If you have a library make an effort to catalog your books

Some of you know that I’ve been on a re-reading spree… and I’ve been loving it! The next two weeks I’ll be focusing on some of the sales and psychology classics, including (but definitely not limited to) SPIN Selling, TA Today, I’m Ok, You’re Ok and What Do You Say After Hello? Now, all that is good except that the books were inaccessible to some extent.

I haven’t been able to shelve my huge pile of books in those giant bookshelves yet. And I swear I’ve been planning to do this each of the 75 weekends that have gone by since I moved into my new apartment! That said, the shelves themselves have made the trips from the storeroom (big enough for a queen-size bed and a refrigerator) to the guest room (a standard 350 sq. ft. room) like 3 times! Now, I want to get it back to the guest room since I haven’t read in the storeroom ever since I moved the shelves there. The books are all over the plan and that’s a sad sight for any book lover.

Back to the main story — I tried to hunt for the titles above and it took me an hour and seven minutes to dig them up. I’m sweaty and ready for my third shower of the day (but thought of hammering this post out to the world anyway)! Hunting for those books was a tiresome exercise and I realized the value of cataloging the books for convenience’s sake if not for anything else. It’s been on my mind for quite a few years but I haven’t had the courage to do it… it’s one of those “important, but not urgent” things of my life.

But I think it’s high time that I start to schedule it in and actually take someone’s help while I do it. Sure, I can tune into some podcasts while I do this but it can get damn boring. I did that once but got fed up in like 25 minutes (what seemed like an eternity). I requested my wife to do the honors and she did… in just a couple of hours! But the books were all over the place. I couldn’t blame her as my instructions weren’t clear and subconsciously I knew to delegate such a tedious task to someone who’s busy herself wouldn’t be fair. But yes, she did get the job done.

I’m thinking of seeking her help again but this time for doing it the right (my) way! And to top it off, I found an interesting link for reasons to catalog a personal library. I hope you’ll find that useful. Here’s the list of reasons for your convenience but I would definitely urge you to read the article for inspiration.

Having your library accessible in an app or doc means never forgetting what you already own and never purchasing unwanted duplicates.

You’d be surprised to know the list of apps that can help you with this. I’ve installed Libib but there are many more that you can check out here. Goodreads is another option, but I find it more useful to track reading that cataloging.

When you lend a book out, make a note, add a tag, or (in some apps) mark the book as checked out so you never lose a borrowed book.

Man, this has been the biggest pain in my butt. I’ll be honest when my shelves were in the guest room… 100% of the guests would walk into the room to check out the books and almost 90% of them would pick up a book and almost 50% of them would borrow it from me. Almost 100% of them would never return my books! 🙁

If you ever lose the library due to fire, flood, or other disasters you can use the list to rebuild your collection and (depending on your insurance) possibly recuperate some of the money lost

Hell yes! Building a library is a labor of your love. Don’t lose it! In an unlikely event that you do, cataloging would help you build it back up. Check with your insurance provider for coverage.

Share the list with your family/friends and they’ll never buy you a book you already own.

I wouldn’t do that for selfish reasons. In my experience, books once loaned almost never come back. But yes, I could be wrong because some of my friends (the ones who love books as deeply as I do) do return. The funny thing is that I loan out books just to those set of friends.

If you’ve decided to ban yourself from buying new books, well every time you’re in a bookstore, look at your list and admire all the unread books you already own.

I’ve done that for the past few years but the Kindle has ruined it for me. I’ve got over 600 books there! Let’s not forget Kindle Unlimited (which reminds me, I better cancel that subscription… I can’t handle any of the books in the unlimited collection anyway, most of them are self-published and I’m not so sure about quality. But that’s just an observation from the limited experience I have).

Track where/when you bought the book, and help preserve memories associated with the purchase.

Yes, books are one way to preserve memories. One of my friends told me how he writes down the day, date and the circumstance he’s in when he bought the book. I found that way too cool to ignore. And just now when I flipped open SPIN Selling I noticed the name of the friend with whom I was when buying the book. That’s a stunning feeling.

Reorganize your library on paper first—whether by genre, author, pub date, etc.—to make the actual restructuring easier.

I agree with this wholly. This, however, is time-consuming and definitely not for everyone. That said, it’s much easier if you do this than try to digitize everything. (As I write this, I’m thinking I might as well hire an intern to do the cataloging for me. The expense will be worth for sure… just a thought.)

STATS. Do you own more books by men or women; more sci-fi or historical; short story collections or novels; Americans or Brits? Inventory your entire library and find out.

For bragging rights, of course! But you’ll need to get your hands dirty to earn this right.

So, that’s it! Reasons why you should catalog your library no matter how small (which is great, by the way… don’t expand your physical library, focus on expanding your Kindle library. It’s easier to organize, search and carry wherever you’re going. or big. It’s worth the effort.

Off to my books now.

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