily *buy* as many books as people think, definitely not full price. A lot were very cheap at library book sales, and I do like to be discriminating about spending money on new hardcovers and such.

    Simplifying my library hit home for me when I moved across the country. I kept a lot of books (I’ve acquired a lot since), but moving hundreds of books is not cheap or easy. I probably gave like 200 away. I’ve become much better since then about making serious decisions about whether I even LIKE the book. So much of bookworm cred seems to be built on just “having books,” but what’s the point of keeping something I read once, will never read again, will never recommend to my friends, didn’t like, and have no sentimental attachment to?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sydneysshelves says:

      Exactly. I think this is why so many of my books are unread. Because if I didn’t like them or think I’d want to look thru them again one day … I gave them away. They are no longer on my shelves. I want my library to mean something. It’s also why I TRY and read stuff at the library first to see if I’ll like the series before purchasing. So I make purchases of already read books.


      1. Briana says:

        Ah, same! People always come in my apartment like, “Have you read all of these?” and it’s so tempting to respond, “No, but I’ve read hundreds of books I don’t own!” :p

        Liked by 1 person

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