Penguin reveals what the size of your book collection says about you

Penguin shows how books reflect our personalities

Bookshelves filled with multicoloured books
Bookshelves filled with multicoloured books
(Image credit: Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

We’ve all read a Penguin book at some point in our lives, whether a ladybird book or a good old Penguin Classic. As one of the world’s biggest publishers, it’s no surprise that Penguin Random House knows a thing or two about books. 

We all know the age-old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. But now the popular publisher has suggested that your book collection could in fact speak volumes. 

Whilst some can’t wait to visit their local bookshop and choose the next read, others can’t bear to part with much-loved titles. 

But which category do you fall into? 

Those with 0-5 books

Penguin suggests that people who only own between 0-5 books are Book Monks. They’re selective and very decluttered readers. They might have a cookbook ready to grab in their kitchen or a stunning coffee table book on display in your lounge. But above all, you’re focused on having a functional and calm living space. 

Those with 5-50 books

This might be quite a step up, but that doesn’t mean people with 5-50 books enjoy having their space cluttered with all their past reads much more than those with 0-5. Books are the perfect way to absorb knowledge and that is what these book collectors seek. They might well keep certain old favourites, but otherwise their newest titles will be kept on e-readers, audiobooks or on phones. 

Those with exactly 42 books

Readers who have a very exact number of books are very disciplined - referred to as the Meaning of Lifers. The skill lies in knowing exactly which book you want to replace in your collection whenever a new one is introduced to the existing collection. Should you stick with what you love or branch out? In our experience making this decision is far easier said than done!

Those with 50-150 books

If you have between 50-150 books in your collection it’s clear that you’re used to having shelves of much-loved titles. The best of these will remain in your collection forever, though you aren’t too afraid of letting go of some books here and there as your collection evolves. Each of the books you do choose to keep shows some aspect of your personality.

Those with 150-500 books

Readers with this many books may well be unofficial librarians. You read extensively and you have enough of a collection to provide the answers to most questions you might be asked. These readers are deeply drawn to books in a way all those others won’t have experienced. The written word is essential to your everyday life and reading is your happy place. 

Those with 500+ books

By the time you have a collection of over 500 books you know that your house has become your own library. Here the written word is law and you’re a true collector of all things literary. Each book reminds you of your personal journey through life. They show exactly what you’ve learned and still have yet to learn. 

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!