Mount TBR

I’ve decided to talk about something that most of book lovers have – the TBR pile. What is a TBR pile? TBR stands for to-be-read and it’s basically the pile of unread books that you have. Most book bloggers have mountains of TBR piles. I’ve heard of some who have as many as 3,000 books to as few as 20 books in their pile. I believe most of you are familiar with the saying, “So many books, so little time.” That describes the situation of book bloggers. US and veteran international book bloggers have bigger TBR piles because they get more review copies. I’ve only gotten two or three review copies ever since I started blogging but I don’t mind because I still have way too many books that I want to read. I keep my Goodreads shelf updated and right now, my number is at 179. Not that bad, right? I still want to whittle it down to a more decent number, somewhere below a hundred.

I don’t know why it’s so addicting to collect books. It’s not like I can read all of them at once. Before, I used to say that whenever I see a book that I want in a local bookstore, I feel compelled to get it because I’m afraid it won’t be available in the future. But now that the Book Depository and Better World Books deliver to the Philippines (with free shipping), that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. If a book isn’t locally available, I can always just order it online. However, there are times when a book blogger posts such a glowing review of a book that I can’t help but want to read it right away. Or at the very least, buy a copy. More so if a book creates a lot of buzz in the blogosphere and several of the book bloggers that I follow give it a positive review. Sigh, if only we had decent libraries here then there’s less compulsion for me to buy books.

I’m trying to be better about buying books though because I want to save money and books are my major expense. Whenever I’m tempted to buy a book now, I pause and ask myself if I’ll be able to read it right away because if not, then I can buy in later on. Also, there are books in my pile that have been there since 2007 and I still haven’t read them yet! There are some highly anticipated books that I need to buy the moment they become available because I’ll probably put down whatever book I’m reading to inhale these. I will also make an exception in buying used books because they’re cheaper than new ones. So far, I’ve only bought one book this year and I hope I can keep up with these stringent measures as opposed to my crazy book buying last year. In 2010, I bought around ten to fifteen books per month.

What about you, do you worry about your ever-increasing-TBR pile or you just go with the flow and try not to mind it too much? How many unread books do you have in your pile?

44 thoughts on “Mount TBR

  1. Since I started blogging my tbr pile grows taller and my wishlist even longer. Thankfully, most of the books that catch my attention are not available here. Sometimes I also have this kind of weird mood when I don’t want to go to places where there are lot of people — good thing, most of our bookstores are inside the shopping malls! Also a technique, don’t go straight ahead to the book shop, go first to your favorite clothes shop or whatever instead so once you arrive at the book shop, you won’t have that much budget for an impulse buy. 🙂

    Actually, Book Depository kind of help to lessen my splurges. Before I used to think that whenever I saw a copy of a book I want to read, I immediately buy it thinking that it may not be there(or everwhere) when I come back. Now that there’s Book Depository, I ask first if I want to read (or CAN read) it immediately after that. If the answer is no, I won’t buy it and I won’t have any regrets when I come back for it and discover that there’s no copies available anymore since there’s BD I can always rely on to for copies. But of course, books sold at a discounted price is another matter…. lol

    (Long rant is LONG! *le sigh*)

    • I didn’t even mention my wishlist in my post. I just checked and I have 151 books in that shelf. I think that if you actively follow other book blogs, your TBR pile is bound to grow. It’s just so tempting to get more books when you see other bloggers promoting them.

      Your strategy of going to a different store before dropping by the bookstore is funny! It’s not that applicable if you have a credit card though because then you can buy books even if you don’t have cash. 😛

      Hey, looks like we use the same method in deciding to buy a book! I think it’s awesome that we’re now included in the countries that the Book Depository ships to.

  2. Well done for buying just one book this year! Of course, I totally recognise your problem, and I think your solution, of only buying a book if you’re going to read it straight away is a good one.

    I’m seriously trying to reduce the TBR pile (I’m at 29 now, which isn’t even that much!) because I think it’s silly that I buy books if I have so many still to read.

    Good luck with reducing the pile (the picture is nice, though!).

    • I know, right? I was trying so hard to make my self-imposed book buying ban to last at least a month but I didn’t want to pressure myself.

      29 isn’t that bad! That’s one of the lower numbers that I’ve heard from book bloggers.

      Thanks! I took the picture using my Canon digicam and the flash my Holga camera (which I’ve already given away).

  3. congrats on only buying one book this year!

    my TBR is generally about ten books 🙂 i get anxious if it gets out of control for some reason? the reason mine is so small though ~ is because i have a great library! but since joining the blogosphere i have bought a lot more books ~ there are so many books out there i wouldn’t have heard of that i now buy to read ~ before i just rocked up to my library and casually got whatever looked okay from the shelves.

    i also am a sicker for the book depository and its free shipping. especially as our Aussie dollar is so strong at the moment, all the books on there are at least 50% off what you pay here…

    and, just saw an old post ~ song of the sparrow was awesome! read it this year and really got into it! even felt a little teary at the end. it’s a keeper!


    • Aww I’m jealous of your great library. I think part of the reason why I enjoy collecting books is I don’t have any of getting the books that I want to read. 😦 Me too, I’m definitely buying more books because of the blogosphere. Before, I used to just go with recommendations from Sounis.

      Books in your country are so expensive! I know that most Aussie book bloggers buy from the Book Depository because it’s a lot cheaper. International book bloggers ♥ the Book Depository. 🙂

      I just ordered a copy of Song of the Sparrow! I’m excited to read it because of all the positive feedback.

  4. I’m really conflicted on this one. I love acquiring and collecting books, but I know I won’t be able to read them soon. But what if I forget? Or it goes out of print? Or there isn’t a sale later? Or prices increase? Ahhhh it’s really hard to know what the best idea is… but I do really need to start saving more and buying less. And focusing on the 450 odd books on my own tbr.

    • Amy, do you have a Goodreads account? That’s how I keep track of the books that I have and the books that I want to get. My wishlist over there is updated. 🙂 I worry about books going out of print too but then we have Better World Books and we can get used or ex-library copies of out of print books from them. 🙂

      We really should start saving more! But I can understand how hard it is to resist buying books.

      • I added you on Goodreads! Don’t you have to pay for LibraryThing? People have been recommending BookMooch but I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble because the books that I want aren’t available whenever I search for them over there.

      • Yay thanks! I did pay for LibraryThing – I found it long before I found book blogging or goodreads or any of that though 🙂 And I still prefer it to GR. And yes… it would be harder for you on BookMooch true.

  5. 179? That is mount tbr!

    Like you I find there is constant influx of books just begging to be read. Thankfully, I do have a library close by but sometimes I don’t even get around to reading the ones I check out until the day or so before they are due back because I’m already back-logged. I’m trying to be good for 2011 as well though. My goal to finally read all those books that I own but have never read so far I’m doing pretty good and it looks like I only have 50 or so left on my shelf. But then I go order a bunch from PBS or put some on hold at the library and I’m back to where I started. It’s never ending. But fun. Definitely fun.

    • Hmm I get what you mean but even if you’re back-logged with your library books, you can always just borrow them again later on, right? 50 isn’t so bad! I’d be happy if the number in my TBR pile goes below a hundred.

      Do you get a lot of books from Paperback Swap? I saw in your recent IMM that you got some good ones. Some Filipino readers are active on Book Mooch but I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble because I don’t have a post office near me and most of the books that I want aren’t available there.

      And yes, definitely fun. 🙂 We wouldn’t be doing this otherwise.

      • Yeah, I use PBS a lot – it’s not great for new books, but I’ve found tons of older ones that I’ve always wanted to read that way. I’m not sure how they do international if at all tho.

        I’ve tried using book mooch and dislike it. I never really get anything I want and it just takes forever. So I don’t think I’d recommend it. But yes 😉 I spend lots of time at the post office… If only international shipping weren’t quite so bad, I’d be sending you good ones all the time, trust me!

      • PBS is only for US folks, I think. BookMooch is international. Thanks for the feedback about BookMooch! That just confirms my idea that it might not be worth the trouble to sign up. Aww thanks for the thought, Michelle. 🙂 Same here, I’d be sending you stuff if international shipping wasn’t so expensive.

  6. This is why I’m so grateful for an amazing library system. Our library gets most things in quickly so by the time I want to read it it will be available. I tend to only purchase books I want to reread and have forever. As a result my TBR PILE is usually only 9-12 books. My TBR LIST on the other hand (which is on a database) is monstrously large. The books that my library doesn’t get or are by aut0-buy authors are the ones I buy and I tend to read them right away. (One of those books you’ll be buying falls in this category for me.)

    • Good thing you have a great library! I think not all libraries get books as quickly as the readers want to read them? If I had access to a good library, I’d probably do the same thing – I would only buy copies of books that I loved and I wanted to reread. Which is probably why I don’t buy books unless I know they’re highly recommended. Also, when I don’t end up liking a book, I usually give it away.

      I have a feeling I can guess which book is that auto-buy for you. 😛 The Piper’s Son?

  7. Well. I had a New Years resolution a couple of years in a row to tame the TBR. It just kept growing. Now I have decided to let myself be buried in it. I admit it. There is no control anymore.

    • Now I have decided to let myself be buried in it. -> LOL at this! So you’ve decided to stop fighting it, huh? Do you know how many books are in tour TBR pile though? 🙂

    • Congrats! You’re right, 70 books isn’t that bad. As I keep on saying, anything less than a hundred is good. It’s actually comforting to have that many books because you know you can choose what to read next based on your mood but I just don’t want to neglect the other books in my pile. They deserve to be read. 🙂

  8. Mount TBR, I love it! I keep track on Goodreads and it’s climbed to over 200 books. Like Janicu, I’ll just let myself be buried. And um, build a bigger bookshelf.

    • Goodreads is great for keeping track of books, isn’t it? I used to have a book database in Excel but I don’t update it anymore now that I have Goodreads. Hey, what a coincidence, I’m having a bigger bookshelf made. Can’t wait for it to be finished so I can arrange my books properly.

      • Goodreads is wonderful for keeping track of Mount TBR. I look through my to-read list there when figuring out what to read more than my actual bookshelves at this point!

        What kind of shelf are you having made? I’m having one that takes up a whole wall. The couch has been my bookshelf lately because I’m out of room so I’m looking forward to it.

      • Same! I look on my Goodreads account when trying to decide what to read next.

        I’m having a bookshelf made to span the only available wall in my room. One wall has windows, one wall has closets and the last one has the headboard of the bed against it. My books are piled in any available surface in my room.

  9. I have 131 books in my Mt. TBR and 113 on my wish list. It’s not that bad…yet.

    I think it’s a compulsion of sorts. I know I tend to buy books when I’m sad or happy, another version of retail therapy. I figure it’s better to get books instead of buying food because at least I won’t get fat. Haha. Sometimes there’s just this NEED to get books, even if you know you have a lot of unread ones waiting for you.

    I haven’t bought a book in February yet, and so far there are only a few impulse buys this year. I think that’s the good thing I’ve learned recently, to stop buying just because. I’ve learned to get only the books I am sure I want to read based on reviews of people. Other books I would buy no matter what are the auto-buy authors already.

    But like Janice, I’ve learned to embrace the TBR. Don’t fight it, love it. 😛

    • Oh my, I think the last time I asked you about your TBR, you said you had around 50 so it must’ve really grown the past couple of months.

      It really is a compulsion! I call it becoming “book hungry” because you just NEED to buy a book for some reason, kind of like getting food and then when you’re done with the retail therapy, you’re “book full”.

      Yep, I’m not exactly fighting the TBR. I guess there just aren’t a lot of new releases that I want to buy right now. Most of the ones that I really want to get won’t come out anytime soon (well, some will come out this March).

  10. I don’t actually know the exact number of books on my TBR. But, I try not to worry about it too much and just enjoy having all those books around.

    The thing is, my reading mood varies so much, so I don’t want to let go of some of my books. Like the past year I’ve been into YA a lot, but who knows if/when I will have a contemporary fiction/chick lit/historical fiction/classics phase? Haha!:)

    • Celina, I hope you continue to update your Goodreads account so you can better keep track of your TBR pile. 🙂

      I know what you mean, I feel the same way sometimes. It’s so hard to choose what to read next when I don’t know what it is that I feel like reading. A big TBR pile comes in handy during those times.

  11. I have quite a TBR pile myself. Probably got enough books to read for a year!But I am making it a goal and truly making the effort to no buy any more books until I have gotten all or most of the books on my TBR shelf read. So far I’ve been really doing good, mostly because I’ve been busy with work. Right now I’m trying to get the pile on my night stand down. When that’s done, gonna pile more books on my nighstand and so forth. I’m not going to lie, its hard sometimes. I get an itch from time to time. I may even have to break my cycle because Jodi Picoult has a book coming out in early March and I’ve been looking forward to this book. Also Rick Riordan has some good books coming out too. It’s a battle but I’m determined to defeat it. Anyone want to join me? We can support each other 🙂

    • I think I also have enough books to read for the year even if I don’t buy any more books but there are some really good ones that will come out this year so I won’t be able to help myself. 🙂

      I think it’s great though that you can hold off on the book buying. Yay you! Maybe you can host a book buying ban on your blog and invite other bloggers to join you. I know some bloggers did that last year.

  12. I add to my TBR list compulsively but I’m not too worried about it because it whittles down whenever I go back home and won’t be able to buy anything new for months. 🙂 Yours looks epic! Good luck and happy reading!

  13. Wow, you have only bought 1 book this year! You are doing great with your book diet. I have only about 65 in my TBR stack. To help get it down me and some friends created a challenge where someone challenges you to read a certain book from your stack. We do it twice a month. It is really helping read some of those books that have been gathering dust 🙂

    • Love the term book diet! Hey, that’s a great challenge. Maybe I should participate in that from time to time. I only have one challenge for this year (the Aussie YA challenge) but I think wouldn’t mind doing a TBR challenge.

  14. I only worry about my TBR inasmuch as I am trying to read more books from it before I buy new ones. I’d like to get it down below 100 books and so far this year I haven’t bought any new ones, but I was given a bunch for my birthday. I do intend to go through them all soon and purge some that I’ve been holding on to for years and never been tempted enough to open. Someone else will get more from them than me.

    • That’s a great idea! I hope I can do the same with my TBR. I hope the day comes when there are less than a hundred books on that pile so I can buy new ones again. 🙂 I’m okay with not buying any books for now because I’m hoping that I’ll get new ones for my birthday on March or at least, I hope to get some bookstore gift certificates.

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