Here I Go Again

question markWay back when, before I made the switch to e-books, I used to routinely whine about the size of my to-be-read pile, which I had dubbed Mount TBR. At one point, there were close to 400 books on my shelves that were taunting me with their unread status. And I hated it. I can’t stand feeling behind, or disorganized, or out of control, and having too many books to ever get caught up on felt like work. But several big purges and my sudden devotion to Kindle-for-ipad cured me. I thought.

My goal has always been to have exactly 1 TBR book. ONE. Since no book is ever more than “One Click” away, I figured I could just grab what I wanted, when I wanted it, and not have anything that I “had to” read. No guilt, no pressure. But old habits die hard, and I recently noticed I am climbing back up Mount TBR. Again. I now have a to-be-read collection containing almost 40 titles – and climbing. Does the addiction ever really end? I don’t think so. Where does your TBRs stand? Have you been getting it under control, or is it creeping up on you, too?

28 thoughts on “Here I Go Again

  1. dougmeeks says:

    As a reviewer for years now my backlog of books is embarrassing, it numbers in the hundreds, some ARCs, some KU, some “shiny” books I bought but have yet to read (sometimes for months) and people still send me books even when I tell them it might be months before I can read/review their books. I was barely managing until I was invited to join VINE on Amazon, now I assume I will die with hundreds of unread books

    • kaleigha says:

      Yeah, it would be hard to manage when you keep getting sent books. And then if you are like me you would probably feel guilty over not getting to them, too.

  2. Barb Sanders says:

    I gave up. Like you, I thought the TBR pile would be under control with a Kindle. Umm…no such luck. So the backlog on the Kindle and the TBR pile continue to grow. Alas…

  3. Lidy says:

    It’s hopeless. People like us are fated to have a mountain of books to read. I prefer to take the more books = more options stand to avoid despairing (doesn’t work all the time) LOL

  4. Shira says:

    Instead of keeping a pile of bought books in my room or my kindle, I keep a Word file on the list of books I want to read (which is pages long) and update it as I find a new author I’m interested in. I add a few books to the kindle as I finish a series, so I keep only a limited, almost constant number of TBR books on my kindle.
    But like Doug, I have SO many books on my list that I’m not sure if I get to read all of them before I die.

    • kaleigha says:

      Actually, I am going to keep a written list, too, from now on. Authors that I would like to try, or books that catch my eye, and then check them off as I get to them. It will make my OCD happy, too.

  5. library addict says:

    I have several hundred books in my TBR. Most were picked up on sale (for example a few years ago when Kobo had their reusable 80% coupon codes. I miss those days!)

    Many were books I *might* be interested in reading one day. Not as bad as with the freebies I culled out a few years ago, but I had a more difficult time deleting books I paid for.

    Many are series where I read the blurb for a book, discovered it was part of a series, and bought them all only to be overwhelmed with having so many books to read before getting to the story I was originally interested in… so they all sit in my TBR.

    But with digital books my TBR mountain is simply a Word doc. No danger of it falling over as with print books. The books are all organized in my multiple Calibre libraries. Sometimes I make a virtual library of unread books and go “shopping” in cover view. Looking at the covers/blurbs creates a different vibe than just reading the author/titles.

    And for the past few years I’ve picked out a new-to-me series or two as well as 10 individual books and put them on my Must Read list for the year. I try to keep it to a reasonable number of must read books, but also give myself the whole year to read them. It works out. So I am gradually working through the list, but realistically I will probably never read them all. And I’m okay with that. The other choice is not to buy and read new books or newly discovered books and that I will not do. I am very much a mood reader, so want to be able to read what I am in the mood for (or reread as the case may be).

    • kaleigha says:

      Part of my problem before was that I had so many books on the TBR that sat for years, and then I realized that I wasn’t really interested in reading some of them anymore. But I “should”, because I bought them. I have cured myself of the buying the whole series before I start it thing, but it took a while. I like your must read idea, too…I always have a target series or two for the year, and I try to keep it reasonable enough so I can actually meet my goals. It works out for me.

  6. cheryl says:

    When I first got my kindle several years back I downloaded so many freebies to try or a book on sale and my favorite authors. It got so out of control and of course library books.
    I finally figured out most of the freebies are from authors that haven’t quite mastered the craft of writing and most have no editors or person to help them pare the story into a more cohesive and compelling story.
    Finally… I started to limit what I would download and trying to keep my buying down to a manageable level. Of course… when I found the Amazon book discussion group, that slow down went out the window.
    Today I find that I have cut my addiction down by 50% and a lot of that is due to going to Goodreads for the discussion group (Amazon eliminated book discussion) and it makes it one more step to order a book So I am mostly happy with that.
    So TBR is at least 50 books and then I have this idiotic thing of buying the kindle version of books I had in hardback or paperback because of the ease of grabbing something to read and not dig it out from the bookshelf.
    Could be worse … I could be hoarder of shoes, etc.

    • kaleigha says:

      You could almost consider your discussion groups as research, so that does help. When I did my big purge of my physical books, I kept only my hardcovers and most of my UK paperbacks. But of course I had to have them all on Kindle, too. And now since I don’t buy that many books compared to what I used to, I pick up both versions for new releases. I actually got my hardcover copy of Twelfth Grave the day before my physical copy came, which was funny.

    • Monika says:

      I have a freebie addiction, too. I download an average of 3 books a week that look intriguing. I always figure I can chuck them if I don’t like them, only I never do 🙂
      I don’t agree that freebies are (only) from authors that haven’t quite mastered their craft. I’ve discovered a host of fantastic authors that offered one of their books (often the first book in a series) for free, for instance Elizabeth Hunter, Lindsay Buroker, Anna Hackett, just to name a few that have become favorites of mine after I discovered them thru a free book.

  7. saidahgilbert says:

    I don’t have a TBR list. I merely have hundreds of Kindle books that I get for free that I plan to read “sometime”. I also have books from authors that I follow (especially on Goodreads) whose books I plan to read. So when I’m in the mood, I can just pick a book from either place to read. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. I may be browsing a website (like this one) and end up discovering a new series (like October Daye) so I go and read that first leaving all the other books behind. So I guess I can say that I have a priority list that depends on my mood.

    • kaleigha says:

      Yep, I have been so known to stumble on something that catches my eye and makes me change all of my plans. I have been known to wander off on a totally unexpected tangent, and end up finding a series I really love.

  8. Dawn says:

    I also fell into the “ohh shiny” trap – ie, freebies – when I got my first kindle. I still get the freebies fairly frequently, but now they tend to be by authors I have read, or recommended by authors I have read, so there is less of the cringing when I read an unedited yet published work and wonder, did they actually take English in high school?

    I set up private wish lists for myself on Amazon, so I could keep track of books I would LIKE to buy, when they are cheap or I have the money. Then there are the books that have a price drop, so I’ll rush to buy them (if I have the money – part-time private school teacher here with 2 kids getting ready for college – not a lot of the spare money around these days!), and there they sit – in cyberspace.

    That’s the one good thing about the kindle/Nook/etc. I may have hundreds of unread books (between the gotta get, freebies, cheapies, and ARCs) – maybe thousands? – but at least they don’t take up the physical space any more.

    And I may not have read some of them, but there’s a handful that at least one of my sons will have read at some point — Marvel Teen prose (the Black Widow really sounds good! just not enough time!) and Rick Riordan especially – so can I still say they are TBR?

    • kaleigha says:

      I hadn’t thought of the Amazon wishlist idea…that could really work. Cover art always jogs my memory, and having the covers there would be a help. Thank god I didn’t fall into the freebie trap too hard – I did go on a bit of a spree a while back, but I purged them a while back.

  9. pals20 says:

    OMG, my TBR is easily in the hundreds. I honestly cannot believe you are hovering around the 40-book mark.

    The problem (which is not really a problem) is when you discover a great author. Then you are not just reading her book but their entire backlist. Then what if you discover a series but a few books in. The you HAVE to read the series from the start. Plus the stories in the series that are going to be published get proactively added to your TBR. I have a current TBR (already published) and I have a future TBR (not yet published) list. Then there are times when you are comfort reading your favourite series, you are totally ignoring the TBR pile..

    It is insane but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way..

    • kaleigha says:

      I am bad for tackling the entire backlist of an author, too. One book leads to dozens that way, but it is more fun. One goal I have is to try some of the other stuff from Faith Hunter and Patricia Briggs – I have been stuck on their main two series each, and never ventured beyond.

  10. Charleen says:

    I don’t think I could live without a TBR pile. I started reading on Kindle in 2010, to-date I have more than 7,000 books in my cloud. Of course I haven’t read them and at the rate I buy them, I probably never will. But having such a variety of choices is fantastic. I do keep track of what I buy in categories. But its easy to find something new. About once a month, I purge things I haven’t read from my downloaded list and delete them back to the cloud. I do understand your OCD and if I don’t like a book I delete it from the cloud. I do re-read a lot of favorites. But what I like about e-books is they are definitely out-of-sight; out-of-mind, so they don’t bother me as much. I’m an addict, what can I say.

    • kaleigha says:

      Seven. Thousand.

      Wow, I am at maybe 600, and thought that was out of control (but then it has only been a few months, so give me time).

  11. Chelle says:

    I kind of fell v boring now. I had a huge TBR for arcs but nothing like any of you. So I stopped with any new arcs for most of this year. Now I’m doing about 6 a month and totally on top of this pile. My non arc TBR is of course massive. But that’s a reason to get up in the morning and to charge my kindle. Love your blog btw

    • kaleigha says:

      Thanks Chelle! At least you got one part of the beast under control. I am so glad I don’t get many ARCs, honestly, ’cause that would blow my mind.

  12. vanessa357 says:

    Not only do I have a kindle TBR, I have an Audio TBR. Now Audible has announced that for $6.95/month you have access to tons of Romance novels to download for audio. I see the windshield coming and I’m sure that I am the bug. I will have to be very careful with that. 😉

    My kindle TBR is around 40-50 books and my audible TBR is around 30. Not overwhelming, but still hard to tackle with all of the series that I read.

    If I hear of an intriguing new series, I immediately put in in my Amazon wish list and sometimes on my Audible one too. It helps to keep track of all of the great recommendations that I get on the various forums and blogs. I usually have both tabs open on my computer anyway.

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