Too Many Books!

Shelves packed with books

Any time customers cancel their Bookroo subscription, we ask why. We want to know how we can improve our service, and feedback from users provides the most valuable insights. One of the most common responses we get is that subscribers feel they have too many books at the moment.

Too many books. At first glance, it seems like a valid reason. I can certainly appreciate feeling a little tight on space–I mean, we lived in a studio apartment in New York with not one but two children, for Pete’s sake. So ya, I understand feeling like there’s not enough room for more books.

Yet at the same time, I think too many of us think we have too many books, or “enough” books, too quickly. Author H.P. Lovecraft once said, “I couldn’t live a week without a private library – indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1,500 or so books I possess.” Imagine reaching a library of over 1,000 books before we decided we had “enough” books.

Bookshelves with books

As far as where to find space for so many books, I love Dr. Seuss’s recommendation:

“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”

Beloved children’s author Roald Dahl also suggested filling a house full of books. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, his unique Oompa-Loompas described such a home:

The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!

The Oompa-Loompas also had a suggestion of where to find more room for books when space was running low:

So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

I wonder how our book collections compare to our DVD collections? Or perhaps more poignantly, how does the number of books we make available to our children compare to the number of shows we make available to them via Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Youtube? I’m not pointing fingers here; these are questions we ponder here in our own home as well.

I can tell you by personal experience that there is something wonderful, almost magical, about having plenty of books around the home for your child to discover. Let me share a recent experience we had in our own family. As many of you know, two of our Bookroo Crew members, Jane and Kesler, are based in Palo Alto, California. Last month, we took a family vacation to visit Jane and Kesler and tour Stanford, San Francisco, and other local attractions. Because our team of children’s book reviewers is based in Palo Alto, our main collection of children’s books is stored there as well. During our trip, our two boys LOVED exploring the collection of books. In the morning, at night, between activities, before naptime, before bedtime–they were always pulling new books from the shelves. Yes, kids often enjoy re-reading their favorite books, but they sure love to have fresh reading material as well.

So before you decide you have enough books, consider whether there aren’t some “crannies and nooks” where you can fit a few more. As Henry Ward Beecher proclaimed, “Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.”

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