Thursday, January 23, 2020

Day 23: Organize Your Ebooks

On Day 11 I talked to you about organizing your physical bookshelves and using LibraryThing to keep track of your books. Increasingly, we are buying more ebooks and fewer physical books, allowing us to take a portion of our library wherever we go without the extra weight. And it's saving us space on our bookshelves.

The most popular system for ebooks has to be the Kindle suite of hardware and software, although it's not the only one. While I don't personally own an Amazon Kindle device, I do a lot of book shopping in the Amazon Kindle Store and I read my books using the Kindle app on my iPad.

But if you now own 500 ebooks or more (it could happen!), how can you keep them organized? Let's see what tools the Kindle app gives us.

First, you can switch between viewing all the Kindle books you own or just the ones you've got currently downloaded. Once you've read a Kindle book, you can archive it so that it's no longer taking up space on your device. You can always download it again if needed. The Kindle app also lets you filter your books by those you have finishing reading and those you haven't yet finished.

Another great option is to sort your books. The default is to see the most recent books at the top, which makes sense, as these are likely ones that you are currently reading or have just finished reading. You can also sort by Title or Author or Publication Date.

You can view your books as a "list", which gives you a cover page thumbnail, the title, and the author. It also gives you a set of dots to indicate how long the book is and how much of it you've already read. Or you can view your books as a "grid", meaning that you're seeing all your books as much larger book covers, as if you had them all propped up on a bookshelf.

But let's get more serious about organizing our ebooks. No, you don't have to act like a librarian and arrange your books by Dewey number or Library of Congress. Instead, you can create "Collections", and assign a book to a particular collection. You create a new collection by clicking the + sign at the top of the screen, giving it a name, and choosing Create. You can then see your list of all books and tap the ones to add to the collection, finishing by clicking DONE.

Once you have set up one or more collections, you can choose an existing collection, and then click the + sign to go back to your list of books to add. Even better, you can put the same book in more than one collection (perhaps you'll have one collection for Genealogy, another for DNA, and some books will be in both).

Now, when you're hoping to browse your entire ebook library to find something of interest, you can look at your list of collections and pick just one to narrow your focus to a particular topic.

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