Scott Hodge


Book Arrangement (a.k.a. I’m a nerd post)

Feb 12, 2009


How do you arrange your books? 

I actually can't believe I just typed that question.  I'm a nerd. 

But see, I'm sort of anal about my books and how they're displayed/organized.  (Perhaps I should get a job at Barnes & Noble?SIDE NOTE: I'm also a bit anal about loaning my books out to people.  But we'll save that for another post where I will share tips about by elaborate check out system, late fees, and other librarian-esque techniques I've picked up over the years. 

(I now give you official permission to stop reading my blog forever after this post if you want to.)

But anyway. 

I have two libraries.  One in my office at The Orchard (see photo) and another one in my study at home.  The one at home is a mess because I've ran out of space and books are crammed together, laying on top of each other, sideways, under the book shelf, on top, etc…  It's perverse. 

My library at The Orchard is a little better.  It's at least organized by topic: leadership, Christian living, study resources, finance, relationships, etc…  It's not where it needs to be, but it's getting there.  (btw – did I mention the dozens of boxes full of books in my basement?)

What got me thinking about this was an article in the Jan/Feb edition of Communication Arts about…….yeah, you guessed it – book arrangement.  Which not only made me feel better about my own nerdness, but also intrigued me a bit.  Bottom line?  Everyone has their own approach.  Some utilize Feng Shui principles to organize.  Some organize by color.  Some are just downright messy.  And some don't give a flying flip.

How about you?  How do you organize your books?  By topic?  Color?  Size?

Comment away!  And include a link to a photo of YOUR library! 

Ok, I'm done now.

19 Responses to “Book Arrangement (a.k.a. I’m a nerd post)”

  1. adam herod says:

    No photo, mainly because I just moved jobs and still settling in. I mainly try to arrange my books by author and topic. I am thinking about taking a page from Batterson’s book and putting unread books horizontally and read books vertically.

  2. Leslie Smith says:

    I organise by subject matter. Only a few of my books are at the church due to shortage of shelving space.
    I have one shelf of books at home that are on their sides piled up. Either I haven’t read them or I can’t make space for them. Time to buy another bookshelf!
    I am a bit OCD about by books. Some of them are available to people I know very well, and like. BUT they must use them in my presence.

  3. Michael says:

    i organize by topic, and then alphabetically by author. i have a stack of to read that is separate. it only makes it on the shelves once it’s read.

  4. David Wegley says:

    I’m a little OCD on my book organizing too. I organize by subject and size. Size is tallest on the left down to the shortest on the right. Don’t know why it’s like that but it is how I’ve done it since I was in high school. That’s why I”m just going to get a Kindle 2 and store all my books on there. That way I can’t see the sizes anymore.

  5. rick says:

    First – my check out system is don’t loan books. On the rare occasion I have (6 times in my 47 years), it was one at a time and I pretended to be interested in discussing the book. That let me ask about it every week.
    As for organization – that’s easy, the books I like and those I want people to know I read or discuss with me are on the shelves nearest eye-level. The others are on bottom shelves or on top of the book case. The more embarrassed I am that I read a book, the further down it goes.
    Oh – and within that system I then group by author.
    That’s it.

  6. Terri says:

    Wow…I cannot believe you posted this (hanging my head in shame)…

  7. great look! but what’s in that little nook of a space in the corner behind where the shelves meet?

  8. Tali says:

    I have bookcases in various rooms and organized by topic within rooms (i.e. parenting books with the children’s books in the kids room, business/finance/sales books in the office, fiction/general interest in the family room). Each bookcase is then organized by topic and author, and organized by shelf by those listed on swaptree (most anything I’ve finished reading goes right on swaptree) and “keepers” (very few keepers unless I think I would reference it extensively). Get rid of those boxes of books in your basement; donate them to the library or list them on swaptree and get new books! They aren’t doing you any good down there :)

  9. carl thomas says:

    Can I call having boxes and boxes of books everywhere a system of book organization?

  10. Leanne Shawler says:

    I’d *like* my books to be organized and every now and then I take a stab at it and clear out books I no longer want or read, but man, it’s hard….
    At work I’ve got a total of 4 books — it’s pretty easy to keep them organized.

  11. Geo says:

    My wife’s into decorating and here’s what happens to the books…
    1) The cover is removed. I kept the softcover books between the mattress.
    2) It’s on the shelf by color and only certain colors are in certain rooms.
    3) No, not all are standing on end. Different directions are allowed. (hey, I don’t know who makes up the rules).
    Is there a support group for me?

  12. Scott Chompson says:

    I think I fall into the the “Don’t give a flying flip” category. My bookshelf is like an onion, it has many layers.

  13. doug says:

    Books on shelves………
    I’d never thought of that. Boxes always work so well for me, and store easily in the attic.

  14. reuben says:

    my anality is more with my music. with over 3000 CDs at the house, i have it set up like a record store: by genre: then in each genre i have them filed alphabetically by artist (last name if it is a person) then chronologically by artist. so if i want to listen to Aerosmith’s “toys in the attic” i have to go to rock:Aerosmith:and 1973…. that’s nerdy….

  15. Matt says:

    I try to fill spaces one at a time. My book shelf in the office has three sections (plus I have an extra cabinet that I use to store books). I fill them until there is no way possible in the physical universe to add anymore. Then, I go to the next row.

  16. Books and their organization is SERIOUS business!

  17. emma says:

    i currently don’t have a ‘system’ but i know where everything is (much like my CD collection), so if someone else moves a book, I’ll freak out because I won’t be able to find it again…!

  18. Rich Grasso says:

    My books are organized by Christian, Competive Swimming, Gorillas, then everything else. Also Each section is in alphabetic order, and the first three and everything else are divide bile a pile of books in my to read list. So I am pretty anal too.

  19. brad says:

    call me weird, but I organize my books by color. It’s just aesthetically pleasing to look at a shelf of all red books flanked by green books…..
    yeah, I’m nerdy too.

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