Shelving your books by color: awesome-sauce or recipe for organizational catastrophe?

April 12 |

How do you arrange your books in your home library? Haphazardly? Dewey Decimal System? Lately, I've been seeing more people on the interwebs arrange their books visually — not by type, but by color. In fact, there's a whole Flickr group dedicated to The Rainbow of Books.

bookshelf spectrum, revisited
Photo by santos. Used under Creative Commons license.

While there's no denying that rainbow bookshelves are visually stunning, I can't help but think it would be a major literary bummer if you couldn't remember the spine color of a book when you wanted to find it.

Homies, what do you think? Is shelving your books by color the most gorgeous idea evar, or a book-nerd's express train to irritation station?

  1. Well I'm not the the type to organize my books by color my boy does at his office. it's only about two shelves so it doesn't take long to wander though. but the cute thing is that he is color blind and placed them on his own. He's pretty good till he gets to the purple mixed in with the blue and the pink in with the white.

    7 agree
  2. For me it'd be both.

    I think it would look very pretty, that picture looks stunning. But the vast majority of what I read is sci-fi/fantasy series' and in many cases, maybe most, each book in a series is a different colour so it would be a nightmare trying to find the next book I want to read.

    If I had less books or more books that don't go in any particular order I'd definately consider it though because having them in no order bothers me but inventing one just feels somewhat arbitrary. Maybe if they looked organised it wouldn't bother me so much that they don't have a 'real' order.

    3 agree
  3. Terrible idea – at least for me. I organize my books alphabetically (by author) and chronologically (by date of appearance, for each author). However, I do know a few people with better visual memory than I've got, and they seem to do just fine sorting their books by color.

    7 agree
  4. Depends on the way you identify your books, I guess. I have a lot of books, and I'm not so great with names and authors, but I find it very easy to remember the shape of a book and its colours. So for someone like me, organising by colour is a great way to find books easily, but for someone who remembers books by title or author it might not be the best idea.

    8 agree
    • I have the same kind of memory- I remember colors and sizes before names. If you really have a lot of books you can also do groupings of colors- I do this with my clothes- tank tops white-rainbow-black then blouses white-rainbow-black, etc. This could also work for different genres or time periods or something like.

      3 agree
  5. It's gorgeous but would drive me batty. I have TONS of books so they get organised by type (biography, fantasy, travel etc)and then by author.

    14 agree
  6. I keep mine organized by color, but I also don't keep many books around anymore so it's easier to find the ones I need. I don't like to hoard my collection and it helps conserve storage space, so once a book of mine is read, it gets donated to the library or sold to Half Price Books. Share the love :)

    1 agrees
  7. I have a friend that organizes her books by height so that they create artistic waves across her bookshelves. It's lovely to see. Looks like a pain to reference for a book.

    1 agrees
  8. This concept only works if you have colourful books, as a goth and an accountant 70% of our books are black or grey.

    I remember books by the cover, but the spine isn't always the same colour so I'd be lost anyway. Also the OCD in me would freak out about multicoloured fantasy series being out of order, like all 38 books in the Discworld series, the hardback editions of which still haunt me at 3am cos they aren't all the same height.

    I do like the idea of making custom jackets out of card for all your books then colourcoding by topic and size. But I'd have to be rreeeeeeaaaaallly bored to sit down and recover all 2,500+ books.

    13 agree
    • Books being all different heights (and widths) drives me mad too!

      I don't think it's an OCD for me (although I have a few mild OCD traits so you never know) but I do wish there were just one or two standard sizes for books (they can of course be as long/thick as the need to be). It'd not only make them look neater on shelves, it'd make boxing them up for transport infinately easier too.

      17 agree
    • Umm…. Jackets.
      SO jackets.

      Just find interesting scraps of paper and make a jacket for each book. Write the title. That way, they can be alphabetical, sorted by content… whatever you want.

      9 agree
      • The librarian in me thanks you for your rational answer to this question :)

        3 agree
  9. The library nerd in me has watched this organizing-by-color trend with disdain and it wasn't until I looked at this picture this morning that it dawned on me that it would work brilliantly for me. I remember things visually, so finding a book by color would absolutely work. I would probably subdivide alphabetically within colors, just to appease my inner organization freak as well.

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    • See, I'm in grad school for library science, and for me, I LOVE this organizational scheme because….I work with LCC all day at work. It's sort of nice to have my own classification system at home that's not the norm….so my home library feels less like my work environment! :P

      1 agrees
      • That's exactly why I organized mine by color too, since I moved into my current apartment just before my last semester of library school. Yes, it's a pain when there a multiple colors in a spine, or that some of my series are all spread out. Also, I've acquired another bookcase and haven't yet integrated it into my system. Oh well. I love it!

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  10. I totally do this! Didn't know there was a trend, just sort of OCD.

    0 agree
  11. Every single time I see this I wonder how anyone can actually FIND the books they want. (I guess library work is a calling, hah) My are all categorized alphabetically by author within genre. Pretty, no. Practical? Yes. :]

    3 agree
  12. I have to say, I don't like it. Is the display visually stunning? Yes. Is it something I would want to live with? Not so much.

    I organize my non-fiction thematically, and within the themes they tend to get placed in one direction or another (usually based on traffic flow in the house) from most to least read/referenced.

    My fiction is organized by "Era" (usually Exes), I use the books I keep in the house as a reminder of times in my life. I also have the habit of keeping trinkets in my books, so it's nice (usually) when I feel like re-reading a book and find a concert flyer of a band I loved at the time I first read it tucked between the pages.

    4 agree
  13. Visually stunning, totes impractical.
    Currently I group my books by genre then author, and not always alphabetically. Bibliophiles, consider: this harlequin option might just work for someone who has relegated their literary collections to an e-reader.
    But as much as I like the convenience of a slim, backlit, lightweight library, I would love to have my own library even more. :)
    Neat concept! Would definitely work in a children's room, no?

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  14. I've considered this myself because I love the look. It would work for me, as I remember the color of my book spines, as long as I kept separately the series where each book is a different color (because that would drive me crazy).

    Right now I've got my books organized by subject, which is a fun challenge because I like to make each subject flow into the next one with no dead ends and avoiding loops. It's harder than you think!

    3 agree
    • I used to organize my books like that, too (when I had one wall of nothing but bookshelves), but the two bookcases I have now (since moving over a year ago) are so jam-packed (books on top of books and books in front of books) that it's hard to keep up with (rearrange the entire shelving system because one book is two millimeters too thick to fit where it should? Not again!).

      I'm getting ready to move, so I'm contemplating other organization methods. I almost don't want to think about it.

      0 agree
    • I do the same. It is fun (makes one think about books and what would be a good order to have them which makes sense for me) and I remember actually much better where the books are.

      0 agree
  15. There is no denying that that is beautiful, and I have an obsession with rainbows… but that would be an organizational nightmare for me. I'm pretty close to using the Dewy Decimal System for my home library, when I have it. Right now I'm in a transition period of my life and vast majority of my books are in storage.

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    • I tried to organize mine by the Dewey Decimal System, but there were way too many books for which I couldn't find the number. Then I tried to organize them by LoC number, but ran into the same problem. I got so frustrated trying to find all the numbers that I resorted to my own system. Does anyone know of a good resource online where I might find them?

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      • In most books, you can actually find the LOC number and sometimes the Dewey number on the publishing information page of the book. It's usually in the section that looks like a library card. Let me know if that doesn't make sense. :)

        1 agrees
        • It makes perfect sense! I did know to look there, and that's where I found them for most of my books, but there was a surprisingly large number of them that didn't have this information. I found a few of them by looking online, but there were too many that just had one number or the other, or none at all. My OCD just wouldn't accept using a method that's incomplete. ;)

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  16. We have at least as many books as the house shown above in that image, probably a few bookcases more, and I can't even imagine the horror of splitting our books into colors. All the Discworld mixed up! My education reference books scattered! It upsets me just thinking about it.

    That being said, we have a couple shelves of children's picture books that I HAVE organized by color. I think it makes way more sense for them! Our 1st kid is only 10 months old so we will probably get lots more picture books, but I think we will keep sorting them this way.

    1 agrees
    • I love that the Discworld series seems to be a big reason for people disliking this system. (Well, really I just love that so many people care that much about the series.)

      Maybe an advantage to the new black covers? Not enough to make up for how dull they are though.

      6 agree
  17. As much as I may love the rainbow appeal, I'd never be able to find anything. I'd rather get an oddly shaped bookcase (read: that AWESOME spiral bookcase from the Spanish apartment OBH featured last month).

    1 agrees
  18. my ocd would not be pleased. i suspect my girlfriend would *love* to organize our books this way. i suspect she would actually keep our books organized if they were shelved visually (of course, she also likes to shuffle the books just to tweak my ocd anyway).

    i need a good system to remember *anything* (mine is: by subject (or country of origin for lit), then chronologically to the best ability without dividing an author's works).

    but, uh…rainbows kind of squick me out…i totally couldn't handle this.

    1 agrees
  19. I do believe that sorting my books like that would split up every single series of books I own! And what do you do about multicoloured books?

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  20. While I LOVE the look of organizing the books by color (yay rainbows!), I think it would turn into an organizational catastrophe for me. I have all my books sorted by type (fiction, non-fiction, reference), then by subject, then by author so that I can find things!

    1 agrees
  21. our books are organized by color. but we only have one bookcase. and it's purrrrrttttyyy.

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  22. Fiction in one area, non-fiction in another. Fiction is organized alphabetically by author's last name, then first name, then in series order. Non-fiction is roughly by category. I started doing library of congress, but it was taking far too much time…

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  23. I would do this in a heartbeat. Alas, all the books in the house are of different heights and completely takes away from the main point of organizing by color. I tried grouping together by subjects but that got confusing quickly. So for now, they are crammed on the bookshelf. Organizing them by height though….that's a thought!

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  24. I wouldn't be able to do this. It would drive me crazy. I sort my books in small little categories like "Russian Novelists" or "Trashy beach-reading". My biggest one is if two books are by each other that don't belong. Heaven forbid my Edgar Allan Poe Anthologies touch my Twilight series! They would explode in flames!

    3 agree
    • I love weird combinations like that. It's a bit sad but they amuse me. Like my boyfriends DVD collection which has Finding Nemo stuck between Jet Li's Fearless and Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima. Serious action/drama, fish comedy, serious action/drama…

      Or possibly stranger is Akira, Disney's Aladdin, then American Gangster. :D

      0 agree
  25. What about installing colored led lighting in your bookcase so you can have them organized however makes sense to you, and then have lovely rainbow light washing over them? Might have to show Mr. Bear when he gets home…

    2 agree
  26. Ours are done by color, but we also downsized in the book department over the last few years because we just don't have the space to store them. We have definitely had the "Honey, what color is the ____ book?" conversation more than once since arranging them by color. I also have a lot of old paper backs that are yellowing white in color which is just not attractive. We didn't notice how many of those were around until we starting sorting.

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  27. I used to arrange my books by subject, author, date… I even considered implementing the Dewey decimal system (kidding…sorta). Now, though, I have a toddler and moved into a new apartment, so I haven't had the time to organize as obsessively as I used to. I love the look of this and think I'm going to try it!

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    • Thank god, I was scared we were the only family that didn't organize books. And we had 10 overflowing bookcases while I was growing up. Just had to look at each one, which actually led me to reading a lot of books I may not have otherwise found/chosen.

      1 agrees
  28. I saw this amazing stop motion video of someone doing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFnuP9niRUg

    I decided that it would be annoying to organize my bookshelf that way (when you want to find a book, you want to find a book!) but decided to organize our DVDs that way, since it's rare we're searching for an actual DVD, usually we just want something to watch.

    It worked pretty well, except the vast majority of movies are white, black, red or blue. Almost no green, and no purple! Still, it looks quite nice and makes the living room look just that much more pulled together

    1 agrees
  29. I've seen this stir some heated debates. I've always loved the impact of color in this particular photo, but it would drive me into fits of displeasure trying to find what I need.

    I file mine by category and then alphabetically by author.

    But hey, to each their own and however best it works for you is really what matters!

    1 agrees
  30. My books are organized like this, and I love it! I'm a very colour-oriented person, so I often remember the jacket of a book before the title or author. My guy thinks it's pretty funny that when he asks where books are, I can instantly describe the colour and font – "Infinite Jest? Towards the purple end of the blue section; lime green font. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; I put that in the red section even though it's got some purple on it."

    Here's ours! http://www.flickr.com/photos/29276523@N05/5583407185/

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  31. It's absolutely beautiful but I don't think I'd ever find anything again. And I also have a thing about keeping authors grouped together…

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  32. One option could be to cover your books in the colors you want, instead of only using the books the way they are. That way, you can keep your Harry Potter or Death Note collections together, and still have the colorful fun. Wrapping paper works really well for this.

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  33. I seriously love the look of it but I couldn't do it either. I need to keep my reference stuff separate. And what if I wanted to browse my fairy tale books looking for which ones have what stories? That's right, I consider those reference books. The joys of an English minor. Plus I have the same issues with splitting up a series, or the books by an author. I organize by my fave stuff and stuff I'm less likely to reread, then by author in order of publication. I could see doing one bookshelf like this as long as it was stuff like graphic novels for which our collection is smaller and many of them in a series are the same colour. (Except Buffy Season 8 and Fable)

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  34. I have OCD, and when I was a kid I used to do this to my bookshelves and the family VHS shelf. My parents thought I was insane. Anyway, that flicker pool makes me deeply happy and oddly calm. Thanks for sharing!

    1 agrees
  35. I don't know if this would work for my books (I organize alphabetically by title, then number in the series)…but my fiance just haphazardly puts his books on the shelf. Maybe one day I'll just rearrange his books by colour and see what he thinks…

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  36. Can I just say I love finding out that so many people organise their books at all?

    My system is fairly simple: series and stand-alone fiction sorted by author (and then in series order), then non-ficton sorted by subject (including my 'Fiction Reference' section for stuff like DnD's Draconomicon and The Folklore of Discworld), but people have still acted like I'm nuts for having them sorted at all.

    My mum even accused both my boyfriend and I of having OCD because of it and was highly dissapointed to learn that he didn't even notice when she swapped two of his Star Wars books around. Yes it annoyed granny when she did that, but that's because she actually did have OCD, not just books with an intended chornological order!

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  37. I definitely have mine organized by colour… and sub-divided within each colour alphabetically by author. Then organized within THAT alphabetically by title.

    The manfriend thinks I am am insane. He's probably right.

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  38. I used to organize my books by subject, alphabetically by author, and by publishing year. But when we merged our books when we were married a couple years ago, my husband didn't like that it resulted in shelves that were half short paperbacks and half tall hardbacks. Now we still organize by genre and keep series together, but we mix up the rest for a more balanced look.

    I don't really find organizing by color attractive, and I don't think it would complement my rooms. I don't want a rainbow in my livingroom or office. I certainly don't want large blocks of color competing with my chosen accent or feature colors in the room.

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  39. My books used to be dewey decimal (I used to work in a library, it's the only way I can sort non-fiction), until I got too many to fit on the shelves that way. Now they're grouped by height and subject matter, still in a basic order of dewey decimal without being true to it…True Crime comes before Crafting comes before Shakespeare kinda thing.

    I DO sort my clothes by colour, but I suppose that makes more sense. Books by dewey, CD's Alpha then Release Date, DVDs Alpha, Clothes by Colour then Sleeve Length / overall length. :)

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  40. Oh my god I love this so hard! I alphebatize my books within their genres right now, but this is making me rethink my strategy.

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  41. As an artist, I love it! It's so pretty!

    As a librarian, I cringe.

    In case ya'll are wondering my books are all arranged by genre, alphabetical by author and in series order (because I hate alphabetizing titles when it puts them out of order – how am I supposed to know which one was first, second, or third?)

    1 agrees
    • I shelve books at my local library, and the fact that they alphabetize titles rather than putting them in series order drives me absolutely batty.

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  42. My books are organized first by genre and then alphabetically (and I have a separate bookcase for textbooks/books relevant to my field of study – I'm in Classics, so my copies of Homer, Vergil, Greek plays, etc. are all in their own little area). I think that photo looks stunning, but for me it would probably be a huge pain in the ass to find anything!

    Although I'm moving soon, so it might be a good opportunity to rethink my organizational scheme.

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  43. I am UNBELIEVABLY tempted to do this. I think the geek in me would do one of two things though to make it "organised" so I could find things:
    1. Organise them all alphabetically (but this could be annoying when buying new books.
    OR (and this is more tempting because I'm THAT much of a geek)
    2. After organising them, make a catalogue alphabetically listing what colour section they are in. If I do that I send photo, I promise!

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  44. We didn't organize our books, lol. I never did growing up and they were only tentatively organized for me and the Mister as adults, so we're "organizing" by color. We only have three half bookshelves full though, so it's not like walls and walls of color-coded books.

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  45. Ah, I can't stand this – one, because it would break up series and genres; two, because to me it flirts with the idea of books as mere decor, which I loathe. It makes me very sad when I see books in places that don't get read, like hotel lobbies. I can tell they are lonely and they need to be held. Yeah, I said it. I know I can't be the only one here who feels this way!

    That said, if it wasn't made of books I would think it was awesome :) I'm just a little weird about books being valued only for their covers – although I'm clear that that isn't the intent here.

    I organize my books roughly by genres, then by height (for multiple books by the same author, then it's by height within author). And series are in order, regardless of height. Discworld, LOTR, and fairy tales lit is all in one area, then the genres get a little blurry after that. I do have separate bookshelves for paperbacks. I'd like to do a full reorganization, but it's a bit tricky since my partner and I haven't yet fully merged our books. Maybe I'll get around to it one of these days. Honestly, I think merging finances was easier than merging books would be :)

    6 agree
  46. LOVE IT!! Unfortunately my husbands collection of Sci-fi and fantasy novels don't have such colorful spines :)

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  47. Mine are by color, and I love it. I generally don't have a hard time remembering where certain books are, but if I happen to forget, it doesn't take me long to scan through them.

    My biggest annoyance with the scheme is that, because my shelves are completely full and I have no wiggle room, when I get a new book, I have to move ALL the other books to fit the new book in the right color space. I usually keep any new books I buy in the cabinet under my bookshelves until I have about 5 or 10, then just spend a couple of hours getting things rearranged.

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  48. I had a friend who threatened to do this once and I told her that I would come over in the middle of the night and re-organize them properly. I'm pretty sure this would actually drive me insane, but then, I'm pretty sure my organizational system would drive other people insane so…eh.

    But seriously, how do you *find* things?!

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  49. We never organize our books anyhow – we just stack them haphazardly on the shelf however they'll fit. I'm currently in the process of arranging them by color so they'll at least be pretty! Our DVD shelf is already arranged this way, and I love it!

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  50. I'd love to do this. Alphabatizing is HELL on dislexics. I can't find a damn thing in libraries on my own. But, wifey has more books than me, and really wants to put them by subject/in serice order, so thats what we do. Then I just whine at her when I need a book and can't find it. The worst is that frequently I can't remember tha title either, so I just start describing it. Mostly by, you guessed it, color.

    Her: "what book do you need?"

    Me: "the purprle one with a pyramid on it"

    Her: "…"

    ah well.

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  51. Surely no-one has a collection of books with such perfectly coloured spines?! They have hardly any with mixed colours, but most of mine that I can think of really vary in colour. Also, I would hate for series to be separated. Currently mine are in author alphabeticalised, although before I had sorted them they went where they fitted and so it deviates from the current system if a too-tall one will not fit. I do like the look of this though, even if I don't think it would ever work for me; the idea of it in a child's room, on the other hand, is something I might try and remember.

    I do keep threatening to arrange the boyfriend's DVDs by colour, however, because with his system I can only find stuff by memory. He does it (entirely illogically to me!) by actors, not in alphabetical order but changing from one to another with films they are both in. Surely there are some actors dotted throughout though, and it is useless for anyone who has never searched through it before; maybe that is the point!

    0 agree
    • That sounds almost as confusing as my mums CD collection, which is in alphabetical order by whatever she thinks of first when looking for it.

      So Robbie Williams is under R, but Infected Mushroom is in M and Iron Maiden's Best of the Beast is in B. Some are even filed by what is on the cover!

      To anyone but her it's a jumbled mess but she insists it's logical.

      2 agree
  52. As my books are currently organised in no order whatsoever, i think i'm going to do this.

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  53. I did this about 5 years ago when my husband was away on a stag weekend – he thought I had gone a little bit mad when he returned.

    It was time consuming to do it but it only lasted about 2 weeks, i found it so hard to find things, especially books you reference all the time like cookbooks. I found myself looking for a particular book, trying to figure out what colour spine it had and generally getting very frustated.

    I only have one set of bookshelves about the size of the Ikea Billy bookcases so it's not like I had a whole library of books

    Good Luck to anyone who tries this.

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  54. This looks amazing, but would be a total nightmare for me. All of my books are organized by Author's last name from first work to most recent.

    I also feel like the spines of almost all of my books are either black, white, or orange or some combination of the three(judging by the quick glance at one of my bookshelves). This would make for a very boring rainbow.

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  55. I have to say, before I caught up with the whole "organising according to colour" thing, I NEVER organised my books (listens for the shocked gasps of horror). In all seriousness I struggle to be organised at all and because I am artistic, actually organising them in terms of colour keeps me organised because I want it to stay pretty! It means I put books back when I finished them!

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  56. I want to organize by color and honestly I usually look for a book by color anyway. Maybe when I have more books. right now the top shelf contains my favorites.

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  57. I'm an elementary school librarian, so the idea of shelving books by color makes me cry a little inside. We're a little geeky around my home and we have our books cataloged MARC record style – they have their own call numbers and spine labels and our non-fiction even has their correct Dewey Decimal number. Now that I write that down, I realized I'm a little insane about my books…

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  58. Haha! I love it! I wish I had enough book shelf space to organize all of my books in any way! I just squish them all in the best I can and leave it at that.

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  59. i've been doing this for years. it's really only a good idea if you're very visual like i am. i'm much more likely to remember the spine color than the title.

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  60. Hmm… this made me look at my 3, tall beautiful bookshelves teeming with books which are vaguely organized by theme, but that's about it… maybe I'll try doing this within each theme, a rainbow on each shelf would look cool. I don't think I could mix up ALL of my books though… that would be going too far. Also, I like the dustjacket idea… but sounds like too much work for me :-)

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  61. In our last apartment, I separated my "read" books from the "unread" and put them on a case in a different room. The read books were put in color order since they were far fewer, whereas unread stayed alphabetical by author. At the end of the day though, I was still able to find books on the read case pretty easily, so I guess I have a better visual memory than I thought.

    1 agrees
  62. I don't really reference my old books…I just keep them. I used to organize them by color when I had a nice big bookcase in our living room. Since buying a house (3.5 years ago) all of our books are still in bins in the attic. I should probably just donate them, because it's painfully obvious that I'm not going to read them again!!

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  63. this is perfectly delightful. maybe just create a list of books via word document for reference when searching for a title.

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  64. This makes my soul ache for an enormous, wall to wall bookcase. I have to make do with my books disorganised across several shelves and rooms … although I'm more of a category/author type. Cocktails/Baking/Art/(subcatergorised, ideally … painting, contemporary, classical, history, sculpture, New Zealand etc)Fiction (organised by author…perhaps alphabetically).

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  65. I don't like it at all, aesthetically or organizationally. I actually like having all the different colors and heights mixed together, it's a delightful hodgepodge. I also just kind of clump my books though – classics (includes Shakespeare, White Oleander, and Jane Austen), kids/teen lit, fantasy/scifi, things I read in English classes, essays, poetry, philosophy/history, feminism. That way I can look for the type of book I want and have all my options right there, more based on feel than necessarily subject.

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  66. I think it looks gorgeous (!) but would be totally ineffective when trying to find a book, plus as mentioned above, different books in series wouldn't be together.

    I do mine by genre, and then by size (size meaning either height or depth, whichever turns out looking better). So I have all my children's books together, fantasy/sci-fi, comic books (I don't have enough to warrant a longbox), nonfiction, art books, etc. It's pretty easy to find whatever book I was looking for.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/xstarsprinklesx/sets/72157624676807572/detail/

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  67. We have two Expedits full of books organized like this for about three years. LOVE IT. I don't have a problem finding a book, usually.

    Yes, I do have to move everything when I want to add a book, though.

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  68. This would be awesome in my personal library, where I would theoretically already know the books I have, and a general idea of where to find them.

    I encountered this within the business section of Border's recently. While I thought it was cute, it quickly turned into a pain when I realized I had no clue what the book I was looking for looked like, so had no clue where to look. When there are dozens of shelves to search through, this becomes a pain very quickly.

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  69. I was completely inspired by this and rearanged our entire house of books tonight. (except my huspands natural history shelf). Even though he admitted it looked amazing–he still wouldn't give up his fabulous brightly colored science books. oh well :)

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  70. Alphabetising all the way, baby! While I can admit that it does look amazing, I'm a word nerd and I just really like to alphabetise things. Lists, addresses in mass emails (yes, really) anything with letters.

    I like my books organised according to genre and then alphabetised within that genre, and while the varying heights and colours do sometimes bug me a little (we don't have enough books or a nice enough bookcase to make it look cool) I much prefer that way to visual arrangements.

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  71. Tried it. Organizational nightmare. Whining and yelling because I can't find that one book with that one scene that I really want to reread at 3am.

    Also tried and loathed: organizing books by height.

    I really love sorting things, so I've tried a bunch of different systems. The one that always works the best for me is fiction sorted alphabetically by author (and chronologically for each author), nonfiction sorted by narrative and non-narrative, with art books and poetry on their own.

    All that said, a local artist reorganized an entire bookstore by color, and the results were pretty cool:
    http://crystalking.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/thousands-and-thousands-of-color-coordinated-books/

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  72. I loooove the way it looks, but I have a lot of books and that number is growing everyday, so, I don't know. The only way I can see it working for me is if I categorized it on the computer ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Second row, First shelf, Orange Grouping").

    Actually… that would work really well for me. Maybe I'll do that when I move.

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  73. I need to do this. I need more space. O.O This is gorgeous and looks like so much fun. :D

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  74. I think it's beautiful (I remember when that first picture was making the rounds at the start of the trend), but I have to say, unless you really are the type of person who remembers books by color better than by author/title, I feel like it screams "I don't actually read any of these books on a regular basis!" because of how difficult it is to find anything. I did compromise, though, and organized my two tall CD racks by color because they're all burned on my computer anyhow and I rarely use them. When I do pull out CDs for a long car trip, though, it's a pain and a half to find specific ones, which is why I can't imagine my 1,000+ book library being organized that way.

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  75. We have enough books that all of our shelves are stacked two deep – this would be wholly impractical. I use the two layers to place books I've already read in the back, and the ones waiting to be read in front.

    Hubby's favourite authors each get their own shelves in the living room, and he has a few shelves of singles in the bedroom. My fiction is organised by genre (historical, sci-fi/fantasy, teen lit), and by author's national origin (Canadian/American/British/in English but from other parts of the world/in translation). My favourite authors are separated out and have their own special shelves.

    Within each genre, I like to have a flow going along it – a continuum, say, from hard SF to fantasy.

    There are some strategically placed large hard-covers that are actually holding up the shelves themselves, so my system has to start with them.

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  76. Every time I move my librarian-esque anal retentive best friend takes great pleasure in organizing my books by genre and then alpha by author. I can't stand this, but it's sort of her reward for helping me move. My reward for dealing with my bossy BFF is the glee I get when I pull all of the books off of the shelf and place them haphazardly (we're talking upside down, sideways, paperbacks between larger volumes etc) , in a variety of eye pleasing manners and often ad knick knacks and things from my travels that are not books and take books that are favorites or have cool covers and leave them laying around my house. I actually ended up putting a piece of glass on top of a giant stack of coffee table books to make an end table and this thing makes her completely crazy, but it gives me such pleasure to see and smell all of my books. Plus I get to wander across them accidentally and pick them up randomly and fall in love all over again!

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  77. My books are randomly shoved where ever I happened to find space for them. They are sort of arranged by size, since I have shelves with different heights. I rarely want to read something specific and when I do I remember about where it should be.

    And I'm a librarian : ) I work in an organized environment so I don't want my collection to be.

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  78. I do both! My fiction is alphabetical by author, so I can find what I'm looking for. My non-fiction is by colour. I never know who the author/publisher of my non-fiction is, and rarely even know the exact title. But I DO know whether I'm looking for that big red home-reno-DIY book, or that little purple dream dictionary.
    We threw a party in the spring, and some of my friends thought it would be great fun to 'mess up my rainbow'… I think they were looking for a bigger reaction than they got. They were pretty sure I had done it because of some sort of anal-retentive-OCD thing. In reality, I just did it because I thought it would look pretty.

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  79. I'm an alphabetizer…But lately I've been covering my battered S.F. paperback series in colored paper (art paper if I have it, old calendar pages or maps if I don't). Since I stick to the same paper for the volumes in each series, I'm getting the best of both worlds!

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  80. Seeing as I currently don't organize my books by anything at all, this would be an okay way for meee.

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