Bibliophile or Tsundoku?


I’m a self-professed bibliophile. I’m also a chronic tsundoki (I made up the word – it means someone who keep doing tsundoku.).

Bibliophile (n) : a person who loves or collects books

Tsundoku (n) : the constant act of buying books, but never reading them. Specifically, it is letting books pile up in one’s room so much that the owner never gets a chance to read all of them.

The speed of me acquiring books is faster than me reading them. So the books piled up. The last couple of years I have restrained myself from buying too many books, but still they managed to find a way into my collection, often I just… couldn’t… resist… Especially when I travel, I often ended up buying a book or two at the airport. Earlier this month I was traveling to India, and books there were so much cheaper that I couldn’t help but bringing home 17 books (I actually bought 18, gave one to a friend).


Books from my last India trip

Recently I found a very useful application to catalog my books – libib. It’s web based, accessible through computers or through its app. With the app installed in my phone I just need to scan the ISBN barcode of the book with the phone’s camera and voila, the book is added into my collection!

My books don’t have a proper home, they’re kinda distributed over shelves, cabinets and boxes all over the house. And I still have some books left at my parents’ too. I dream of having a personal library with tidy shelves full of books and a comfortable chair, you know like in the movies, where they sit, read, and drink coffee. Maybe someday. Meanwhile, having a digital catalog is the next best thing.

I have input 200+ books so far. It only took me a few hours – just a matter of getting the books out of the shelves/boxes and scan the ISBN at the back. When the barcode is covered (book shops tend to stick their own barcode covering it), I can manually input the the ISBN number.

I haven’t finished adding tags to them yet. At a glance my books are in these themes:

  • Yoga
  • Spirituality
  • Self development
  • Science
  • Marketing, Brand, & Business

Some findings:

  • I have many Bihar School of Yoga books – I bought them when I study the Diploma of Satyananda Yoga.
  • I have many popular science books – books by Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley etc. The topics ranged from evolution, linguistic, & the human mind.
  • I don’t have many fictions. The handful fiction books I got are gifts.
  • Majority of my books are in English. The few Bahasa Indonesia books I got are mostly hand-me-downs
  • I have several versions of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra & Bhagavad Gita

I’m thinking of letting go some of the books, although I haven’t decide how I’m gonna do it. I started separating the books into two libraries.

I’m not finished separating the books yet – there will be more books added to the Open Shelf. If you’re in Indonesia and interested in one of the books from Open Shelf, I may sell it as a second hand book and post it to you, or maybe swap. Comment here or send me an email.


2 thoughts on “Bibliophile or Tsundoku?

  1. Pingback: Writing Habit | perpetual work in progress

  2. Pingback: Let’s talk about antilibraries: yay or nay? – Readers' High Tea

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