Every bookworm has a dream to have an expansive and aesthetic library like the one in Beauty and the Beast. I mean that’s why we watch the movie, to drool over that library, right?
Ahem, my point is, libraries are a haven. And what better to have a personal library with cosy nooks and a secret door or two? Okay, a girl can dream. In reality, I’ll be lucky to afford wall sized bookshelves in my future house.
Either way, I’ve already started collecting books for my future dream library. No mom, it’s not hoarding! But as many of you know, I’m just a broke college student. Even though I get some generous gifts and review copies and arcs, I have to be very careful as to what books to buy and then which ones to discard over time. So today I decided to talk about my thought processes behind building my little library 🙂
Building My Personal Library: How Do I Decide Which Books to Buy and Discard?
What I currently call my little library is actually three little shelves in my desk crammed with books. I think I own about a hundred books and I’m so freaking proud of my collection. Sometimes I find myself wondering about the future of these books which gather dust in my shelves for the most part. I hate that a lot of them aren’t being read or re-read on a regular basis, which is why it’s very important for me to justify the books I own.
MY BOOK BUYING HABITS
I rarely buy books. Last year I recorded and severely restrained my book purchases and only ended up buying about 12 books. In general, I’m a puddle of anxiety and I’m always anxious about buying books as I wonder whether I’ll love them or if I’m buying at the cheapest prices possible.
I almost never purchase new releases or pre-order books. Maybe that makes me a terrible reader for not supporting authors but I honestly can’t afford it. I’ve made some exceptions for authors I absolutely adore and idolize or pre-orders and releases that are reasonably priced through Indian sellers cause god knows ordering on sites like Blackwell means I’ll be shelling dollars that I don’t own. One dollar is about 72 rupees so yeah, my parents would kill me if I spend that much on a book.
I usually wait out until the prices go down or listen to books on Storytel since it has a very reasonable subscription. Honestly, Storytel is a boon because I’m able to read so many more new releases! I consider those reads as books I bought in my spreadsheets because technically I’m paying for the subscription, right?
Even with back-list books, I snoop around to check prices absolutely everywhere and repeatedly ask myself if I need that book. I buy more books that I’ve read and loved because I want to either re-read those books in the future or lend them out to others.
But there are times when I may accidentally forego these rules, especially if I’m at a book sale like the times where you can buy books by weight. I’ve made some pretty bad choices in those times…
BOOKS THAT I DISCARD
I try to go through my books frequently and analyse them. There are some books that are just your favourite or very close to your heart so of course there’s no question you’re keeping them. But what about the rest?
My usual criteria is going through questions like how much do I remember and reminisce about this book? Would I ever re-read it? Would I really want other people to read this book and then discuss it with them? Because sometimes I may not love a book but like it enough to keep it around so that I can make others read it. I don’t know if that makes sense though, but it works for me. For example, I don’t love When Dimple Met Rishi, I just like it. But I’ve lent it to some friends who were getting into reading and they adored it. I had so many fun conversations with them about it!
It’s always harder for me to sort through mystery and thrillers because once I’ve read the plot twist and the reveal, re-reading the book might not have as much of an allure. That’s where my question about would I like to lend this book to others plays an important role. I also end up discarding books by problematic authors or books that might have major problematic elements. For example, I recently cleared out my Rainbow Rowell collection which was kind of heart-breaking. I adored her books, and I still have nostalgia surrounding her works but I’m moving on to better books. I feel like the author has been given enough chances that she refuses to take.
And that’s about it! Of course, I get some occasional review copies and giveaway wins and have amazing, generous friends who buy me gifts. Really don’t know where I would be without them. Over the past year I’ve also been going out of my way to make my shelves more diverse in terms of representation. A lot of books available to me tend to be white so yes, it’s about making a conscious effort to pick and choose my books. But as of now, I’m extremely satisfied and happy with my books, no matter how much my mom gawks at them.
Hopefully, one day I can build a small library filled with books that I love and lend them out to people. But of course everyone will have to go through a long checklist to be approved because my books are preciously curated gems 🙂
How do you organise or sort through your bookshelves?
What are your book buying rules and habits?
And what does your dream library look like? Do you already have it?