This paper explores the role of books in American antebellum domestic fiction. Written primarily for middle-class readers, domestic fiction offers advice on how to create an ideal home and in these ideal homes the presence of books is necessary. In an era plagued by a volatile national economy, monetary assets proved an unstable basis for class affiliation. Domestic fiction, however, presents the ownership of books as an alternative foundation for class status. As a result, rather than being based on economic resources, which might lose value overnight, thus causing a plunge on the social ladder, in these tales, middle-class status transcends economic status as it becomes synonymous with the ownership and appreciation of books and the personal qualities books were expected to foster.