Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: How do you organize your books for swapping?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: How do you organize your books for swapping?
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
Back To Top

I have three boxes of books that are listed on my bookshelf.  They are in no particular order.  As one box fills up, I simply start a new box.

So this evening, I got a request for two books.  I went to look for the books in the boxes and I could not find them.  I started to panic and had to go check my own bookshelf here to see if I really had those books.  I did.  So back to the boxes I went to look again.  Finally, on the third time of scouring through the boxes, I found both books.  <insert sigh of relief here>

I got to thinking that there must be a better way of organizing my books so I don't have to look so hard.  How do you organize your books?  By author?  By genre? 

It's probably a simple solution that just hasn't occurred to me.

Last Edited on: 8/26/08 6:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 1,051
Back To Top

I keep them in boxes but I generally remember where the books are. I also record al my transactions in a ntebook to keep track of what I sent / need to send. I did try to seperate the different book genre's & write on the box what was in there.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
Back To Top

They are on my bookshelf on a seperate shelf and some are in boxes and bags. I don't seperate by author or genre.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

Alphabetically by author here - which I think is the easiest way to find what you're looking for.  And whatever you're storing them in, single layers are obviously more organized than stacked.  The long, shallow underbed storage bins are great for tucking away your PBS books.  I have the jumbo sets of stackable plastic drawers myself.  They don't take up much actual floor space, hold a lot of books, and keep them relatively clean and free of dust.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
Back To Top

Alpha by author here too. It is absolutely the easiest way. I have mine in a small bookshelf near my computer. Makes it easy to see if the books I have posted match what is in the shelf. I try to check at least once a month. Now granted I have a very small shelf right now, but I hate that panic feeling when I cant find a book that has been requested.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 136
Back To Top

I keep mine in boxes too. I tape a sheet of copy paper to the box and list the books in no particular order. When I mail out a book I just scratch out the book title on the list and add new titles as I acquire them. Sooner or later I add another sheet of paper as the box fills. I do a lot of swapping so going alphabetical would be too much work for me. I still have to search through the box for the requested book but at least I know which box it is in.

Last Edited on: 8/26/08 7:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

Stacked on the floor...

Maybe I should try to alphabetize, too :)

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,556
Back To Top

Mine are on a floor to ceiling bookshelf  arranged by genre (loosely arranged by genre, LOL)

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
Back To Top

I keep books in small boxes (12 x 18, or so), standing on end, so I can see the title. They're alpha by title, which is the same as on my bookshelf.


Date Posted: 8/26/2008 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
Back To Top

I have a basket on the stairs that holds all books to be distributed (it also holds the books I need to return to people) and I just grab them.

But then, my shelf only has about ten books on it.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top

In bookcases, alphabetical by author.

Now my TBR mountain, that's another story -- they're piled up all over the place ::cough::



Date Posted: 8/26/2008 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
Back To Top

I have mine in a couple of boxes and usually have hardback together and paperback together

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
Back To Top

Lots of good ideas here.  I may try to do the alphabetical by author thing.  I do try to keep books in a series to gether at least.

I like the under the bed storage container idea too.  I have mine in the boxes that computer paper comes in and they are two layers deep.  I'm sure this adds to the difficaulty I seem to have locating books.

I'm about to outgrow my TBR bookcase.  Two shelves are full and the third one holds other reference type books.  I'm going to have to either get a bigger bookcase or start reading faster and posting them.

Keep the ideas coming.

Last Edited on: 8/26/08 10:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
niffir - ,
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 495
Back To Top

If my stack of PBS books sitting on the floor by my computer gets tall enough to fall over, I go through and weed out the books with lots of copies in the system-- I either donate them or stick them in the box of yard sale stuff.  Simple, but it means that those with lots of copies will never make it through the FIFO system.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 45
Back To Top

I agree with others that alphabetically by author makes the most sense, but it isn't actually what I do.  Instead, mine are in boxes, and I keep a spreadsheet on the computer indicating which books are in which box.  When someone requests one, I at least know which box (of 6, right now) to look in.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

I just find that if you organize well on the front end - when the books are going in to your storage area - it saves you a lot of work when you go to pull them & send them out.  I have a lot of collectibles & TBR, which means those had to be separated from my PBS shelf so I could easily inventory all of my books, and not just the PBS stuff.  My bed sits on an old, high pedestal waterbed frame that I dearly love and didn't want to get rid of when I went to a conventional mattress insert.  It also has 8 drawers underneath, which is great storage, and the drawers are fairly shallow, and of the right size to hold two rows of paperback books with the spines facing up.  I put shelf paper in them and some small bags of activated charcoal in the back, and now I have storage space under my bed for about 400 books.  This is my "keeper shelf":P  Again, just like the plastic PBS drawers, all sorted alphabetically by author.  And the overflow of keepers and TBR - it sounds impossible, but yes, it's true, there IS overflow:P - goes on media shelves I bought from Big Lots.  They're built shallow, so they hug the walls & the shelves aren't very deep.  Nice for storage without loss of floor space, and the shelves are sized just right for paperbacks, trade paperbacks, and some hardcovers.  Plus they're adjustable, so you can raise or lower them however you want to accomodate the type of binding you're storing on each shelf.  On the underbed boxes, I haven't bought those in a long time, but you used to be able to get the cardboard storage boxes with the slotted handholds on each end in underbed box size.  I know they make the plastic ones now, some with wheels even, but the cardboard ones used to come about 3 to a pack with lids & were folded flat, and you basically just unfold & refold them to put them together.  I don't know where you'd get them now, but I'd try Wal-Mart first.  They don't last forever, but the size & dimensions on them are great for under the bed book storage.

Subject: My bookshelf books
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,445
Back To Top

They are in two rubbermaild type containers stored unfr my mu dining room table......no dining is done at the table. They are in no particular order. I can generally find a book I am looking for fairly easily.  Maybe I'll organize one day??!

Date Posted: 8/27/2008 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
Back To Top

I have two shopping bags - one for hardcovers and one for paperbacks.  They are stored on end, just like on a bookshelf.  When the shopping bags are full and I have no more room, it's time for a deal in the BB.  If that doesn't clear them out, then I sort them according to how many are in the PBS system and take those with the most copies here to my Community Center. 

At the most, I have had 39 books.  I try to keep my shelf at 30.   I just don't like having too many books around, especially since the more numerous ones move much too slowly here.

And they aren't organized at all..... I generally have to pull them all out, one-by-one, until I find the one I need.



Date Posted: 8/27/2008 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 2,039
Back To Top

I have three boxes for my bookshelf.  I just didn't have the patience for sorting.  So, I printed off a list of my bookshelf.  All of the books in one box gets an X on my list, the next box are checkmarks, etc. 

So, I just hold on to my master booklist to see if a book is in the X, check, or O box.  Very simple and it didn't take long at all.

Subject: sorting books by date listed
Date Posted: 8/27/2008 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 10/5/2005
Posts: 453
Back To Top

I currently have over 700 books listed, with over 200 having been listed in the past omnth, so organization is very important to me. I have 15 banker's boxes full of books to search thru! I have recently started a system where I sort books according to the date listed. Since the request always shows the date listed, I can easily put my hands on the exact box I need. When the boxes get leaner, I combine books into date ranges, such as all books listed in June 2008, or books listed between Oct. 2007 thru Dec. 2007.

Also, because I have so many boxes to move every time I get a request, I generally do all my mailing one day a week. I always accept requests with the furthest date out, and it seems to work out to pull and mail several books at one time that way.

Date Posted: 8/27/2008 7:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 881
Back To Top

I have mine in copy paper boxes alphabetically by author: one box for A-B, one box for C-D. Some letters have their own boxes and some are buddying with several other letters (T-U-V and X-Y-Z).

It's so much easier to search through one box.

Subject: I need more bookcases!
Date Posted: 8/27/2008 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
Back To Top

My spare bedroom has 7 bookcases in it and I keep my PBS bookshelf on 3+ bookcases, alphabetical by author with oversized books or really oddballs books on top. I also use 3 bookcases for my TBR pile. Unfortunately I have an overflow of my TBR bookshelves which is why my 9 foot long credenza is stacked 3 feet high and 3 stacks deep. If Kevin doesn't stop ordering books I will loose my table as well! Probably one of the more important organizational tools is to, ensure if you do a book deal for say 2 for 1 that you remove that "second" book off of your PBS bookshelf when you do the deal. Since I have over 1000 books on my shelf I learned real quick (after searching all over the house, including in my 15 bookcase "keeper" library) for a book that I had traded as part of a two for one the first week I was on PBS!


Date Posted: 8/27/2008 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
Back To Top

I've got mine in a big plastic tub next to my computer desk. When I get a request, I grab the book, check (again) to make sure it's postable and accept request. It's pretty easy right now since my bookshelf only has about 50 books on it--if I had hundreds of books listed as I used to, I would still be using the 3-drawer Rubbermaid storage unit. I had hardcovers in one drawer, trade paperbacks in another and MMPs in the top one, with some overlap as needed. I don't bother to sort alphabetically or anything since what I've got posted changes so regularly. I want to have some time for reading! LOL


Last Edited on: 8/27/08 8:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/27/2008 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

This thread has inspired me to organize...the piles on the floor are now tidier and in vaguely alphabetical order by author :)

Date Posted: 8/27/2008 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2005
Posts: 135
Back To Top

mine are all on a bookcase in my spare bedroom, which is surrently overflowing with boxes of books as well.