How do you organize your Folio books?

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How do you organize your Folio books?

marraskuu 10, 2021, 11:26 am

As someone who's amassing an increasing quantity of Folio books I'm struggling to come up with a good approach to organizing the books on my shelf that looks good but also has some logic to it. I'm curious what system you've come up with over the years. For example, fiction vs. non-fiction, chronologically by initial publication date, size, color, LE vs. non-LE. Since each volume has its own distinct style, it's hard, for better or worse, to make them all look like they're part of a cohesive whole on my shelf. Any thoughts?

marraskuu 10, 2021, 12:00 pm

I like organizing by subject and alphabetical by author. I do separate my LEs and rare books into their own little case for aesthetic reasons.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 12:05 pm

I keep my fine editions and oversized Folios in a separate case but like the rest of my Folios on my main bookshelves and I sort them all by publication date (or as close it is as possible with books from antiquity) with the following caveats;

-Sets (books with direct sequels) are grouped together by the publication of the first book in the series. This is dictated by Folio's own boxed sets, ie Foundation trilogy, and as I now use my slipcases (I use to go sans slipcase) for consistency I also apply this to any other series that don't come boxed ie my Aubrey Maturin set I group together.

-Single volumes of collected short stories are treated like boxed sets and are sorted by the publication date of first story in the volume (I use to do it the other way according to the last published story as I saw these books as a summary of an author's works so better judged by their most mature writings but for consistency I eventually adopted the earliest date method in line with boxed sets/series)

-For books I have more that one edition of I suborder them by Folio's publication date with newer editions generally aligning with a newer translation publication dates.

Maybe it's my history degree but this way I can see literature as a continuum from the earliest work of Gilgamesh to modern day and can, at a glance, loosely contextualize a book by its closest contemporary neighbours on the shelf.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 12:31 pm

>3 wongie: Maybe it's my history degree but this way I can see literature as a continuum from the earliest work of Gilgamesh to modern day and can, at a glance, loosely contextualize a book by its closest contemporary neighbours on the shelf.

This idea is awesome, I want to do this now.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 12:54 pm

The great thing about folio books is that they are all relatively distinctive. I therefore barely organise them at all, but can always immediately find any I want! I normally tend to shelve books of the same size together, as find it looks nicer (to me at least).

This approach works for my ~200 FS volumes, but might get more challenging if I had 2,000...

I must admit that this has become a bit of a moot point, as I have run out of shelf space so there are now random piles of books on all available ledges.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 12:57 pm

Fiction FS books in a section of their own, in author order. Non-fiction mixed in with rest of my non-fiction books, which are sorted into 10 broad categories and then in Dewey number order within those.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 1:10 pm

I have some space on my floor. There they go.

I have some space on this shelf. There they go.

And so it goes :-)

marraskuu 10, 2021, 1:12 pm

I organize them by space

marraskuu 10, 2021, 2:37 pm

I organized mine a couple of years ago, then accumulated quite a few books and still have to organize everything. I generally just do fiction and non fiction. I like the idea of me, or another family member, discovering random books as they look.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 2:41 pm

I too barely organize my books. Sets go together. Since I have some books shelved horizontally, they tend to be those that have their titles in the same orientation. Big books go on the Big Book Shelf. There is precious little organization beyond that.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 2:42 pm

Like a cat organizing itself when there is a box available...

I try to keep sets together and fiction and non-fiction usually stay on separate shelves but other from that, books go where they fit for the most part.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 4:53 pm

I've recently semi-re-organised my collection, and bearing in mind it's less than 600 books, I've had a go at organising them thematically and/or by genre.

Sci-fi etc. but also broader themes such as 'Other-worlds and Adventures' (Gulliver's Travels, Aubrey-Maturin, Moby Dick, Alice in W etc.), and 'Feminine' (Venetia, Jane Austen); but also 'Australian literature', 'Poetry', 'Classics' (Dickens, Tolstoy). But my books are in two rooms, so I also like to have a mix in each's a work in progress...don't have enough or the right bookshelves yet...

To quote High Fidelity:

Dick: I guess it looks as if you’re reorganising your records. What is this though? Chronological?
Rob: No…
Dick: Not alphabetical…
Rob: Nope…
Dick: What?
Rob: Autobiographical.
Dick: No *%#ing way.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 6:07 pm

How about how Samuel Pepys did it?

... Following his passion for visual aesthetics and order, Pepys resolved to have all his books bound alike and even arranged them by size on his bookshelves (the books were double rowed with the larger books placed in the back of the shelves and smaller ones placed in the front), and he even had lifts created for books (made to look like the book’s binding) so that all the books in any row would be of similar height. ...

marraskuu 10, 2021, 6:32 pm

As books are constantly accumulated, it's evolving. Here is a picture from 1-2 years ago. Basically almost all fine press books in English go together in this bookcase, both the cheaper commercial fine press like standard Folios or Westvacos and the Private Press limited editions from LEC, Yolla Bolly, Arion, Foolscap, etc. Organization of shelves differs:

The right stack is all fiction top to bottom, ordered alphabetically by author - mostly, allowing for some tweaks to maximize shelf space utilization.

In the left stack, each shelf covers a different theme. Top to bottom: WWI, Russian and Spanish civil wars, WWII, travel, science, big-@$$ books, biography/memoirs.

Middle stack, top to bottom: Ancient Empires series and archaeology, myths and legends, Eastern and European medieval writings, 2 shelves of history arranged in a loose chronological order but sticking with the themes (e.g. books on Ancient Greece are followed by books on Rome, then Byzantium, etc.), then a shelf of children books specifically setup low so that my then little son could easily access them, then the third shelf of history.

Since then things evolved. All kiddie books have been moved to my son's room to clear the precious shelf space but that didn't help for long, as the shelf is filled now and more books are piled on top of the upper shelves. I did re-arrange some shelves too. The right stack is still fiction. The middle stack is very similar, but I moved history from the bottom to the kiddie shelf so that all 3 shelves in a row are now history, and the bottom has biography/autobiography. The left stack now has science on the top shelf, then condensed 2 shelves of WWI/Russian and Spanish civil wars/WWII after moving books in Russian away, 2 shelves of travel, large books, then biography/memoirs at the bottom so that the bottom left and middle are all biography/memoirs in chronological order.

marraskuu 10, 2021, 10:05 pm

I shelve them in sugect sections:

Classic fiction (pre 1900)
Modern fiction (post 1900)
English history
Roman history

FS mixed in with other publishers, all alphabetical by authors last name.

The exception is the large books (e.g. Gawain and Green Knight, Loved One etc) that are on my tallest bottom shelf.

I’ll have to post some photos when I figure out this LT photo system one day!

marraskuu 10, 2021, 10:48 pm

3-D Tetris

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2021, 6:59 am

I don't, really, beyond a strong tendency to have them cluster together and a weaker one for them to gather in thematic groups, a shelf of fantastic fiction here, there a cluster of religious works. The Trollope, O'Brian and Dickens sets of course each have their places, the very largest solanders each have a horizontal shelf to itself, and above those stand two shelves accommodating most of the remaining very large format LEs with only, I think, three interlopers from other publishers. Some other parts of the domestic library have more order to them, others have less.

marraskuu 11, 2021, 5:21 am

Most of my Folio collection is in one place. In general, books are shelved by author and alphabetical order of title. However, I change my mind frequently and decide on other criteria, mostly size and space. I do need new shelves, but have run out of room in the house.

marraskuu 11, 2021, 1:15 pm

>18 drasvola: May I ask what that row of white then black then white books are at the top of your shelves? Starting under our favourite neighbourhood webslinger?

marraskuu 11, 2021, 1:22 pm

>12 Jeremy53: Yes!! I have also been regrouping mine, and I do have some sections by genre, but I also have lots grouped by themes I've explored in depth: history and literature of the Vikings, Japanese literature and culture, US politics and culture with a current lens on the past, metaphysical books from Kemetic to Hermetic to Kabbala, Sufism and's basically autobiographical order.

I am only starting to collect Folio Society books, and am mixing them in with the others for now. I have actually stood some stacks of books on their side to separate them from other categories and get more in the bookcase. ;-) I also have some Penguin clothbound classics that look lovely on the shelf, and thanks to recommendations from people in this forum, I have a couple Beehive and Thornwillow books coming.

marraskuu 11, 2021, 1:25 pm

>3 wongie: I just read the new translation of Gilgamesh by Sophus Helle! Would love to know what you think of it, if you get a chance. It was my first time reading it.

I wanted it for the same reason you state above: Starting my book collection with the first known book. But now Helle is translating the work of a female poet that may go back even earlier--can't wait!

marraskuu 11, 2021, 1:26 pm

>7 Cat_of_Ulthar: I have this strategy as well...also a big To Read pile.

marraskuu 11, 2021, 6:28 pm

>18 drasvola: Gorgeous. I like the vibe of the desk too, looking out at all the high-stacked glory.

marraskuu 11, 2021, 11:51 pm

>19 PartTimeBookAddict:

My pleasure. The white books belong to a collection of mainly world literature published in Spanish by Aguilar (El libro Aguilar). The black ones are the complete collection of Peanuts cartoons (Fantagraphics). It's an eclectic wall after all, closely protected by our dear friend!

>23 Jeremy53:

Thanks. Yes, I frequently sit at the desk and let my dreams fly!

marraskuu 12, 2021, 12:15 am

>24 drasvola: Thank you. It’s always interesting to find out about different publishers.

Excellent collection too, by the way!

marraskuu 12, 2021, 6:14 am

>18 drasvola: Great collection. Gotta love the Spiderman figurine :)

marraskuu 12, 2021, 7:53 am

Mine get reorganized as new acquisitions appear, but I always try to have a thematic link. So right now, I have sections for: Mythology/fairy tales, British lit, American lit, World lit, Science, Food, and History/biography. The only organization within those categories is aesthetic.

I used to be a strict alphabetical by author guy, but my bookshelves are much more enjoyable to to look at since I've changed methods.

marraskuu 12, 2021, 8:41 am

>18 drasvola: I never get tired of seeing people's book shelves. Lovely!

marraskuu 12, 2021, 9:47 am

>3 wongie: What a fanatstic way to organize books. I hope you don't mind if I borrow this idea for my own collection.

marraskuu 12, 2021, 4:06 pm

>3 wongie: same, except history books (including science, which go at the beginning) or historical fiction are shelved during the year of subject, not year of publication

marraskuu 13, 2021, 9:39 am

Chaos, I tell you, it's chaos.

marraskuu 13, 2021, 12:45 pm

>31 Forthwith: Thank you! That remark made my day.

marraskuu 14, 2021, 3:47 am

>26 bacchus.:
>28 L.Bloom:

Thank-you both for your comments.

marraskuu 17, 2021, 9:51 am

Follow up question for this thread: when you order new books, do you rearrange them all to get the new books in the proper spot??

marraskuu 17, 2021, 9:59 am

>34 RRCBS: short answer, yes :). Long answer, I try to build in a bit of planning, so I organise books by type / genre / interest and try and keep some short term spaces available, particularly if I know that I am going to be buying more soon that would fit in that section. Invariably I have some that do not fit in with any of the categories, so they move around filling in the spaces until a section (shelf, case, etc.) is complete.
Oh and happy birthday, I should have said that in my other email!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 17, 2021, 12:58 pm

>34 RRCBS: Not for me. My shelves are organized, partly for aesthetics but also for practical reasons namely the one you raised, such that they're all near equally divided per case/shelf so whenever I buy new books I don't need to rearrange much. For most standard editions that aren't behemoths I can easily slot them in whever they need to go straight away. At most I might need to budge a few books off to either side.

At least for now, maybe in a few years, or even a year, it may get to the point where I've got more books than shelf space and then it descends into chaos like some others here. Until then I'll enjoy having such luxury as shelf space.

marraskuu 17, 2021, 1:04 pm

>36 wongie: nice setup. Also notable brand loyalty! I didn't look at every spine, but not a single non-Folio volume jumps out at me. Do you only collect Folio books, or do you shelve books from other publishers elsewhere? No judgment either way; just curious.

marraskuu 17, 2021, 1:21 pm

>36 wongie: I’m one of those who are always running out of shelf space! You have a beautiful collection!

marraskuu 17, 2021, 2:11 pm

>37 abysswalker: Mostly, I collect a few fine presses as well, they're on the top left-most shelf behind the glass door. Even more left of that case is another case that has a solid white door covering the shelves where I put away some other premium presses like Taschen and Centipede etc as well as some other cheap collectable books.

>38 RRCBS: Thanks

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 17, 2021, 3:36 pm

>36 wongie: Thank you! I love seeing everyone's bookshelves and these are gorgeous. Can I ask if these are custom built?

marraskuu 17, 2021, 5:46 pm

>40 L.Bloom: Thanks, they're not custom built, just cheapish Ikea Besta range of cases (full height version) with double shelves to reduce sagging.

marraskuu 17, 2021, 7:30 pm

>41 wongie: Well it looks terrific. I am getting a house built and was considering a carpenter to do built-ins but I've seen a lot of great Ikea setups that are making me reconsider the expense.

marraskuu 17, 2021, 10:27 pm

>34 RRCBS: I try to leave a little space on every shelf so that I can stick a new book where it belongs when I get one. Eventually the shelves fill up, of course, but this way I don't have to re-arrange every time I buy something.

marraskuu 18, 2021, 6:25 pm

>42 L.Bloom: If you can get custom shelves made of hardwood, do it. Ikea shelves and the like won't stand the test of time. My father is a woodworker and so I was lucky enough to get mine built for free (I'll try to take a pic later if there's interest), but growing up with him has taught me the value of well-made furniture made from good materials.

marraskuu 18, 2021, 7:29 pm

>44 Jason461: I'm interested in seeing some photos and I'm sure I'm not alone. I've been thinking about making or having made a decent hardwood bookshelf or two. I haven't seen a lot of designs I like for a standalone bookcase. When I look at existing stuff for sale online it seems like they're either 90s era clunky traditional or cheap and weak looking modern stuff. I don't have anything against IKEA, that being said. That's what I have now. But that case fell apart and I had to reassemble with metal bracing. Anyways, these examples look nice and I'd love to see more.

marraskuu 18, 2021, 8:31 pm

>44 Jason461: Thank you :) And there is always interest in shelfies here!

marraskuu 18, 2021, 8:47 pm

The problem with Ikea-type cases is not so much the materials used as the loose structure; shelves that rest on pins don't add anything to the rigidity of the frame.
The most stable material for shelves (other than metal) is good quality laminated plywood with an outer hardwood layer that can be matched with solid wood trim. Bookcases are boxes that any decent woodworker can put together quickly, but wood is very expensive.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 18, 2021, 9:27 pm

>42 L.Bloom: >45 vestigialtrumpet: It's worth taking a look at Tylko - I don't own a Tylko bookcase but hope to get one next year.
You customize your bookcase on site and they ship the parts anywhere in the world (free in EU) - you assemble the bookcase yourself.

The bookcases look very sturdy and the materials seem to be in line with what >47 Jayked: recommended:
"Type01 Plywood is made from 13 layers of durable plywood wrapped in laminate and features aluminium handles designed in-house."

Obviously no affiliation with Tylko :) Just like their products.

marraskuu 18, 2021, 10:36 pm

>48 bacchus.: Thank you, I'll check them out

marraskuu 19, 2021, 3:50 am

Also agree with others that if you can afford anything better than Ikea then get that instead. As I mentioned the the shelves I have are doubled up because single shelves always end up sagging for me and if you get glass doors I guarantee they'll never align with the frames or other adjacent doors. They can look nice from a distance but get ugly close up.

marraskuu 19, 2021, 8:39 am

Ikea does have some lines with wooden shelves that are less likely to sag, but it's pine and the design doesn't give the best support.

marraskuu 19, 2021, 1:11 pm

What about “billy bookcases”? I am not personally familiar with them but I seem to recall a lot of members on here giving them high praise

marraskuu 19, 2021, 3:00 pm

>52 UK_History_Fan: I have some. They do warp, but since I keep books in slipcase, not that worried and have only had two shelves warp over several years. The narrower ones are a lot better.

marraskuu 20, 2021, 4:22 pm

Here's one side of the built-in shelves I mentioned that were made for me by my father. All of my Folios are on this one, though. I don't yet have quite the collection some of you do.

Also, regarding an early comment on plywood with a laminate outer layer: That's definitely the most stable shelving, however, it will not take damage well at all. Solid wood can get scratches and nicks and still look good.

Okay, picture. Forgive me for not knowing how to navigate this site and pictures, but here's a link:

Also, for reasons passing understanding, LT loads it sideways and won't let me flip it around. But, in any case, you can call take a gander if you're interested.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2021, 4:36 pm

>54 Jason461: Here you go:

(I downloaded your image, rotated it, uploaded it to an image hosting site, and linked it here using standard html img tags.)

marraskuu 20, 2021, 5:42 pm

>54 Jason461:
In the furniture-grade plywood to which I was referring, five or seven layers of hardwood are laminated together with the grain running alternately east-west and north-south to avoid the tendency of wood to expand and contract perpendicular to the grain. The "show" wood on the outside layer can be maple, cherry, walnut depending on your taste and budget. It will take and show scratches and minor damage just like real wood because it is real wood. The downside is that you have to cover any edges that show with a strip of the appropriate species,

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2021, 8:38 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2021, 8:38 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

marraskuu 21, 2021, 2:13 pm

>56 Jayked:

Yeah. I know (again, my dad is a woodworker), but sometimes there are children (not an issue for everyone) and more than minor damage occurs. Also, sometimes wood glue doesn't always hold up like it should and the thin real-wood layer will start to peal. In my experience, there's just more room for things to go wrong in terms of appearance, and I've never had any issues with solid hardwood shelves bowing.

marraskuu 23, 2021, 12:47 pm

The story of Pepys' library and the new additions which have just been added:

Drool and giggle - possibly at the same time!

marraskuu 24, 2021, 6:47 am

>60 red_guy:

Excellent article. Those of us who group their books by height will be delighted to learn that Pepys insisted on it. I particulary liked his condition that if Magdalene removed as much as one book from his library the collection would be moved to Trinity.

marraskuu 24, 2021, 2:01 pm

For me it's probably the fact that it's really hard to plan whether to buy something for a massively inflated price on the secondary market. They'll say that they have no plans to reprint something and then a couple of years later it'll be reprinted. I also wish they'd release more standalone books ie not in a series, and modern literary fiction.

maaliskuu 10, 8:48 am

Interesting if for no other reason than the photos :)