To think you can NEVER have too many books.

(172 Posts)
hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 20:51:05

DH said today he would divorce me if I bought any more books. Joking I think but he was pretty serious he didn't want me to buy the DC's any more books. I'd say they have about 250, they are 3 and 1. I was looking at a few Julia Donaldson ones on amazon that we don't have but he doesn't understand how pleasant they are to read. I love adding to our collecting and see it as a good investment. He's being unreasonable isn't he?

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 20:51:35


Sirzy Mon 31-Dec-12 20:52:31

he is being very unreasonable. But there again I am a bookworm and 3 year old DS is already going the same way!

we still end up reading the same book over and over though

pictish Mon 31-Dec-12 20:53:12

Depends. We live in a small house with three kids. There's not a lot of storage here. Books, unless they are very very very good, get passed on or given to charity.

Having said that, we do have scores of kids books.

RubyrooUK Mon 31-Dec-12 20:54:01

Agree with you, although my DH feels the same.

Although when you take into account that we have massive bookcases in every room and still had to take TWELVE crates of books to the charity shop a few months ago, it's a relief for everyone that I have my Kindle now. I do love books a bit. blush

thenightsky Mon 31-Dec-12 20:54:32

YANBU. put shelves up the stairs and use them as a sort of wallpaper if you are short of space.

LynetteScavo Mon 31-Dec-12 20:55:33

If you end up with piles around the place, and are starting to look like a mad cat lady, then you probably have to many.

If you have suffient shelving, then go ahead and buy more.

250 isn't that many.

I once read children in care should have 10 books which belong to them. 10 books! sad Go and look on your DC's book shelves and see how many 10 books actually is.

Now my eldest is in KS2 I should really be getting rid of "The Hungry Cataplillar" and "Each Peach Pear Plum"...but it's so hard...

Festivedidi Mon 31-Dec-12 20:56:02

We have hundreds of books. Dd2 still got more for Christmas and I would happily let dp leave if he tried to issue any ultimatums about books grin

I'm about to give away a load of my books though as i have a kindle and have now got digital duplicates of quite a few and I haven't read any paper books since I got the kindle.

YANBU. I always say the same thing, as now does DS. And DD is heading the same way. In spite of the fact that we live in a very small house.

My DH, however, is the same as yours and wants me to stop buying so many. I've compromised by getting a kindle, but that's only for books I don't need to own properly, if you see what I mean. wink I don't think my piles of books are any worse than his piles of DVDs though. grin

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 31-Dec-12 20:56:53

I have a couple of thousand books, in a smallish three bedroom house. The only rooms without them are bathroom, kitchen and our bedroom - we have bookshelves in the loo. I need to get rid of some next year, but none of the kids' books are going.

MousyMouse Mon 31-Dec-12 20:57:01

only about 250? wink

my dc love being read to and it is such an important bedtime ritual for us.
I think we have about the same amount of books even though we have some clearouts and give books to charities.

CSIJanner Mon 31-Dec-12 20:57:27


DH and I do not see as picking up a book as a present or gift for our little lot unlike stickers or magazines. We see books as part of the course. I'm always picking up books for my two - ones 4 and loves to be read to or to "read" to us from heart and the 10month old loves to join in. I personally don't think you can have too many books but then I have four big oak bookcases downstairs filled with books and the 4 year old has a bookcase that is 2/3rds filled as well. They love it and even love the extra treat sometimes of reading their books with the CBeebies bedtime story smile

noisytoys Mon 31-Dec-12 20:57:56

You can never read too many books. You can own too many books though. My DCs have a library card they borrow 4 books a week each then swap them for more books. They don't own many books at all but they are never short of something to read

manicbmc Mon 31-Dec-12 20:58:07

I gave most of my kids' old books to the primary school where I work.

3monkeys3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:59:13

Yanbu. We too have loads.

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 20:59:55

Only 250? I thought that was loads! We aren't short on space, he's just being a grinch. I love reading to my DC its such a great thing to do for them. I always buy books for birthday and Christmas presents. I may just sneak them in without mentioning them. I'm sure he'd never notice.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Mon 31-Dec-12 21:00:04

You can run out of space. You can severely reduce the amount of space available for people in the household to do other things. I chucked out 3 bookcases of books when I got my kindle and was shock by how much bigger the house seemed. 250 children's books doesn't seem excessive though.

ellee Mon 31-Dec-12 21:00:15

I think yab a bit u!

You can never have READ too many books but you can totally OWN far too many.

No point holding onto books the kids have grown out of. Pass 'em on for someone else to enjoy.(Not that I'm a strict enforcer of my own musings mind!)

Pah. I currently have about 250 unread books. DH is starting to get a little tetchy about me buying more until the unread pile goes down.

WitchOfEndor Mon 31-Dec-12 21:02:26

I have hundreds of books, DS has about a hundred books that I have uncontrollably bought him. You can't have too many books, you can have not enough storage. I'm off to ikea this week for another cheapie bookcase! I've also switched to a Kindle so I can get free classics and lots of cheap books so I only invest in paper copies that I will read and read again. I think that if you don't 'get' books then you'll never understand why someone collects books I'm looking at you DH

You can have too many, if they are taking over, collecting dust and not being read.
I've been really good about getting rid of book lately, but we are getting ready to move.
I finally went though my grown boys rooms and boxed up everything they had that Dd probably won't want and took it all to the charity shop.
I'm still left with a lot of kids/young adult collections of books, and yet still buy more for Dd blush she's reading the Unicorn chronicles now, so I had to buy the next couple as she's enjoying them so much.
I now have Kindle app on my laptop, but can't bring myself to read on it. Paper feels better still.

What others said: you can own too many books.
Reading lots of books is not the same as owning lots.
I only own books I will re-read or which are difficult to obtain from the library.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 31-Dec-12 21:04:42

YANBU - it's great for DC to have lots of books, mine have tons. I bought a stack from Red House for Christmas and will buy more for their birthdays. Also go to the library regularly. All of them love books. Your DH is being a grinch!

Geranium3 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:05:02

I'm with you hippo, love having books around and there are so many beautifully illustrated books by talented authors for children often at very reasonable prices.
Though i am not a fan of the ghastly talking trashy books for children

manicbmc Mon 31-Dec-12 21:06:02

The ex used to love to tell anyone within earshot how he had never read a book all the way through. He didn't realise it just made him sound like a moron to boast about it (not dyslexic or anything, although I am mildly). He would complain about my books. He would complain about me if I was reading as I wasn't paying attention to him.

You can have too many but you can't read too much.

ImperialSantaKnickers Mon 31-Dec-12 21:06:03

I took four orangeboxes down to the charity shop back in the summer but still can't get them all onto a shelf, and I've got shelves in every room INCLUDING the bathroom and kitchen. And all the travel lives in the downstairs loo on a shelf over it. And between us we've got another 26 for Christmas. The overflow is currently filling the corners of the stairs in a very unsafe way.

I tried Kindle but <whispers heretically> I don't like it very much.

Hesterton Mon 31-Dec-12 21:06:19

Totally agree with ellee. Why keep them when you know you won't read them again (which must be true of many of them). There are so many great books out there to borrow or buy and share.

Loads of books just for the sake of looking at the spines in a room are loads of wasted books.

Children like to read and re-read but I think they should be encouraged to pass on all but their most favourite books after they really have grown out of them.

My DM and DF were very keen on books for us a children, and we had thousands, a little box room, with shelves all round just for our books - bliss. I am still book obsessed.

However, I am really sad hat my parents gave away all our childhood books when we moved country when I was 16. I can't remember the names of some of the books I loved, just the stories IYSWIM, and would love to track them down, but can't sad

MrsDeVere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:07:51

I only keep a few. I cant abide the dust they collect.
That is why I love my kindle.

I used to have 100s. I lived in a small flat and when I finally got rid of them I acquired lots of extra living space in a trice.

I will never collect books again. Nuh uh.

Picturebooks take up very little space. If you were thinking of buying jack and the flum flum tree: do it. DS2 (3) got it for Christmas and he thinks its hilarious. He was almost hysterical laughing at it tonight (for some reason 'i can't swim for toffee' makes him dissolve into fits of giggles.

He got superworm too and loves it. He woke up from a nap yesterday saying 'help! Disaster! Baby toad has hopped on to a major road'. It's obviously made an impression.

<not helping>

noblegiraffe Mon 31-Dec-12 21:11:08

Join the library?

Ilovecake1 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:12:12

250...that's not a lot of books! My LO has autism and was able to read and recognise words and 9 months! She probably has about 1000+ books easily. Books are the best!! Keep buying.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 31-Dec-12 21:14:16


Read and get rid. Use the library. Just keep the real favourites.

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:15:26

Superworm and jack and the flum flum tree added to the list. I deliberately didn't buy room on the broom as DS is quite sensitive and doesn't like witches etc but we watched the tv version that was on over Christmas so suggested getting the book, plus a few other JD I've had my eye on.

DS got the pirates next door for Christmas which is great, as is Tiddler which DD got.

quoteunquote Mon 31-Dec-12 21:16:44

OP, can I be the first to say ,

Leave the bastard, grin

You can not have too many books,

plenty of ideas here of how to integrate them into your home

CaptainNancy Mon 31-Dec-12 21:18:29

We live in a 2-up, 2-down workers cottage... but every room is filled with bookcases and books!
The children had 27 and 18 respectively for Christmas! blush

Adversecalendar Mon 31-Dec-12 21:19:00

I have about two thousand books and DH and I got rid of at least 500 a few years ago, we donated about half to the local library and the rest went to a charity shop.

I hardly ever buy books now as I use the local library.

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:19:41

Haha quote, I'm loving some if those rooms, that may be the final straw for DH if I suggested one of those.

CheerMum Mon 31-Dec-12 21:21:06

Dd is currently reading the second twilight book so I can safely say we have one too many books! (I thought it was all absolute drivel but she likes it anyway)

Though, it is on her iPad and not easily thrown away taking up any space.

I do still have a small selection of her toddler books which I can't bear to part with ( v.hungry caterpillar, humphreys corner and some Julia Donaldson)

ZebraInHiding Mon 31-Dec-12 21:22:00

Ya nub. Love the link quote.

ZebraInHiding Mon 31-Dec-12 21:22:20

Yanbu . Damn auto correct!

Floggingmolly Mon 31-Dec-12 21:23:46

Yes, you can. We've got in excess of 5000, the rooms are literally lined with bookcases, but it's ridiculous really. I find it really hard to cull them though, they're the one thing I'm so attached to it hurts.
To the point where I've developed a kind of love/hate relationship with them; can't get rid of them but they're also almost suffocating, how ridiculous is that? sad. (I don't have that problem with any other "things")

BridgetBidet Mon 31-Dec-12 21:26:13

You can have too many books. I adore books, I spent more than a decade working for Books Etc, Borders and Waterstones. About 7 years of that was working part time one day a week purely so I got the staff discount (not for the pay) because I spend so much money on books it is a good investment.

However I have so many (and I have a lot) that I currently have one massive attic room full of books plus piles in the bedroom, living room lined with them, piles in the kitchen etc etc.

Cluttering the house up, they create a lot of dust, plus I have a little boy now and he is going the same way. My New Years resolution is that I will have a cull.

I have come to the conclusion that you should only keep favourites that you genuinely will read again - be selective about what you keep, quality of the books you have is better than quantity.

Have a cull of books you won't reread and that your children have grown out of. They will do a lot more good being resold for a charity so that people who can only afford second hand can make use of them - they will be reread and enjoyed again rather than sitting unloved and unread.

And also make use of a library rather than buying books - it helps support a valuable local resource, saves you money and means that you have less clutter.

I agree lots of books are good, but from my own experience I know that it can get to much, my own DH is also making the threats of divorce if I buy any more books. Or cats.

usualsuspect3 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:27:44

My house is built from books.

WhenAChildIsBawnTigga Mon 31-Dec-12 21:27:55

One word: Kindle


cocoachannel Mon 31-Dec-12 21:28:10

YANBU. DD is nearly two and has a full bookcase! I will often pick up DD books as a treat. She loves them, and frankly DH and I would get bored stupid reading the same books over and over again!

I remember when DD was days old and the HV visited. She went on and on about ensuring DD got a library card ASAP in case we didn't encourage her to read. The fact DH and I both have English degrees so we were sitting in our house surrounded by 1000s of books was lost on her.

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:30:39

I have a kindle. I don't have a problem with books for myself. I just love buying good kids books. I have a particular style I like. In a big fan of Redhouse/ book people.

MissPricklePants Mon 31-Dec-12 21:30:42

YANBU! we love books in the PricklePants house and dd has 100's of books, we read all the time together!And we visit the library weekly too. I am a total bookworm and hope dd enjoys them as she gets older as much as I do.

AfterEightMintyy Mon 31-Dec-12 21:30:48

Of course you can have too many books. They can be clutter in just the same way that too many anything else is clutter.

CaptChaos Mon 31-Dec-12 21:31:46

My name is CaptChaos, and I am a book hoarder. I am unashamed.

I have lost some over the years due to various reasons, but I have hundreds left. We have moved 5 times in the last 5 years (DH is military) and my books take most of the moving lorry. We are emigrating when DH leaves, and I am slowly trying to replace book horde with a new Kindle horde. It's not the same.

DH would go if he ever issued an ultimatum about my books, he has never said anything, but I think he is secretly very happy that I am very slowly culling to a more acceptable level.

Imaginethat Mon 31-Dec-12 21:31:51

Recent research revealed that children with easy access to 500 books during their 0-5yrs perform much better at school than those who do not. However, the books do not all need to be at home all the time.
I hate stuff, I have one cupboard of books, door closed, but obviously I can easily access books online etc. my children, however, have stacks of books in their rooms and weekly trips to both school and local libraries. And repetition is part of the literacy learning journey for children so having their own collection is important. but for myself, no i don't want to be surrounded by piles of books.

hippoherostandinghere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:32:54

DS keeps telling his teacher at story time that we have that book. I'm sure she's getting pretty fed up!

I dont own a single book....

<slinks away>

I couldnt throw away the children's books. They love my old original ladybird tales. I want them to be able to read their kids the books they had as a child.

exexpat Mon 31-Dec-12 21:38:21

Sorry, I think you married the wrong guy. How could 250 children's books be too many? When the DCs were little I probably read them 10 picture books a day, so that's less than a month's supply. And picture books are so slim, 250 wouldn't actually take up much space.

But then again, I do pretty much live in a library (books in every room, built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in three rooms) and although I have a kindle and do regularly go through and cull the ones I'm unlikely to read again (charity shop) I still have piles of books on tables etc because there isn't enough shelfspace. And I have a kindle.

We probably have about 600 of which about 100 belong to DD. My PIL regularly ask why we have so few books. I tend to buy anything recommended for DD as there are only so many times I can read each of her books without feeling like I am going to go mad.

Butkin Mon 31-Dec-12 21:40:36

I think you can have too many books at one time. DD always had dozens from us but at that age we were great library goers. We'd get 8-10 every week for her. Of course we'd allow her to keep favourites but generally we tried to keep her moving so she'd experience new things. I don't think buying hundreds of books is a particularly good way to spend your money when you could just visit a library.

Now she's at school she gets to bring home books from their library each week and she still has at least two on the go at any one time.

SingingBear Mon 31-Dec-12 21:44:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 31-Dec-12 21:47:01

I used to have tons and tons of books but went on a decluttering spree and every time we move house we declutter some more. First the majority of the novels went, then the reference books we could reference online, then any book I hadn't touched in 2 years... etc. So we do regularly cull.

I try to use the library more and we go weekly to the library. The children get 10 books each week from the library so go through lots. We still have lots at home but I will be encouraging them to cull too as they get older!

usualsuspect3 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:48:39

I sell my books at the car boot.

<strokes Kindle>

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 21:51:37

I have thousands of books, so does my son. We are also a three kindle family (one each), which has helped in recent years, but doesn't help with the old books. As I am currently trying to pack to emigrate and most of the charity shops are full here and wont take paperbacks, you certainly can have too many of the buggers, but 250 doesn't sound like a lot to me really.

SingingBear Mon 31-Dec-12 21:44:44

>>>> Books which you think they have "grown out of" they now pick up to read by themselves. I know you're not asking this question specifically but don't get rid of any till the DCs are well past learning to read! <<<<

Second this. We discovered this with DS who, once he starting getting some fluency, would read them to his younger sister. smile

This is so silly. Of course you can have too many books. I'm a reader, English lit degree, all that jazz. But books were taking over my life. I had a big sort out and got rid of the ones we'll never read again. Still loads to go but when they're having a negative effect on your living space then you've got too many. There is no correlation between owning books and reading them. You can be just as well read by borrowing.

usualsuspect3 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:54:20

MN is obsessed with bloody books.

It doesn't make you a superior being because you have loads of books.

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 21:54:21

My husband just told me he gave eight boxes of books to my mum in law last week for her local charity shop, and they gave us a box of chocs to say thanks. I didn't even notice they had gone! grin

MrsDeVere Mon 31-Dec-12 21:57:36

I read somewhere that someone said 'they are books not trophies, get rid of them once you have read them'.

That vaguely remembered sentence set me free.

marfisa Mon 31-Dec-12 22:03:23


For kids' books:

HTH. smile

LynetteScavo Mon 31-Dec-12 22:03:54

Yes, there is no need to keep books you don't plan to read again.

Which is why my bookshelf contains cookery books, self help books and half read novels.

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 22:04:41

I couldn't agree more mrsdevere. One funny thing I have realised is that most people who are virulently anti-kindle actually read much less than me. Yes, I know you love the smell and feel of books, yada yada, so do I. But I do think most people who read loads usually have both, if they can afford it.

Isabeller Mon 31-Dec-12 22:08:31

You've reminded me of when me and my friend counted how many books were in each of our houses when were kids. Her family had 10,000 and I've always thought of that as quite a lot, if not exactly too many...

mamij Mon 31-Dec-12 22:09:25

YANBU! We too have hundreds of books for our DDs (3 and1). I have the compulsion to buy one (or a few) every time I pass the book shop or charity shop.

DH is the same and wants me to stop.

To be fair, I did a cull of my own book collection when we moved (and am still upset of the loss of my books!).

Cerealqueen Mon 31-Dec-12 22:16:18

You can if there is no room fo anything else in the house! Our shelves are groaning under the weight, DDs shelves are too. My DBro says never throw out any books as they tell a story about your life. Thing is, we just don't have any more room.

BUT, thenightsky - bookshelves up the staircases, this idea appeals! Do you have them?

BornToFolk Mon 31-Dec-12 22:18:05

*MN is obsessed with bloody books.

It doesn't make you a superior being because you have loads of books. *

I totally agree, people get really silly about books. Kids don't need hundreds of books. No one needs hundreds of books. Books are not sacred objects.

I am a big reader, always have been. As a teenager, I used to get 6 books from the library on a Saturday (the maximum allowed), read them during the week and get another 6 next week.

You don't need to OWN books to love them. Why don't you put the money you would have spent on books into savings for your kids and take them to the library instead?

MythosLivetheDream Mon 31-Dec-12 22:24:57

YANBU it's fab for kids to have books. I do love books and couldn't imagine my house without any books, which wasn't very popular with estate agent, but that's another story...

CaptainNancy Mon 31-Dec-12 22:29:46

Because our library is crap, frankly!

There is very little suitable for my 6yo there... the majority of stuff that was suitable last year was rainbow fairy type rubbish! Next to no classics, or fiction novels, not even Dick King Smith, Anne Fine, Horrid Henry, Jeremy Strong, or anything really. Loads of ORT books though hmm or rainbow fairies hmm hmm

No Arthur Ransome either angry

DS1 gets books out of the school library and the local library and I still buy him loads. Usually newer stuff that isn't available in the library yet. I read many of them too (I am a sucker for 'young adult' literature). I like having them around, and they'll be useful when DS2 is old enough to read them. He's already benefitted from the large picturebook collection he inherited from DS1 (and it has grown too). I love picturebooks.

There are very few 'adult' books in our house. DH and I have bookcases full in our offices at work, but we don't tend to bring them home much. So if you come round you'll think we never read anything.

oldpeculiar Mon 31-Dec-12 22:43:19

YABU. WE have way too many.I'm going to have a new year cull.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 31-Dec-12 22:48:41

YANBU. Mine have loads of books each. Mind you, getting into the library habit is probably a good idea if yours start to read as much as mine. DS managed to read 5 (100+ page) books the other week, between me getting back from the library at 4pm and him getting up at 9am. I can't keep up!

Plomino Mon 31-Dec-12 22:49:21

We are the local library .

We used to own two secondhand bookshops , until we moved counties and had to close them . After getting rid of loads of stock through two donation weeks ( people could take what they wanted , as long as we got a donation , which raised about £2k each for the Essex air ambulance and little havens kids hospice ) we still had about 20,000 or so , so we gave 4 lorry loads to charity , the kids picked their favourites , we picked ours . We currently have about 4 -6000 ish in our library , of which the fiction are read regularly , and the non fiction are all useful .

All our neighbours know we have a huge amount of books , and tend to come round for a coffee and leave with a book or three each . It seems to have become the unofficial village library . The only things we don't let people borrow are the collectible first editions.

I still buy loads from the charity shops though, but try and weed out the library so they get carrier bags back every so often.

SirBoobAlot Mon 31-Dec-12 22:51:05

I'd divorce him. His wardrobe would make a brilliant book case wink

You can never have too many books. DS and I both have a rather large amount, and now I have a kindle as well. grin

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 22:55:55

Palomino, I wish I was your neighbour! smile

CaHoHoHootz Mon 31-Dec-12 23:01:10

Our family consists of 5 avid readers but I love getting rid of books. Old books get dusty and dirty and the pages turn yellow. Old books can be re-bought cheaply at charity book shops. There is no need to keep them UNLESS you are keeping them on a kindle.

YABU. pack those old books up,and give them to charity. smile

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 23:02:19

And Palomino, do you have a kindle too? [:D]

glastocat Mon 31-Dec-12 23:05:42

Anyone in Cork want some books? grin

KitchenandJumble Mon 31-Dec-12 23:06:38

I think you can have too many books. My parents have thousands, probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15,000. It is overwhelming. They don't even remember what they own, let alone where most books are. The books have overtaken various rooms in the house.

I very rarely buy books these days. We love the library, and we are definitely bookworms in this house. But I limit book buying considerably. Even so, we probably have too many books. A few months ago I culled through our books and got rid of several hundred. It was wonderfully liberating.

My DH is the biggest offender, TBH. He buys a lot of books, mostly in his native language.

catsmother Mon 31-Dec-12 23:15:58

We've got 1000s .... dunno, maybe 2 or 3 (or more) blush but that's 30+ years worth, lots and lots of presents, secondhand stuff, inherited books and so on. Don't really buy much these days unless secondhand and cheap.

I do periodically get rid of several bags' worth to the Brownie jumble sale etc - usually the 2 for £7 Tesco "easy read" variety, but nonetheless the overall total doesn't seem to go down.

I do read lots again and besides, I won't be able to afford to do sod all else when/if I retire so plan on doing lots of reading. Also enjoy lending out etc.

catsmother Mon 31-Dec-12 23:17:19

Oh ... plus 2 Kindles (birthday present and prize) each with about 5 books on so far. When I can afford to go on holiday again I will gladly use one to save weighing down my suitcase!

mummyonvalium Mon 31-Dec-12 23:22:10

We have too many books. I know we do because they are in the garage and our local bookshop has said as a joke we probably have more books than they do. I cleared out 4 bags last year and it only scratched the surface. I have tried to impose a book buying ban but it lasts about 3 days before I give in.

In answer your DH is NBU however I understand how easy it is to be in denial.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 31-Dec-12 23:27:58


There is no such thing as too many books.

BOFingResolutions Mon 31-Dec-12 23:33:50

I grew up in a house with thousands and thousands of books. My dad was a hoarder of them. Even though it was a 3-bed semi, I had to share a bedroom with my brother until I was 15, and my mum (and us kids) could never invite anyone round because there was no space for them to sit. My dad could have been killed when the shelves next to his usual chair collapsed, but luckily he was in the relatively clear kitchen. The front room, which most people used as a second sitting-room or dining-room, was so full that not only were all the walls lined with shelves, but there were so many boxes that there was only enough space for the door to partly open. Likewise the garage, the loft, the third bedroom.

My mum threatened divorce many a time.

So yes, you can have too many books.

usualsuspect3 Mon 31-Dec-12 23:37:01

I grew up in a house with few books, I still read and read. Mostly from the school library.

YANBU I love love love books.

I dream of having a house with enough rooms to turn one into a library!

I've also ended up with a Kindle to save space. And I'm currently databasing my ebook collection, and there are over 3000 files on there blush

This is ignoring the 4 bookcases we have, and there aren't that many books that appear in both collections.

ps. It's not too many books, it's too little space wink

BOFingResolutions Mon 31-Dec-12 23:47:52

<hollow laugh>

None of you have the slightest clue of what too many books really looks like grin.

nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 23:49:46



nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 23:54:08

you can't 280 standard paperback on a Billy bookcase of 7 shelves.

that's really not a lot of books.

tell your DH from me that it's child abuse to deprive children of books.

don't get them from amazon though -support your local Indies. wink

nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 23:55:13

can't should have said can get

nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 23:59:02

why the fuck did i grow up with my nutjob family when i was quite clearly destined to be in yours? sad

Dawndonna Tue 01-Jan-13 00:00:15

Up to 4000 here. Not enough.

nickelbabylyinginamanger Tue 01-Jan-13 00:03:42

my tiny little shop has 8000. they barely fill a bookshop so you'd need at least 5 times that many to start being a problem.

Plomino Tue 01-Jan-13 00:13:03


Yep have kindle on my iPad for the train , but still always have a proper book in the work bag as well . Bought ds2 one for Christmas as he is a voracious reader , but I can't see either of us giving up actual books . Ds2 is worse than me. Whereas I might have 4 or 5 books on the go, he'll have at least 7 . I'm just grateful he reads at all .

Dawndonna Tue 01-Jan-13 00:21:41

Nothing like the smell and feel of a book. I saw a QI a while back that said that there is something in the mould produced by paper that is addictive.
I've been addicted since childhood!

i love my books. i currently have just over 800 and if dh ever divorces me... im sure that will be the reason why grin

i read everyday and am slowly going through them. i dont have a kindle (and never will), theres something very satisfying about looking at my books... and touching and stroking them

think i need to join book fetish anonymous

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usualsuspect3 Tue 01-Jan-13 00:45:39

Do you love your books?

I think she loves her books as much as Peter Andre loves his kids.

THAT much.


I'm sorry, I missed what you said, could you repeat that? grin

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 01-Jan-13 00:52:41

Wow! You really love your books! grin

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 01-Jan-13 00:54:10

I am a bibliophile. Doesnt stop me owning a Kindle though! Mine has 463 books on it, most were free and it fits in my back pocket!

SarahWarahWoo Tue 01-Jan-13 00:59:06

I agree, happy new year op

oh my shock

sorry folks... the signal on my phone was playing up!

im so blush

BridgetBidet Tue 01-Jan-13 01:08:38

I mentioned this in my post earlier. But why don't you Bibliophile's support your local library?

I always used to buy books until I had my baby and went to get books out for him.

But it's FREE and we're going to lose them if we don't use them.

I love books more than anything in the world and have a house full of them but it's only in the last year I've got into the library and they are really good.

BOFingResolutions Tue 01-Jan-13 01:13:57

Nickel grin

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 01:17:07

Books are one of life's essentials.
I find it so sad if I go into a house with children and no books.
Mine are on any available shelf space with the additional benefit being that they have insulating properties.

just figured out how to report!

i hope i got the 12 spares ones blush grin

BiBiBroccoli Tue 01-Jan-13 01:29:20

VerySmallSqueak - how do you know they have no books? You wouldn't see books in my house because I can't bear clutter and hide them away in cupboards. Feel sad because kids are being abused/living in poverty/don't have their health but not because you can't see any books!

I also think mumsnet is weird about books. Like there is some sort of competition to see who really, really loves books the most and loads of mumsnetters are jumping up and down shouting "me! me! I fecking LOVE books I do. I sleep on a bed made entirely from penguin classics!"

I am a voracious reader but am so glad I have a kindle and don't need piles of books everywhere. You can keep your book sniffing, Mr Trebus hoarding ways thanks very much grin

catsmother Tue 01-Jan-13 01:31:32

Oh dear BOF I have to concede that that does sound like a rare case of too many books!

MurderofGoths .... I also dream of having a library. Is is sad to admit that when I'm on one of my property porn browsing sprees on Rightmove, one of my main "criteria" is a room with really high ceilings which can be lined with bespoke bookcases (in my dreams) complete with one of those staircases on wheels thingy (am sure it's not really called that) which I could whizz up and down the cases on surveying my treasures. And a huge comfortable sofa on which to lounge with aforementioned books - and a lock on the door to keep the rest of the family out (unless invited).

BridgetBidet .... I do support our library and enjoy looking at local history stuff there but am afraid it's a bit rubbish really so far as anything else is concerned. Of course I can use other, bigger and better libraries in the county but it's getting there and back which isn't so easy. Plus it's only ever open on the 3rd Tuesday afternoon of each month (bit of an exaggeration there) .... seriously, like so many others its hours have been cut right back recently. Very very sad for people who can't access books any other way.

nickelbabylyinginamanger Tue 01-Jan-13 01:32:13

there's nothing wrong with that!
books evoke strong emotions that's why

louisianablue2000 Tue 01-Jan-13 01:34:24

250 picture books is nothing, that's about a shelfs worth. And, as a PP said, considering you can easily get through 10 picture books in a day, you do need access to lots of kids books. I find getting library books don't help, our local library has a far better selection than the local (chain) bookshop so I end up coming across books I would never have if I'd not gone to the library and then we end up buying more books because we fall in love with the library books and want to have them permanently. I have three kids so it's not like we're not getting our moneys worth!

Obviously in theory you could have too many books but you would need thousands before a small house was really overtaken by them. And that's a lot of books to get through in a lifetime, even assuming a significant chunk of reference books.

Narked Tue 01-Jan-13 01:41:00

We ran out of house for books. Kindles make life a lot easier and don't need dusting. Just the odd couple of thousand left now.

Narked Tue 01-Jan-13 01:42:24

And picture books don't count. They're art.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 01:44:14

BiBi - I think I can usually (though I take your point - not always ) tell if the household is of the sort that books are hidden away because of clutter free living.To feel sad about children not having access at home to books does not mean I don't feel sad about abuse,poverty and ill health.

It's a personal opinion.I appreciate that many have Kindles.I don't,as I am not very up on techno stuff. But even if I had a Kindle I would still want my favourite books as "real things", just like I feel more secure with my photos as "real things".And I want my kids to learn from books before they go on to a Kindle much as I want them to learn their times tables before they go on to a calculator.

Perhaps I could amend my post to read that books being one of life's essentials for me.

GoingGoingGoth Tue 01-Jan-13 01:45:26

No such thing as too many books, I would love my own library, filled with from floor to ceiling, I see it as insulation too-bonus grin

BadPoet Tue 01-Jan-13 02:08:00

YAB a wee bit U, any library will have Julia Donaldson. I love books and reading but about a decade ago decided to keep my own collection down, after all we live in a country that archives printed material really well. Ereaders make it much easier too. I do find children's books harder though. I tend to buy gorgeously illustrated books now or amazing pop up as gifts.

catsmother That's exactly what I want, but with the added feature of a large window with a window seat that I can curl up in on rainy days and read to the sound of rain drumming on the window <daydreams>

Cerealqueen Tue 01-Jan-13 02:17:05

What ever happened to Mr Trebus??

BOFingResolutions Tue 01-Jan-13 02:17:40

The thing is, my dad is 84 now. He is just too old for the digital revolution, but he is awed by my iPhone and kindle. He also collected vinyl records, cassettes, video tapes, CDs etc. He was just too old to be up to the technology of the compact era of modern storage.

Nowadays, every thing he has ever loved could be squished onto a decent pen drive.

Narked Tue 01-Jan-13 02:20:27

A kindle is pretty much as untechy as tech gets. Ignoring kindle fire, they're like the spirit of a book has possessed an etch a sketch. No glowing screen, no key pad necessary - mine has 5 buttons on the bottom - and you turn pages with > or <. I can buy a book at any time and have it to read within 30 seconds. If you lose it/it breaks/it's stolen you don't lose your books. Amazon has the record of everything you've bought and you can transfer them right back onto your replacement kindle without any cost. And anything over a certain age is free! So you could load it up with classics without spending any money.

Tanith Tue 01-Jan-13 09:19:28

My FIL worked at the British Library and collects books from book shops, charity shops etc.. Mainly first editions. He has had a lifetime of doing this. His house has bookshelves in every room and piles of them neatly arranged where they can't fit on the shelves.

He has no idea how many there are, but estimates it's in the thousands shock

"without spending any money"?
Apart from the 100+ quid it costs for the actual Kindle, no? I don't know how much they cost, I loathe anything with a touch screen so I could be wrong, but I thought they were ridiculously expensive.

I know people who like Kindles will now proceed to jump on me for being "smug" or something, but e-readers are just a poor excuse for books, in my mind.
There's nothing like actually holding a paper book in your hands. Plus, touchscreen grossness is unacceptable, especially compared to the feel of paper.

OP, YANBU. If my house was wall-to-wall plastered in bookshelves, it still wouldn't be enough books. I, like MurderofGoths and catmother dream of having my own library one day grin

merrymouse Tue 01-Jan-13 09:30:08

Yes, you can own too many books. If you aren't going to read them again, better to give them away and share the book love. Also, I find that young children can be as overwhelmed by too many books as too many toys. I don't actually think 250 books is excessive, but I would rotate them so they aren't all available at once. (which might also lead your dh to believe that there aren't so many books and perhaps you do need some more...)

Galaxy The kindle isn't touchscreen smile And the basic one is about £60 nowadays.

I originally hated the idea of a Kindle as I love the feel/smell of books, but I now love my kindle. I still love my books. But the kindle is so convenient, and allows me to own as many books as I like.

There are definite advantages to a kindle and I love mine. But kindles and books are not mutually exclusive. You can have both. I still buy,read and enjoy real books.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 01-Jan-13 09:46:24

I have a problem with getting rid of books I've read. I need to be very sure I won't want to read them again. I've got rid of books in the past and then regretted it, so tend to try and hang onto as many as possible grin.

C0smos Tue 01-Jan-13 09:47:00

I used to feel like this but then I emigrated, about half the boxes I shipped were full of books. Them I discovered that books in the uk are dirt cheap (no VAT and Amazon) where I live now a paperback book is around 12 to 15 pounds, so I had to stop buying as many.

I bought a kindle and hooked it up to amazon in the UK and I love it, I actually much prefer reading on it to a paper book. Since then I have purged my book collection to just those I will read again or have memories attached and I am much happier. I much prefer the minimal look and have 1 decent size bookcase only, although admittedly it is double stacked.

I can easily read a book in 1-2 days so my book collection was getting rather out of hand.

bootsycollins Tue 01-Jan-13 10:02:17

I treasure my copy of Peepo, was bought for my ds who is now 19, it's the board book version with the front covers corner chewed away by our dd, I know that book off by heart line for line, priceless family heirloom!. Absolutely adore buying the Tiger Who Came To Tea as a birthday gift for little ones, always goes down well and love the Mog books enormously too. I've recently bought dd some Judy Blume books that I loved when I was younger (not Forever tho!) and am re reading the Judith Kerr set About her growing up during WW2. Bought my friends lovely little boy the Jolly Christmas Postman and couldn't wait to read it to him, fabulous book!. Will be buying lots more copies as gifts next year no doubt.

ByTheWay1 Tue 01-Jan-13 10:07:48

I use the library - you can go online and look through the "catalogue" for any book you want , preorder it to be sent to your local library - for free! I could waste so much money on books....

250 books for a 3 and 1 yr old does seem excessive - even at say a low average 4 pounds each - that is £1000 in 3 years - on books! - like most kids they probably have half a dozen favourites and don't touch the rest....

We used to borrow from the library and if a book got asked for again and again, we bought a copy or got grandparents to buy for presents

IAmLouisWalsh Tue 01-Jan-13 10:10:15

I am seriously having a clear out. I need to re home everything that I am never going to open ever again. Wish me luck.

DoubleMum Tue 01-Jan-13 10:31:04

I've worked in publishing for 17 years so many of the 1000s of books we own were free, particularly the children's ones. I used to find it incredibly hard getting rid of books but when I was getting 20+ proofs a week it became a necessity. All books are read and if I think anyone will like them, passed on. A rare select few are kept if they are brilliant. Cookery books can only come in on a one in one out basis because the shelves for those are full. Children's books are given to my nephews when my children grow out of them. Every so often I have a cull of all the books I haven't had time to read and if they look a bit crap they go. I'd be very happy to use a kindle, and publishers can easily provide proofs in that format much more cheaply than a paper copy, but I wouldn't want to get rid of my treasured paper books. Luckily for me DH is just as precious about books as I am. Sadly they aren't the same books so it just means we have twice as many.

i have a charity shop near me that sells books for 20p... i try not to go in so often. i never spend over £1 on any book... and i have 3 other charity shops near me that do them for 50p

when i have people to stay they will often pick up a book to read. my mum has recently got into this habbit, so i dont feel my books are just mine iyswim

i also dream of having my own library. a room that is light and airy, with a big comfy chair to sit in.

pinterest has some fab pictures of other peoples.

Jinsei Tue 01-Jan-13 10:32:26

YABU, I'm afraid you can have too many books. We have too many and I just don't know how to part with them. But there is no more room for them on the shelves, and no more room for new shelves. And it's driving DH mad. Some of them have to go.sad

I am quite disciplined about buying other "stuff" but books seem to be my weakness. I buy them for me and I buy them for dd. Bought another 3 yesterday. blush It wasn't so bad when dd was only into picture books but now she likes reading big fat tomes like Harry Potter and The Hobbit, I'm starting to see the error of my ways. There just isn't anywhere to put them all, but she isn't keen to part with them and neither am I! We must have thousands between us.

DH grew up in a home without any books, and none of his family are readers. He struggles to understand but he does just about tolerate my habit. But it's getting beyond a joke now, and I do need to have a clearout.

Don't kid yourself OP - while you have space to store the books, it's fine, but when your collection starts to spiral out of control, you will know that you can indeed have too many books and you will have to start getting rid!

Jinsei Tue 01-Jan-13 10:36:20

The other alternative is to win the lottery and buy a house with a large library. grin

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 10:40:36

COsmos That's the answer,isn't it? You're a genius!

I have run out of book space and have an overflow at present,but short of the kids sleeping in the shed,I just cannot give over any more space.However I have not double stacked (and I hate it when books get pushed back too far on the shelf).
Today I shall investigate the possibilities thanks to you thanks

BlackBagFestiveBaubleBinLiner Tue 01-Jan-13 10:44:26

I have a library with a comfy chair and a stereo but there are too many books. The goal is to cull/curate/whittle down the numbers till each one is a winner, you flop down scan the shelves and each one is a winner. We do have too many things and less would mean I'd enjoy the room more.

If my heart sinks when a child pulls out a book then eventually it will go. Not all Julia Donaldson books are equal, you don't need the complete set. I could n't stand the monkey one but Room On The Broom is lovely to read.

cuillereasoupe Tue 01-Jan-13 10:49:00

If you do cull, you could try releasing the books into the wild by bookcrossing them:

I did it with my class and they loved seeing where the books ended up.

quoteunquote Tue 01-Jan-13 10:56:40

I run a specialist construction company, one of the most popular request we get these days is for library rooms, or bookcases built into the design of the house, it a must have for a lot of people, when people are looking at houses it on their must have list, I often when viewing potential properties with a client get asked where and how we will fit the required shelf space in,

With a backgrounds in architecture,arts, photography, a lot of my books are reference books, a carefully built up library over many years, certainly my fiction library gets used as one, by friends, I love prescribing a book to someone, and them enjoying it.

we have floor to ceiling shelving built into the design of our house(small house) apart from using the books a lot, they look nice and give added insulation to house,

When we have students staying, they often comment on the things they find in our books that they have never come across on the internet, I'm always surprised that they hadn't realised how much they were missing out on.

atthewelles Tue 01-Jan-13 10:59:31

I love reading and am running out of space for all of my books. However, 250 books for such young children does seem an awful lot. I presume a lot of them are just ABC type books or cheap versions of classical fairy tales??
I would go through them and hang on to the better ones and give the others to the charity shop.

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When we moved house 6 years ago, I had to get rid of a lot of books (300 plus) simply because the house we moved to didn't have the storage space). I still have many books, mostly in the loft, but this house was the right one for many reasons.

I have a kindle, which helps, but I do like seeing books on a shelf. One day I'll have my bookcase set up again......

GrumpySod Tue 01-Jan-13 11:18:35

Lots of books = Lots of dusting. Not for me!
Am busy culling books that NLB says we can get rid of.
We are heavy library users, instead.

SugarplumMary Tue 01-Jan-13 11:47:42

Helps with storing DC picture books. We have two over full ones and lots of normal bookcases over full - thanks to the book people.

I'm trying to get rid of books at minute - both DH and I now have kindles - I've got rid of loads but it's hard going. DH and DC don't like getting rid of things - I'm bothereing as we need to sell the house so need it to look as big as it can.

We still regularly use the local library and the DC get books from school. Hasn't stoped us buying.

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Tue 01-Jan-13 11:58:33

YANBU we have about 600 ish but that was before Xmas. Post Christmas we honesty require a new bookcase! grin

Usualsuspect has it right
It's a fine line between loving reading and loving the image it gives you

For me personally, a good 75% of what I read is non fiction. I like to check facts, I like my art books with pictures in and little explanations, I like not running to Google every time I've forgotten something. Plus even though I probably won't have kids, I can't help saving it all....^just in case^.....blush

Bonsoir Tue 01-Jan-13 12:05:10

Crazy thread title. I cull my bookcase all the time. I have no desire to inhabit a dusty old library.

"I have no desire to inhabit a dusty old library."

Sounds like my idea of heaven

halcyondays Tue 01-Jan-13 13:01:28

Yanbu, and if they are only 3 and 1, then they won't have outgrown anything yet. When they are a bit older, you can cull some books to make pace for new ones.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 01-Jan-13 13:07:41

I loved the beautiful illustrated children's books that ds had when he was little.
I gave them all away when he grew up though.
I now have a kindle, as my books were taking up too much space, and I was always having to have clearouts.
I love, love, love my kindle.

Hulababy Tue 01-Jan-13 13:12:46

250 children's books sounds fine as they don't take up that much room on a book case as generally very thin.

However, despite me, Dh and DD reading a lot we still don't have hundreds of books around the house. I don't want every wall covered in books and book cases and couldn't deal with them piled up on the floor everywhere.

Both me and DD now have Kindles so have much fewer books on the bookcases, only nes we had before and ones we will re-read, or for DD - also this included signed books. We also have non fiction books in real book form.

DH never rereads books so once he has read his books they are passed on - either to family, friends or a charity shop.

I like to see some books in a house, nicely on a bookcase. But I dont like seeing piles of tatty old novels laying around in piles, etc.

Narked Tue 01-Jan-13 17:37:19

"I have no desire to inhabit a dusty old library."

It's a real problem. I have books that I acquired from my parents that I can't read. If I open them my skin starts to itch from decades of exposure to dust.

BsshBossh Tue 01-Jan-13 19:06:20

DH and I are avid book readers and collectors and also love buying books for DD. We have 5 large bookshelves in the living room, one in the kitchen, three in the study/spare room, one in DD's room, one in our room, one on the upstairs landing plus more in storage. It's ridiculous because we haven't read all our books, we all have a large stack of to-reads by our beds and we still buy more. In 2012 I bought a Kindle to save on trees but now have 100s of books in it. So in 2013 I will buy NO books until I have read 80% of my unread books. If your case is similar then YABU.

BsshBossh Tue 01-Jan-13 19:20:04

Sorry, just re-read the OP and realise you are talking about too many books for your DC. Children love repetition so I try and re-read her books in rotation - especially now she is learning to read. We use the library a lot now for "new" books.

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