For some people owning books is the same thing as owning knowledge. Some people feel that if they throw the book away or give it to someone else they are giving away their knowledge. It doesn't matter if they read the book or not. To quote an organizing book I read once.... "I don't want someone else to have all that knowledge. I paid for it and I want to keep it." I can't remember who the author was but it was what one of his customers said to him when he mentioned they should get rid of many of their books.
You see, I read books to put the knowledge into my head.... where it belongs. Books are just printed words on paper. Unless you get the words into your mind, where you can access them quickly, they remain just words printed on paper.
When you buy a book it's because something within the printed pages interested you. You buy the book to read and digest the contents. After that, what does it do for you if you let it set and gather dust? If you buy a book and find you go to it often for reference; then, by all means, count it as one of your treasures.
The act of physically owning a small library of books gives some quilters a sense of security. It reinforces that they are quilters (or toppers). Think about this: will a pinwheel block be any different if it's created in a different way? A pinwheel is still a pinwheel whether it's made by cutting one piece at a time, rotary cutting several pieces at a time, stack & whack style, paper pieced, or hand pieced. It all ends up as a pinwheel. All books that have pinwheel blocks are still pinwheels.... the only difference is the technique used. If you buy a book and learn the technique you shouldn't need the book anymore. You have transferred the knowledge from the book to your mind.
I prefer to pass along my books to someone else. Maybe they can earn money from selling them or maybe they want to learn the techniques. It really doesn't matter to me because I've gotten what I need from the books.
Right now I'm more interested in getting my creativity back. What do I mean? You know how when your sewing room starts to get a little out of order you don't pay much attention? Then it starts to snowball on you. The chaos spreads and before you know it you can't find a darn thing. Well, the reverse is true too. When you start to clean... it can snowball as well. You clean one area which makes the area next to it look awful so you clean that area too. And repeat and repeat.
Its very hard to create when you get an idea then go on a search for just the right reference book or fabric or pattern only to give up because you simply can't find it among the chaos. A person can be very, very creative when they know exactly where things are, can go right to them to use, then put them back for the next time.
Over the last 2 or 3 years my house has gotten totally chaotic. It's just not me! Since my retirement (or sabbatical) started I've been on a mission to bring order and creativity back. I'm organizing for the space I have.... not trying to create organizing space where there is none. In other words, I want to keep the number of books I own confined to the space I decide is for my books. Now that I have gotten them down to the right number to fit my shelves..... it will be one book in.....one book out. I can't fit 300 books into shelf space for 100 books. Physically impossible. Get another book shelf? No place to put it. The other space is reserved for fabrics or templates or whatever occupies the space next to the bookshelf. I cannot physically fit 1000 cubic feet of storage into a 300 cubic feet of space. (not the actual space sizes or numbers but illustrates my point)
By paring down all my stuff (and getting it where it's easily accessible) I'm much more likely to use it rather than become frustrated because I know I have something and just can't find it. I'm planning to do the same thing with all my other quilting stuff. I'll talk more about that in another post. I have to get back to the studio for now.