Managing Your eBook Library: Methods for the Madness
by Elizabeth Ann West
My Kindle 4 is on the charger right now. It takes a rest there about every other day, and yes, I DO turn off Wifi (now turning ON airplane mode thanks to the latest update). This is how much I read. Wish it was how much I wrote... ;)
So raise your hand if you can identify with this dilemma: too many ebooks to even remember what you bought last week, let alone possibly yesterday. Guilty as charged over here. My ebook addiction is MOST tempting when we are talking about Jane Austen continuations and re-imaginings. I know! Thank god I don't have to walk into a bookstore anymore and ask where is the published fan fiction section?
I want. I click. I have.
And I have hundreds, literally hundreds of ebooks in my digital libraries thanks to the free books and the fact that I've been reading ebooks on my computer for years, even before ereading devices were remotely affordable. I also own both a Kindle and a Nook, with plans to buy a Kobo for quality control purposes.
Now my problem is I have the digital equivalent of a massive clearance bin. To be read pile? No such thing. Most of these books weren't even guaranteed reads, just a “hmmm, it's a good deal and interesting, I might read it when I have nothing else...”
Only that never happens, because I always find NEW shiny books that I want to read. And when I want... I click and I have.
If you're like me, with way more reading material than your eyes can possibly devour, a linked credit card to your ereader account that gets nickeled and dimed to death, take this for hope. I have come up with a few tried and true ways to master the madness.
One Touch Is All You Get
Being an author myself, I know days in advance when a book will go free. Why? Because I'm asked, begged, and pleaded with to help get the word out. Authors I haven't even so much as a shared a smiley with on social media will add me to Facebook groups for their novel's debut or friend me on Goodreads and voila! There in my email inbox is “Help Celebrate the Release of the Best Book I've Ever Written Tomorrow!!!”
At first I would get all of the free books I could, you know, just in case.... I don't know, ebook prices skyrocket to hard back prices or something (I know this is silly... there will always be someone giving out free samples). Now my policy is much like my email inbox policy from my days of keeping my head down in Corporate America.
One touch is all you get.
I will download, I will read the sample or as far as I'm interested to read. If I quit voluntarily–I am a person who will sit and a read a book all the way through in one spell, and only stop if I HAVE to do something... like feed my kids–so if I quit voluntarily then I voluntarily delete the book from my ereader and go into my account and delete the book from my account. I do not archive it. Archiving what I can't get through is saving junk in the junk drawer for later.
Now, just because I don't like a book doesn't mean it's a bad book, not at all. It's just bad to me. I won't come across it again and say “Oh, I want this” because it was never a want in the first place, it was a “I'll check this out.” I gave the book the benefit of the doubt, but once the doubt is fact, deleting is the only way to go.
Use a Good Review System
After you become free of your digital clutter, willing to delete and not worry if you'll regret it later (and it IS hard, we are taught to be digital pack rats, but remember, the book will still be available if you ever do change your mind), the next step is to celebrate that which you love. If I finish a book and it was okay, I just archive it. I might read it again someday, especially in the case of a series to reread once book two or three comes out. Some series vastly improve as they grow. Some don't.
But books I love? Those I review. I like Goodreads for a few reasons. The first is that as an author, it's really difficult for me to review on sites where my book is for sale and not come across as either a sycophant or a jerk. It's a no-win situation.
Goodreads is pretty neutral as far as author reviewing goes, though I don't do the pompous “as an author myself, I felt the symbolism of the color red played into the motivation of the main character's obsession with cheese..” or any such nonsense. I had to do that crap to flesh out papers in college. That was enough.
No, Goodreads rocks because when I say I love or hate something, Goodreads has a more accurate further reading suggestion than any other site that I've found. Amazon's calculations largely go on what other people buy who bought what you bought. Yeah, I buy a ton of stuff I didn't like. So that data isn't very precise. Barnes and Noble shows me what it wants me to buy, not what it thinks I will want to buy. My book is titled Cancelled. For a long time, anytime I searched that name, while signed in mind you, it gave me noise-cancelling headphones as the #1 result.
This act of reviewing brings greater precision to my “oooooh SHINY” book buying experience, meaning I still buy impulsively, but it's a much higher statistical chance that I will love what I just clicked to get and didn't feel the pain of purchasing.
At least not until my credit card bill comes in.
Thank you Gimme the Scoop for allowing me to visit as a part of the Orangeberry Book Tours Summer Splash! It's been fun and I hope we keep up the conversation below in the comments. Come on fellow book addicts, tell me how you cull the crap and organize your digital libraries. I'm all ears! :)
Oh, and as long as you're willing to give my book a one touch, because that's all an ebook should get to decide if you want to read it or not, pop on over to eawestwriting.com/newsletter to get a free, signed copy of Cancelled for any ereader you need it for! Each file is 100% unique as I sign a .jpg picture, insert it behind the cover, and compile each file individually. I personally email each one and the files are serialized, so you even know which # signed ebook you are!
Thanks again and don't worry, I'll be lurking to answer any feedback below. :)
Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! After writing non-fiction professionally for four years, she made the jump to fiction in 2011 with her debut novel, CANCELLED. A chicklit/romance from the male POV, Elizabeth’s novel challenges the conventions of modern romance. Elizabeth has also joined thirty other talented female writers at the Indie Chicks Cafe where she is a regular contributor. She also has a contribution in the latest Indie Chicks Anthology: Ms. Adventures in Travel where she talks about living in 4 different states in a span of 5 years!
When she isn't writing, or reading, she's chasing her toddler off whatever piece of furniture she has climbed on now, making pasta from scratch, or rationalizing why she can wait a little bit longer to clean up the house. One day her royalties will go towards the cost of a Roomba.
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Genre - Contemporary Fiction
Rating - PG13
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