Do you have multiple copies of any of your books? If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read?
If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?
I grew up surrounded by books. My parents' house has always been full of bookcases and books. It was only natural that I would follow suit. I was fortunate to marry a man who also treasures his books and does not mind that our house is overflowing with books. Well, okay. So maybe he wishes more of those books were books I had read instead of ones I am planning to read.
When my To Be Read (TBR) stacks, piles, boxes and shelves began overflowing,it became necessary to make a list of all the books I had yet to read. Excel was the perfect program for the job. No book enters my house without being added onto the spreadsheet. The list serves multiple purposes, avoiding duplication being the most important. Several months ago, I joined LibraryThing, which gave me the opportunity to catalog my entire home library (or close to it, anyway). I also use LibraryThing as a way to document my TBR books. It has proven to be an invaluable resource. I still use my Excel spreadsheet out of habit more than anything.
Mistakes do happen. My bookstore shopping in recent years is mostly conducted with a list in hand. I do browse some, but I usually go into the store looking for specific titles. On the very rare occasion I happen to come home with a book I already own, it is usually because I do not have my list handy or stray from the list and have a slight memory lapse. Currently, I have one duplicate I picked up by mistake which I was too lazy to return.
When my husband and I got married, we joined togther our book collections, and as a result, we had a duplicate here or there. I believe we both still have our copies of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
The other duplicates you will find on my shelves are there on purpose. All of the books fitting into this category have been read by either my husband or me or by both. In two cases, the duplicates include Advanced Reader Editions (ARE) and the final products (Greg Rucka's Queen and Country novel series). In at least three instances, we have a hardback and a paperback copy. Generally the hardbacks are our collector's copies while the paperback books are the ones that were read. Admittingly, all of these are my husband's books that came with him when we married. In the case of Elizabeth Kostova's Historian, I bought a copy of the hardback when it first came out, but by the time I got around to reading it, the trade paperback was on sale. I decided to go ahead and get the paperback copy because it would be easier to carry around. Fortunately, I enjoyed the book enough not to regret having forked over money for two copies.
For the most part, one copy of a book is plenty enough for me. I am not a serious book collector, however, I do collect books to read and I hang onto most of the books I have read to save for a rainy day when the urge to reread an old favorite comes along.
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