There's no such thing as a free book

7 October 2013

I make no secret of the fact that I love my Kindle Paperwhite. It makes books so portable that I’m reading more than ever. I love my cover too—I have the persimmon-colored cover pictured below.

One of the things that made me hesitate to buy a Kindle was that I was afraid I’d spend a lot of money on books. Since I was a heavy user of our library system, I was not accustomed to paying for fiction.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. Some Kindle books are available via my library’s system—and I don’t have to leave the house to check them out. But thanks to Bookbub, I’m downloading free books practically daily. And there’s the rub.

Bookbub (which I enthused about in a blog post last summer) sends me an email every day with a selection of free and discounted Kindle books available that day in the genres I selected. I limit myself to the free ones. And there’s usually at least one each day that appeals to me.

So what’s the problem? I have so many books on my Kindle I can’t separate the wheat from the chaff. When I finish the library book I’m reading now, how will I know which one to select?

I tried creating a spreadsheet that ranked the books I had so I could simply start reading the next one on the list. But it’s not realistic to keep that up on a daily basis, especially since I can’t rank books against one another if I can’t tell from the title what a book is about.

I’m pretty sure that if a client were having this problem (be it with electronic books or paper books or other items) and asked me for advice, I’d tell her to stop buying books. I’d talk with her about how there’s a cost to acquiring and keeping even free things.

Perhaps that’s what I need to do. Stop downloading free books. I’m sure there will be free books available after I’ve read the approximately 100 books on my Kindle that I haven’t yet read. At some point, I could revisit my spreadsheet and keep using it until I’ve read all the books I want.

The overabundance of books on my Kindle was starting to stress me out a little. Now that I’ve resolved to stop downloading new books until I’ve read the majority of books on the device, I can breathe easier.

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i had the same problems with pdfs and movies. this is what helped me.

for fiction: i deleted everything but the book i currently read. i can download the books anytime again anyway. and i found out that when i was searching for the next book to read, the books i already had never suited my mood.

for science/work: i deleted everything that didn’t have the potential to change me or the way i work. nothing is more useless than useless information. ofc there were a lot of books that i might need IF… but IF that problem arises anytime in the future, i can download that book again (or find an even better one).

Steffen 11/05/2013 02:41 PM

Steffen, thanks for your comment. I admire the discipline behind your approach! I think I’d have trouble with it, since I tend to download books that are free for one day only. But I’m certainly behind your philosophy of knowing that you can replace something you get rid of, probably with an even better replacement!

Janine Adams 11/05/2013 07:22 PM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

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