View Full Version here: : Downsizing book storage-Bumma!
28-06-2012, 05:18 PM
Looking at the "new" house we've found....
There certainly won't be enough room for all the books I've collected over the last 50 years....:(
I was certainly spoiled at the farm, now I'm going to have to "rationalise" down to about 20 feet of library storage.
How the devil do you make a decision like that??:question:
I have some very old (pre1800) first editions, about 4000 "general" astro books, then there's the "atlas" collections and the bound set of S&T and BAA Journals....
This is going to hurt.....:sadeyes:
Can you not hold on to them in sealed storage somewhere?
A good library is a great thing to have and I'd hate to have to downsize ours(although not anywhere as large as yours) and would find it extremely difficult too.
28-06-2012, 05:56 PM
Wrapping them (all!) in plastic bags and storing them in the garage seems to defeat the object of having a library...:(
I'm/ was used to having them sitting on the shelves - nice to look at and always readily available.:D
I think the garage is one step closer to the tip...don't want to go that way.
I'll have to spend some time updating the "catalogue" and may be try to sell the "excess" in one lot....
Any interest in 3000+ astronomy books?:question::question:
28-06-2012, 06:06 PM
Maybe look for a suitable library or museum to donate or loan them to?
Yes I totally get that, a library is something to be proud of and as you say even useful when you can just easily grab what your after.
I actually think I might actively be murdered if I was to come home with a truck load of books like that. It is after all a heck of a lot of books. :eyepop:
Not to say there is no interest in a few of them though.
28-06-2012, 06:10 PM
Not too many choices in Melbourne!
Yes! There's a lot of space needed!
28-06-2012, 07:24 PM
Good on you!
I have been collecting books to read for several years now and I already have quite a library!
And no room, they are in boxes on the floor!
28-06-2012, 07:37 PM
The house we've bought is so much smaller, there would be NO room on the floor(s) for all the boxes!
29-06-2012, 02:08 PM
I know it's a tough call but with that number of books will you ever get to read them all again ? I think the best option is to set a size\number limit, pick the books you know you will use again be they reference or reading for pleasure etc and either have a good garage sale with the rest or find them a good home where the will be appreciated hopefully. I know because I've got a fair few hangng around and have had to cull them and decided unless they are important reference and\or I am definitely going to read them again then maybe someone else will enjoy their knowledge.
So regard it as spreading the word.
You could always get a pad or kindle or similar and get electronic copies of important reference tomes. Saves on space and lets you keep more of the valuable personal hard copies.
As an aside on this when my first marriage broke up I 'lived' in a Camry station wagon for about a month with all my worldly possessions. THATS when you learn to understand what is important to keep. I think I eventually collected a Fridge and one piece of furniture plus my clothes, cameras and fishing gear. An interesting episode in my life.
29-06-2012, 04:57 PM
It isn't at all ideal to store books wrapped in plastic, as this is not a sound preservation technique. Books need to be stored with proper "acid free" wrapping, not in plastic.
29-06-2012, 04:59 PM
Hi Merlin, I would be interested in buying the three volume set Atlas of Galactic Nebula, by Vehrenberg, if you have it, and may be interested in other titles?
29-06-2012, 05:48 PM
Peter, et al,
Yes, I know about "proper" archival storage, but it was said tongue in cheek....
I've tried the ebook thing...no good for me...when I do use the library I'm usually researching an issue/ problem and end up with a few books open at a time to compare info..can't do that on a ipad.
I did TRY, when I came o'seas to just bring a few books with me, one's that I thought would be used....like my wife's clothes when she packs...only 50% were actually used and I ended up purchasing copies of books I knew were back in storage in Oz.....:(
I'm thinking...go through and sort the active interest books, then the $$$ collectables and the "series" books (Like many others I just hate seeing Vol 2 (of a 5 Vol series) just sitting alone on the shelf - it must reunited with it's mates...);)
The rest (sigh) may have to go like they do at Hay on Wye (The book town) sell by the bag (or per Kg) or by the shelf length ( so much per foot)...Hmm I could always rip the spines off and glue them to some customwood sell as a "safe/ secure storage front!!! (Only joking, but it IS done in Hay on Wye):eyepop:
(Let's not talk about divorces - been there tried that.....)
29-06-2012, 06:54 PM
Yes, Merlin, I know what you mean about eBooks, but it is the way of the future though, Maybe multiple iPad's are the go (Hmm, any excuse to buy more technology). :D However, the problem with eBooks, at present, you just can't get what you want, particularly in technical reference/astronomy material. I would really love to be able to carry around all my useful reference material in one slim device.
Like you, I do a lot of research too, mostly using the Internet, so know how it can be having several sites open at once, but then, that is why I have multiple screens, just love having lots of screen "real estate", to spread multiple open documents over. :D
Ken, the English shop here has had a couple of these types of book sales for charity, sold by the centimetre if I recall.
Sadly I never managed to find any astronomy books there, the closest I found was a Jim Al-Khalili book on Quantum mechanics for the perplexed.
I donated the Danielle Steele books my Mum left from her last visit which was a relief to get them off the shelf.
29-06-2012, 09:10 PM
I feel your pain. :(
30-06-2012, 10:10 AM
I feel your pain as well! I have been collecting books for years and am running out of room. We have one room left to be renovated so until I do that I can't buy any more books.
I read somewhere that Samuel Pepys limited his library to 3000. I have a long way to go before I reach that limit, just need to find the space! So far I have limited my collecting to 18-19C fiction but am so tempted by some of the gorgeous bird books around!
30-06-2012, 11:58 AM
hello ken have you thought about under the house?
i know if you have an older style there is a fair bit of room under them, and it is very easy to add a trap door, that is what i have (had to have) done with a wine collection....... precious books are worth just as much and the underground environment will keep your books very well
oh by the way i am still talking about a proper library setup not in boxes on the floor, very easy to pave under the house
30-06-2012, 01:00 PM
Forget the iPad. You should try a multi-screen setup. Desktops are most suited. They have other uses too. I was watching 3 webcasts of the Venus transit before work...that is when the sun wasn't actually visible (95% of the time it wasn't here).
30-06-2012, 01:03 PM
Reminds me I really need to get rid of 20 and 30 year old computer reference books. I don't think I'll be using Windows NT 4 or Borland C++ 4.5 any time soon. (On the other hand the Borland manuals actually have some very good tutorials on Object orientation and C++ which are still relevant). As you can see I have really trouble letting go of books too....and then there are fond memories of re-creating my bedroom in VRML...
under the house, eh?
makes me think of those tropical reserve hotels with huts on stilts?
but even if that was possible, the dampness hurts the books more than it hurts your wine collection.
oh, my, that is so sad! so many books!
I can totally relate to you preferring to stay with paper books and how you are used to work with them.
however - seeing that you will have to part with most of them - and most of them won't be available for sale as e-books -
if you have the time - or the money - you can get them digitized?
that means: scanning or photographing them page per page.
ideally then editing them with software that recognizes words (OCR).
I could imagine a student being paid for the effort if you don't have the time to do it yourself.
Good luck in your new home! May it be a wonderful new place to live in and reward you for your sacrifice. :prey:
P.S. the advantage of an e-book collection is the full text search.
ever stood before your book shelves not sure about the exact sentence you want to read again and not remembering which book it was in?
with your e-book library software, it's like a google search: type the words in you do remember and hit enter. tadaaaaah!
I used to be a scientific librarian by trade and university degree. bibliophile, you could have called me.
But I had to leave behind so many books whenever I changed countries or continents, I now totally embrace the e-book world!
P.S. hard disk sapce is cheap, nowadays. and if you convert books from PDF to epub, all of a sudden, a 50MB PDF can be as small as 500KB.
02-07-2012, 04:00 PM
eBooks I think are something for consideration down the track - after the current "book problem" is resolved.
BTW I, like probably many of the older members, grew up on Arthur Mee's "Children's Encyclopeadia" - I was almost illiterate until the age of 10 or so - when I did start to read I just couldn't get enough of Mee's.
I saved my pocket money and eventually bought a set from the local Pawn shop...I was in my element!!
Well, now, over fifty years later, I have collected four sets, I think (!!) - I always wanted an early pre-war original set (No publication dates, and the same illustrations doesn't help to identify them...)
I mention this as it compounds my dilemma.......
06-07-2012, 10:58 AM
An alternate storage idea.
06-07-2012, 11:23 AM
I just put shelving in every room on every wall, up to the ceiling, that had a safe environment from the books. And replace your doors with hidden-bookshelf doors.
Problem solved, and you can pretend you're batman when no-one is looking :)
06-07-2012, 11:27 AM
I have all of my astronomy and other textbooks scanned so that I can carry them around for just that purpose, and kindles are cheap enough now to have a couple of them (wifi model with keyboard is currently $79 at my local woolworth's supermarket.)
You can contract it out, or hire a book scanner to get it done.
A surprising amount of books are available as PDFs in China and India. I don't worry too much about the copyright issues as I already have the books, so that is another option.
06-07-2012, 11:56 AM
Ken, while it doesn't solve your problem you could talk to the Astronomical Society of Victoria about the books you cannot keep. They have a library at the Melbourne Observatory.
All the best with your collection!
06-07-2012, 05:59 PM
The ASV is always an option, I'm a past President and 30 year member..
I'm not sure some of the books on Astrophotography using 2415 Hypered film would be of general interest....
I tried to get a Compactus unit approved....no go!
The converted outside dunny - has some appeal!!
I think the honest solution is to bite the bullet and accept that "downsizing" is the order of the day...
06-07-2012, 10:35 PM
Some whacky ideas here as well: http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/25-awesome-diy-ideas-for-bookshelves
06-07-2012, 11:10 PM
I did see, in the local antique shop one of those 1920's bookcases where it was a square section with books on each face - sat on a lazy susan...I wonder if instead of 2' high I could build a couple of units 6' high...like an oversized display stand?
If you can still see a wall then you still have space for books. I've always built my own bookshelves when I've moved to fit those odd spaces to put books. They do make a practical insulation layer (sound/thermal). If you organise the books by size then you can build shelves of the right size to maximise use of available space. Even small places you tend to have a lot of wasted wallspace, especially up high, so you can put a single shelf a foot down from the ceiling that runs along every wall and above every door. Tons of shelf space that way, and the books are not in the way. Line hallways floor to ceiling with shelves (hallways are never built 2ft wide so you can always find the space if you want to).
There are always ways if you are willing to live with the books. Ebooks will never be the solution (they have existed for two decades already and never replaced any real books or publications yet, only the file formats change and the reliance on certain platforms). Kindles etc are great for paperbacks but not very practical for reference material (though text searching is great to have of course). If there is any empty air then there is always a way to use it, generally I find organising any storage area by like sizes (kitchen cupboards, linen cupboards etc) lets me add extra shelving. Then I can store things more efficiently. If you always put dinner plates on the front of a shelf but leave the rear empty because its too hard to reach then you have empty space you can use for something else you rarely need to access (like those blender attachments you never use but have sitting in the 95% empty blender box taking up a large volume). What about converting stairs into shelves, the space between the lounge and the wall, what about walling up that window you never use and always keep heavily draped?
If you can't find a way to house you're books you're not trying hard enough. If you're not trying hard enough perhaps they aren't important enough.
Convincing your spouse however is beyond the scope of this reply :)
09-07-2012, 06:05 PM
If you can't find a way to house you're books you're not trying hard enough. If you're not trying hard enough perhaps they aren't important enough.
I have a friend in Hurstbridge who definately subscribes to your model.
I'm sure his books are actually holding the weatherboard house together.
His system (!!) was books laid flat - to be read; standing - read and colour coded dots on the spine by topic.....
Not sure I could get management approval for such a "intensive" storage system.....
How about replacing the walls with concealed sliding panels and using the wall cavity to house books? :) I guess I'm used to having organised clutter, if I have something scribbled on a piece of paper I just know where in a pile of magazines and papers it is.
If you did dispose of them are your circumstances likely to change in the future and will it become a source of regret then? Are you likely to have the space for them?
A nice library is itself a thing of beauty even if you don't read and re-read every volume. I would suggest the rarer ones and larger sets you try to hang onto. A bunch of large cheap containers to line a garage wall floor to ceiling even. Cheaper more common books might be better suited as ebooks. I don't know if this is a possibility but what about asking a library if you can donate your collection on the proviso the books are kept together and you can reclaim any/all at a later date, particularly if you have many that they wouldn't have. That way you get good free housing for the collection and others will be able to make use of the books within the library. A university library might be willing to do something along these lines, perhaps even as a reference library in their astronomy rooms (if they have such). What about a local observatory you could loan the collection to? I think there may be options that don't involve you disposing of the collection permanently, and indefinite loan to some establishment/society is a possibility.
why shouldn't e-books be for use with reference material, Sil?
More often than not I found I lose more benefit than I gain. I find non e-ink screens difficult to read from for any length of time (its basically a bit flat torch constantly shining in your eyes). e-ink screens are very good on the eyes because they need the same sort of lighting as you would use for paper and there's also no flicker.
Reference books are generally larger format than a regular paperback so to fit on a smaller screen of a tablet (for portability) everything has to get squished, you lose fidelity. Reference books are understandably PDFs (which was created to be PORTABLE across systems, its aim it to retain layout, so reflowing to a smaller screen and adjusting font sizes doesn't work very well). Images in ebooks are a lower resolution, which bugs the hell out of me, so they might look nice at a glance but when you are actually using the images as reference (eg trying to find the position of that faint star in the cluster you want to look at) they lose the practicality.
Reference books are essentially the best resolution reference material you'll have, ebooks will always be inferior in this regard as images get scanned and resized to a low resolution and stored in a compressed format in order to keep the filesizes reasonable. Current ebook formats (eg epub) are essentially a container format for text that uses basic HTML for simple formatting and image files. So you often encounter images just appearing in random places because the ebooks get created via an automated process.
Almost every book is created and laid out for a printed version, the ebook versions are then converted from that. The ebook versions are almost never created from scratch and those that are get created with a specific device in mind which may or may not work as expected on the device you actually have. Devices come and go so the digital world is left having to re-invent new document formats for the next big thing that comes along. Or more often just try to automate a conversion of the formats from the previous generation. I've encountered some commercial books for my Kindle that still contain code that shows they were converted from a decade old .lit version for the PocketPC platform. Whatever the cheapest and quickest method for creating an ebook is the publishers will take it.
There are also the limitations of the devices themselves. I've got stamp catalogues in PDF format which are 500MB+ in size each. Ever tried flicking through something like that on a Kindle? It can't compare to flicking through a paper version and the images are far lower resolution which makes it impossible to identify plate flaws and varieties that are clearly visible in the printed versions of the same catalogue. I would be willing to bet you are not going to be able to find a single reference book in an ebook format where the book contains a number of high quality photographic prints in the middle which are replicated in ebook in a colour accurate ultra high resolution digital image (which on todays screens means you should be able to zoom into a 1cm square part of the screen and see no loss of image detail). High resolution images themselves are very large so an ebook might end up with only a few hundred kilobytes for its text but several gigabytes because of the images. Portable devices only have a limited memory so no-one is going to produce ebooks with images that match the printed resolution which end up becoming several gigabytes in size allowing your device to only have a couple of books on it before its full. So they are scanned low resolution and compressed (producing artifacts), so your ebook reference becomes useless to rely on its images as reference material. You also have batteries which are un-changeable and have a finite lifespan (whether you use them or not lithium battery technology is dead after a few year years, but thats ok because vendors would have convinced you to buy the next big thing anyway by then).
Books that contain no images (or a few images that are themselve just illustrations and have no reference value themselves) can work well in ebook format. Paperback novels fit this perfectly as they are just paragraph after paragraph text, no need for fancy colours or complex layouts. So ebook devices can then control font size and the text reflows and it all still looks clean and readible. This is great for reading novels and allows users to set preferences for their eyesight and reading comfort. They are also searchable which is the only real benefit an ebook has over a printed version (and built in dictionaries are great too). I started reading far more since I got my Kindle, but only novels. I tried using it as a portable reference library but it just wasn't practical. A real reference book is just handy to be able to make notes in and stick bits of paper in places etc....which can be replicated in a digital format but again not as practical or convenient. Every reference ebook I've bought I ended up quickly buying the printed version anyway (in some cases it turned out cheaper to buy the printed version too).
Plus so many people are reliant on online storage to keep their growing digital libraries. When those providers go bust you lose everything. When their security is compromised your personal and credit card details are too. I find it scary how people blindly trust these systems and then complain when someone drains their accounts or takes their identities. A book has no such security concerns.
A book can be given without worrying about device formats.
A book is low in calories and high in fibre.
A book kills 99% of known household pests (with a strong arm and good aim).
A book can fix a wonky table.
A book is for life, not just for christmas.
Ah, very nice. Thank you for summarizing your view.
I can follow your thoughts and agree.
What I conclude is that there is a need for a bigger e-book reader.
One that fits student's text books in A4 and one that fits even bigger picture books like your beautiful stamp catalog in A3.
At least, for the current book layout that we are used to.
Over time that will evolve, of course.
I reckon, the insects will follow and develop into species that can be killed with ebook readers.
10-07-2012, 04:08 PM
You sound like a real "kindred spirit" - I think I'd enjoy sharing (what's left) of my library with you over a glass of Heathcote Shiraz....
Your points were very well made.
Thanks for the excellent contribution.
(I must look out so of the photos I have of the original library - a sort of "before" and "after" - Oh and you also need lay-up space to spread out the references - I had pull-out reading trays fitted in every second section of the bookcase)
10-07-2012, 04:21 PM
Here are a couple of ideas for space saving for bookshelves.
http://weburbanist.com/2008/04/28/20-brilliant-bookcase-and-bookshelf-designs-creative-modular-and-unique-urban-furniture/ (The first example in this link is quite ingenious.)
Here's another idea, buy a caravan and put it in you back yard for the misses and kids. :P Don't laugh, I actually knew someone that did just that, with his house filled up with his train sets, literally! :D
10-07-2012, 09:14 PM
I feel your pain, having bitten the bullet and started to downsize, myself. I made the decision that, at 3 score and ten, I would never have enough time to read more than a very small proportion of the books I had collected over a lifetime. I gave away or sold those books which had value for other people and donated the rest (3 carloads, not just the boot but all the seats as well) to charity bookfairs. I have still more books left than I can ever hope to read again, but at least I have an extra room available to live in, in my new place.
11-07-2012, 12:13 PM
I had to look at that first storage system more than once to finally realise that the shelves were actual the tread of the staircase to the loft....now THAT is original!!
Thanks for all the input.
The final decision will have to wait until the containers arrive out of storage - then the meter will definately be ticking....
03-09-2012, 09:22 AM
The first shipment of stored books has arrived.
Already it's obvious that something (!!) will have to go.
The balance of the shipment arrives mid/late September then it's definately crush- whoops, meant crunch time.
I'll upload a photo of the "boxes"...
Onwards and Upwards.
03-09-2012, 12:19 PM
I'm interested in Modern (20s-50s)Firsts (Joyce, Hemmingway, Waugh, Steinbeck etc) and Victorian/Edwardian illustrated kids books (Rackham, Dulac, Parrish etc.)
If you wanna sell.... :D
I know the feeling of having to down-size one's library though.
When we moved here, I had to sell, donate or piff some 400 volumes as they took up almost all the space alloted in our container!
Most went to good homes at a good price, but the worst thing about leaving tham was how so few people were interested in the same things I was!:lol:
I always have storage space for books though, so if you need a place to stack 'em let me know.
05-09-2012, 03:38 PM
I very reluctantly donated a collection of "Astronomy" magazines to my local library in Kingaroy when I was living there several years ago as I was preparing to move again for work as I had nowhere to store them.
The library was greatful and the Council even sent me a letter of thanks which I was not expecting but I was happy to see them go somewhere hopefully of some use and protected.
I retained about 5 magazines and when I took up astro photography recently, oh I wish I could go back and read some of the old articles!!! Will have to book a flight from Perth to Brisbane and catch the Murgon bus just to read them again:lol:
05-09-2012, 03:46 PM
I was think of similar just before I left the UK, but "due to tightening budget constraints and lack of use" many local libraries were just being closed down!!
(I did try to find out what was happening to the books etc they already had, but got no response.)
Such is life......
15-09-2012, 07:25 PM
Well, the first container load of "household effects" has arrived!!
The attached image shows the book boxes received...about 50% of the total...the balance is due to arrive by the end of the month.
Seriously, I'll start the culling as soon as the Boss gives me some time....
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