My Home Office & Library

My family moved in April from a large house to a more modest dwelling. At the old place I had a home office and a good sized library; now I had one room to make it all work. This post isn’t “shelf porn” or a tour through my collection: it’s about making your space work to store and display your collection.

No surprises here but I only collect books, hard and soft cover, so bookshelves are my best bet. My home office and library is 8′ 8″ by 13′. My original plan was very traditional: line two walls with bookshelves and put my desk on the free wall, leaving the fourth wall since it has the closet. Looking for bookshelves invariably leads to Ikea, so I started in their online catalogue. The Billy bookshelf is their standard but I looked at the other “systems” and stumbled across the Expedit.

The Expedit line are shelves 15.25″ deep made up of even 13.5″ squares. The even grid meant a stable shelf with lots of dividers to keep the books in place. While looking at them I had a eureka moment and realized I could use both sides of the shelves to double my available space. The only way to use both sides would be to have the Expedit shelves come out into the room.

It looked like everything would fit so I bought two of the largest Expedit shelves, a 5 x 5 grid a little over six feet high and wide, and assembled them in the room. Moving around I settled on 26″ of space between shelves: that let me stand between them without either side touching me. Regular sized books fit within the shelves on both sides but the larger books stick out an inch or two.

After getting my desk in the room, spacing things out and loading up the shelves I realized a shelf for oversized books was required. Luckily I had an old Billy bookshelf I was able to press into service, putting it on the closet wall and still having 26″ of space between shelves. Unfortunately I have books that don’t seem to fit anywhere so they’re stacked neatly on the floor. With the Expedit shelves pressed against on wall I was able to have a 30″ walkway along the one side of the room to get from my desk by the window to the shelves and out the door.

With two feet of clearance between the shelves and the ceiling I had a place to display some statues: five per shelf worked nicely. As well the available wall space allowed for me to hang four paintings and a few comic pages.

It’s not perfect but I was able to work with the space I had and have my comic book collection and an office. If you’re looking carefully at the shelves you’ll see the books aren’t organized yet; just the DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks so far. Still deciding if I want them organized by publisher and title.

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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8 Comments

  1. Marc
    July 4, 2012

    Sweet Herbie vinyl. You are obviously a very discerning collector!

    I organize by author as you know. I quite like it.

  2. Charlie
    July 4, 2012

    You had me at “shelf porn”. I’m not sure what that means but I like the sound of it. I’ll assume this is an extension of Ed’s “man cave” post… here’s mine:

    http://www.eltoro505.com/mancave/bb1.JPG

    I’ve blocked all the windows… I don’t want any stray beams to bleach my books which is one of the reasons I don’t display my stuff::

    http://www.eltoro505.com/mancave/bb2.JPG

    My secret drawer which contain hidden treasures from a lifetime of picking up stuff, like posters, interesting papers from the Jap paper store, prints from school… My 2 most recent additions, the DD book and a LOSH page from Francis:

    http://www.eltoro505.com/mancave/bb5.JPG

    Here’s a 90’s Ken Lashley page that I had custom framed with cover and printed page:

    http://www.eltoro505.com/mancave/bb6.JPG

    As you can see, I’ve lost control of my little underground hideaway. Someday, I hope to get back down there and remove the bodies so I can have more space for books, because whoever dies with the most stuff wins!

  3. July 5, 2012

    Shelf Porn is a web post showing what you have on your shelves: my favourite comic news site Robot 6 runs a regular feature.

  4. Charlie
    July 6, 2012

    So I had a chance to ask my “supplier” about the 13% tax he’s been charging me. His reason is that Diamond charges him 13% tax.

    I’m a man of principle, so it seems unfair that he’s passing on what is essentially his problem to his customers. But what bothers me more, is this:

    As a member I get 20% off and he’s been good about honoring this. However, due to thin margins, at times he’s had to raise the retail price of certain books on occasion so that he can continue to honor member discounts. He’s been open about this and it makes perfect business sense which I can appreciate.

    Such was the case with my DD Artist Edition which retails for $125. He upped it to $135… and I okay-ed this as I place the order thinking that he would cut 20% at time of purchase… but, he didn’t. I paid the full $135 + 13% tax. I didn’t make a stink about this because I read somewhere that retailers pay $95… so if he gave me the 20% cut, it wouldn’t have been much of a profit for him. Still… I think in this case he should have simply charged me the retail price of $125.

    So the question is, what should my response be in this situation. Confrontation? Another boycott? Switch suppliers?

    Well… I’m also a very practical person. His store is conveniently close to my home, he’s open later then any other shop in town which is good considering my long commute from downtown… and generally he’s a good retailer. He’s smart… he knows how to market himself which I respect.

    After some consideration, what I’ve decided is this… I’ll continue to buy my monthlies but I’ll no longer go to him for books. I’ll hit up Amazon instead, which is cheaper for me, even with my member discount. I’ve always felt guilty about buying off Amazon and I would only buy online if I couldn’t find a book at his store… but, if he (and other Toronto stores) are going to be charging 13% tax to cover their bottom line… it only makes sense that I cover my bottom line as well.

    The 13% tax does not actually affect me much since I’m more of a monthly person and rarely do I buy trades or books. I also don’t buy a lot of new books, which doesn’t give me much leverage anyways. So this is more about principle than anything else… while trying to be fair and practical at the same time. I think loyalty has to work both ways for mutual benefit… otherwise, what’s the point?

    Any flaws with my logic?

  5. July 6, 2012

    Charlie, I have a Diamond account and can assure you they only charge 5% on books. Bottom line: it’s illegal to charge more.

    I pay more for my Artist Editions as I talked about in a post; retailers paid $95 USD for that Mazzuchelli book from Diamond, plus 5% HST 😉 I don’t want to and have thought about getting them elsewhere or just not buying them but in the end I like the book and I like my local comic shop. I do argue and “highlight” anything that seems off but their reasoning is that they need to make 100% on every book to be profitable; I do get my discount though. As a consumer I have the final decision of speaking with my dollars.

    Unfortunately only Diamond carries the Artist’s Editions and Amazon and Book Depository don’t so they only place to buy them is in a comic shop.

  6. Charlie
    July 6, 2012

    Interesting. So he lied to me about being charged 13% for books from Diamond? That’s not good.

    Doesn’t Diamond have a minimum monthly purchase requirement? As an account holder, do you absorb this minimum or do have customers of your own?

    Where the DD book is concerned, I did find numerous sources where I could have purchased it online slightly cheaper… even with shipping. However, the few dollars don’t concern me as much as being fooled. I don’t spend a lot of money on new books so this is all just semantics… but, he does have other customers who spend a lot more money than I do each week…

    What a shame.

  7. July 6, 2012

    Just a quick comment.

    When the HST came into effect Diamond was charging 13% on graphic novels. I spoke with the Diamond financial rep back then and they said Diamond was speaking to the Canadian Revenue Agency on the matter.

    I received an email later from Diamond saying that the HST will be removed from graphic novels and only a 5% GST would be charged. I watched for it in the next few invoices and the change did come. We made the changes on our registers.

    Point is, perhaps this guy still thinks he’s paying the 13%.

    Or he could be charging you 13% and actually submitting the 13% as tax remittance, I new a shop keep that collected PST but had no PST account, and a GST audit on his shop didn’t even catch it.

    Not trying to defend anyone but there may be an ignorance factor here.

  8. Charlie
    July 6, 2012

    That’s a good point Walt and you could be right. But considering how smart he is at running his store, ignorance would be out of character. Especially on a mistake this big for so long. Still, I’m not planning push the matter. I’m not out to punish anybody or disrupt someones livelihood. For me the resolve is simple… guilt free shopping on Amazon!

Make It Good.