To colour code or not


To colour code or not to colour code books, that is the question!

Is it better, worse, annoying, styled or you don’t care? How do you store and sort your books? Have you tried the colour coding method?
colour blocked books 2
I would love to hear! (thanks to Jan Malcolm for sharing her colour coded books above).

24 responses to “To colour code or not

  1. Hi,
    I reorganised all my books about 12 months ago into authors, if I have enough of one author, and if not, themes. So all my Paullina Simons books are together, all my Karl Kruszelnicki’s together, then I have a Twilight section (okay you can stop laughing now) which has all my Stephenie Meyer books plus all the movie companions, etc, then reference books together like atlases and dictionaries, health & cooking, you get the picture. I do like the look of all the same colour books together but frankly as I have quite a lot of books I think it would make it hard to find the title I was looking for!

    • Oh, but you would at least know the colour of the Twilight books, wouldn’t you?!

      I swear I’m going to use “all my Karl Kruszelnickis” sometime soon! That made me laugh, thank you 🙂

      • Oh yes, I know the colour of all my Twilight books (you’re still laughing aren’t you?!) but I felt they needed a special section all to themselves (I’m a little obsessed with the saga)! Dr Karl is awesome! He makes science so much more accessible to the somewhat academically challenged (like myself….). I can’t imagine ever going to a tablet for reading as I love the feel of the paper book. The Fifty Shades books are also blackish (a bit of colour coding there) so they are in residence with the Twilight books which only seems fair as FSofG started out as Twilight fan fiction! Stephenie would be blushing….

    • Totally agree, Karen. Colour coding looks very pretty but the thought of doing so, is abhorrent and would kill the delight in (kind of) following the Dewey System.
      colours coding a

  2. thought i recognised those bookshelves. I shelve my books by subject (non fiction) or author (fiction) and yes i’m a librarian.

  3. Have given the vast bulk of my book collection to a favourite op shop, and now live on my tablet. (And I love/live to read!)
    Aiming at a largely paperless house, I’ve also donated the printer ….

  4. LOL If you looked at my hoard now you’d NEVER know I once had my ENTIRE book collection arranged in height order, and/or the order in which a particular collection was bought (my Scholastic Young Adult Point horror/thriller collection, for example. “Prom Dress” was the first, just so you know. 😀 And still my favourite, I think). Not only that, I had a list of it just to make sure!! You can imagine what buying a new book did to that list…

    From one obsessive compulsion to another….

  5. I am with Batgirl on this question, personally.
    A friend of mine colour-codes her books and I asked her how (the hell) she finds anything, and she has a vertical divider, a bit like in your photo, which divides her fiction from her non-fiction. So all the orange non-fiction on one side and the orange fiction on the other, etc. Still, I’m not convinced …

  6. I have books in every room of the house except the bathroom/laundry, and they are not in any order – they go where they will fit :-). I recently donated five boxes though, but I can’t see where they came from. I am culling more over time, but its slow because I dont want to part with some of them. I try to read a book, and then discard it once read. I have a rough idea where a particular book is, but mostly browse and pick up something interesting rather than look for anything in particular.

    • You are clearly a true book lover Robin! I really love how you are organic about selecting your reads, it’s almost like browsing in a book store… or do you actually live in a bookstore?! 🙂

  7. I like mine roughly grouped by subject/use and then by size. Sets stay together, and fiction by the same author is generally kept together too. I think it looks more uniform and tidy, and gives more defined ‘white space’ above the books. Part of it is practical – only a few shelves are large enough for my biggest books! If I have several books that are a similar size I do tend to keep the dark and light colours together, but that’s as far as the colour-coding goes.

  8. The color coding school of thought is for aesthetic only. But even a small home library should be grouped by subject or author to maximize efficient information retrieval.

  9. I LOVE books and LOVE reading! But hate a messy-looking bookshelf… My strategy is to sort by subject (nutrition and recipes, financial, housekeeping, personal development, Biblical narratives, fiction, Bible study, music reference, medical textbooks, etc.) and separate them on the shelves accordingly – and to incorporate “empty space” on the shelves too! Once grouped by subject, I sort in order of height – and since most book series have the same dimensions this works really quite well. The different colours still bother me somewhat… so I invested in glass doors for my IKEA Billy bookcases, and found that the glass provided enough “separation” for me not to get too annoyed – I did consider opaque doors on the bookshelves, but then thought it would make the shelves look too obtrusive in the room…

  10. I love books and have an extensive library with collections of novels, Art books, sewing, some old children’s books, special magazines and many more. I sort by subject and size for the art books as they are usually large and heavy. I have some classic penguins sorted by colour as I know what they are and the others by author or genre. I get rid of books that I know I won’t read again, but I still have a large collection. Our adult children dip in and out of them also.

  11. Not!! I, too, have the Billy Bookcases from Ikea, and they have given me considerable choices for arranging the topics and age-groups. I find the jumble of colours on each shelf provides its own uniformity across the wall of shelves.

  12. Tis fascinating to me that people actually colour code their books. I would never find a book if I did that – have too many. I too arrange them in categories and have printed labels on the bottom of the bookshelf so I and borrowers can quickly see where to find the appropriate books. But I do have too many and am anxious to cull but it is not easy – I love my books.

  13. I avoid the clutter of books and stick to as many ebooks as possible, although the digital clutter can be just as annoying sometimes. Once I finish reading a book I have purchased it goes to a family member if I think they would like it, or I donate it to the library – after all, I am a member and if I want to reread it I can just hire it out later. I don’t colour coordinate my library books though as there is usually only 20 maximum.

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