Too Much Stuff: buying multiple copies of books

The trouble with having too much stuff is that it makes it hard to find things.  For me, sometimes I need something: I know I have it, but I can’t find it. I need it NOW so I end up buying another, which means I have even MORE stuff.

Cover of 1975 paperback edition of Venus on the Half Shell by "Kilgore Trout"

Cover of 1975 paperback edition of Venus on the Half Shell by “Kilgore Trout”

Bob must have been this way too.  I’m sorting another box of books from the basement and just found his third copy of Venus on the Half Shell by Kilgore Trout. I sold the first one (1975 edition) last year on Bob and I were both Kurt Vonnegut fans. Kilgore Trout was one of Vonnegut’s fictional characters — a sci-fi writer, who wrote Venus on the Half Shell, of course– who figured in several novels.  Back when Venus was published in the real world, I assumed it was a joke novel written by Vonnegut. But when I found Bob’s first copy and researched it, I saw it was by Philip Jose Farmer. I love sorting books; I always learn something.

I’ve found multiple copies of other books too. Ironically, there have been at least three copies of Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed. Bob loved Terry Pratchett novels, and ended up with duplicates of several of those. In the early days after his death, I filled a carefully tended shelf with Pratchett novels, thinking that when I retired I’d read them in honor of Bob. Eventually reality set in, and I’ve learned I can’t keep everything, let alone read everything. I traded most of them on, where they’re much in demand.

Today I listed 15 books for sale on Amazon, sorted out several more to bundle for Ebay listings, and have a good-sized box for library donations.  On Amazon, many used books are listed for months before they sell, so the sooner I get through sorting them, the closer I’ll be to getting the books to their new homes.

A positive note, one book I listed this week –a 1977 paperback now out of print– sold the next day for $14.50. That motivated me to get out this latest box and have at it. Plus, sorting books is always a treat.

Have you ever bought something you knew you already had, but couldn’t find? Or, found you have multiple copies of a book?

“We are sharers, not owners. We are not prosperous. None of us is rich. None of us is powerful. If it is Anarres you want, if it is the future you seek, then I tell you that you must come to it with empty hands. You must come to it alone, and naked, as the child comes into the world, into his future, without any past, without any property, wholly dependent on other people for his life. You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself.”  Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed


3 thoughts on “Too Much Stuff: buying multiple copies of books

  1. Pingback: Favorite Books List (Complete) | The Optimist's Umbrella

  2. I just went through this exercise in my own decluttering project. I found duplicates of 3 books and 2 dvds within 5 minutes of skimming my shelves. I can only imagine what I’ll find once I really start looking. Sheesh!

    • Sounds like when we really like it we really like it! (I just traded for a book on paperbackswap that I’m pretty sure I used to have… couldn’t find it anywhere though and a friend wanted to read it. I’m hoping the old one doesn’t show up now that I have a new copy)

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