Single use books?

I have an interest in clutter. Decluttering actually, making my life and surroundings as efficient and stress free as possible. One principle that makes this easier is eliminating single use objects from my life.  You know the ones, the juicer that takes up half your kitchen cupboards, the ham stand that comes out once a year for Christmas Dinner, the lilo you used three summer holidays ago or the Uroclub.

This got me thinking about books that are single-use. Books you use at one time and then they earn a permanent spot on your bookshelf for perpetuity.

I can think of a couple that I’ve got in my book shelf –

  • Workbooks for courses
  • Self help books for a particular stage of your life
  • University Textbooks
  • Instructional books for a particular hobby
  • Books you received as gag presents
  • Travel guides from a long-forgotten-but-still-on-the-Visa -trip

But some other books seem to surpass their original functionality. We read them, pass them onto friends, refer to them, quote from them and dip into them time and again. I’ve luckily got a significant number of them on my shelf too –

So what other ones can we think of? Do single use books deserve a place on the bookshelf?

4 thoughts on “Single use books?

  1. lucidlunatic 30 August 2008 / 12:13 pm

    Most books don’t have an expiration date. Maybe you can only use it once, but you can then pass it on to someone else. Why let it sit? I know I have a few books which I never intend to read again- I’m just waiting for the right person to hand them off to.

    If you will only need it once and can’t imagine giving it away? Don’t buy it.

  2. webster12 30 August 2008 / 2:24 pm

    they do. I think in the future if it’s still there you can at least refresh your mind and re-read it.

  3. Claire 1 September 2008 / 10:06 am

    But isn’t this the point of a library? I hardly ever re-read books. So, I don’t buy, I borrow. I get really frantic if I run out of reading material on holiday and have to buy something though. When I went back to the UK last year I joined the local library so I could restock.
    The only books that have a permanent place for me are cookbooks, but even then I often rely on a trusted few while others sit there never to be read again.

  4. Jimmy Clegg 12 October 2010 / 9:08 am

    why buy a book if you can borrow!
    I know the bookshelf might be a neccessity in some households, I just dont see the point in buying a book that you’ll spend a week reading and it will forever catch dust afterwards..

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