The Bookshelf Dilemma

I have too many books. There are many that I wouldn’t bother reading a second time. There are some that are very dear to me. The books that I have, I want to keep.

But what about new ones? How much shelf space should I actually set aside for them?

Is it time for an ebook reader then? I never resisted digital music players, digital cameras and the like. And yet with ebook readers, I feel this incredible resistance. Which seems utterly pointless. I’ve dragged many books across the seas, and I am a bit tired of their weight and space consuming nature. And while Libraries are an option, I want to be able to go back to these books if need be, and I find it easier to have instant access to reading material.

Opting for an ebook reader feels like a life-changing choice. I am aware that I will still have to buy some books – the lovely ones with pictures, books that are hard to find and the like. But given the constant travel (where sometimes it feels like I spend half my working week on a train) – the idea of not carrying a couple of heavy books feels like certain relief.

I like to think of myself as a reader rather than a book collector. I like the warm glow of paper books – but I am tired of carrying an entire library around. And yet, the stupid, silly, childish resistance.

It’s time to take the plunge. I just don’t know how cold the water is.

PS: Ever noticed how for some people their book collections are like their receptionists. They are communicating aspects of themselves. I like looking at a person’s bookshelf. But perhaps I have enough books to make that gentle introduction to the wayward house guest.

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15 Responses to The Bookshelf Dilemma

  1. Ankur says:

    The Day my mom put all the books I brought together, I swear-ed I would never buy any more (I brought 12 after that in 4 months which is low count) … Finally getting a ebook reader (waiting to see how wink looks like else it’s kindle DX for me) …


  2. sands says:

    going through the same dilemma..

    my bookshelves are full and i am resisting the e-book reader for many reasons (eg. ebook reader would smell the same for every book. but not like the smell of a new (old) book)

    and i cannot look at the e-reader and be as proud as I would be when I look at my shelf… etc. etc.


  3. Vidya says:

    Neha, I’m in the same predicament. I haven’t given away or sold a single book from my undergraduate, and, like you, I seem to be unwittingly collecting more and more books…my closet holds more books than my clothes! But ultimately, I think a e-book reader will simply be more economical.


  4. km says:



  5. Arthi says:

    Do it I’m telling you. It’s absolutely awesome. Hubby got me one a few months back and it’s the best gadget I have ever ever acquired!! I read quite a bit and several books at the same time… and my Kindle is my perfect companion. I even wrote about it a few days back…


  6. KG says:

    i have one. It sucks.


  7. Rashi says:

    u needn’t re-think..if u like any…neither about the space nor the place…books are registered thought-provoking…


  8. Uttara says:

    In the same place. Once you take the plunge, let me know how the water feels.


  9. Hrish says:

    >>Opting for an ebook reader feels like a life-changing choice

    I know exactly how that feels! I’ve not opted for one yet, but if I do, it’s not going to replace books but will be an accessory when I cannot carry my books when I’m, say, travelling.


  10. vivek john says:

    everytime i change homes and have to bear the weight of my books i swear to myself that i will not buy anymore new books and will dispose off what i have accumulated. it never happens. i keep buying more and more and never sell even one of them. even if a thought arises to sell them i suppress it and feel guilty. that is the power of books i guess. it is like they are another person close to you whom you just dont want to let go off


  11. deepa says:

    Hey …

    came here from ATP (wish she’s start writing again).

    I can never read e-books unless it’s a real necessity .. and I still retain my old chandamama’s .. infact, started reading them online now only due to lack of proximity .. but I really miss the old versions. try the site, it’s great .

    and I’m a book reader/collector as well … I love the sight of so many books


  12. vijee says:

    You are tired of carrying libraries.

    The libraries too are tired of carrying books. They too are offloading them and dying slowly.

    I write about one such library here:


  13. cyclopseven says:

    hmmm….looks like it is the same predicament elsewhere. No matter how big a room you have for a library, it seems to be always filled with books and magazines. Over the years since my high school days, I have given away number of books, lost considerable number of books due to “borrower” thieves and a few priceless ones gone with the flash flood. I think when the time comes, we have to part from whatever we have in our possession. Detachment is the best book in life. E-book is a good option.


  14. Kartikay says:

    My dream is to have one full wall of my house filled with my favourite books.

    And you’re talking of disposing them? Tch tch tch!


  15. Sands says:

    Finally, you got one?

    After reading your post, I started to think about it more-than-ever-before seriously! ..

    So far, I am in favour of taking the plunge.


    PS: I even copied your post title for my post about the same (shamelessly). 😛


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