a Minimalist’s Library

by Frank Martin

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, one of the many reasons I ended up embracing minimalism was dragging a huge collection of books I wasn’t reading across campus in college every time I moved to a new dorm. Amusingly enough, books are one of the last things I’ve ended up minimising. Then again, what do you expect of an admitted bibliophile? Apparently I’m not the only one, books are a pretty common thing to get tripped up on. They’re sacred after all, aren’t they? I certainly used to think so. My grandma was a librarian and she’s probably spinning in her grave, but lately I’m finding its not that hard to cull, and I’ve actually been reading more since letting my library be a bit more fluid. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always have a small collection of dead tree books, but I don’t need to keep ALL THE BOOKS anymore. If you’d like to join me, here’s how I’ve been looking at things:

Active Weeding: As I’m reading a book, I’m usually thinking about what I’m going to do with it, and I only have three options: keep, sell, and give away. These days, if I keep something, I try to be realistic as to whether I’m actually going to reread the book. I can tell you right now there are a number of books on my shelf at the moment, that I might have kept a couple years ago, but will likely be going to my favorite used store when I’m done with them. Most of what I sell goes to that used store, and goes into a trade tab that I use to buy books from them. Give away is pretty self-explanatory. If I can think of anyone that would get value from the book, and I know I’m not going to want to read it again, I give it to the person.

Used: These days I limit myself to buying used, whether from my local shop, or off Amazon. There are a couple exceptions, the main one being the fact that every once in a while I’ll run into something thats not available used, but thats more the exception than the rule. This is both a great way to keep the cost of my favorite hobby down, and stumble onto new stuff I never knew existed

Kindle: Honestly, I didn’t want anything to do with ebooks for the longest time. I got one of the very first ebook readers, and sure it was fun to play with, but it was an utter pain to get new material for. A while back I put the Kindle app on my phone, mostly to get books by the Minimalists and my cousin Derek, but the more I used it, the more I liked it. I recently picked up a Kindle Paperwhite, which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. This has the advantage of letting me carry multiple books around without the weight, and ebooks are near dirt cheap these days (most being $5-$10 with some outliers less than $5, and a couple around $15)

the Library: Speaking of keeping costs down, there is always the good old library. You’d be surprised what you can borrow these days as long as you’re in a city with a decent library system. My library card has become a permanent fixture of my wallet, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have you ever considered ditching your library? What sort of system do you use to decide what stays and goes? Head on down to the comments and let us know.