How I’m Solving The Kindle Conundrum

Anyone who follows me on Twitter may have noticed I while I go I tweeted the following:

“Been staring at my Kindle TBR for about an hour. Can’t decide what to read. I wonder if it is because it’s just a list of grey writing?!”

This was then picked up by Cat Dean at Canongate and discussed a little in one of their blog posts. It has been bothering me ever since. Once upon a time, I hated eReaders… with a passion. I wrote many blog posts detailing how they were horrible items and I’d never own one. The soon changed once I saw many benefits to owning a device, but recently I have found myself shunning it for various reasons. One of the predominant causes is as listed above. Whenever I come to choose a book to read, my Kindle gets forgotten and even if I pick it up and browse it, nothing jumps out.

To me, this issue arises because my base reasoning for choosing a book is a tactile sensation. I like to stand in front of my TreeBooks and view the spines, read the synopsis on the back or inside the dust jacket. I like to feel the heft of a novel and weigh it against others and the eye is naturally a major part of this selection process. Despite sound advice, I tend to choose books by the cover, but also by how the spines catch my eye or the style of the font that is used.

When clicking through the list of books on my Kindle I lose everything single one of those things. [Now, here is where I say that I own a basic model Kindle, no flashy screens or covers art for me] So, for me, my eyes can’t be attracted by a lovely font, nor can my hands interact with the delicate embossing on a book jacket. I am given a formal, bland and grey list. Gone is the impulse inspiration that a real book gives you. However, my Kindle still means something to me. So how can I solve this issue, without needing to use my tablet or buy a Kindle Fire.

While my solution doesn’t add any of the tactility of a real bookcase, I have decided to be as ruthless with my Kindle as with my book culls. I decided the only way to get around this is to limit what I see on my Kindle. I created a new collection and decided that I will only have ten books within that folder and no more. I trawled through the 81 unread titles on the unit and selected the ten books that appeal to me the most and popped them into the new collection. Then I deleted everything else.

I know, Kindles are great because they can hold so many books, but sometimes that is an issue. We have all been spoiled for choice before and I feel that is one of the issues I have. The beauty of this technology is that I can delete everything and just redownload them in the future. My plan is to work through the ten books in the collection and then choose ten more to replace them, eliminating many from choice and cutting down on the time spent looking. Granted, it is never going to be like standing in front of bulging shelves, but something had to be done other wise I will miss out on the books I genuinely want to read but often forget about.

It isn’t a foolproof idea. I may still forget to check it and may forget to replenish the selection, but we’ll wait and see. I’ll report back to see if my Kindle reading increases with this new plan, or not. For those interested, the ten books I chose for the collection were (in no particular order):

  1. Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
  2. Chaplin and Company by Mave Fellowes
  3. The Best of all Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
  4. The 10pm Question by Kate Di Goldi
  5. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  6. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  7. The Rest is Silence by Carla Guelfenbein
  8. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  10. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
* and yes, I purposely left out any images on this post for wry and witty reasons. Ithankyou!

4 thoughts on “How I’m Solving The Kindle Conundrum

  1. Lee (@_leedenton)

    Good article Dan, and I was a huge fan of the whole eReader idea a few years ago, but of late I’ve been *forcing* myself to pick it up and use it. Like you, I can be drawn to books on aesthetic values (font, cover, physical dimensions), which of course all disappear on the Kindle. The only real saving grace that I can think of (for me), is that getting to a decent actual bookstore (Waterstones) is a bit of a hassle for me, and the one in Stafford is hardly ‘extensive’ with its stock holdings…so, the ability to press a few buttons and have (pretty much) any book I could possibly want available from the comfort of my living room *is* quite useful.

    Going forward, I can see me swaying more towards actual books, unless we see some serious innovation from Amazon (other eReaders are available) on the Kindle device. I mean, come on, why why WHY does it not give the price of ebooks when browsing the menus on the Amazon Store on Kindle?!?!?! Only when I click into a book do I get to see the price…in this day and age when buying decisions can be influenced quite heavily by price, this should be seen as ‘basics’ by Amazon…

  2. debbierodgers

    The max. ten books in each directory is a great idea. I’ve downloaded lots of stuff to read but, like you, never remember to pick up my Kindle when I deciding what to read next. (And all those other reasons, too!) 😉

  3. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews

    I totally understand where you’re coming from regarding the older model Kindles. I own one, and before it was usurped by my purchase of an iPad, I struggled with the lack of cover art. Right or wrong, book covers greatly influence my book selection, even when selecting ebooks. That’s why it is so important for self published authors to spend a bit of time/money on creating quality cover art. If that looks cheap/sloppy then my assumption is the content has a high chance of being that way also. But I digress… I think your solution to your Kindle conundrum is an elegant one. Too much choice leads to procrastination and too little actual reading.

    PS: Thank you for listing you ten titles. The inclusion of ‘The Earth Hums in B Flat’ reminds me that was a title I had put on my wishlist some time ago, and how great it sounded (and still does). So easy to get caught up in the new releases…

  4. Heather

    I have a bazillion books on my Kindle Touch, and for a while, I would just forget when it was time to choose a new book to read. What I ended up doing (since I typically have more than one book going at a time) was to swear that I would always be reading a book on the Kindle as one of my choices. I made a spreadsheet of all the books on my Kindle so I have an easy list to look at, too.


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