The Book Stacking Problem

I have a book stacking problem. No, not the mathematician’s book stacking problem (although I love my infinite series to no end, pun totally intended) – rather, the average reader’s book stacking problem. You see, I don’t have a bookshelf. I had bookshelves at home, and I had bookshelves that came with my dorm room in college, but when I started grad school, I didn’t realize that I was missing something until I started stacking my books.

Horizontally.

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INORITE? How do I get the book I want to read out of these stacks without everything else collapsing on top of me? And don’t even ask me how I can put a book back to its rightful place; it’s like an unwinnable game of Jenga. I’ve thought about stacking my books vertically instead, but came to the conclusion that it would look weird and uneven if I stack vertical books on top of vertical books. So I’ve resigned myself to staring at my stacks of books woefully from afar until I really really REALLY need to read something (which is just about every other day), and then I’d take out that certain book and watch the rest fall.

(This is also why I put the hardcovers at the very bottom, so that my hands don’t take too much of a beating when everything falls down.)

Does anyone have a no-shelf, hazardless way of stacking books? If so, I’m all ears! Or do you suffer from the book stacking problem too? Let me know!

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18 thoughts on “The Book Stacking Problem

  1. Unfortunately, I don’t have a better solution, I keep books I’ve read on bookshelves, but my ARCs and library books are currently in stacks too. This is partially an intentional mechanism by which I prevent myself from accumulating too many unread books, but it can certainly be a problem too!

    • It’s good that you’ve built in a prevention mechanism! I wish that worked for me… I think I get a weird, twisted sense of joy from looking at my stacked books, so I end up stacking more and more books. 😦

    • Ooh, thanks for the suggestion, Lisa! I might try that when I feel less lazy about my books haha. I’m scared that there will still be the Jenga effect problem because it’s still books on top of books, but I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. I generally don’t have that problem because I’ve always borrowed more books from the library rather than opting to buy them. Although my stacks did get unwieldy when I was writing my thesis. Since they were crowding my desk too much I started stacking them below my bed. Figured I might as well make use of that space. That did call for a lot more book dusting action though. So yeah, I’m really curious to see what solutions there are out there for when I eventually have this problem too.

    • I don’t have enough room under my bed to stack my books there, unfortunately. 😦 And I wish I can control my buying impulse like you do, but I’d totally blame my stacking problem on library book sales, haha. (I buy the majority of my books from those book sales, then donate many of them back again for the library’s next sale – cycle of life!) But yeah, until I think of a solution, my books will be taking over my desk. (Or I might eventually get a bookshelf? Not sure yet…)

      • Yes! Bookshelf, definitely! If you have the space, go for it. If it’s deep enough, you can double stack and put books you’ve already read at the back and books you have yet to read in front. Half my bookshelf’s double stacked like that. The other half still has the back half free for future use.

  3. I have shelves, but not enough for all the books I own (and I really don’t own that many, compared to most heavy readers). The spillover are just sort of in random piles, so I really don’t have any tips. Just commiseration in the fact that bookshelves are expensive! I’d love to get more, but it almost doesn’t seem worth it!

    • Ahhh yes, bookshelves are too expensive… I’m trying to find a cheap bookshelf on Amazon. Or maybe I can convince my roommate to split the cost, even though my books would take over the entire shelf? 😛 If I had the money, I’d love to line an entire wall with bookshelves, haha!

    • Haha, I’m contemplating donating most of my already-read books to offset my book-buying tendencies to solve this problem pronto. I hope you never have to experience this problem though! 😛

  4. Although I have shelves, I find that these are not enough to contain all of my books. I usually have books sprawled on the floor or stacked in a lonely corner in the room. I hope you solve your book stacking problems! I’m sorry I couldn’t contribute to its solution but we’re having the same problem right now.

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