Duplicate Copy: An examination of Marc’s book habits

My penchant for used bookstores in general aside, I also have a weakness for buying duplicate copies of the books I love.  Generally I will buy a duplicate copy if I find it in hardcover somewhere.  Other times I’ll buy a duplicate simply because I like the edition.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

  • 2 copies of A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, one mass-market paperback (MPB) and one hard-cover (HC).
  • 2 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, one older MPB and one HC.
  • 2 copies of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, one tade paperback (TPB) and one Modern Library mini-HC.
  • 2 copies of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, one old MPB and one old, battered HC (these duplicates are probably the most pathetic, since I haven’t read the book yet.  But the HC looks nice on the shelf).

Add to this various duplicate university books and text-books, resulting from either my wife and I taking the same class, or my premature purchase of a novel for a class and the prof using a different edition (it sounds kind of silly, but it’s nice if your page numbers correspond with the prof’s).

I guess the above doesn’t look too bad, but it gets worse.  Much worse.  I call the following my “Tolkien Collection”:

  • 6 editions of Lord of the Rings (various editions, various bindings).
  • 7 editions of The Hobbit
  • 3 editions of The Silmarillion

(Plus a couple of biographies, critical works, maps, and the complete 12-volume History of Middle Earth).

The sad thing is that a couple of years ago I decided that collecting really doesn’t make sense.  All a person can really do with a collection of any kind is look at it.  Collections aren’t very functional.  So it’s starting to bother me that I have all these various editions when I only need one, or at the most two.  I don’t know why dupliactes have started to bother me–I can barely stand to have more than one pair of shoes.  It may have something to do with the recognition that I have a lot of clutter in my life.  Anyway, I’m thinking about auctioning off some of the Tolkien stuff on Ebay (at least the stuff that wasn’t given to me).

4 thoughts on “Duplicate Copy: An examination of Marc’s book habits

  1. rilla

    If you’re thinking about getting rid of your duplicates, you should look into bookcrossing.com

    I don’t have many duplicates myself, but I have the “problem” of giving away books that I like so I could really start getting some extras. I’m a sucker for Salinger myself…

  2. Randall

    Man, I hear ya. I’m right in the process of sifting my books too. They clutter my life so much, even though they are great things.

    So, some are leaving, but I’m holding onto my favourites for sure.

    But, two copies of a book??

  3. Marc

    I know. It’s pathetic. My rationale is always, “Well, I can lend out the paperback and I won’t worry if it’s lost or wrecked.” But, really…

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