Thursday, August 09, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Multiples

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.

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


  1. hi Wendy!!
    i finally am going to enter a comment:) I hope this goes through. Ironically, I was just going through all my books today searching for duplicates. I don't have a list of what i own, which is a good idea. I collected any duplicates and posted them on PBS. The only other reason i may pick up an extra is for a friend. Jody

  2. Interesting answer. I too love Library Thing and am fanatical about entering every book that crosses our door. The only duplicates I have are books for the kids, as we have hundreds of titles and my memory sometimes fails me as to whether we have a particular number in a series when I'm in the charity shops. They're so cheap to buy that I don't stress about it.

  3. I end up with duplicates because I read so much that I forget what I've read. So there have been times that I've bought a book, only to start reading it and begin thinking, "This is SO familiar." Even when I realize that I read it already, I am sometimes at a loss as to what happened, so I end up reading it again. :)

  4. Hey Wendy! I think it's great that you and your husband are avid readers (mine isn't!). LOLOL!

    I do have duplicates too, but it's due to my short memory, or otherwise having the same book with different cover (sigh...not that I can help it, hehe).

    Happy belated BTT!

  5. I am envious too, as my hubby isn't a reader...
    Opposites attract though!
    I still read like a fanatic!
    (I too came from a family of avid readers)

  6. You all are fast! I just posted this! Haha

    Jody - Hi! I'm so glad you commented. Trading duplicates is a good ida. I forgot to mention anything about gift duplicates. Sometimes that happens too, but not too often. I try to discourage random gift giving when it comes to books these days becaus I often already have the books people might want to give me. Not always, but often enough.

    Lazy Cow - LibraryThing is great. I can understand not remembering the children's books. I'm not sure I would either in your place.

    JMC - Surprisingly, that doesn't happen to me too often. I've been keeping a reading journal for several years now and I'm sure that helps my memory somewhat.

    Melody - Those different covers are sure sneaky marketing techniques! Haha Okay, so maybe that isn't the publisher's main intent, but it feels sneaky. I've come close to picking up a duplicate because I didn't recognize the cover, but fortunately the subject matter is usually familiar enough.

  7. My husband isn't quite as fanatical as I am about reading, Merri, but, yeah, I am lucky in that we share a love for reading. He and I are opposites in other ways--we really do compliment each other.

  8. I admire your organization! I also started using Library Thing recently (which I love), but unfortunately a ton of my books have been in storage since I got married (didn't acquire any duplicates there as he only reads financial and sports books--not my taste). We're looking for a new house and bookshelf space is a requirement! I forsee many hours on the LT website once I get to unpack those boxes.

  9. Kelly - Thank you. I do like to be organized, even if it doesn't always look that way. Haha Logging in all the books was time consuming since I decided to do it all by hand, but it was fun to go through all the books in the house. Or most of them. Some are still packed away (mostly text books and children's books we don't use).

  10. Thanks for the comment re. my reply. You must have even more books than I do.

  11. Yes -- I forgot to mention the duplicates that came about from my marriage. We thinned out most of our marriage related duplicates finally a couple of years ago (after nearly 10 years of marriage!)

  12. I wish I had so many books that I didn't know what I already had! And my husband is not a reader :(

  13. Cereal Girl - Thanks for stopping by! I do have a lot of books, that's for sure.

    Pussreboots - Sorting out the duplicates takes time. :-)

    Chris - Be glad you don't have so many books! If I ever get down to a reasonable number, I definitely plan to go back to the library again.

    I think most readers didn't marry readers--at least that's my experience. It was one of the qualities I required in a spouse though. I don't think most people prioritize that way. Haha

  14. You sound so thoughtful and organized! I really need to finish putting all my books in Library Thing.

  15. Wow, Wendy! Very nice to know that your husband is an avid reader and collector too. I use BookDB to database all my books. Like you, no books enter my house without them being indexed properly...

  16. Kristy - Thank you. When I set my mind on a project, I usually follow through with it--with a vengence. LOL It did take a while to get all the books entered, but it was worth it. I know a couple of people who bought the scanner thingy and that made the process go a lot better for them. I didn't go that route though.

    Alice - I'm lucky that my husband enjoys reading and books. Not quite as much as I do, but then, he has other passions as well. I'm not familiar with BookDB. I do think that having a database is so helpful though. It's helped me, anyway. :-)


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