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TSS: The e-TBR pile?

May 8, 2011

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, all!

Today, I’ll be posting in the category “Truly minor things that aren’t really a problem for any sane person but which are bugging me nevertheless.” And the topic is “How do I count e-books towards my book acquisitions/TBR pile numbers?”

Thus far, I have only counted unread books that are physically in my possession towards my TBR pile. (And only books that I’m going to actually read, too; I haven’t read every word in The Riverside Shakespeare or in most of my textbooks, but those don’t get counted towards my TBR total.) Wishlisted books, audiobooks, and library books didn’t count. Before I had a Kindle, this way of accounting worked just fine. But now I’m forced to figure out how to deal with e-books.

One solution, the solution I’ve been using up to now, is to ignore my e-book acquisitions altogether. I’m an indiscriminate downloader of free e-books, even ones that I don’t have much interest in reading any time soon. (My rationale is that storage is cheap, so I may as well get them while they’re free in case I change my mind later, and in any case I’ll be glad of my overloaded Kindle when the zombie apocalypse comes.) I’m not going to start counting all of these books towards my TBR pile. I’m just not.

But this past week, for the first time, I actually paid money for an e-book. (Gasp!) I’m unlikely to make a habit out of it, but one of my wishlisted books – The Fiddler’s Gun by A. S. Peterson – went on sale for $0.99. Can’t pass that up! But now I’m left trying to figure out how to count it, and any similar future cases, towards my TBR pile total. It’s definitely a book that’s To Be Read – I paid good cash monies for it, after all – but it’s also not occupying space in the pile the way a physical book would, which is why I started the TBR count in the first place.

So, do I suck it up and add a +1 to my increasing TBR book count? Continue ignoring it? Start a separate eTBR pile? How do you folks with e-readers deal with this sort of thing? Or am I just being needlessly obsessive over nothing, and I should stop caring how many books I acquire, no matter what format they’re in?

Next week on the “problems that aren’t really real problems at all” series: “Why can’t I ever find my damn pair of kitchen scissors when I need them?”

© 2011 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2011 9:05 am

    Since most of the time I forget that I even have an ereader, much less where it is or what’s on it, the ebooks on it don’t really get counted towards anythign!

    • May 9, 2011 7:12 pm

      Marie – Hah, I can see how that would be a problem, yes. :)

  2. May 8, 2011 9:21 am

    I list all my new books — print or ebooks — on my LibraryThing account. Like you, I download a lot of free books if it even seems remotely possible that I will want to read them someday. That is why my TBR stack currently sits at 1058.

    Kitchen scissors! I have two pair and two pair of office scissors and two pair of sewing scissors and I still sometimes have to search for scissors. Must learn to put things back where they belong!

    • May 9, 2011 7:13 pm

      Kathy – I try to list all my ebooks on LT, but I’m way, way, way behind.

  3. May 8, 2011 9:24 am

    I don’t have a e-reader so I can’t help you with that one. But I think your kitchen scissor are in my junk drawer.

    • May 9, 2011 7:14 pm

      CB James – A ha! I knew they had to be around here somewhere.

  4. May 8, 2011 11:03 am

    I haven’t dealt with this yet, either. But I’ve considered making a print of the cover of each ebook and actually putting it in my “pile.” I seem to need a visual to remind me of what I have. I think I’d have a much better time deciding what to read if everything was in the same place. Good luck with this, and let us know what you end up doing.

    • May 9, 2011 7:18 pm

      Annette – For my visual representation of what I have, I use my LibraryThing catalog… when I can remember to get and stay caught up on adding my e-books, that is!

  5. May 8, 2011 12:22 pm

    I’m a pretty ” indiscriminate downloader of free e-books” too. My “to read” collection at Librarything is more of a “could read” collection. In other words, it’s in my possession either physically or digitally, and it’s a “readable” book — not reference. (Although, I’m hopelessly behind in cataloging my ebooks.)

    Is your TBR pile more about saving physical space or money? Are you trying to read books you already own so you have less trouble find space to put new ones? Or is it more about reading books you already own to cut down on spending money on new ones? If it’s space, then ignore the ebooks. If it’s money, then the ebooks you really, really intend to read (purchased or free) could be counted toward TBR. If it’s a combo of both space and money, then you might start a seperate eTBR list once there are more to keep track of.

    • May 9, 2011 7:21 pm

      Laura – My TBR pile is partly about both physical space and money, but mostly about guilting me into reading the books I actually have instead of acquiring them willy-nilly and then just reading from the library instead, and hopefully about slowing my acquisitions down until they at least are close to the number I’m able to read.

  6. May 8, 2011 6:58 pm

    It’s probably cheating, but I don’t add e-Books to my TBR pile.

  7. May 8, 2011 11:09 pm

    But during the zombie apocalypse, will you be able to keep your Kindle powered? Or will the battery die, and with zombies taking out the electric company…

    Still, “in case of zombie apocalypse” has got to be the best reason I’ve heard in a long time for acquiring lots of books! :) If I was going to sit down and read every book I own (paper, no ebooks), I’d probably be good for about five years, so I think I’m all right…surely by then we’ll have put down the zombie uprising.

    On the actual topic of this post…you could always add paid-for ebooks to the TBR list, while still leaving free ones off.

    • May 9, 2011 7:24 pm

      Cheryl – Well, if I turn the wireless off, the battery’s supposed to last for a month, right? So that’s ample time for the electric company employees to do some zombie-killin’.

  8. May 9, 2011 3:22 am

    Hmm… I don’t have an e-reader, but I do indiscriminately download free e-books onto my laptop and don’t count them. I think I might feel differently if I paid for them, though. As little sense as this makes, I tend to see the free downloads as akin to library books, and those don’t get counted either even though sometimes it’s weeks before I read them. I think I’d do what the last commenter suggested and only adding paid-for ones.

    • May 9, 2011 7:26 pm

      Nymeth – I think that’s going to be my solution, although they’ll probably get a little asterisk in the count. I don’t anticipate buying all that many books any time soon, so at least I’ve got time to rethink my strategy. :)

  9. May 9, 2011 3:28 pm

    Here’s the solution: Read The Fiddler’s Gun and it will get moved from TBR to the Read pile. I loved The Fiddler’s Gun. One of my favorite books from last year.

    But if you don’t have time to read Fiddler’s Gun right now (tisk tisk), I would just start a e-TBR list (since it you can’t really make a pile out of digital files).

    • May 9, 2011 7:27 pm

      Colin – Ha ha, this is actually the strategy I opted for in this case… I just started Part II (about 35% through.) I’m enjoying it well enough so far – the writing sits a little strangely to my ear but I really like Fin as a character.

  10. May 9, 2011 8:19 pm

    I was going to suggest what the other commenters have already said, or also propose giving up fretting over the TBR pile altogether. But then I looked around my room and saw the piles of books I haven’t read all piled up everywhere, and I think I should start tracking my own TBR pile. :p

    • May 13, 2011 11:39 am

      Jenny – Heh. Just don’t admit your eventual number to any friends who aren’t also bibliophiles… they’ll never let you hear the end of it.

  11. May 10, 2011 11:33 pm

    (My rationale is that storage is cheap, so I may as well get them while they’re free in case I change my mind later, and in any case I’ll be glad of my overloaded Kindle when the zombie apocalypse comes.)

    Dude, same here! *highfive* Anyway, I don’t count my eTBR pile with my pTBR pile, because I figure it doesn’t take up space and I’m not as worried about cutting it down as I am with cutting down on my paper pile. I don’t even worry about ones I’ve paid money for– I figure I’ll get to them eventually, and if I don’t I’ve only spent, like $1 or something on getting them anyway. It’s not THAT big of a deal to me.

    I’ve only recently starting organizing my read and unread ebooks, though. I’ve got them tagged on Calibre but I’ve also been sorting them into collections on my Kindle– my “read” collection is waaaaaay smaller than my “unread.” It’s a little embarrassing, but I’ve been collecting free ebooks for at least three years and I’ve only had my Kindle since last September, so I figure it’s okay. Maybe.

    • May 13, 2011 11:43 am

      Anastasia – I’m the same way, my “read” collection is maybe 1/10th the size of my “unread”. At least. No shame in it!

  12. May 11, 2011 3:32 pm

    My vote is to have a separate eTBR pile.

    • May 13, 2011 11:46 am

      Jen – Yeah, I think that’s my vote too, but only for books that I either paid for, agreed to review, or otherwise really want to read – there’s too many freebies to count all of them!

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