Three tips to shelve your book pile once and for all

Try these suggestions to teach your “to-be-read” collection who’s truly the king of your literary throne

Everyone’s “to-be-read” book piles of hardbounds, paperbacks, volumes, and editions can always use some restructuring. (Unsplash/Florencia Viadana)

Everyone’s “to-be-read” book piles of hardbounds, paperbacks, volumes, and editions can always use some restructuring. (Unsplash/Florencia Viadana)

Summer is finally here, and that means only one thing — the most devout bookworms will scour every book sale and store for new titles to add to their personal libraries. However, everyone’s “to-be-read” (TBR) book piles of hardbounds, paperbacks, volumes, and editions always need restructuring. Here are three tips that, although intuitive, can’t be emphasized enough for your pile.


Get philosophical when controlling your book pile

Emily Grosvenor, contributor of book blog Literary Hub, said a room full of books tells the personal story of who we are, our struggles and successes, and what we know for sure. In other words, removing books from your library that you no longer need reflects your growth in literary tastes as a reader and as a person. You can be selective of the books you keep based on how they contribute to your current sense of self.

I find managing your pile through a philosophical lens has its benefits. This approach will help you stick with the books that serve as updated symbols of what you love the most about stories. If you don’t want to reorganize your pile this way, you can donate books at local thrift stores, or consult recycling programs, such as Discover Books, that are geared towards disposing books properly. 

Friends of the Vancouver Public Library’s “book’märk, The Library Store” is also an option. They only accept certain books in good condition from fiction to non-fiction. This place, however, doesn’t accept textbooks, magazines, or encyclopedias. In any case, contact stores, organizations, or other locations to see if they’re eligible for books. 


Decide which books to keep physically or have electronically

Publishing house Penguin Books said that readers should have a physical TBR pile to remind you to get reading. Grosvenor, however, said that what stays in print or as e-reading material for your digital library is based on what books define your life story.

When I have time, I read digital comics and graphic novels from my own curated library on the free streaming site Hoopla. I only have a small handful of physical comics from past sales, but my present taste in print books is science-fiction, fantasy, and a hint of music non-fiction. 

Adding comics to my shelf of paperbacks and hardbound novels would obviously increase the clutter. As much as I’m a big comic book fan, I’m also trying to be more practical by building an online gallery of graphic novels.


Have a new understanding of the term “Next Book” 

Lifestyle platform Lifehacker said that being overwhelmed by your TBR book pile is due to a reading fear of missing out (FOMO). This experience is when you’re worrying about your next books to read while completing your current one. 

Lifehacker’s solution to reading FOMO is to remind yourself that there’s only ever going to be one book to be your next story. Treat novels as mere candidates for your future book rather than texts you’re self-enforcing to read subsequently. 

You could try reading multiple books at once, and if you can, awesome. I tried this method years ago and it didn’t work for me since I never finished or made significant progress switching between paperbacks. For now, I’m just focusing my efforts on reading one book at a time. But, who knows, maybe I’ll have a change of heart someday.