Thursday's Thoughts: Lover, Collector, or Hoarder?

Thursday, March 24

Passionate book lover, avid book collector, or obsessive book hoarder.  Which one are you?  It's definitely something I've been pondering after watching the TLC series Hoarding:  Buried Alive (which in fact made me feel MUCH better about my passion.).  Have you seen the show?  I sometimes turn on the TV when writing blog posts on Wednesday's and have run across it more than once.  It's...eye opening to say the least.

Here is how I like to define each one of those categories:
  • Book lover:  a love of books, in my case mainly romance novels.  Someone who loves to read, admire and collect the books that they love, but is not to be confused with a book collector
  • Book collector:  similar to a book lover, but may not necessarily collect one type of book but acquires them for their rarity, value, content and condition, but may not necessarily buy it to read it
  • Book hoarder: has been described as a compulsive disorder which means that a person buys books that don't necessarily have meaning to them, may buy multiple copies of the same book, collect more books than they can possibly enjoy (often don't read them at all), and can lead to sanitary and heath issues.
I like to consider myself a romance book lover. However, there are those in my family that would say, "yeah you even know how many books you have?"   And I have to confess that I probably own more books than I can possibly ever read since I continue to buy new ones each year, and I have been known to purchase a copy of a book that I already own (mainly to share with a friend if they ever want to read it).  It's not like my home looks like this:

But I may own just as many books, because truthfully I don't really know the EXACT number of the books I own.  Hoarding is considered a disease and can possibly even be genetic (eek).  My grandmother was a hoarder, no doubt about it (she only had pathways in her house), and my Dad, well let's just say that his basement and his garage....not pretty, but both of them lived through very hard economic times and hate(d) to get rid of anything because for them, just about everything has/had a use...they don't want to be wasteful.  So yeah, I could possibly have hoarding tendencies.  Excuses?  Possibly, but I like to think that the hoarding gene has weakened through the generations :)  Especially with my mother's genes thrown into the mix (who saves little and hates clutter).  And really, my passion is mainly confined to just books.

Given all of that, I still don't consider myself a hoarder...probably not even a collector.  I truly think I'm just a book lover that finds it hard not to buy a romance that I think I may someday find the time to read.  I certainly don't buy every romance that crosses my path, but I also have to admit that I wish my book buying budget was larger than what it is :)  Would I buy more books than I do with that extra money?  Probably, but more likely I would end up buying more books new than buying them used or borrowed from the library.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to try and tackle my TBR which only grew last year.  When looking online to see what other people do to address this issue I found an article at on how to stop collecting (as in adding to) books.  I have to say that I found their tips less than helpful.  For instance:
  1. How many is too many?  My response:  You can't put a number on that!  It's relative to how much space I have on my bookshelves...and if they get full can I add a new bookshelf?  I mean look at the March releases compared to February.  Feast vs. famine.  
  2. Cull your existing collection:  My response:  Good in theory and I actually have thought about doing that. Over the past few years I can't recall one book that I consider a "keeper" that I've actually read more than once.  But when I think about getting rid of some of them...I just can't do it because some of them are out of print....and what if I would someday decide to want to re-read one? This problem may resolve itself if more authors and publishers list more out of print titles as download-able ebooks.  Trading one storage issue for another...maybe, but I'm OK with the digital option.
  3. I skipped over 3-4 since I didn't think they applied to me (reference books and quotes)
  4. (which is actually 5) Make a rule to read "xx" number of books before buying a new one:  My response:  Really?  Obviously the person who wrote this is only a casual reader, because this concept is inconceivable to me.  I would love my read to purchase ratio to be 1:1 but did the writer of this article get a look at all of the great releases that came out this March? That would be a big fat NO otherwise he/she would not have even suggested that.  It's also very likely that whoever wrote this was not a romance reader and therefore MIGHT find this concept doable.  Otherwise...not so much.
  5. (step 6)  Make a "syllabus" of books to read:  My response:  Obviously this person is NOT a "mood" reader because picking out 10-14 books to read that month then assigning myself a page count everyday seems more like homework than enjoyment.  But I did decide to try and pick one author from my TBR each month to try and read, with the option to change my mind at will :)
  6. (otherwise known as 7)  Make a "to buy" listMy response:  BRILLIANT!  This is a fantastic idea!  One that I can completely and wholeheartedly get behind.  So every week I add new books to my "to buy" list of new releases so that I don't forget about the ones I was interested in at the time they came out.
  7. (8) Get a book, get rid of a book:  My response:  They are really stuck on this 1:1 ratio thing!  With my TBR this is not possible.  I thought about it, and actually looked at my TBR bookshelf and thought "if I were to do this which book would be the first to go"...essentially saying I'm not ever going to read this book, but the problem with that is that each and every one of the books that have made it in the TBR, and out of the "wishlist", because they are books that I REALLY want to read and I just can't get rid of it.  How about once I read a book and decide that it's not a "keeper" that I get rid of it?  I  can do that :)
  8. (9) Use the Library:  My response:  Done!  I love my library and in fact I read more books from my library than from my's the darn lure of the new release!  But since I was already doing this, it doesn't help me in any way :(
  9. (10)Use the Library to download ebooks:  My response:  I would love to!  And beginning in June I hope to be able to do that since my library just announced that they are going to begin offering ebooks early summer of this year.  Woo hoo!  I'm very excited about this, but again....doesn't help me any because it means I won't be reading from the TBR.
  10. (11, aren't most helpful hint lists capped at 10?) Purchase and collect your books on an ereader:  My response:  Um, I do that too and that is a whole separate can of worms.  I not only have a print TBR but a digital one too :(  Is that bad?  Am I the only one?
  11. (12, last one)    If you have room and think you are going to read (re-read) a book, keep it:  My response:  Hallelujah!  Does that also mean that if I have room to add a bookshelf that I can do that too?
In didn't really help me because after all, I'm a book lover of romance novels.  Am I compulsive about it?  If you don't take into account my obsession with Outlander I don't think so.  Am I a collector? Only in the "keeper" sense, because the TBR doesn't apply here.  What I am, is passionate about romance books. A romance booklover, who would absolutely love to have a home libarary like this one:

Lots of natural light. A few comfortable places to read and beautiful bookshelves full of lovely romances to indulge in...and some space to spare :) 

So tell me....I know most of you have TBR's as well.  What does your family say?  Which would you consider yourself (lover, collector or hoarder)?  And what do you think about wikihow's 12 steps to stop accumulating books?  Inquiring minds (like me) would love to know your thoughts :)

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June M. March 24, 2011 at 1:10 AM  

I definately consider myself a book lover...but I do like to keep my books and find it very difficult to get rid of any. As long as they do not take over my house, no problem. My family says I have a problem, I see no problem!

BLHmistress March 24, 2011 at 1:28 AM  

I am also a book lover,and since I have become a book blogger, my tbr list has grown out of control and with receiving books in the mail almost daily the family tends to question if I have a problem. When there is a knock on the door they say its for you lol.

I still have room, just need another book case either- that or invest in a ereader.

But I do love to reread my books especially if I love them. Now I have a bunch I haven't read that I might consider getting rid of/donating or something. Not sure if I can do it but I do know I won't get rid of my faves.

j3nny March 24, 2011 at 3:04 AM  

I am a book lover and the ppl in my family know this about me. Before I got my e-reader, I had 2-3 bookcases filled with books and it was getting ridiculous. I would also borrow books from the library and I had to read those first because there's a due date and with the new releases, it's hard to renew when others have it on hold too.

After I got my e-reader, I slowly converted my books into ebooks. I kept a lot of my favorite books but a majority I donated to the library or the hospital. I don't have much of a TBR pile of the physical books but I have a lot in terms of ebooks.

I think its harder for me to tackle the TBR pile of ebooks because I don't actually 'see' it. And I keep buying new ebooks (not to mention the books I borrow from the library) so the list just keeps getting long and longer :)

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM  

June, it's a good thing that our families do not meet and unite forces :) But, I have been trying to re-analyze what I consider a "keeper" because even it is was a 5 star read, doesn't mean that I will ever want to re-read it again. It's tough thought!

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 8:08 AM  


My family makes me get the mail and the door every time it rings because they think it's another book being delivered. I don't get books every day, I wish I did, but I don't :)

And I am of the opinion that there is always room for one more....bookcase that is :)

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 8:12 AM  


I'm so with you on the library thing, but I have to be honest that it's not really the due date thing that makes me read them's usually because they are the newest of the new releases or are the backlist of a newly discovered favorite find...which I MUST READ NOW!

I'm envious of your ebook library collection. I wish I had the money to convert my paper to digital, but I find that the money that I have that I can spend on books goes to ones that I don't yet own. But I think it's a good problem to have :)

Carol L. March 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM  

I'm definitely a Romance and History book lover.My family just shakes their head when they see my book shelves and end table. Imagine if they saw my TRL. lol lol
I don't consider it a problem at all. Not really. :) I love the books I buy and win. Otherwise I wouldn't have them. The fact that I read so fast may be a big problem because I'm always at my library as well.
I now have my mailman stopping the truck if he sees me coming up the street and actually just holds out the new books being delivered and just smiles as he hands them over. I don't think he likes carrying them up the stairs. lol
Carol L

Mary March 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM  

I would consider myself to be a book lover. I know about how many books I have right now...2000 and they are everywhere. I need at least 2 more books shelves but I am quickly running out of floor space. So I started buying wall bookshelves and that helps a little bit.

I buy mostly paranormal romance but there are auto buys from my other favorite authors. I only enter contests and giveaway for books that I honestly want to read. I have about 200 books in my amazon wish list and I buy a new books every month. My mailman and UPS man know me by name. lol

I did have some books that I wanted to find a good home for so I gave them to the library. I find it nice to see my books on the shelves when I go to pick some books out to read.

I don't have an eReader and don't plan to get one, I like books I can feel. If I win an ebook, I just read it on my computer.

I don't think I could become a hubby wouldn't allow it. lol

Elaine March 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM  

First of all, I totally agree with the Outlander obsession. I have the entire set in print. As a matter of fact, I have two copies of Outlander in print.

I have the entire set on my Sony Reader and I have the audio versions on my iPod.

What can I say? You can never get to much of Jamie!

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM  

Hey Lucky Carol,

It's kind of funny because last night as I was preparing the post I read some of the comments on wikihow and they too thought that the person who wrote this guide had NO CLUE what it is like to be a reader and the only people who found their suggestions helpful were family members of book lovers who were going to pass along the tips. One guess how that went over :)

I'm glad your family is so supportive, and yes, just shaking their heads is supportive because it could be a lot worse :) I heart my mailman too :))

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM  

Hey Mary,

I think giving the books that you don't want anymore to the library for their collection is great. I wish my library did that, instead any books that are donated go directly to their library sale where romances sell for 0.10 a piece...which actually makes me a little sad, so instead I give them to goodwill or sell them on Ebay.

And I know exactly what you mean by having a book in your hands, but I have to say, having borrowed my sister's Kindle that I love that too because in the end, either format allows me to read the books I love. I think if you tried an ebook that you would like it more than you would think.

Your husband sounds like a great man, because being a lover is much better (and cleaner) than being a hoarder :)

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 12:39 PM  


You and I....we're kindred Jamie loving spirits! I totally agree, you can never get too much Jamie. He is my all time fav romance hero (even though the book isn't technically a romance which I also disagree with). I own copies of the books in Hardcover, paperback and digital :) I DON'T have any of them in audio, though I've heard that they are really good to listen to.

My greatest hope is that someday someone will actually make the books into a TV series for Showtime or HBO or some such like that where they can do justice to the scope of the book and completely embrace it's greatness!

Ivy March 24, 2011 at 4:48 PM  

I'm somewhere between lover and collector. I have folio editions, signed editions and ones collectibles people have gifted me w/. I have books that I've had forever because I love them. I do (once a yr) go thru & see if there's anything I can part w/. I love books and I now have a sony & aluratek. the latter has a card while the sony didn't. I have quite a few ebooks too. Not as many as print but I'm working on it! My "hobby" is cheaper than any of the rest of my family's various passions. Most are music or "gaming" related & neither of those are cheap, but they also support their own habits, same as I do.
I have all but a couple of the Gabaldon's in my TBR bookcase..I've never read the Outlander series!

Jane March 24, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

I'm definitely a book lover. I wish I had unlimited space to ensure that I can keep all my books.

Sheree March 24, 2011 at 7:25 PM  

I'm a book lover but I've been trying to figure out what to do with my TBR pile as I've run out of space. And forget the books, I've already read; they are in a box in storage, just in case I may want to read them again (yup, I've already run out of space on my keeper shelf).

I also have a pile of library books that I need to read and return in time.

Actually, I think I'm somewhere between book lover and book collector as I have bought some books for the cover (to feed my Paul Marron obsession) or collectibles (leather-bound "The Lord or the Rings" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") which I may not get around to reading (or at least not those particular copies).

I now have a paper copy of "Outlander" and a copy on my Kindle so I really should read it at some point...

Barbara E. March 24, 2011 at 7:38 PM  

I would definitely fit in the "hoarder" category. Someone told me the other day that I'd never be able to read all the books I have in my lifetime. I would have argued before, but I'm not getting any younger, so maybe they're right. Especially since I won't stop acquiring more. The only time I get rid of books are when I trade them at PaperBackSwap for new ones. I just bought two new book shelves for my bedroom, and they're not even full yet, so I'm not doing too bad, LOL. I just don't see it as a problem, since most of my books are in my office and don't bother anyone.

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM  

*Gasp* Ivy! I can't believe you haven't read Outlander yet. Really? You need to make that one of your New Year's resolutions :)

And I completely agree reading is a pretty inexpensive passion...and on of the best hobbies I think a person can have. It keeps the mind and the heart young :)

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 9:53 PM  


I hear you on the book space! Unlimited book space is a dream, just like winning the lottery.

Although I have to wonder that if I were able to keep all of the books I read if it were to become more of a burden than a pleasure....I can just see myself in the headlines: "Passionate Reader Buried by Books" news at 11 :)

Artemis March 24, 2011 at 10:01 PM  

Book Lover here. Some books I just don't want to part with. They are the five star books that are so wonderful and the covers are to die for! Ya'll know what I mean!

I'm with Sheree and her Paul Marron obsession!

The other day, DH looked at all of my books and just shook his head. He said I could open my own book store. I just smiled. And he doesn't even know what's on my e-reader!

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 10:04 PM  


You and I are so much alike. Most of my keepers are in boxes too. Me...I have about twelve library books that are due in about 3 weeks (some less) and have a few more on hold ready for pickup. Eek! And the Paul Marron covers...yummy :)

As far as Outlander, it really is a must to have that book in every format available. I'm even considering buying the 20th anniversary hardcover edition coming out soon. I hope you enjoy reading yours!

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 10:07 PM  


From what it sounds least to are by no means a hoarder, just a very passionate book lover. I mean you still have space for bookshelves and space on those bookshelves. Whether you will be able to read them all or not is irrelevant (at least in my mind). Besides trading the books you are done with for ones you want at PBS fulfills two wishes, yours and theirs as well as friendly to the're a tree hugger and a book lover :)

Booklover1335 March 24, 2011 at 10:12 PM  


Sounds like you have yourself a good man too, just like Mary.

My keepers are kind of a funny mix. Not all of them are 5 stars, some of them are just 4 stars, and I have kept a few just for the covers :)

As far as the ereader goes...what's on the ereader stays on the ereader. No body needs to know how much is on it but you...but to be safe, maybe you should put a password on it :)

Pam S (pams00),  March 26, 2011 at 2:37 PM  

I'd say a book lover more so than a hoarder. I don't have to much room to store things/books lol so can't get to out of hand with them. While I do find it hard to resist picking up books, I don't order obsessively or pick up one every trip to the store :).

Thanks for the tips as well found them insightful!

JoAnna March 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM  

I would say book lover but I know I am a hoarder as well. But I do plan to read the books. I have been doing really well about only picking up books from series that I have. But then 2 Borders stores within 30 mins from my house are closing. It's really hard to pass up books when they are $2 or $3.50 for a trade pb. I think I have spent more at Borders in the last 2 months then I did all of last year. I now need a new bookshelf the one I have is completely full.

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