Books In, Books Out

Me, acquiring too many books in a place overflowing with books.

Recently, Kim talked about her summer book buying ban and it motivated me to think about my own book situation. For a long time, I’ve been concerned about the number of books I’m bringing into the house compared to the number of books that are leaving the house. I also know, though, that I can’t quite commit to a book buying or book acquiring ban. What to do?

Once I read a book, I typically let it go. Whether it’s through a book swap with fellow bloggers, coworkers, or my book club. We also have a free book bin at work and I have been known to throw a few titles in there. Nicer books that I can’t think of a good reader for are sold on I only keep titles that I think I will reread again, that I want to lend to people, or that I want to  display.

As I said, I know I’m not strong enough for an out and out book buying ban. If I put too many restrictions on my reading, I get bored. (See: why the TBR Double Dare failed in 2012.) But I have to be able to quell the incoming books somehow.

I’ve decided that for every book in, a book must go out. For every book in I’ll receive a negative point. For every book out, I’ll receive a positive point. I must always be at 0 or a surplus. This includes library books AND book club books. Out means a book is gone, never to return. Given away, sold, or donated.

I’m going to start at 0, because let’s face it. If I didn’t, this would be a losing battle. I want this to be successful. I want to actually read the books I have. What’s the point of buying books if I’m not going to read them? Yes, I like seeing a stocked shelf as much as the next reader, but my book situation is scary.

When I moved from my mom’s house, I didn’t bring 1/4 of my books. They’re all sitting in my childhood bedroom, stocked away in boxes. I don’t even know what’s in them. I decided that I would read the books I moved with me and then slowly move more to my apartment as I needed them.

Except… well. That’s not what happened. I just bought and acquired more books here. Until the collection at my apartment doubled. Possibly, embarrassingly, tripled.

So, let it be a mantra. Books in, books out. Books in? Gotta read a book and get it out.

I think I can do that.


11 thoughts on “Books In, Books Out

  1. Good luck, Lu!!!! Sounds like a pretty healthy plan…but wow, are you being hard on yourself–I’d totally let library books count as freebies. Though I do see how that would sort of defeat the plan of getting your own books read. 😛

  2. “Books in, books out.” again…
    BEST of luck! I did find a really nice bookseller that I should remember to take those nicer books to and maybe make a dollar to two but I fear I would end up trading. I dropped off some books at our local book swap coffee house and didn’t even try to redeem. YAY for me.

  3. Good luck, Lu! I’ve decided to start a book buying/library borrowing ban in October since my shelves are stuffed with books and more are lying on the floor. You can do it!

  4. This is a great idea — good luck!

    I have limited shelf space at my apartment, so anytime my shelves get tight I go through and pull out enough to create at least half a shelf of empty space. Then I donate those books and watch the shelf fill up again over the next few months. I also have been forcing myself to use the library more, which has helped me keep my TBR small.

  5. Good plan! I’m trying to think of what my rules might be, since I want to keep working on some sort of system to try to cut back on book acquisitions/savings. I don’t think I will be counting library books at all, and just focus on reading and trading out books I acquire.

  6. I love this idea! Anything that turns book acqusition and disposal into a game is just fine by me. I ought to adopt something similar, since my own TBR list has exploded since I got back to Canada. It’s about time I dealt with it and pared down my keepr shelves to boot.

  7. Good luck, Lu! I’m never banning myself from bringing books in but I definitely vowed this year to bring so much less. So far, doing good. I’ve actually managed to just buy a few, but then my reading has slowed considerably, too, so nothing’s changed. I hope, by getting back into the groove of blogging that I’d get to read more again.

    1. I just still have so many books in storage, that I really need to curb bringing things in and also clear out the shelves I do have filled in my apartment. It’s hard though! I’m so glad to see you blogging again!

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