12 votes

'She means 30 books per room, right?' Bibliophiles voice their horror over claims tidying guru Marie Kondo tells people to severely restrict the reading material they keep in their home.

28 comments

  1. [2]
    Wes Link
    Daily Mail... This explains the fabricated outrage. I'm subscribed to both /r/Minimalism and /r/BookShelf. A common ideal of the first sub is that minimalism can help you focus on what matters to...

    Daily Mail... This explains the fabricated outrage.

    I'm subscribed to both /r/Minimalism and /r/BookShelf. A common ideal of the first sub is that minimalism can help you focus on what matters to you. If that's books, then that's great. And if not, then you might consider donating the books you no longer care for.

    You do you.

    31 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      Fabricated? Or merely compiled? It's not like the Daily Mail made up all the tweets and articles quoted here. They're describing an actual reaction by real people to this remark by Marie Kondo.

      This explains the fabricated outrage.

      Fabricated? Or merely compiled? It's not like the Daily Mail made up all the tweets and articles quoted here. They're describing an actual reaction by real people to this remark by Marie Kondo.

      1 vote
  2. mat Link
    Eh. I like reading books (very rarely re-reading them). I'm not particularly interested in collecting books. It's two different things really. Although I won't deny I like the look of a wall full...

    Eh. I like reading books (very rarely re-reading them). I'm not particularly interested in collecting books. It's two different things really. Although I won't deny I like the look of a wall full of books (and my house has several), they're only there because it's currently less trouble to keep them than get rid of them. And the acoustics in the most book'd room are lovely.

    It's like music. I ditched vinyl, cassette, minidisc then CD as soon as I could. Now I have all the music in my pocket. I have all the books in my reader. Content matters to me, not medium. I know that's different for other people and that's fine too.

    12 votes
  3. [2]
    CrazyOtter Link
    I'd forgotten how bad the Daily Mail is. This is just a clickbait/outrage (clickrage?) article with no real substance to it.

    I'd forgotten how bad the Daily Mail is. This is just a clickbait/outrage (clickrage?) article with no real substance to it.

    9 votes
    1. Akir Link Parent
      You can say that again. I was about to start to look up if we had any rules about post quality before I realized who posted this. And to be fair, it did give us something to talk about

      You can say that again. I was about to start to look up if we had any rules about post quality before I realized who posted this. And to be fair, it did give us something to talk about

      2 votes
  4. [17]
    vakieh Link
    Eh. I replaced physical books with ebooks and the space savings are incredible. If you're whining about having a cluttered living space but also have hundreds of books, you know the solution.

    Eh. I replaced physical books with ebooks and the space savings are incredible. If you're whining about having a cluttered living space but also have hundreds of books, you know the solution.

    5 votes
    1. [16]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      I tried replacing some of my physical books with ebooks. The space savings might be incredible, but the monetary savings most definitely are not. It costs nearly as much to buy the ebooks as it...

      I tried replacing some of my physical books with ebooks. The space savings might be incredible, but the monetary savings most definitely are not. It costs nearly as much to buy the ebooks as it did to buy the original books - more in some cases, as I'm replacing second-hand print books bought at a cheap price with ebooks at full retail price.

      So my replacement attempt ground to a halt due to the cost involved.

      If I ever come into a spare couple of thousand dollars that has no other use, I might replace a chunk of my library. But, until then, I'll keep the print versions.

      (And, in case anyone wants tell me to download these books from some pirate site... please don't. I'm not really into acquiring things illegally. So, whoever you are, please save yourself the effort.)

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        vakieh Link Parent
        But if you own the book, there's no reason why an e-book should be illegal. Why do they need to be paid twice for the same thing?

        But if you own the book, there's no reason why an e-book should be illegal.

        Why do they need to be paid twice for the same thing?

        12 votes
        1. [2]
          Crespyl Link Parent
          I agree that ebook prices are rather inflated, but an ebook and print book are certainly not the same thing. Print books require, well, printers, along with people to run them, paper, ink,...

          I agree that ebook prices are rather inflated, but an ebook and print book are certainly not the same thing.

          Print books require, well, printers, along with people to run them, paper, ink, bindings, special considerations for any pictures, etc.

          Ebooks require a different set of particular skills, page layout is different and there are specific requirements depending on the format being used, servers to host the content and deliver it to you, and maybe even ongoing costs for online/cloud features like those provided by Amazon.

          The publishing industry even requires each separate edition to have distinct ISBNs. I think it'd be great if every physical book came with a free code for the digital copy, but they are certainly different things.

          7 votes
          1. vakieh Link Parent
            The servers I use are from lib.gen, and I stick what I read into Calibre to set my own preferred typesetting. Not seeing a reason to pay them again.

            The servers I use are from lib.gen, and I stick what I read into Calibre to set my own preferred typesetting. Not seeing a reason to pay them again.

      2. [9]
        super_james Link Parent
        I've found this as well, I can buy second hand books for almost nothing I can buy e-book versions for slightly more than the original paperbacks cost. Something really wonky with the economics...

        I've found this as well, I can buy second hand books for almost nothing I can buy e-book versions for slightly more than the original paperbacks cost. Something really wonky with the economics there... I guess the crazy copyright lengths are what's causing this.

        2 votes
        1. [8]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          I don't think it's copyright lengths. I think it's profiteering, pure and simple. A book which doesn't require materials, machinery, or transportation should not cost as much as a book which does...

          I don't think it's copyright lengths. I think it's profiteering, pure and simple. A book which doesn't require materials, machinery, or transportation should not cost as much as a book which does require all these things - but that's how it works. You pay just as much for a book which has to be printed and shipped as one which doesn't. That's ridiculous.

          8 votes
          1. [5]
            NaraVara Link Parent
            The physical components of a mass market paperback book are a pretty negligible component of the overall cost of getting one to market. The vast majority of the money is going to what is basically...

            The physical components of a mass market paperback book are a pretty negligible component of the overall cost of getting one to market.

            The vast majority of the money is going to what is basically knowledge work like editing, layout, cover design and illustrations, marketing, compensating the author and all the other associated staff for their time, etc.

            The other big component is the costs of transportation and managing inventory, but that’s mostly coming out of the retailer’s margin.

            So really, the production costs of an ebook are probably similar enough to a physical book so as not to matter. But since most of those costs are fixed, they really should have figured out how to get you an ebook for free or at a deep discount if you own a physical copy by now. Vinyl records give you download codes for MP3s, publishers could do the same.

            (This doesn’t apply for “prestige” editions of books with high quality paper, ink, and fancy book-binding.)

            11 votes
            1. [4]
              Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              This surprises me. I can't imagine that buying paper and cardboard and ink, operating printers and binding machines, then paying for packaging and storage, is negligible. Do you have any sources...

              The physical components of a mass market paperback book are a pretty negligible component of the overall cost of getting one to market.

              This surprises me. I can't imagine that buying paper and cardboard and ink, operating printers and binding machines, then paying for packaging and storage, is negligible. Do you have any sources where I might follow this up?

              The other big component is the costs of transportation and managing inventory, but that’s mostly coming out of the retailer’s margin.

              Regardless of where along the supply chain the costs are incurred, they still contribute to the final price paid by us customers.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                NaraVara Link Parent
                Pricing varies widely by the time of release, expected scale, and a million other factors. It's also generally considered to be sensitive information since publishers don't want to tip their hands...

                This surprises me. I can't imagine that buying paper and cardboard and ink, operating printers and binding machines, then paying for packaging and storage, is negligible.

                Pricing varies widely by the time of release, expected scale, and a million other factors. It's also generally considered to be sensitive information since publishers don't want to tip their hands to other publishers or distributors. But my friend runs a small, independent publishing company that moves somewhere in the high 4 figures of SKUs a year. At the very most he's looking at 20% to 25% of the final cost being from cost of materials and printing. Large publishers with bigger print runs see much, much higher economies of scale and can generally drive those costs down to the point of being a nickel and dime affair. For your typical mass market paperback you'd expect, at most, 10% to 15%.

                Just think about it. If printing and paper actually amounted to a substantial share of a book's cost, then you would expect a 500 page book to cost substantially more than a 250 page book, but this isn't the case. The number of pages in a book (otherwise stated as the amount of actual printing involved) has almost no impact on final cost. So the fact of ebooks not being physical doesn't actually change the pricing to any appreciable degree.

                Regardless of where along the supply chain the costs are incurred, they still contribute to the final price paid by us customers.

                Retailer margin isn't a component of ebook sales since there is no retailer (or their costs are negligible). So it wouldn't imapct the price of an eBook in theory, but it does in practice. This is because publishers are generally obliged to price things at MSRP whether sold online or at retail. Retailers insist on this so that the publishers don't outcompete them on price. It benefits the publishers too. It might hurt in the short run, but over the long run brick-and-mortar stores contribute to marketing, discovery, and the overall maintenance of literary culture that keeps people reading in the first place.

                7 votes
                1. [2]
                  Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                  That's still not nothing. On a $20 book, that's $2-$3. I think about clothing, where an XL-sized item costs the same as an XS-sized item - because the manufacturers average the cost over the whole...

                  For your typical mass market paperback you'd expect, at most, 10% to 15%.

                  That's still not nothing. On a $20 book, that's $2-$3.

                  If printing and paper actually amounted to a substantial share of a book's cost, then you would expect a 500 page book to cost substantially more than a 250 page book, but this isn't the case.

                  I think about clothing, where an XL-sized item costs the same as an XS-sized item - because the manufacturers average the cost over the whole range of sizes. I could imagine that a publisher would slightly under-price a thick book and over-price a thin book so that thick books don't get unfairly disadvantaged in the marketplace.

                  This is because publishers are generally obliged to price things at MSRP whether sold online or at retail. Retailers insist on this so that the publishers don't outcompete them on price.

                  Bingo! That's what we're looking for. I bet this is why ebooks aren't cheaper than paper books - the ebooks are priced up so that they don't outcompete the paper books.

                  4 votes
                  1. NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
                    That’s peanuts. It’s not enough to make ebooks appreciably cheaper in any way that’s noticeable to the ultimate consumer. It matters to the producer because of volume, but in terms of your...

                    That's still not nothing. On a $20 book, that's $2-$3.

                    That’s peanuts. It’s not enough to make ebooks appreciably cheaper in any way that’s noticeable to the ultimate consumer. It matters to the producer because of volume, but in terms of your experience of parting with cash to get content it's not a major contributor to your sense that digital goods should be substantially cheaper than physical ones.

                    could imagine that a publisher would slightly under-price a thick book and over-price a thin book so that thick books don't get unfairly disadvantaged in the marketplace.

                    Most of the cost in production comes from having to actually bind the volume together and startup costs to get the print run setup. The ink and paper itself is just fractions of a cent.

                    2 votes
          2. super_james Link Parent
            Some sellers will obviously charge as much as they're able to, since the books are under copyright they have an enforced monopoly and no competition for this book. Which means they can really pick...

            Some sellers will obviously charge as much as they're able to, since the books are under copyright they have an enforced monopoly and no competition for this book. Which means they can really pick any price they like.

            Saying you think it's "profiteering" isn't a counter point in my view, if they wrote it and hold copyright they can choose to sell it for any price they like or indeed not sell it at all.

            If the books were not under copyright the price would be far closer to the marginal cost of production, see how much all the Sherlock Holmes stories cost.

            2 votes
          3. JamesTeaKirk Link Parent
            This is why the ebook pirating community is thriving right now

            This is why the ebook pirating community is thriving right now

            2 votes
      3. [3]
        Wes Link Parent
        Have you looked into Overdrive or Hoopla? I've been borrowing digitally from my library to help offset the high costs of ebooks/audiobooks.

        Have you looked into Overdrive or Hoopla? I've been borrowing digitally from my library to help offset the high costs of ebooks/audiobooks.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
          I didn't know of Overdrive or Hoopla. I searched on Hoopla for a few high-profile authors which are favourites of mine, and I turned up very little. A couple of high-profile science fiction...

          I didn't know of Overdrive or Hoopla.

          I searched on Hoopla for a few high-profile authors which are favourites of mine, and I turned up very little. A couple of high-profile science fiction authors (you should be able to guess one of them!) had only a handful of works listed under their names, despite their prolific output. One Australian author wasn't even listed!

          I can't even work out how to use Overdrive.

          And borrowing books isn't quite the same as owning them. One concern I've had about ebooks since Amazon yanked everyone's copy '1984' off their Kindles a decade ago is their non-permanence. These library services are even less permanent than purchased ebooks.

          But thanks for the suggestion anyway.

          2 votes
          1. Wes Link Parent
            The selection isn't always great. It's still the old library system where the library has to own "copies", which can only be lent out to a select few at a time. It feels old, archaic, and...

            The selection isn't always great. It's still the old library system where the library has to own "copies", which can only be lent out to a select few at a time. It feels old, archaic, and unnecessary, but that's just the licensing model at work.

            For Overdrive, you might have better luck with Libby. It's a smartphone app by the same company which is a little more modern in design.

            2 votes
  5. Catt (edited ) Link
    I love my books and grew up wanting (and eventually actually having) a big library in my home. Since reading and then going through the Konmari method, I've reduced my room of books to two two and...

    I love my books and grew up wanting (and eventually actually having) a big library in my home. Since reading and then going through the Konmari method, I've reduced my room of books to two two and a half feet shelves. One shelf for books I love and a pending shelf for books I'm about to read, which is actually against her method. (She would recommend getting rid of the pending books, as I've had them for years.)

    I think a lot of her method is just about being honest with yourself. And for me, I had so many books, bit really only reread my favourites, but had kept a lot of books I bought or were gifted after I was done with them. I had kept a 20+ book series that I only liked two books from. Now I only have the two books.

    Though I couldn't get onboard with the just rip out the section you like.

    Edit to add because I don't like the title: she meant 30 for her.

    5 votes
  6. [2]
    Merari Link
    My room of books has two thousand of them, probably. :/ I love spending time there. Having walls of books is somehow comforting and cosy to me.

    My room of books has two thousand of them, probably. :/

    I love spending time there. Having walls of books is somehow comforting and cosy to me.

    3 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      Well, then, according to this Marie Kondo person, that means they "spark joy" for you, so you shouldn't throw them away.

      Having walls of books is somehow comforting and cosy to me.

      Well, then, according to this Marie Kondo person, that means they "spark joy" for you, so you shouldn't throw them away.

      7 votes
  7. [2]
    writingsolo Link
    Given the fact I've moved on a roughly yearly basis for the past 10 years, I've had to pare down my library considerably. I used to collect all my books and would enjoy organizing them for fun. I...

    Given the fact I've moved on a roughly yearly basis for the past 10 years, I've had to pare down my library considerably. I used to collect all my books and would enjoy organizing them for fun. I keep a small group of them now.

    It can be incredibly grounding to have books around, for those who find themselves with the tendency to lose touch with reality in our increasingly digital world. The tactile feel of a book in my hands, running my finger under a line I want to focus on, feeling the friction of my fingertip against the paper, and the wear and tear on it to remind me that I've used it well.

    But I no longer keep a book I do not truly love. For some reason, saying a book I love "sparks joy" cheapens the effect for me, so I do not want to say they spark joy for me. But I believe that is the basic premise. Typically, I'll buy a book for $1 at the local $1 book sale and once I finish, pass it on.

    3 votes
    1. acdw Link Parent
      I've moved around a lot as well, and gone through the same collection-thinning. For me it's a little complicated because my parents still have a ton of books at their house of mine and my...

      I've moved around a lot as well, and gone through the same collection-thinning. For me it's a little complicated because my parents still have a ton of books at their house of mine and my sisters', but I don't count them as truly "mine" (and I will be getting rid of them when the time comes).

      I still only read physical books, though: I get them all from my library. It works enough for me. I'm also a "once-reader" though; I know a lot of people who'll re-read a book multiple times, and that makes more sense to own.

      1 vote