Saturday, June 21, 2014

The trouble with my Kindle library

Piles and piles of books
I don't have a Kindle, but I've been downloading e-books to the app at a much faster rate than I can read
them. I still buy the occasional hard copy—ill-advised since I ran out of shelf space years ago and the bookcase I bought last year filled up instantly with the piles that were sitting on bed, chairs and desk—but most of my book purchases over the last five years have been of the digital variety.

Since I plan to put a dent in my TBR backlog this summer, I decided to 'get organized' (always a dangerous undertaking for me) by dividing the Kindle titles into categories. The result was as follows:

1: Books by writers I know. (scores, maybe hundreds)
2: Classics to be read or re-read. (scores)
3: Books on eating, cooking and generally living more healthfully. (a handful)
4: Books on e-publishing (a few)
5: Novels, biographies and memoirs NOT by authors I know. (a few)
6: Miscellaneous titles, like the experimental baby books for my granddaughter. (a few)

The problem with my Kindle library became clear: apparently, I own scores, possibly hundreds, of books that I bought or downloaded free simply to support authors I know. I have little or no interest in reading maybe 95% of these books, so what do I do with them? I have to wade through these to get to those that I actually plan to read. I'd like to delete the unwanted books but feel guilty about this although I know I'll never get around to reading, for example, love stories that pair humans with vampires, dragons, tigers or wolves, those that are gruesome, weird and humorless (I can read gruesome and weird if there's humor involved), and those by authors I've sampled whose writing doesn't grab me for one reason or another.

The other categories are fine: I'm picking my way through the Fanons, Alighieris, and Flauberts that I've been wanting to read, like, forever; I've started on the books by authors I know that I do want to read, such as Jamaica Dreaming by Eugenia O'Neal that I read in its entirety yesterday, and William Doonan's Mediterranean Grave; don't plan on reading any more books on e-publishing for a while; and I'll schedule the 'healthful living' books for maybe every other month. But that first category is headache-inducing.

Do you buy/download lots of books you don't plan to read just to support authors you know? What on earth do you do with them?


Charles Gramlich said...

I read on my Kindle so when I finish one I copy it to my harddrive and delete it from my kindle. I also copy ones that I might possibly one day read but probably not to the harddrive and file them like a library, then delete them off my device.

William Doonan said...

I think Charles has the right idea - get the books off the Kindle when you're done. But I pretty much don't download books if I'm not going to read them. I download a lot of freebies, and many of them I'll chuck after a few chapters if I don't like them. But I figure that if I go to the trouble of pushing a heavy button to download something, I should at least give it a shot.

Liane Spicer said...

Charles, I didn't know you could copy Kindle books to hard drive. I don't have a Kindle reader and I haven't seen that option on the Kindle app, but I might be missing something.

Liane Spicer said...

William, many authors in groups and on loops I belong to ask for support for their promos and freebies via the download button. I oblige even if the book doesn't interest me.

I think I'll just have to go through the library periodically and delete those I know I'll never read. There are way, wayyyyyy too many books around that I actually want to read.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I try not to download what I do not intend to read. However, I've had many cases where I downloaded and midway through the book couldn't hold my interest. I abandoned it.

Why? I believe in reading for pleasure, not for agonizing pain or obligation. If a book (even if I'm the author) does not give me pleasure, then I chuck it.

Neil Waring said...

I download from request only if it looks like something I might have an interest in. I, like Jewel, abandon anything that I cannot get into, and I only give them 10-15 pages.

Liane Spicer said...

Absolutely, Jewel. I have that weird habit of downloading books I'm not likely to read to support authors I know, but I won't force myself to read books I can't get into. Reading is supposed to be pleasurable, not painful.

Liane Spicer said...

Neil, I need to slow down on the supportive downloads, maybe.

10-15 pages, sometimes more, but I've stopped forcing myself to read entire books in the hope they'll get better. I'm not young anymore and there are thousands of good book still to be gotten through. :)

KeVin K. said...

Dearheart, I know for a fact you've "loyalty" copies of some of my stories and absolutely zero interest in science fiction. Toss those. Do that to every book or story by writers you know. Keep only those you know for certain you really want to read. (You've really given all the practical support you're going to do by downloading the piece.)

Reading, as has been said, is for pleasure - though I would add reading can be for professional research as well. There's no room for reading as an obligation and any other professional writer contending with a mere 24 hours in a day will not blame you a bit for not reading what does not interest or is irrelevant.

I did have a Kindle because my son gave me one. I broke it because I forgot it fit in the front pocket of my jeans when I climbed into my car one day. Sharp cracking noise that was not my back.

Now I load all my Kindle purchases into my "cloud reader" so I can access them from any device. I also keep the latest issues of several magazines, like Analog and Ellery Queen, on my smartphone for reading when I don't have easy internet access.

But, really, toss all those loyalty books you're never going to read. Life is too short.

Liane Spicer said...

KeVin, honey, I've read every one of your stories that I downloaded, and enjoyed every one. Which reminds me that I promised one of your shorts to a very talented young writer from Belize whose story of a haunted ship in the Caribbean brought one of yours to mind.

I've also read several of your stories in paper--not all, admittedly, but I'll get there--and it was no penance. Although SFF is not a genre I actively seek out, I have enjoyed many of these stories and some I've even bought--and not out of loyalty either. I have even *whisper* written one.

You'd be surprised by some of the genres I read off and on. Then again, perhaps not. :D

Sorry you broke your Kindle. And yeah, lots of books are going to get tossed. None of them are by anyone named Killiany.

Jewel Amethyst said...

KeVin, reading professionally and for research is an obligation especially when you're in my profession (all of them), but reading novels is for leisure and leisure equals pleasure, not torture.