Mount TBR Plan of Action

Meeting Natl B.B. Commission (LOC)
"We think it's a really good one."

Hi! I’m back from vacation! Disney World was amazing, and I’ll have pictures and stuff up on my other blog sometime this week…hopefully. I’m still a little tired from all the travelling, but I’ve checked all my email (300+), zipped through my feedreader (1,000+ items, most of them “marked all read”) and cleared out my spam comments (1,501). I finished six books during my vacation (one of them a “short,” which I’m sort of counting as a book but I don’t know if it actually does?), though only one of those books was on my planned reading list. I still haven’t unpacked my suitcase but I wanted to get this post up before I lost my train of thought– something that happens remarkably easily around here!

Okay, so: while I was on vacation I realized three things:
1. I like reading books on my Kindle! It’s a lot of fun, and I have such a stockpile of books on it now I won’t run out of things to read for a while. (I’m talking years, here.) My ebook TBR pile also doesn’t stress me out like my paper one does, because it’s “invisible,” i.e. it doesn’t loom over me like my TBR bookshelves do.
2. A lot of my TBR paper books are available in ebook format.
3. The size of my TBR pile is really upsetting me, and I need to do something about it.

The thing about number three is that I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stand having a lot of stuff around me. Partly this is because I’m planning to move, and thus need to get rid of a lot of my stuff, but also because my room is pretty small and the STUFF makes it even smaller. I feel trapped, and that’s not a good feeling (obviously).

So here’s the steps I can see myself taking re:Mount TBR.
1. I go through my pile, pick out the books that are available as ebooks, get the ebooks and get rid of the paper books.
Upside: I get a lot more room in my bedroom.
Downside: I have to spend more money to replace those books, so it’s like I’m buying them twice. With some of them, I’ve spent only a few cents buying them in paper format, and the ebooks cost $9.99 or more.
Question: Is the space I’ll save worth the money spent to buy it?

2. I ignore my Kindle and focus on reading books from my paper TBR pile, cutting down the amount of unread books I’ll be moving and/or storing. This was my original plan at the start of the year, but then I re-fell in love with my Kindle and…well.
Upside: I’ll definitely cut down on my unread books count.
Downside: I won’t be able to get even half of them read before I (hopefully) move abroad and need to put them in storage, which means I’ll still be storing a brickload of unread books somewhere.
Question: Can I even “force” myself to ONLY read from my paper TBR pile anyway? I’m already gravitating towards the “better” choices of books on my Kindle.

3. I read books on my Kindle and an occasional TBR (review) book, and I’ll hopefully gravitate back towards my paper books later on, evening up the ebook/paper book ratio.
Upside: It won’t stress me out.
Downside: It’ll mean even more unread books in storage later this year.
Question: Can I be okay with that?

Georgia? (LOC)
"Ooooh, now we see."

Right now I’m thinking a mixture of 1 and 3. I do know that a lot of my books are available in ebook format– and also, that I probably won’t be reading them for a while, anyway. This means that I can get rid of the paper TBR books and SLOWLY replace them with ebooks, whenever I have enough dosh to do so. Or just check them out at the library, even!

I can also, I think, be okay with storing SOME unread books, especially if they’re not yet available in ebook and I think I’ll enjoy reading them.

What I really need to do, however, is go through my Mount TBR and purge the books that I KNOW I won’t read in either ebook or paper format. There’s a lot, I’m sure, and if I can cut those out I know I’ll have a more manageable TBR pile. One that won’t stress me out, hopefully!

Palmer's Community Hiking Association meeting
"We're waiting for your comments!"

So there’s my plan. What do you think of it?

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14 thoughts on “Mount TBR Plan of Action”

  1. Find someone awesome who will appreciate your hard copy collection. Too bad you don’t live in Colorado! Or do you? *wink*
    make a list of what you’ve got & when you’re ready, the book will appear.

    1. Haha, nope– but I do live in New Mexico! 😀

      I think at some point, when I have my own house and oodles of room, I’ll be less insane about keeping unread paper books on my shelves. But right now that’s not an option. Plus it’s not like I’m going to get rid of my READ books. Those are sticking with me ’til a house fire or the grave, whichever comes first!

  2. Hmm.. good question. I unfortunately have no answers. Except that I would never be able to do number 1, because when I love a book I need to own it in paper format. Plus ebook format is often so much more expensive!

    I would say 3, but that might be because it is the only thing that would work for me.

    1. I only really feel the need to own paper versions of ebooks I want to “show off,” like with my Virginia Woolf books, or my hardcover of Lord Darcy. I have ebooks for them, but I wanted the paper versions, too. But that’s more for library-building than anything else, and library-building is totally different from adding to the (paper) TBR mountain. Library-building is putting together a collection of favorite books to stare at and enjoy when you see them on the shelves; big ol’ Mount TBR is a pain in the butt and makes me upset– at least, it makes me upset until I read a book from it and like it so much add it to my favorites.

      (I think now I sound totally insane, but I’m really not! I just want my room [or storage unit] to be filled with books I liked reading, not with books I only MIGHT enjoy reading. I only like possibilities when they don’t take up so much room I trip over them for lack of space.)

      Maybe what I should do from now on is try to get ebooks first and THEN buy paper copies when I want to add to my library? Hm.

  3. I say the physical purge of Mt. TBR first – just keep repeating the mantra “This is not the last copy in the world; if I change my mind later I can always get it from the library.”

    After that… Are there any of your TBR books that are available free? When I got my Kindle I was torn about re-acquiring books I already own, mostly because I am a cheap bastard and refuse to pay for something twice. But, I had 10 pre-1923 books (plus one Cory Doctorow novel) on my TBR pile that I was able to get for free on the Kindle, so I was able to clear a few off my physical TBR pile without having to shell out money for a second electronic copy.

    1. Yeah, I’m planning to do a purge today and hopefully knock off at least 50 books. I have a LOT of “reference” books that I won’t ever read (because they’re boring) but wanted to keep for some reason. I got them at the library book sale for cheap, so it won’t be a huge deal to purge those ones, at least!

      Also, I do have some TBR public domain books! I know I’ve got at least one Alexandre Dumas, and some Cory Doctorows. Great reminder, thank you. 😀

  4. To me it sounds like it’s mainly the stuff that’s bothering you. I would ruthlessly cut down the paper TBR pile and only gradually replace any books you want to read from it. If you get rid of it and then forget about it, you didn’t really want to read it that badly in the first place.

    1. I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ve purged a ton of books today and I don’t miss any of them, and I definitely think I can handle what’s left. 😀

  5. I think you should definitely do a purge of the books you know you have no intention to read. After that I think you should read some of your tbr pile. Can you really imagine putting some of those books in storage and they might not be worth the cost of storage?

    I just bought a Kobo and I’m really enjoying it. I know I need to cut down on my TBR pile so I’m determined to read at least 50 from the pile. If not, I plan on giving the difference away. Sometimes our tbr pile can drive us crazy! Good luck.

    1. I’ve now cut down my TBR pile by a LOT (or at least it feels like a lot!), and I definitely think I can read at least half of what I’ve got left. I joined a TBR challenge for this year where I have to read 50 books from my TBR pile, anyway, so hopefully the motivation from that and the newly-lightened pile will get me going! 😀

  6. I’m finding that unless the book is available for free, I can’t convince myself to buy books on my reader for money. No idea way.

    I definitely think that you should try to purge more of your collection. I remember someone at one point recommended reading the first ten pages of every book in your collection and getting rid of those that don’t sound interesting. Not sure if I could do that, but maybe it will help you.

    1. That is a bit weird! But then, I’m currently buying all my books with gift cards I’ve gotten, so I’m not actually spending any “real” money on my ebooks, either. Plus I have a self-imposed limit of only spending $3 per book– so probably I won’t be buying e-copies of my paper TBR books, anyway, because a lot of them are over $3. So!

      I’ve heard about that “so many pages before quitting” thing, too, although I don’t think I’d be too good at it. I tend to stick with a book until something makes me so frustrated I snap and THEN I give it up. I think this is because I’m forever thinking the next chapter will be better than the previous one, or maybe the end will make it all worth it. Probably this problem of mine is why I’ve read more crappy books than I should have, lol!

  7. I hope that the purging of your TBR pile is going well. Although I don’t have an e-reader, I do keep a virtual TBR list on Goodreads so I know what you mean about the virtual list being less stressful than the physical stack. At this moment I have four library books on my table waiting to be read and that bothers me more than the 200+ titles on my TBR list!

    (BTW, thanks for visiting my blog!)

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