Writers amass a large number of books. Some are "How To" books for writing. Some are reference books for their various projects. And most writers are avid readers. Many of their shelves are occupied by "Keepers" they've read and childhood favorites.
So how does one keep track of all these books? If you see a book at the store, can you rely on your memory as to whether or not you already own it? If you lend a book to a friend, do you remember to get it back? If you need a book you know you own, can you quickly find it?
Keeping accurate records of your books will help in all these areas.
1. Arrange your books on your shelves by subject, then alphabetically by author within each subject. Use subjects that have meaning to you. For example, if you write historicals in the Victorian Era, your subjects might include "Costume," "Food," "Entertainment" and "Transportation." If you are writing a mystery set in contemporary Chicago, your subjects might include "Police," "Museums," "Restaurants" and "Public Transportation."
2. Keep a master list or database record of your books. There are programs you can purchase or download. Some are as simple as entering an ISBN #, while others require more input. Some options are Microsoft Access Database, Libellus Personal Library, or Book Collector by Collectorz.com.
3. Take your master list with you when you shop so you don't duplicate what you already have. Some applications are transferrable to your smartphone or iPad for easy transportability.