Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Free Book Overload

I remember the first RWA conference I ever went to. I was bowled over by a lot of things--mostly all the great information and how much I learned about writing--but another was all the free books.

This was true at the first regional conference I went to in New Jersey in 2003 (especially since I won a big basket of books in a raffle) but even more so at my first National conference in Dallas in the summer of 2004.

At my first National RWA conference, I went to as many of the publisher sponsored signings as I could, glommed onto every free book I was offered and seriously needed another suitcase, or two, to get home. (It's not so easy to ship books back if you live in Canada...) Possible, just a slightly more of a hassle.

It took a few years of going to these conferences before I started to get pickier. I'd only take books home I thought I was likely to read, or thought one of my CPs might read, or books written by friends.

But even so, and even after giving away TONS of them, my house is still overloaded with books I haven't read, and let's face it, will probably never read. I ran out of shelf space even before the Disastrous Bedroom Bookshelf Collapse of '11 (disaster movie coming).

I have piles of books everywhere in my house. I could be on Hoarders. No joke. I already had a bit of a book shopaholic problem before I started getting free ones at conferences.

When Stephanie visited last fall, she looked at a row of books in my TV room and said something like, "For a girl who says she doesn't read much romance, you sure have a lot of them." And I looked at the row of books she was looking at, and she was right... About 15-20 romances. But guess how many of that row I'd read? Zero. Sad, but true. Some I kind of still mean to. Or at least mean to start them to see why that particular author is so popular or whatever... And some are by friends and I bought them at a literacy signing and don't feel right giving them away... But not one of them have I read. And they take up space. And attract dust. And add to the clutter in my house and mind.

I figured one thing that having an e-reader would fix was this book overload problem. And it is helping. A bit.

But, you know what I noticed recently? I've got kindle clutter.

After I first got my kindle, I'd click "buy" pretty much any time I found out about a free book written by someone on one of my writer loops or on facebook or twitter, etc.. I figured, not only might I help the author move up in the Amazon rankings, hey, it might be a good book and even if it's not, it's free! And it's not like I'd have to find room for it on my shelves. What the heck. *clicks buy*

But I've hit my saturation point. It's not like I'm running out of storage space (and that cloud business solves that, even if I were) but I'm running out of brain space to even organize or process all the stuff I've downloaded that I really have very little intention of ever reading. And I end up forgetting that I've bought books that I really wanted to read that are now buried below a bunch of free or super cheap books I'll probably never read more than 5-10 pages of and I've already lost control of the quasi organizational system I'd set up.

Just because something's free, doesn't mean it has no cost...

Does anyone else have this problem?

6 comments:

Karen Whiddon said...

Oh. M. Gee. Maureen - me too. I finally thinned out my paperbacks, though I still have around 300 unread, but now my Kindle. I have so many free books and they've buried the ones I've purchased. It's sad. Yet I still keep doing it. I supposed I could go through and do some serious housekeeping, but I'm afraid I'll miss a really great read!

Stephanie Doyle said...

See I haven't bought into the "free" book world yet. The few I tried I feel like it just wasnt' worth it... which is crazy because it was free.

My savior is the folder set up. I have Samples, Favorites, Books, and WIPS.

I figure once my Kindle fills up - I can remove all my deletes.

What's going to be interesting as my Kindle gets older and I start upgrading - being diligent about moving my favorites from Kindle to Kindle.

Eileen said...

Oh, yeah. I got all excited about the Friday free download they had for a while at B&N and the cheap books and the free books. I'm already pickier. And honestly, I don't want any new physical books coming into the house. If it's not an e-book or I can't get it at the library, I'm not likely to buy it.

Now if only I could start applying that thinking to tank tops and shoes. I'm not entirely sure what an e-tank top would look like, though.

Maureen McGowan said...

Steph, you are smarter than I am. (Cue "that's obvious") I did set up folders but then when I was looking for stuff I could never remember what was where... and now it's just a big old mess. Clearly I need to do some kindle spring cleaning. :)

Eileen, if I could apply this to any part of my life I'd be happy.

Sinead M said...

Those book piles are my favourite part of your house, it's like a second hand bookstore/library but with booze..

it's heaven, do you really have to get rid of them?

Stephanie Doyle said...

Ditto! I felt like where ever I was at any time I could reach my hand out and pick up a book... and being reading a story.

It was like a magic book house.

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