Friday, October 23, 2009

I Blame Paperback Swap!

Week after week in my Mailbox Monday posts, I tell you how many books come into the house and how many go out. Paperback Swap is the major reason for both the arrivals and the departures. To date, you've only seen my TBR shelves that are bursting at the seams. Those photos were shared during Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Since you haven't seen the shelves in my library, you have no real idea of the effect Paperback Swap has had on that particular room. I thought I would dig up Before and After photos to show you just what has happened to my library shelves since joining.

[I'll warn you that most of the Before photos were taken during the 2007 holiday season, so pardon the decorations. Most bookaholics can ignore fripperies and focus on the books, so I don't think I'll throw too many of you into It's Too Soon to See That!!! Syndrome. Also...don't forget that you can click on each photo to view it full size.]

FAR LEFT: The bookcase on the far left holds non-fiction, and you can see that I haven't parted with very much on those shelves. The bookcase on the right is the beginning of my fiction shelves, authors A to B to be precise. It's not exactly stuffed, however....

LEFT: Look at the difference now! There are some major gaps on those shelves, aren't there?

FAR LEFT: The bookcase with the motorcycle helmet on top is Fiction, Authors C-D. There's a shoji-type screen in the corner and the books continue on in the next bookcase.

LEFT: You can see some gaps on the shelves of the first bookcase, but you can tell that I haven't really gone through the books on the next one, can't you?

FAR LEFT: In this group of photos, the major thing to look at is the row of books on top of the 3-shelf bookcases. Full up, aren't they?

LEFT: In this photo, you can see that the top row has been reduced by half (I ain't gettin' rid of my Jasper Ffordes and F. Scott Fitzgeralds!) and there are major gaps in the shelves below.

FAR LEFT: Get a load of that top shelf now! Compared to the Before photo, there's scarcely a book up there, and I'd like to keep it that way. Most of the books in the bookcase units are leaning in one direction or another, too.

LEFT: Just thought I'd show you more gaps. That third shelf holds Harry Potter, and I don't think he's going anywhere either!

Hopefully you can see the success I've had with Paperback Swap now that you've been able to take a look at Before and After. I do have bulging TBR shelves, and the fiction that I do have is being pared down to my all-time favorite books-- the books I would re-read when I feel so inclined. The other books have been traded via Paperback Swap, or they've been donated to places where they are needed and will be read and appreciated.

You haven't seen all of my bookcases, by the way. There are nine more. Big ones. I would like to be able to condense all my books so that they would fit into the library. We shall see if I can make that come true.

If any of you would like more info or tips on using Paperback Swap, please ask. And don't forget: these are the shelves of someone who had been a dedicated book hoarder for decades! I need a strong presence of books about me to feel truly comfortable and at home. I've parted with close to one thousand books, and I'm not even close to breaking out in hives.


  1. I am impressed Cathy. I'm trying to do the same thing - only keep the books I love and can see myself reading again one day which is very few. I'm finding it hard to find homes for my books (I will happily donate but not that many places here will take them and bookswapping sites cost a fortune as most of the members are outside Australia and we have ridiculous postage charges) but I'll get there eventually. I aim to get down to a single six-shelf book case within a couple of years (which would be about 20% of what I currently have).

  2. I am very impressed with your ability to let go of some of those treasures. I simply must check out Paperback Swap :)

    But I think I am even more impressed with all those lovely bookcases! I think I could spend all my days in a library like that.

  3. I agree with Molly! Those are *great* bookshelves! Good for you to try to pare down your supply of books. I still have a couple of boxes of books that won't fit on the bookshelves..

  4. wow, your bookcases are to die for. I would never leave that room!

  5. Can I live in your library? I come with a husband, two cats and a dog, but they're quiet!

  6. I am also impressed! I do realize, though, that soon I will have to begin getting rid of the books I don´t love. My problem is that I love most of them, and that the ones I don´t love won´t be loved by many other readers either :D

  7. WOW...that's a lot of books. I like that you have them all in one location. I too love PBS and blame loads of my books on them as well :)

  8. :) So far, I have been able to get rid of books that I'm not going to re-read, but have managed to order just as many new books to read. Hubby is starting to get scared of my large TBR pile.

  9. Very impressive! I need to start doing that!

  10. lol and I thought I was bad with all the books I have. Wow, that is a load of books. I love it! I wish I had all those bookshelves.

  11. When I saw your title in my Reader I thought you were blaming PBS for adding to your book collection. I hadn't looked at it from the opposite point of view. I see this as a great advantage to using PBS. Congratulations on doing such a good job.

  12. Can I also move into that room? Loved to have a look at your books (and wish I was able to do paperback swap, but like Bernadette, postage is ridiculous from Denmark).

  13. Cathy -
    I love seeing stuff like this it is so fun.....also very impressive and nine more. I would be interested in knowing how you have them organized?
    You stated by read and tbr shelves but within that by genre, author, alphabetically?

    I just joined Paper back swap the other day but have not had time to look at it in depth. Do you have a screen name so I can link with your list?
    Thanks :)

  14. When my bookshelf started running over, I joined Bookmooch. So far I've given away almost three hundred books. The bad thing is I've mooched almost as many as I've given away. So the book shelf is still packed. But it is fun sending and receiving books from all over.

  15. Bernadette-- Good luck with your endeavor. It certainly sounds as though you're having a much more difficult time than I. I don't want to purge mine quite as drastically. If I did, I'd have to find someplace to unload all my bookcases!

    Molly-- I'm definitely in my comfort zone when I'm in there!

    Margot K-- I was at the point of the dreaded piles on the floor and knew I had to do something.

    Kaye-- There's an added bonus: a bathroom right off the library, and the kitchen's close by, too!

    Kate-- Y'all may be quiet, but it sounds as though Denis and I may have a problem walking through to get to work! LOL

    Dorte-- There's always a person for each book. It can just be a bit difficult trying to find that person to take your book off your hands! :)

    Diane-- PBS really lets me sample books that aren't in the library here and saves me from buying them as well.

    Katy-- He'd probably be scared to death of my 20+ bookcases!

    Kathy-- It took me a while before I was brave enough to!

    Dar-- I refuse to have piles of books on the floor, so that's why I have a boatload of bookcases!

    Margot JR-- Thanks! PBS has been a blessing both for giving books to other readers and for getting more in my mailbox!

    Louise-- Wow! Is that room ever going to be crowded!!

    "Framed"-- My husband occasionally says that he swears I've gotten many more books than I've mailed out. I just show him my page on PBS. I have over 200 credits built up. My entire wish list could come through all at once, and I'd be set. ;)

    Shellie-- My screen name at PBS (and everywhere else on the 'net) is "cathyskye".

    All my fiction is shelved alphabetically by the author's last name. Non-Fiction is shelved by subject, and something like biographies are shelved alphabetically byt he subject's last name.

  16. PB Swap is guilty for making my bookcases bulge, too. I love that site!

  17. Jeane-- I do, too. I don't know what took me so long to join!


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