Our guest blog post is by Chloe Wilson the author of The Staying Organized Survival Guide.
The tactics for organizing books have moved on over the last few years as the shift from paperbacks and hard covers to ebooks has taken hold. You may have less physical books that need decluttering and categorizing in your home, but you have probably swapped them for an ever growing collection of digital books.
Digital book clutter may not be as obvious – you don’t fall over it and it does not come crashing down on you when you open a closet door – but it is there nonetheless. If you find yourself going crazy scrolling through pages and pages of books to find the one you know you downloaded the other day, or just get overwhelmed looking at the willy nilly list in front of you, it is time to take action.
So what do you need to do to manage your ebook collection as it grows?
The standard organizing rules that you would employ with items in your home, also apply to organizing ebooks:
- Sort and Group
- Assign A Home
Let’s take each one in turn.
Do you really need 1,000 books on your e-reader? Are you really going to read all those freebies you downloaded? What about the books you started and did not like? Will you even re-read the books you did like? Don’t keep clutter on your e-reader.
Take 15 minutes today and scroll through your collection. Be tough and delete those books you will probably never read. If your e-reader is a Kindle, remember you can still get the books back again from the ‘Manage Your Kindle’ page, even if they are deleted from the device itself so be brutal! This is also true for the iPad.
Sort & Group
Once you have weeded out the books you actually want to keep, you need to categorize them in a way that is meaningful to you. You can then create ‘Collections’ on most e-readers and use those like folders on your computer to file the books away in a group. Device specific instructions are available online for exactly how to do this.
Ideas for collections include:
- Genre – think horror, fantasy, non-fiction, kids.
- Author – if you do not stick to particular authors this will not work so well as you will have too many groups.
- Family member – if you share an e-reader, having a collection or sub-collections per person can really help.
I also like to use a few extra categories: ‘Currently Reading’, ‘To Read Soon’, ‘Favorites’ and ‘Freebies’.
Assign A Home
Deciding on a home for your ebooks may sound like a daft idea when they’re on your e-reader, but what I mean by this is to decide whether you actually want your e-reader to be your main storage device or not. You could use Amazon or iTunes to store your books and just ‘deliver’ or ‘sync’ a few at a time to your actual device.
Alternatively you could use free software (such as Calibre) to organize your whole collection. This is particularly useful if you have ebooks in a variety of formats (such as epub, mobi etc) and you just want to manage one ‘virtual’ bookshelf.
Without it, you have to remember which ebook retailer you bought the book from before you can find it – not an easy task a few months down the road.
Now that you know what to do, you need to have a plan for when to do it. In my book, The Staying Organized Survival Guide, you will learn that I am a fan of making organizing a habit.
So here are some tips to turn organizing your ebooks into a habit:
- As soon as you buy a book, file it in a collection.
- As soon as you’ve read a book, delete it from your device (unless you know you will read it again).
- Spend 5 minutes before you start reading anything decluttering the existing mess you are facing!
By using these tips going forward, you will not add to the clutter that already exists on your device AND you will make a dent in that clutter in a manageable way!
Take the initiative to transform your confusing ebook mess into an organized library today!