When thinning down the collection, what to keep and why?


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MGibster

Legend
Here's the questions I ask myself when thinning the collection:

Do I like this?
How likely is it that I'll play this?
Does it have sentimental value?

I might very well thin something from my collection that I like but is unlikely I'll ever play. (RIP my copy of Blue Planet.)
 

MGibster

Legend
I can understand transitioning to PDFs but why in the world would you throw away books? Sell them to Noble Knight. Donate them. Give them away.
I can understand where @Jd Smith1 is coming from here. The process of getting everything together to sell isn't always worth the effort. And this isn't the old days when each book was precious because it was penned by monks on vellum and bound in leather to last the ages. I've thrown quite a few books away rather than take them to the library becaues it was just too much trouble for me.
 

Reynard

Legend
I can understand where @Jd Smith1 is coming from here. The process of getting everything together to sell isn't always worth the effort. And this isn't the old days when each book was precious because it was penned by monks on vellum and bound in leather to last the ages. I've thrown quite a few books away rather than take them to the library becaues it was just too much trouble for me.
But did you do it because you didn't want "unwashed masses" having them?
 




delericho

Legend
I've culled my collection twice, with a third time on the hoirzon.

The first I got rid of a load of items of marginal value - orphaned sourcebooks for out of print games, loads of games I'd never played (and never expected to play), lots of low quality d20 and OGL materials. No regrets there, at least not yet. :)

The second time was all my Pathfinder 1e books except for adventures - when I finally got to actually play PF I very quickly decided it wasn't for me, and anyway I actually have all the books I got rid of in PDF. Most of these went to a Pathfinder GM of my acquaintance, so they're doing more good with her than with me.

The third cull, if/when it happens, will be a load of old magazines - random issues of White Dwarf, Arcane, Backstab, and others. These are just taking up space, so might as well go.

The things I expect to keep permanently are all my D&D books (of all editions), all my D&D-compatible adventures (including Pathfinder), and a few favourite games (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd, Star Wars d6 and Saga, the core of Vampire (but not all the sourcebooks), Firefly, and a few others). That said, I have no current plans for the third cull mentioned above, never mind any beyond that.

One other thing: in the event that I lost everything (in a fire or whatever), it's perhaps worth mentioning that the collection I'd rebuy is much smaller than that lost - probably D&D 5e core, and then other items only as I felt I was missing them. And a lot more use of PDFs instead of physical works.
 

amethal

Adventurer
Huh. Thinning down the collection. I understand what each of those individual words means, but not what they are supposed mean in that order.
As I understand it, it means looking through your collection for things you accidentally bought twice, plus any printed-out PDFs that you no longer need to keep (either because you've now acquired the printed version, or the reason you needed a hard copy has passed), whilst making notes of any gaps in your collection that urgently need to be filled.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
As I understand it, it means looking through your collection for things you accidentally bought twice, plus any printed-out PDFs that you no longer need to keep (either because you've now acquired the printed version, or the reason you needed a hard copy has passed), whilst making notes of any gaps in your collection that urgently need to be filled.
Ahh, now it makes sense. Who doesn't do that? I also spent some serious time yesterday re-labeling and refiling a bunch of older rev PDFs to make room for the updated PDFs I was about to download from DTRPG.
 

aco175

Legend
I moved last year and cut my collection down quite a bit and trying to abide by the adage of throw something out when you buy something. I did get rid of all my non-D&D things since we never play them and they have been sitting around for 10+ years. All rulebook that was not 5e went as well since I will likely not play older editions either. All Dragon/Dungeon magazines went since they mostly stayed for sentimental reasons and I can find them online. That left mostly modules from 1e to now.

I kept roughly 1/3rd of the modules I had. Some like Under Illefarn have sentimental value and I still have a binder of additional campaign material for it. I did keep some old campaign nots and PC sheets more for nostalgia than future use. A few other modules are something I could modify to the new edition and play like Assassin's Knot or Elemental Evil. I likely could have purged them as well since most things that were good have been updated in Saltmarsh or Yawning Portal. One of the two boxes is not unpacked yet and it has been almost a year.
 

thullgrim

Adventurer
I just did this. Put a bunch up for sale on Facebook. My criteria was 1) Will I actually play this. Not maybe. Not I want to but can’t find a group. Will I actually play this game.

2) if the answer #1 is no, rigorously interrogate why I’m keeping it. Have a specific plan.

3) limit the number of nostalgia items you keep to those that truly matter. I kept my 1e Earthdawn books and my original PF1 core rulebook. I’ve never used a book more than that one.

I’m a game whore. I’ll buy and try anything. What I did to keep this under control is made a list of games I will actually run and used that list to maintain my collection. I continue to support games I will run. Numenera, PF2, FFG Star Wars, GURPS, WHFRP 4e, Savage Worlds. That limits my spending and focuses my attention.
 

aramis erak

Legend
My culls are due purely to thefts. I've lost a bunch of GURPS stuff; no real loss, as I won't run it, but was annoyed that GURPS Commonwealth was stolen; had a hot chocolate stain, and my name on specific mystery page... found it at the local used bookstore chain several years later... pointed out they'd received stolen goods - threatened to call the police - that book was returned to my care, and a staffer and I recovered 3 more of mine. G: Autoduel 1E being another. I don't recall the third or fourth. (I have my suspicions as to who it was, and the bookstore knew, and said they were banning him from selling them books. I later recovered a couple more books the suspect had stolen - his roommate noted my name in them. Didn't know he was a thief when he helped me move.
 

I'm currently pruning my collection and handle things mostly like @thullgrim suggests. Only that my first question was: going forward, how much will I actually play in person? And I found the honest answer to be: basically never. So the number of books I need to keep for immediate play at the table is 0.
Keeping a few items with nostalgic or other emotional attachment is nice, though. In my case, I plan to keep a handful of books (one EXPEDIT/KALLAX segment) because it's sometimes nice to look at RPG books and remember great sessions, but it's really more of an emotional thing than the books seeing actual use.
For reading, I have switched completely to digital books (an iPad Pro, though a little excessive for this purpose, really makes a great reader). I think it's fair to say that this was the major turning point for my RPG collection habits, so if you haven't done so already, I would encourage buying a sufficiently large tablet (>12" if you want to read A4- or letter-sized books).
 
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thullgrim

Adventurer
Going digital was the main motivator for me as well. I held onto books for a long time but once I realized that my main group was probably never going back ti face to face and that I did almost all game prep for my live group and my vtt group in front of three monitors the decision to go paper lite was easy.

And yes the iPad Pro is overkill for reading game books but I’m definitely ot giving mine up. I love that real estate and with a pencil I can mark annotate and highlight to my hearts content
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Wh I feel the need to downsize the RPG collection, I:

1) keep the stuff I would run
2) keep the stuff I would play in but won’t run
3) keep the stuff I wouldn’t play or run, but COULD mine for ideas and inspiration
4) keep collectibles (maybe)
5) consider culling anything that doesn’t fall into #1-4

Anything culled gets donated to the USO or charities like DAV, usually sorted and packaged with some additional dice.
 

Emirikol

Adventurer
I gave 20 bankers boxes of rpgs and books to Goodwill and the library. i saved my dnd, wfrp, aliens, and a couple books for other crap I may someday play again: star wars, dark hershey', and one ring. Ive saved all my Dungeon maga but donated my complete Dragon collection to charity years ago.
 

SpaceOtter

Drifting in otter space
I used to own a few hundred RPG books, but ultimately I realised I was buying them out of the urge to collect (gotta have the complete line!) or because I thought, "Oooh, that sounds cool!", etc. And really, I was only actually using a fraction of them and couldn't even keep up with reading what I was buying.

I went through multiple downsizings and now am incredibly ruthless in what I will buy. In short, if it will not absolutely see use, I do not buy it. And what sees use? Games that appeal in system, setting, and support for my playstyle preferences without necessitating significant changes or houserulings. Folks may argue that houseruling is part and parcel, and to some degree I agree (and certainly did my share of such in the past). These days though? There is a MINDBOGGLINGLY VAST selection of RPGs to choose from, so it's not like finding RPGs that suit my setting, system, and playstyle tastes very closely is some impossible task. It has meant less clutter, freed up money for my other hobbies, and has enabled me to keep on top of the books I have and see them all used in play.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I'm mostly looking for advice about what supplements are better in hard copy vs PDF. What have you used at your table and prep that seem to fit your needs?
If you think you will actually use it, keep the hard copy. If you think it is cool or has nostalgia value, keep the hard copy.

Could, would, shouldas you can just get rid of.

There might also be some special cases where something actually does have a value, and you don't need it. Nobleknight games for examples sometimes publishes there buy prices for items. If you have doubts, you may want to check.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
If you have a magazine because of one article but don't care about the rest of the material, copy out that article and add a sheet of identifying information. Put the new papers in a binder. Sell the magazine.

I have a binder-full of D&D 3e stuff copied that I did not identify the original source. Lots of cool ideas jumbled together but no way to find that book again to see if anything else in it strikes my fancy. 😢
 

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