Book Sorting, Displaying and Other People’s Libraries…

I am just in the early stages of a good old book sorting, ironically this is in part to make space for my new reading chair. I house incoming books on some lovely shelves and in some lovely ‘display’ boxes (read that as clear boxes where the spines show through) in the bedroom and mezzanine. However thanks to many a review copy, note these are mainly unsolicited, my inability to stop myself buying them more often than I should, there are now random piles of more books on said shelves and boxes… and some small tables… and on chairs… and on the floor. So it is time for a sort and I am going to try (and probably fail) to be as tough as possible. I have been thinking though as I started this that I really would like a new way to display my ‘will read soon honest’ and ‘unread so far but hopefully one day’ books. Currently I want to do something like the Book Maze in London at the moment…

…Alas I don’t have 250,000 books in my house (I do mean alas don’t I, or would that just be scary in reality) but I am wondering if there is some unusual way I could display over 500 books rather than just on shelves. I have my thinking cap on but would welcome any recommendations of unusual ideas. I have just thought, imagine if you had done the above in your house and  a few days later sods law you wanted a book you’d put on the bottom of the pile… could make a good game of Jenga though of an evening? No, oh!

I would also welcome some help from you all with another matter. I am going to be starting two new series of book posts over the next few weeks and one of them centres on any of you who have shelves and shelves (or piles and piles) of books in your house and who, regardless if you blog or not, would be open to taking pictures of them and then answering a questionnaire about your reading habits and books you love which will make my ‘Other Peoples Libraries’ series. I have two, possibly three, people already at work because I randomly spoke to them about it, only one of them a fellow blogger, but I would love more. Either email me at or leave a comment below if you are keen. And don’t forget book display ideas that don’t involve shelves… Thank you!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

34 responses to “Book Sorting, Displaying and Other People’s Libraries…

  1. I like to call them book cairns…and yes they are everywhere! I started trying to order by colour but only got as far as yellow and that means there’s even less on the actual shelves than normal. i realy need to sort them out!

    Am hoping i get a chance to nip to the book maze on Thursday. It’s just a good thing I won’t be in London when they start the free for all!

    • Book cairns, I like the sound of that, I also really like the sound of doing them in colour.

      You mean everyone gets to get the books, that is so unfair. It will be utter madness too.

  2. Louise Trolle

    I have around 2000 books at the moment, and I l’d love to participate Simon 🙂
    you can see my mail adress here can’t you?
    Look forward to inspiration for new places to store books, as I ran out of shelf space ages ago (some places the books stand in 3 layers,,,,)

    • Hi Louise

      I have had so much going on recently I havent really been able to catch up with everything but I am now. Could you drop me an email and offer again and I will get the questionaire to you.

  3. Laura Caldwell

    I would love to show my book shelves, assuming that I can get my husband to take the pictures. I have no idea how to use our camera. I have a small study/guest room that has most of my books in it, barristers in the bedroom with antique books (esp. school books from the 1800s and antique children’s books [small collection]). On the lower level of my house I have shelves on the wall with my favorite non-antique children’s books.

  4. I’m keen!! I have 4 full-to-bursting bookshelves that I am more than happy to take photos of and answer questions about. Count me in!

  5. If you or the Beard are handy with tools, you might try making “invisible” book shelves (which requires sacrificing the book that is to be the actual shelf). See directions here:

  6. Nirmala

    Check Bookshelf Porn website too!

  7. gaskella

    I’m very conventional in how I store my books – on shelves or the floor! There are just too many to be creative about storing them. I’d be happy to join in though, sharing the neat ones and the not neat bits…

  8. David

    I suspect the reason that somebody invented bookshelves (and their continued popularity) is because they are the most logical way of storing and displaying books, and who am I to argue with that? I just wish I had room for more shelves and bookcases! My fiction books are already stored two deep with more in boxes, and then there is a whole other set of shelves (well, you can’t actually see the shelves themselves anymore) jam-packed with art and travel books that I use for reference for work.
    Anyway, I’d be very happy to join in and take some photos.

    • That is great David. Could you drop me an email and remind me and I will send you the questions. I have been a bit manic of late so have taken a little too long to comment back, sorry.

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  10. Great topic! I’d love to join with my bilingual bookshelf. And following the theme, here’s a copy of a virtual roundtable talk on the very theme of “How do you sort your books?”

  11. I have 3000 plus books of which 1600 are vintage Penguins and about 35 Penguin Boxed sets. I will be home from travelling mid September and would love to show them. Ever thought of velcroing all of your books to the walls? That could be interesting. No wall space, just books. Pam
    psbparks at Ymail dot com if interested or go to my blog. cheers,

  12. Rhian

    I used to have books piled on the side of the staircase, until I moved them to placate DB when his parents came to stay. I’m still wondering if I could have shelves built there. Now some of my tbr pile is in a bookcase in the hall – the rest (and read books) piled wherever there is space!
    I’d love to share photos of some of the chaos (just to make everyone else feel better) – though probably not any of the Scary Room!

  13. I’d love to take part and show off my shelves! I’m getting to the point though of doing a dramatic book cull… Perhaps a before and after shot would be good! Plus I like answering questionnaires…

    • I would love you to join in! Could you drop me an email, I know you have popped your email in here but if I write it down in my notebook I will probably loose it in the ether as I have about three overflowing notebooks of things to catch up on at the moment.

  14. ophelia

    I love the idea of velcro-ing books to the wall to line the room. So much better than my idea of covering the entire wall in rows of nails and sitting the books on them. Thank goodness I read that in time…

  15. Pingback: How Do You Sort Your Books? « Atlanta Booklover's Blog

  16. Helped a lady recently with shelf expansion. Bedroom was at the gable wall, so took out the ceiling as far back as the 2nd rafter. (I checked first where water tank and electrics were) Did not remove any rafters because I like silly things such as stable roofs. It left a narrow space from the bedroom floor right to the top of the roof – all across the wall. Used insulation and plaster board to box in the area as part of the bedroom and shelved to near the apex point. Then she ordered a sliding ladder to access near the top.
    If you have an almost inaccessable space – like under the stairs – try banks of shelves on wheels so you can slide out your shelf of choice, select your book and slide it back in. Only do that on a concrete/stone floor as books are the heaviest thing in your house. Once a book doesn’t fall and is kept away from corrosive elements – sunlight, water, people, then they can go anywhere. The difficult part of the placment is the look and the use.
    I have mine by subject. Then by author. Country for the travel books and time for history. Maps are all over the place I am afraid, always something to do.

    • Wow you should become a professional shelf advisor, that all sounds really impressive.

      I might need your advice further as I am turning the hallway, and its secret mezzanine level into a library/set of shelves with a ladder and the works. Hoorah.

  17. Pingback: The Joy of Books | Savidge Reads

  18. Book cairns is a great phrase! I’m always happy to show my bookshelves and answer questions about reading! Here’s some pics of my library:

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