Books marching around a bookcase: stop-motion animation

CrazedAdMan's stop-motion animation "Organizing the Bookcase" depicts books organizing themselves by color on a bookcase, then marching around and doing synchronized maneuvers. It's great fun and puts me in mind of the time when my old roommate got a new girlfriend who reorganized all our bookshelves by size. My, that was a day.

Organizing the Bookcase (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)



  1. My girlfriend arranges our bookshelves by size. It is infuriating. Just a completely illogical way to sort books.

    1. It’s not necessarily illogical. Some people’s are more likely to remember physical aspects of a book than they are to remember a useless thing like the “name” of the “author”. For instance, if you’re looking for the novel with the orange cover that’s just a bit thicker than the poetry book with the blue cover and a bit taller than the biography with the red cover, having books arranged by author name can really ruin your day.

      1. LOL – you’re right, “completely illogical” might have been the wrong wording. I stand by “infuriating” tho. Just try finding “The Death of Ivan Ilych” among 300-odd paperbacks exactly the same size without sputtering curses for the duration of the search.

        And yes, size is an efficient way to store books providing a) shelf space is at a premium and b) you have some sort of catalog to locate the damn books. Trust me, for a book owner who actually uses his books, this is a terribly inefficient system. Good for storage, bad for usage.

  2. Arrangement by size is the most efficient use of bookshelf volume (provided you can adjust shelf height) and is the way that the space-starved British National Library arranges most of their collection. The only exception is a tower of books bequeathed to the collection by some king with the provision that the collection not be broken up.

  3. I arrange my fiction in random order, and encourage other people to move books around. Manual shuffle if you will. It makes browsing so much more interesting.

    I seem to sort technical books by size and colour, internally at least. It works well for me, but confuses my students no end when I suggest they look something up in, e.g., the small pink book with the orange thing on the front.

    Excellent video – a truly wonderful thing. I like the dancing dragon on the table on the left.

  4. in the early 1980’s when i worked for the (then) world’s largest record store as a stock handler, i could pretty much identify any record that had sold more than a few copies by the closed “title” edge of the sleeve only (without reading it, naturally). i thought that was pretty cool and it was a stepping stone to the kind of pattern recognition “reading” i do with technical documentation today.

    once i tried arranging my vinyl by color, but it was too boring – too much black and white, not enough color.

  5. Actually, if you are a book collector and concerned about keeping hardcover books in the best condition, arranging them by height, with the back edges aligned (not the spines), is the best way to ensure the covers have enough support so that they don’t warp.

    Loved the video!

  6. This delightful video (and “The Book on the Bookshelf” by Henry Petroski) remind me of the story about Gore Vidal’s grandfather renting out his D.C. house and returning to find the tenants had rearranged the blind senator’s books by color.

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