Thoughts on book buying

For the past few years I’ve been trying to eat through my backlog of ebooks that I’ve purchased on sale but haven’t read yet. I’ve also been trying, and failing, to stop buying new ebooks, especially when I don’t plan to read them right away.

The good news is, even though the year isn’t over yet, I may have *finally* put the brakes on my book buying. And buy “put the brakes on” I basically mean I purchased half the number of books I normally purchase. For the past few years, I’ve purchased between 60 and 70 ebooks each year. But, this year, I only purchased about 35. That’s progress.

For the most part, I succeeded in only buying new releases that I really wanted to read immediately. But, there were definitely more than a few on sale ebooks that I couldn’t resist, the most recent of which was Jade City which sounds amazing and is on sale for $2.99 as of this posting.

Because more of my book purchases were pre-orders this year vs. on sale ebooks, my average cost per book increased from less than $4 per book, to about $4.5o per book. Not a huge increase, but noticeable. Still, overall I spent about $100 less on ebooks than I have in previous years. Again, a notable improvement.

Now comes the big question, why bother tracking my book buying habits, and why bother trying to spend less on books? Well…buying on sale ebooks (usually backlist) makes almost zero sense when my library book ebook selection has improved so much in the past few years.

If I want to avoid long hold lists, fine. But, if I just want to read the ebook sometime in the future, it’s way more sensible to let my library inventory that book for me, especially if it’s a backlist title that they already have. Plus, they now allow me to recommend purchases. They don’t always purchase what I want, but they’ve definitely listened to a lot of my recommendations this year.

The other part of why I decided to keep track my book buying was my desire to keep track of books I purchased at full price but never read. Which makes very little sense unless I truly love making myself feel terrible.

At this point, the portion of my purchases bought at full price but not read yet represents 13 books at a total of just over $100. That’s not a small amount of money. But, as of the New Year, I’m officially absolving myself of all guilt over these unread books.

Guilt is a terrible motivator. No. Scratch that, it’s actually a pretty reliable motivator for me, but it sucks all the joy out of reading. And, since reading is a thing I do for fun, a hobby, I’m done with guilt. I know I’ll read these eventually. But, next year I’m officially retiring my “guilt list” TBR. In fact, I’m seriously considering killing the entire concept of a TBR for my 2018 reading. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post…

Until then, happy (guilt free) reading!

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Recommendations needed for what to read from books on my ebook TBR

One of my reading goals for 2017 was to stop buying more books (especially ebooks on sale) and put a dent in the backlist of books already on my Kindle.

So far, I’m doing pretty well with the book buying ban. Of the 16 ebooks I’ve purchased this year, only 5 are unread. One is a new release that I’ll probably read in June. The other four I bought on sale, but will almost definitely read this year.

But, because I’ve been reading (and buying) a lot of new releases, I haven’t put much of a dent in my backlist of ebooks. I’ve been pulling from my backlist wherever possible to meet my 2017 Read Harder Challenge tasks. A few of the books below are ones I plan to read for to-be-completed tasks, but there are still almost 100 fiction books on my Kindle TBR.

So, I’m putting the question to you, dear readers. What do you see below that is jumping out at you? What’s on here that, knowing what you know about me from my blog (or IRL), you can’t believe I haven’t read yet and absolutely need to read next? What am I going to love?

Comment below (or respond on Twitter) and tell me your thoughts on what I should read next and/or what I should put onto my upcoming vacation TBR. Alternatively… tell me which ones I can skip without feeling bad. 😉

Year in Review: Reading stats on genre and format

I just finished my analysis of what I read this year (yay! more book-related data!), and I thought I’d share some fun facts about my reading habits this year…

Total “books” read: 53 <– projected total… I still have a couple I plan to finish before tomorrow night…

Total Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: 77% fiction (41 books) and 23% non-fiction (12 books)

Total YA vs. Adult: 19% YA (10 books) and 81% adult (43 books) <– bet you didn’t anticipate that, huh? I certainly didn’t.

Total books read by diverse authors (non-white and/or non-American): 12 (23%)

Total books from library: 14 (26%)

Total books by format:

  • Kindle: 66% (35 books)
  • Audiobook: 13% (7 books)
  • Paperback: 13% (7 books)
  • Hardcover: 8% (4 books)

Of the 41 fiction books I read, here’s how they broke down by genre:

  • Sci-fi and fantasy: 25% (13 books)
  • Romance: 17% (9 books)
  • Comic trade volumes: 13% (7 books)
  • Novellas and other short fiction: 13% (7 books)
  • Literary fiction: 8% (4 books)
  • Mystery: 2% (1 book, which I nearly could have almost classified as romance…)

Beside the fact that I read a lot more “adult” books than “YA” books, which was the first stat to jump out at me, it seemed like my percentage of short fiction and comics was higher than in years past. These data points seemed unusual, so I went back and checked last year’s stats. Turns out, last year I read 75 books total and 26% of those were YA (vs. 19% this year). So, this year was definitely a lighter YA year for me, but my percentage of short fiction and comics was about the same (24% vs. this year’s 26%).

Overall, I’m pleased with the diversity of what I’m reading. I have a pretty wide range of taste in books, and it’s nice to see that verified by the numbers.

Does anyone else track stats like this for what they’re reading? Is there anything else I should add? A different slice you’d like to know? Just let me know in the comments (or on Twitter).

Year in Review: Book buying stats for 2016

I keep track of the ebooks I purchase in a spreadsheet, because of course I do. My spreadsheet doesn’t account for ebooks I receive as gifts, only ones that I purchase for myself. However, just to make things slightly more confusing, the books I buy for myself are usually purchased with gift cards. Technically that makes them gifts. So, I really don’t have any idea why I even bother with this exercise except that at some point I realized that I buy a lot of ebooks and wanted to know how much money I was spending.

For the past three years, I’ve averaged about $235 spent on ebooks per year and purchased about 60 books on average. This puts my average cost per book at just under $4.

Actual stats:

BookBuyingStats_2014-2016

As you can see from the table above, my book buying has been steadily increasing over the past few years, but I am doing a decent job of keeping my average cost per book under $4. So, basically, my ebook buying habit roughly equates to just over one Starbucks cappuccino a week.

I feel pretty good about that. I mean, ebooks last a lot longer than a cappuccino, right?

The part about all this that makes me a little uncomfortable is another metric I keep track of… How many of these books that I’ve purchased have I read? And what’s the average cost of those books that remain unread?

The answer to that question is that I have 85 unread books of the 181 that I’ve purchased (~46% unread). That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I feel a bit better when I consider that the average cost of those unread books is only $2.90. But, assuming I read about 50 books per year, that’s still nearly 2 years worth of reading without me buying any more books at all.

This is why I’m going to put a temporary hold on purchasing any more sale ebooks, unless it’s something I really want to read and can’t get on ebook from my library. When I started buying ebooks, I don’t think you could even get books for Kindle from the library, or at least, if you could the options were very limited. These days, almost anything I’d want to read is available. The only catch is that I might have to wait a bit if it’s an extremely popular book, but that’s something I can plan around.

Next year (2017), my only reading goal is to put a dent in this backlog of ebooks and maybe also lower my average cost per unread book. There’s really nothing on that list that I don’t want to read. So, I should be able to find something on my tbr-Kindle shelf to fit whatever reading mood I’m in. If not, there’s always the library.

So, what I want to know is, am I the only one buying this many ebooks? Does anyone else keep stats like this? I’m curious to see where I fall in the book buying continuum.

May Photo Challenge #MayIGAuthors

Since it’s May, and I love May, and since the photo challenge I did in December was so much fun, I decided I’m going to give this May Instagram photo challenge a try.

MayIGAuthors

Like I did in December, I’m going to post my photos here, to the blog. I will probably also post them on Instagram. I don’t usually post anything to my Instagram account, but if you want to follow it, I’m @emmenozzi (extra “m” required because I was apparently a late adopter).

Today’s post is supposed to be “May TBR” but we already went over that in my previous post. But here it is again:

May2016TBR

Who else is planning on joining in this photo challenge? If you’re playing along on Instagram, let me know what your account name is there so I can follow you!

Book buying stats for 2014

I buy a lot of books for my Kindle. I mostly use gift card money and wait until the books I want go on sale. But it always seems like I’m buying more books than I can read and my TBR pile just keeps growing and growing.

I decided to run the numbers for 2014 to see exactly how many books I bought, how many I read, and how much I spent. Here’s what I found…

I bought 56 books for Kindle in 2014, and spent an average of $4.66 per book. Note: This doesn’t count books I bought as gifts… only books I bought for me and/or my husband on my account.

I read 27 of the 56 books I bought this year. Of the remaining 29 books: 4 were purchased for my husband to read (so they don’t really count), and 3 were purchased for future reading (a pre-order, a re-read, and a book for my book project).

That leaves only 22 unread books. And the average price of just those 22 unread books is only $3.58 — less than the overall average purchase price. Not bad.

Feeling relatively confident about my book buying habits, but still confused about why I have all these unread books on my Kindle, I decided to peek back to 2013. From there I dug up another 19 books I’d purchased but hadn’t read yet. Luckily, only 6 of those were purchased at full price.

I don’t mind leaving sale-purchased books unread, but it is pretty annoying to have full price books sitting around unread. So, I’m adjusting my reading list for 2015 to fix that problem. I’ve made a list of books I’ve purchased at full price for my Kindle, but haven’t read yet. My plan is that I am going to make an effort to read through most, if not all, of this list before I buy any more books. I will make exceptions to this rule for buying books for my 2015 reading project.

Here’s the resulting TBR list of combined 2013 and 2014 unread books:

  1. Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel
  2. On the Steel Breeze (Poseidon’s Children Book 2) by Alastair Reynolds
  3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  4. Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox Book 1) by Rachel Bach
  5. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  6. The Feminine Mystique (50th Anniversary Edition) by Betty Friedan, Gail Collins, Anna Quindlen
  7. Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy Book 3) by Laini Taylor
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  9. The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman
  10. Hild: A Novel by Nicola Griffith

Overall, running the numbers made me feel a bit better about my book buying habits. I’m okay with paying an average of $5 per book, and I’m relieved that I’ve read at least half of the books I’ve been buying. I may have a long TBR list, but they’re all still books I still really want to read.