Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Hazards of Bookhoarding when living in NYC

New York City is a great city to be a reader in. It boasts countless indie bookstores, amazing book festivals, and a beautiful Public Library system. No matter your literary tastes, there's a little corner of bookish New York for every type of reader to indulge. There is however one big downside to being a book lover in NYC or more specifically, a book hoarder: Space.

Rent is ridiculous in this city and unless you are the heiress to an oil empire or living in Yonkers, chances are you are paying a lot of money for a very small space. You're also probably sharing that space with roomates. This creates a triage problem where there is only so much space for the infinite number of book you want to own.

Now, there are many easy solutions to this problem. You could for example, buy eBooks or audiobooks on your e-reader or phone. You could check out books from your local library, (and you should! the NYPL is amazing!) You could do book swaps with friends or donate your already read books to Libraries (Free Little ones or public ones), you could sell them to the Strand to get store credit.

Solutions are plentiful, yet somehow my collection had grown like ivy and taken over my apartment. Most of my books are packed away in books across the country, I only took a handful of them with me to New York yet this small pile has become a mountain. It doesn't help that my roommate is also an incorrigible bookworm (i.e last week I came home to their 'small' book order from Amazon' of 24 books).

Bookish Roommates: A blessing and a curse

We started off with one bookshelf and some shelves that were built into the TV stand. We even had room left over. Then we found out about the Strand. Then we thought getting a Barnes and Nobles membership was a good idea. Then I signed up for the Book of The Month Club. Then I started listening to Book Riot podcasts and everything just kind of spiraled from there.

Now, there are books crammed on top of books on the shelf. There are books on top of our TV stand as well as on the side. There is a basket of books next to the shoe rack and another under the coffee table. The cute, 3-tiered basket cart we bought from IKEA intended to hold fruits and vegetable has seen potatoes and bananas replaced by thrillers and non-fiction. We installed two shelves in the bedroom just for sci-fi and fantasy and have taken over a windowsill as an impromptu shelf. Clearly it's a problem. I have a TBR pile next to my bed between the wall and the bed so large that I have to shuffle awkwardly out of bed to avoid toppling over a giant pile of books.

Just put it on top of the furniture anywhere

While I do occasional cleanses of my bookshelf and give away or sell books that I know I will not read again, my rate of giving-away books is currently outpaced by my accumulation of them. I could switch to eBooks and save space and money but unless I am on vacation, I strongly prefer the feel of a paperback in my hands. I haven't really gotten into audio books either since I have a cache of podcasts I love to listen too. The truth is, I love my apartment full of books. I like being surrounded by teetering piles of stories waiting to be read. Some people like to display nick-knacks or photos or art. I love to display my books as an extension of my tastes and personality.  At this point however, it is starting to become a fire-hazard so...

I've decided to take drastic action and officially institute a book-buying ban on myself. No buying books until my birthday in June. No online book ordering, no impulse buys, no running out to get new releases. The only exception will be book club books (and Book of the Month books until my subscription expires since technically those books have already been paid for). Not even library books. This is going to be so difficult since I have four bookstores within walking distance of my work where I love to spend my lunch hour. But I will try to contain myself and actually read the books I have instead of adding to my growing pile of unread books.

Not originally intended to hold paperbacks

Until June, if I see a book I want I will write it down and wait until my ban has lifted to reconsider if I am still interested in buying that book. This is going to be one of the hardest exercises in self-restraint that I have attempted, but hopefully by the end I will have cut down on my TBR pile and will actually be able to find the floor to my bedroom beneath all those books!

Have you ever tried going on a book buying ban? How did it go? Do you have any tips? I've decided to put up a countdown clock to keep myself accountable, which you can find on the right hand side of the blog. Wish me the best!

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