The Biggest Question for Bookworms: How Do We Organize Our Bookshelves?By: Pique Staff
Every book lover has one major struggle. It’s a problem that’s been debated and questioned and thought over for decades because it just seems there is no good answer.
How do we organize our books?
This keeps growing more and more difficult as publishers put out more and more varieties of books; there are different covers and editions to collect, which makes the decision even more difficult. Plus, there are the technicalities of bookshelf space – how many bookshelves do you have, how big are they, what books will fit on there? Every individual bookworm has to navigate the physical limits of book organization.
So, what are the options?
One popular, aesthetically pleasing form of organization is the rainbow shelf. How it’s done depends on the bookshelves you have, but the basic idea is to organize your books by color, generally ordered in rainbow. As beautiful as it looks, some struggle to find the books they need that way or they just hate separating books in a series. Plus, book spines that are multiple colors can cause some trickiness.
The more traditional method is alphabetically, usually based on the author’s last name. This is the way so many libraries organize our favorite sections and it has a lot of benefits. For one thing, all of your books and series by a same author can be kept together. It’s also simple for organization because you can always find your books as long as you remember the author. Or you can do it by title to really make it easy to find. But that doesn’t always look nice and sometimes if a book has multiple authors, choosing where to place those books introduces new problems.
Another option is to separate by category or genres. Depending on your book collection, it can be really basic – Adult Fiction, Non-fiction, YA books, Middle Grade, Picture Books – or it can be broken down further by genre – contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, historical. This is helpful for mood readers because you can just go to the shelf you’re in the mood for to pick out your next read. But again, this separates authors who write multiple genres, it doesn’t solve how you organize within each category/genre, and it still might not look great.
For some, organizing by book format/size is the most helpful. As we all know, books come in different sizes – YA hardcovers and adult hardcovers and YA paperbacks and adult paperbacks and mass market paperbacks are all different sizes. Books can be separated by what format they’re in, keeping everything even. Or keep it a bit simpler and separate hardcover from paperback from mass market, which are all going to be approximately the same size. But, once again, it separates authors and it still might not look clean if you change formats within the same shelf. And it might be impractical based on your shelf situation.
There are other ways to organize – read and not read, by when they were acquired, by favorites, by just however they fit on your shelf. And some organization techniques require more organization within them. Other readers will use a combination of methods on different bookshelves. We can’t tell you what method is best because it’s an individual choice! But we definitely encourage you to think about it while you prep for the next book reorganization. And tweet us @piquebeyond to let us know how you organize!