What Makes a Book a Keeper?

Posted October 7, 2019 by Zeee in Discussions11 Comments

What Makes a Book a Keeper?

Let’s talk about anything bookish!


If you are like me who reads a lot of books, you have read a lot of books. For the most part, I have most of the books that I love digitally – ebooks on my Kindle and audiobooks on my cloud. But I do love to collect physical books. However, I always struggle with what books I keep and what books I don’t need physical copies of. It also doesn’t help that I get a lot of free ARCs or finished copies from publishers.

This means that I have a lot of books on my shelves. In fact, they have spilled over and I have them in the extra room and in the living room. Plus, I also have a cart that I “stole” from Pierre that is pretty much filled.

So, here’s my dilemma. What makes a book a keeper? Or at least, one that I want to display on my shelf? Especially when I don’t really have a lot of space.

I’m not going to be one of those people who will tell you to Marie Kondo everything! Heck, I am guilty of holding on to books because they are sentimental to me. This is so true to books that I read when I was a tween or a teenager. I am not saying that you do this. This checklist is basically for those readers who don’t want to declutter or be a minimalist, but for those who just want to cull their shelves and make room for future favorite books.

One of the things you need to know before going in is to be in a space where you’re ready to sort out your books. Be prepared to let go of books that you think should be on your shelf but end up not making the cut.

I would also have a box or bags ready so that the books that don’t make the cut immediately go into the box/bag for giveaways or donations. This helps me by not looking at the books again.

Here are a few things on my checklist that I go through to decide which books go on my forever shelf.

I know, I have a problem with letting things go because all the books spark joy in me. I also use this checklist when I’m deciding which books to purchase and have on my keeper shelf.

How this Checklist Work

Go over your books one at a time. If 9 items out of 13 are checked, then this book gets to be on your keeper shelf. If they don’t meet the criteria, give them away or donate them. Easy peasy, right?

Keeper Checklist

Items to Consider Yes No
Did I love this book?
Is this book a 4 or 5 star read?
Is this book something that I will reread?
Is the book signed?
Is the book personalized?
Do you love the cover?
Do you have multiple copies of this book already? (see special items)
Are you collecting the series?
Will you be meeting the author soon?
Will you want this book to be signed?
Is this a book that you highly recommend or recommend often?


Special Items to Consider

Special Items Yes No
Do you need multiple editions of this book?
Is this a special or rare edition?
Are these editions the same cover?


I admit that this checklist is a little bit time consuming, but for someone who wants a healthy book collection, this has helped me a lot.


How do you decide which books you need to have on your keeper shelf?

Do you have a list like this? Share a link below!


Do you have any bookish discussion suggestions? Please submit them here!

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11 responses to “What Makes a Book a Keeper?

  1. I love that you have an official system. I just go by my gut feeling. I probably keep more than I should, but at the same time I don’t have a problem getting rid of books I didn’t love (unless they have very pretty covers or are in colors that look pretty on my rainbow bookshelf. LOL!).
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  2. I think what is important to remember is this will be different for everyone. And I honestly don’t have a precise formula but to me….emotion and chemistry are big for me. If you can connect me to a story on a emotional level and its a page turner, its a keeper in my book.

    • Same! But I do think that those that I love already tend to be rated 4-5 so that’s how I decide. But of course, I have kept other lower-rated books because I wanted a full series.

  3. I definitely need to cull some of my book collection. Is it a 4 or 5 star read? is such a good starting point. I laughed out loud at the “do I need multiple editions” criteria. Before bookstagram, I would have said “nope”. And now? I really do need my multiple editions of Pride and Prejudice. Haha!

  4. This is such a useful checklist! I definitely need to go through my books and cut them down, so I may have to use this. I think I probably do own a lot of books that I liked but didn’t love that I should really get rid of. Great post! 🙂

  5. Sharlene Wegner

    I want all of the books! Series books, new books, old books, collectors additions (stepbacks), multiples, signed copies, ARCs. I have a big house. LOL. That being said, I will be doing a book sort and purge before Christmas. There are books I have never read and most likely won’t get to. I also have books that are comfort reads, and that I read at least once a year. I also usually find books that I forgot I already bought and have duplicates. I can swap or donate to the library.