Discussion: To Keep or Not to Keep? Different Types of Book Collecting

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few months, I’m sure you’ve seen memes, videos and posts talking about Marie Kondo and her Netflix show, which was preceded by her popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  This has caused quite a ripple effect which includes a number of book bloggers, booktubers and others to examine their collections and initiate a purge (or at least make them consider one).

One of Marie’s quotes was taken out of context regarding how many books she likes to keep and sparked quite a…discussion by some who took it at face value. I think the important take away from the varying opinions, whether people agree with Marie’s methods or not, is that either way it caused people to look at their own lifestyles and possessions. I have been known to watch extreme organizing shows when I know I need a push to clean, not because my home is in disarray, but because it’s a motivational push.

That being said, seeing how those in the book community react to this trend, or even respond to it has been interesting.  It’s important to remember that there are many different types of book collectors and everyone is entitled to their own preference regarding their collection.

There are those who prefer to have copies of every book they have read whether they liked it or not, because it’s something they have consumed and has memories attached to it.  Others prefer to only keep a small selection of books which are their favorite and most beloved of stories and not own any others.  Then there are some in the middle (like me) who have a large collection of books, but they are typically books they have enjoyed and many that they will read again.  I personally do not keep books that I don’t enjoy, or if I felt the story was enjoyable enough but don’t really feel it has a place on my shelf I will let it go to a better home.

There is nothing wrong with any of these styles of collecting.  People are allowed to collect in any way that gives them joy (a key point that Marie made, over and over again).  Too often people react negatively when they see another person collecting in a way that is different than their own, I think people often lose sight of the fact that we are all individual and what may work for them doesn’t work for other people.

So, if you watch Marie’s show or read her book and suddenly feel the urge to go through all of your books to narrow your collection, then do it! If you don’t feel like you need to, then don’t.  I regularly go through my collection of both read and unread books and purge those that I’ve changed my mind on. Do what works for you and what gives you the most peace of mind when you look at your books.

So what’s your collecting style? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!


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