How to Organize Your Book Collection

How to Organize Your Book Collection

You have worked hard to collect books; it has taken time and a certain amount of money to build up your collection. You now have a wonderful collection of books, but they are in disarray and difficult to find. The answer lies in organization.

There are several ways that you can organize your books. As long as you can find the book you want, the method you choose is the right one.

Among the ways to organize books the following are the most used:


Organizing books by subject works very well for reference books. Various subjects could include: self-improvement, writing, cooking, photography and so forth. This is an excellent choice for your non-fiction books. It is less useful for fiction books.


This choice is good if you have a lot of books of different types. Examples of different genre include:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Arts and photography
  • Cookbooks
  • Children’s books
  • Travel guides

This division type is particularly useful if you bookcases are not all in one place.


Sorting by author is excellent for fiction books, it is also very useful to use within genre division.


Books often appear neater if arranged by size. This system can also be functional because most fiction paperbacks are similarly sized. Hardcover fiction and non-fiction books are usually taller. Design books are usually the tallest.


This method has more form appeal than function. Removing the dust jacket is practical because usually the book itself is usually a solid cover. One thing to note: books decrease in value if they are missing their dust jackets.

By Frequency of Use:

Many people want the books they use most often in one place regardless of what type of book it is. This is a practical system for an office bookcase. When the juices are flowing it is very helpful to just reach over and grab the book you need without having to walk to a distant bookcase.

If desired combine one or more of these methods for your particular collection of books. You may wish to store your commonly used reference books, journals, Bible, fiction or poetry that you may enjoy during a quick break on one shelf. You may choose to arrange other books by genre and/or subject in another bookcase or on more distant shelves.

It really does not matter how you organize your books. The aim is to have them stored in a way that is practical and functional to you.

The Author:

Patricia M. Hines

Photo. Congerdesign

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