Stop Stacking Books On The Floor!

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Anna Gooding-Call

Staff Writer

Anna Gooding-Call is a librarian and writer originally from rural central New York. She got her BA in the city that inspired "The Twilight Zone" and confirms that the hitchhikers really are weird there. Today, she lives in Massachusetts with her wife and two cats.

Are you stacking books on the floor? On the floor? Oh come on. Cut it out. I mean, I do it too, but please! We know this is wrong. This article is for anybody who just needs to hear it said (or read it written.) Here’s why books should go anywhere else but the floor.


You are never going to find that book again. Do you organize your leaning book towers alphabetically? Do you recall which identical, tilting monolith in which you stowed your favorite N.K. Jemisin book? You do not! I challenge you to find a single thing quickly in your forest of haunted book skyscrapers.

Furthermore, even if you do somehow have an organizational system for your stalagmites of literature, you’re going to have a ridiculous time maintaining it. You’ll need to lift a stack of books to get to the spot where your new acquisition should be, add your new book beneath, and return said stack to its original resting place without dropping everything or spilling books all over the floor. Perhaps you could pull that off once, but not ten times. This floor-stacking strategy will someday turn on you like a pet viper.

I get it: bookshelves are expensive. It’s true! But you know, you can put those books in cardboard boxes. If you’re crafty and you’ve got time, you could even take the cardboard furniture route and use those boxes as raw materials to build your own shelving. Anything except the floor!


Books shouldn’t become hide-and-seek spots for dust bunnies. Tumbleweeds of cat hair should not roll through the saguaros of your book desert as dusty old litter blows through on a derecho. Floors are the natural resting place for everything in your home that falls off cats, humans, and plates.

The solution is to stack your books on tables! This will, in fact, keep your tables clean, since nothing except books will be able to go there. Tables can be made of cardboard, as above, to spare more of your budget for book-buying. They are also highly prevalent at thrift stores and may sometimes be found free-range as curb alerts. I myself keep a small platoon of TV trays around the house so that I can arrange my erstwhile floor books by author, subject, genre, or reading list level. Can you get that level of sophistication by stacking books on the floor? I think not!

In my humble opinion, we need to prioritize knowledge. It is the food of the brain. Cutlery and platters and things can balance on your knees.


Floor books quickly calcify in the mind. Like the bones of ancient lizards, they loom from beneath, and like ancient lizards you will rarely think about them. They will become landmarks and legends in the house map inside your brain, meaningless except as geographical context clues. Steer west at the Teetering Pile of Paper and don’t stop if a wolf says your name.

Floor books are forgotten books. Bed books are best buddies. Bring your spare books into the bed once you run out of cardboard and tables. You’re just going to stay up all night reading anyway, and let’s face it: your partner is already on board with this. You married them for their copy of Codex Serafinianus.

Tripping and Fire Hazard

It is hard to think of our paper babies going up in flames, but we must be brave and prepare for the worst. After all, they cannot protect themselves. In the event of a fire, how are you going to race in and out of your burning building efficiently if you’re tripping over piles of the very books you’re trying to save? Plus, they’re sitting ducks for immolation. Imagine those heights of literature transforming into diabolic tornadoes as you spend precious milliseconds scrambling over and around them for the Sartre, only to trip and end up with Stephenie Meyer in your hand instead. It’s just not safe.

Keep tripping hazards out of your life. The book you save could be your own. To further prevent disaster, organize your bed, tables, and cardboard and traditional bookshelves in order of importance so that in the event of an emergency, you’ll know the exact armload with which to dash out of the conflagration of your life.


Would you stack your friends on the floor? Strike that: would you stack your family on the floor? Books are closer than blood—they’re brains. If you’re like me, and you probably are because you’re still reading, then you’re 140% ride or die for books. Books have your back and they will not betray you, but stacking books on the floor is like betraying them. Don’t pile them on the same surface where you and your mom sit your butts when your furniture is too full of literature to accommodate your bodies. You made room in your heart for all these wonderful words. Now make room in your house, preferably on chairs with a nice firm seat to prevent cover deformation.

Need some book cases? You sure do! go check out Book Riot’s recommendations. If you’re on a tight budget—and the Harvard Bookstore Warehouse Sale just happened so of course you are, we all are—then check out these cheap but sturdy options.