"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Through My Books

After moving to my new place and sifting through all my print books twice (once while packing them, once while unpacking them) and getting rid of probably 2-3 boxes of them and getting them all cataloged in LibraryThing (which is a magical site that allows me to stop buying duplicates of books ALL THE TIME) I decided that I really needed to catalog my eBooks too.

This took a long time and a lot of patience and several restarts as I changed the way I wanted to organize them.

Then I decided I really should mark every book that I haven't read.

All of these things combined to open my eyes to the plethora of books I own but haven't read, or am dying to reread, or will probably never read in a million years.

So a few more books went out the door. A handful of eBooks got deleted from my Nook account.

And I decided there had to be a better way of systematically reading all of those free eBooks and ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies or Galleys) that I had picked up over the years. So I did the logical thing and started with A. Well, actually I started with the books that have numbers for titles, because those get put before the As. And when I finish one I take of the "Unread" label and, if it's an eBook, I archive it so it doesn't show up on my Nook anymore, but I can download it again should I ever want to, or, if it's a print book, decide whether to put it back on the shelf or plop it in the to sell or donate box.

I started this toward the end of last year with my eBooks, and last month for print books. And so far I've read 30 eBooks and 4 print books I probably wouldn't have read (or wouldn't have read yet). Some of them I would have gotten to before others, since they were by favorite authors. But honestly, many of them would have probably languished on my Nook or bookshelf forever.

Some of them have been wonderful books. Some of them have been good. A couple have been awful. Many have been just okay. But they are all now read.

But I noticed something in the last week.

See, I get daily e-mails from three wonderful sites: BookBubThe Fussy Librarian, and Bookperk. You sign up for free, in some cases you select the genres, formats, content that you like and then they magically deliver a list of books that are cheap or free. Every. Day. It's magical. I've discovered sales on some of my favorite authors this way. I highly recommend them.

And it used to be that every day I would be downloading at least one free book. Every. Day.

That adds up to a lot of books. A lot of eBooks that were languishing on my Nook.

I noticed, now that I'm actively reading through many of these free books that I've downloaded in the past, I am much pickier about the ones I buy or download. Even if they're free. Because I have, according to my LibraryThing shelf, over 1,200 books I haven't read yet. TWELVE HUNDRED.

So instead of saying, like I used to, HEY IT'S FREE. DOWNLOAD ALL THE BOOKS, I say, Do I really want to add this to my list?

Sometimes the answer is YES.
Sometimes the answer is perhaps.
But more often now it's... probably not.

So by reading the books I already own I'm not only weeding out my personal collection, but I'm also keeping myself from adding to it!

A side benefit I never expected.

How are you at reading books you've already bought? Do you keep a tight rein on yourself or are you like me and own almost as many books you haven't read as those you have? Do you have a system that keeps you from buying or downloading more books than you could possibly read in one lifetime or did you give up on that long ago?

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