Building the home library

As I may have mentioned a time or two in previous posts here, I’m something of a bibliophile. Truth be told, I have way more books that I probably need. But, I’m comforted in the fact that the knowledge contained within these volumes will serve me well if/when the world does go all topsy-turvy.

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend all preppers build up a survival library. No one can possibly have all knowledge they may ever need just in their head. Odds are pretty good the Internet won’t be available for consultation either.

The survival library should contain reference materials on:
–Canning and preserving
–Firearms maintenance
–Animal husbandry
–First aid
–Trapping, hunting, fishing
–Wild game preparation
–Wild edibles
–Home repair (carpentry, plumbing, electrical)
–Small engine repair
–Alternative energy systems
–Sewing and clothing repair

…and probably about a dozen other topics I’m forgetting right now.

In addition, I also suggest you have on hand books and materials to facilitate the education of children — math, science, history, and language arts at the minimum.

If you are even remotely religious, make sure you add in the appropriate texts and other materials for study.

Don’t forget the fun stuff too like novels and anthologies. Personally, if I never bought another book I’d probably have enough reading material to last me several years.

Now, where can you find all this stuff cheaply? Used bookstores, library sales, thrift stores, rummage sales, Freecycle, Craigslist, and all immediately come to mind. What I often do is toss a particular title on my Amazon wish list as a reminder to look for it when I’m out haunting the used bookstores and such. While I’m on Amazon, I also make a point of checking out other recommended books it gives me based on the one I’m currently viewing. I’ve found some really great books that way.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

7 thoughts on “Building the home library”

  1. Having a good library of survival books is a must in my opinion. Good point. It’s not a bad idea to get a couple of copies of some books to keep in various places. For example, John Wiseman’s SAS Survival Guide ( is good to have in your Get Home Bag as well as at home.

    For those who enjoy reading ebooks on a Kindle or other device, I’d recommend making your library the old fashioned way, with real paper books. You never know when the ebook reader will be available to you.



  2. is a nice resource for cheap books — you swap books you have for books you want. All you pay is postage to mail your book to the recipient.

  3. Great idea! I’d be curious to see some specific titles that you’ve found to be the best (especially in the tracking, survival category; we’ve got 100’s of gardening books already). Thanks!

    1. One book I recommend to EVERY survivalist/prepper is THE UNTHINKABLE by Amanda Ripley. It is an excellent study of the psychological and physiological effects of stress and panic on people during a disaster or crisis. BUG OUT! by Scott Williams is a great book on, well, bugging out. His latest book, GETTING OUT ALIVE, is also an excellent work. BUILD THE PERFECT SURVIVAL KIT by John McCann is a great little book, chock full of every kind of survival kit you can imagine, all homemade rather than store bought. It’ll give you some great ideas on what to include in your own kits.

  4. I also keep books on ceramics, metals casting, blacksmithing, wood working, trapping, chemistry, pharmacology, Gray'S ANATOMY< MACHINERIES HANDBOOK< MEDICINAL HERBS< MAPS< GARDENING< AND MINEROLOGY.

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