I installed these shelves: http://pin.it/1gqQDHD

But they are not in studs simply screwed into the dry wall with the plastic expanders (my building is old and the studs don't match the length everything has to be for the shelves to rest flush).

There isn't a lot of weight on them now, just some photos, my desktop, and a plant. However I want to know if I can put books on the shelves without a risk of them falling. I want to say the longer shelves could potentially hold more weight as they are distributed over more space but I am not a physics expert and could be totally wrong. Does anyone know how to calculate how much weight something like this could hold?

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    Did the plastic dry wall anchors you used have a load rating on the package? If so, count how many you used and multiply by the load rating to get a reasonable first guess. I would suggest not putting books on a shelf supported just by drywall anchors. – Mark Jul 11 '16 at 11:07

Best place to check would be the with where you purchased the shelves from. Failing that I'd say the length of the screws would be a decent indication of how much weight they can carry from my experience, along with the type of bracket etc.

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