Monday, February 23, 2009

To TBR or To Not TBR

I have over 500 books in my To be Read pile. Technically it's not a pile. It's really a bunch of boxes and bags filled with books. I keep track of my TBR using Readerware. It comes with a barcode scanner, which makes it incredibly easy to add books. Each box has a number on it. The numbers correspond to a set of books on the TBR list. That worked for a while. The problem is that I keep buying books. The new books are in bags. They are waiting for me to put them in the appropriate box. It's an endless loop. I buy more books, I reprint the list, I rearrange the boxes, etc. Once read the books move to another set of boxes. Those books are waiting for me to set up my new office. After that the books will be sorted and somehow fit onto bookshelves. My new office already holds nearly 1,000 cookbooks. I may need more bookcases or consider putting bookcases somewhere else in the house. I don't like getting rid of books. When I moved overseas in the mid-90s, I had to get rid of 1/2 of my books. I don't think I've ever gotten over that. I pine for my English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries.

So I have a dilemma of sorts. Do I stop buying books until I catch up with my reading sometime in the next 30 years? Do I continue to buy books to support the authors that I like to read especially during this time of economic uncertainty? And do I keep everything?

I decided that yes, I will continue to buy books and support authors because I want them to be able to keep writing more books for me to read. Does one book sale make a difference? I don't know the answer to that, but I'd like to think that every book sold helps. I know that there are at least 3 new releases that I will buy this week: Mario Acevedo's Jailbait Zombie, Mark Henry's Road Trip of the Living Dead, and Anton Strout's Deader Still. These three books will be released on February 24, 2009. I need to look at my To Be Bought list for the rest of the month.

I've also decided to keep everything for the time being. My 13 year old daughter has recently become hooked on paranormal YA. In a few years she'll be old enough to read the grown-up books. Then she can worry about where to store them.

Qwill's Qwestions: Have your book buying habits changed over the last few months? Do you keep everything? What books are you buying in February 2009?

You can join the Mark Henry's Glamazombies Yahoo Group here:

Subscribe to markhenry

Powered by


  1. I didn't buy books for the longest time due to budget constraints and a decrease in reading. Since i've found this genre and started talking to all these bibliophiles? My TBR pile stands at over 200 books and counting. And I still buy books. I won't probably stop, but I may limit the amount I buy for a while.

  2. I have more than I'll ever read, and I am trying to limit what I buy in print, but ebooks or audio that don't require real life space are a totally different thing!

  3. I've gone through times where I'd buy books instead of necessities for me--I love them that much. My TBR pile is higher than I like (probably about 50 books), because I try to read as soon as I get something just to keep that pile from getting so overwhelming.

    And yes, every single book counts, for us authors. Especially in times like these. Publishers and bookstores look at the "sell-through" percentage -- how many books are sold from a print-run -- and will base their next order on the next book on that number. Every single reader counts.

    And I'd urge people... if someone's going to buy used books (which I've done) or go to the library -- if you love the author, write to the publisher and say so. Even if your dollar didn't count towards sales, your voice will be heard, because so few people do it.

  4. Hmmmm.
    All good questions and thoughts.
    I have stopped buying as many books just cause we really don't have the money. To that end my TBR pile has slowly been going down cause I have been reading those books.
    I agree that most books shouldn't be gotten rid of, though all my bookshelves are full and books are turned all directions so that they will all fit on the shelves and there are still more. Any new shelves might have to go in the hall or perhaps the bathroom BIG GRIN!

    I am still buying books just not when they initially come out. Some I am waiting until they hit paperback to make them more affordable. Hard to do, but I have to save money where I can.

  5. Hi, macbeaner. Chatting with all the bibliophiles has 'helped' me increase my TBR as well. I also did not read fiction for about a decade so I am behind. Hence the huge TBR!

  6. Hi, Sandi. I still prefer to hold a book in my hands and have not made the jump to e-books yet. I spend so much time in front of a computer that I'm not sure that I would enjoy ebooks.

  7. Hi, Toni. It's great to know that every book does help! Thank you for that great advice about contacting publishers.

  8. Hi, Eva. Another way to save on books is using Amazon's 4 for 3. I don't know how quickly after a release a book is added to the 4 for 3 promotion, but it's helped me catch up on older books while saving a bit of money.

  9. I have a pretty big library and it is packed with books turned every witch way (like Eva) just to fit the books in. Going to need more shelves for books and DVDs...... My TBR is about at about 15 as I read about as fast as I buy them. I also dont like to get rid of books. Jim knows better than to even suggest it!!!LOLLOLLOL
    This month is Mark's book, Kim Harrison and Carrie Vaughn. But as I just got turned on to Simon R Green, I need to get more of him!!!

  10. Are you kidding me, I cant live without books and yes I loan them out but always get them back.... every payday I set aside some money to go hunt at every walmart target kmart and grocery store I can find in this crapass town and next one over to find books..... sometimes I only end up with 2 or 3 but like this last payday I hit paydirt and got a whole whopping 12 books I have been dying to read in one way or another...... with as fast as I can read I really need to set up a database and keep a list of books I want versus the ones I already have and keep it with me from now on. Just found our that I bought a second copy of one and yeah I plan on giving it to a friend as a gift next week since that is when I can see her. My mom has 2 storage sheds full of her books and she said her dream is to open a bookshop that you can bring in your loved books and get more and keep going that way.... I asked her if she was crazy I want to inherit her collection and my hubby asked me if I was crazy also......

    Cindy Mac

  11. I too have lots of books and hate to get rid of them. I have run out storage space in my home. My solution was to buy a Sony erader.I am liking the e-reader lots. I am still buying my favorite authors books on the day they are released but in e-form. I will still buy physical books for the YA series that both my daughter and I read.


  12. When I moved out of my townhouse I sold 13 boxes worth of books to half priced books. I just didn't have the place and there were so many books I didn't want to read again. My keep bookshelves have about 400 books. Since I getting the kindle I'll be buying my favorite authors on it and eventually get the ones from my keep shelves on there too.

    I have been going to the library the last few months in hopes to save up for the kindle and not wanting to have more books in 2 versions lol.

  13. I do keep all my favorite authors.
    I also will buy a hardbound copy if it is available even if I have the paperback.
    And Yes Yes, Yes, I do buy to support my fav authors and lesser known starting authors. I have learned that if now enough of a first printing sells BN sends them back. And wont keep the book on the shelf anymore. They will order a book if you ask them, but it bothers me because I am a browser.
    That is why I am grateful to have my book pimps around.
    My TBR pile isn't as big as people who have been reading much longer than me.
    I started reading PN Romances just 2 1/2 years ago. So I had and have a lot of catching up to do.

  14. The only time my book buying habits change are those times I go on a spree. LOL I would LOVE to keep all my favorite books but I so do not have the space, so, I swap the ones I feel I can part with. And that way, I GET MORE BOOKS! LOL No idea what else I may buy this month but HUZZAH! My copy of THE ACCIDENTAL HUMAN JUST ARRIVED!