Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
I recently took some time to go through my list of review copies and clean out the list a little bit and it made me curious how others handled this, so a topic for a discussion post was born. With cleaning out in this case I am talking about removing books from your list or books to read or review copy list or even actually removing them from your e-reader or giving away the actual book. And with review books I mean all those books you received for review, request copies etc, with the exception of unsolicited review copies as I figure that is a whole other topic and I don’t actually get any of those, so I can’t say much about it.
Why would you clean out your pile of review books
My main reason for why I want to clean out my review pile is the review pressure. I love reviewing books, but at the same time it can be really daunting to see how many unread review books I still have. So if I can knock a few books of that list sometimes that I don’t plan on reading anyway it’s nice. And else it feels like those books I don’t plan to read still count against me somehow, like with your netgalley percentage, you can’t get it higher unless you review those books. Another reason is that I like to clean out my goodreads for review shelf now and then so I can keep a better overview of which books I still have to read and not have to wade through books I don’t plan to read anyway. I also clean out my other Goodreads shelves now and then although not nearly as often as I probably should. And for netgalley books, there’s the added reason that submitting feedback for a book I don’t plan to read anymore also ups my percentage a bit, which is nice.
How do I keep track of my review books
I made a shelf on Goodreads on which I list all the books I got for review, so I can easily keep track of it, but at the same time seeing the number of review books I still have to read and review can be a bit intimidating as well. I also have a shelf for books that I got for review and already have reviewed to keep the overview. Also in case you were curious my review shelf counts 98 books and my got a review copy and reviewed shelf counts 390 books. That means I reviewed about 80% of the books I got for review, which is better than my netgalley percentage.
How I clean out my pile of review books
Once in a while, maybe a few times a year or so, I take the effort to go through my pile of review books. When I want to clean out my review pile a bit, what I usually do is go to my review shelf on Goodreads and scroll through the books, if I encounter a book I am pretty sure I won’t be reading anytime soon if ever I simply remove it from the shelf. I don’t go as far as to actually remove it from my pc or e-reading device as I figure if it ever catches my attention I can always read and review it, but I want that pressure off and thus remove it from my review shelf on Goodreads. If I ever change my mind about a book I can always still read it and add it back to the list, but in many cases I don’t think I will. If it’s a netgalley book I go ahead and submit feedback through their site, explaining that I lost interest for the book and don’t think I’ll be reading it. If I got the book directly form the author I usually do no such a thing as somehow it feels a bit awkward and rude to directly e-mail the author to let them know I won’t be reviewing their book anymore. I would like to know how you handle this? Do you e-mail the author or not? And if you do what do you say? I also figure most authors that sent me a review copy long ago probably don’t really expect me to review anymore. If I do it’s a peasant surprise for them and if I don’t then they probably aren’t surprised either.
Sometimes I find a book on my review pile that I am not sure about if I will read it. I also know that my current reading mood can influence what I think I’ll still read and what not, so usually if I doubt I leave the book on the pile. If the next time I go through that shelf I still feel like I won’t read it, I can always remove it then. Usually when I do a clean out I only remove between 1-5 books at most, but it still makes me feel better. Often the books I remove are older review books that have been on my list for a while, but I also have some older review copies I am still committed to reading eventually. I do still feel bad whenever I remove a book from my review pile as I was interested at reading it at some point and wish I had read it back then and I do feel bad for letting the author down and not reviewing it.
Reasons why I remove a book from my review pile
Usually when I remove a book from my review pile it’s for one of the following reasons:
- Lost interest in the book. This is probably the main reason for why I remove a book from my review pile, I simply lost interest in the book and don’t feel excited or curious about the book anymore. At this point I find it hard to fantom why I would ever read said book or imagine a mood in which I would read the book and thus I decide to remove it.
- Don’t think I would enjoy the book anymore. My reading tastes change and sometimes when I look back at a book later I just don’t think I will enjoy that book anymore. I also have this with some books I bought. Often these are books I bought or got many years ago and my tastes changed enough that I don’t think that’s a book for me anymore. In which case I remove it from the pile.
- Accidentally requested a book out of order. I prefer to read a series in order and if I got a review copy for a later book I usually make sure I already have read the previous book/ own the previous books or plan to read those as well. But I made a few mistakes when I was new to netgalley and even later a few times, where I didn’t double check things as well as I would have or figured I would just buy the previous books and so I ended up with some later books in a series. And now I don’t feel like reading them anymore or buying the other books so I can read the series in order. Often this is combined with the two previous points.
- Because I accepted/ requested too many books when I just started blogging. Yes I am totally guilty of doing this when I just started blogging. When I just became a blogger all these free books seemed totally awesome and I accepted more review request than I probably should have. I wasn’t as picky yet and didn’t realize too many review books could feel like a burden at times and just felt honored an author wanted me to read their books, I also felt a bit bad about saying no and thus I ended up with a bunch of books I accepted and now don’t really care about anymore. I also requested a bit too many books on netgalley, but luckily it’s not as bad as it could have and many of the older books on there are still books I think I will read at some point.
- Didn’t enjoy previous books in series. A few times this happened where I requested multiple books in a series and didn’t enjoy the previous ones and thus remove the future ones from my review pile. This happens very rarely as nowadays I do my best to only accept one book in a series and not request later books until I know I enjoy the series.
I keep my number of review copies pretty low, and I’m choosy about what I request/accept, so I’ve never had a need to go through and clean out the list. I mean, there are one or two that I’ve had for a while and at this point am just not sure I’ll ever get to… but since the list is still relatively short, I leave them there and will still try to get to them one day. And if I come across a book that I realize isn’t for me once I start reading, I just send that feedback right away that I won’t be finishing it or reviewing it. Except as you mentioned, if it’s directly from an author, then no, I feel bad leaving them hanging, but it’s prob for the best, especially since who knows? Might change my mind one day. I don’t know. I wonder how authors feel about this? But I have in the past contacted authors to let them know I wouldn’t be posting a review because the book just wasn’t for me.
But oh, sorry, this is like all over the place. You mentioned not deleting a book since it might catch your eye one day, this happened to me recently. I told the publisher I wouldn’t be reading the second book in a series (I gave the first three stars and just wasn’t interested in continuing), but then, a year after reading the first, I randomly was in the mood to read the second lol. So I did. I’m not gonna bother contacting the publisher, but I’m still gonna post my review since it was an ARC copy.
I keep track of my review copies with a spreadsheet. Yay spreadsheets! I use them for everything lol. But that way I can also keep track of dates and other things 🙂
I do a lot better nowadays with not accepting too many review copies, but I feel like every year there are some review books I don’t read and those pile up in the long run. And I definitely was that blogger that started out a bit over eager and accepted too many review copies and then didn’t read them. If I would look at the percentage of review books I got this year and haven’t read yet I think it would be much lower than previous years.
Yeah that’s what I was thinking, maybe one day I’ll change my mind and do pick up the book. So I don’t want to let them know I won’t review it. Then again it would be great to hear what authors think of this.
I feel that actually deleting the book is too final, so I do sent feedback to Netgalley when I don’t think I’ll review the book, but I do keep the book and if I ever change my mind I can always submit the actual review then. Who knows maybe in the right mind set i will read it. That’s itnerestign to hear this actually happened to you.
I am thinking of starting a spreadsheet for review copies as I like my spreadsheet for keeping track what I read. But the idea of having to add my current 100 review books to a spreadsheet is a bit daunting.
I’ve definitely gone through and gotten rid of physical review copies that I’m just no longer interested in reading. It hasn’t happened too much lately since I don’t accept/request as many. I tend to get a lot of e-books from Netgalley too and I usually always read those, or at least attempt too. Again, I try not to request too much.
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I think requesting/ accepting not too much is really key in not acquiring too many review copies. I am doing better nowadays, but I still have a big pile to get through.
I don’t take many books for review and when I do, I usually read them right away and write the review. After I read a kindle book, I delete it from my device. No need to keep it. I usually only buy books that I want to read so once I read them I either keep them or pass them off to my daughter if she wants to read it.
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I like getting books for review, but it’s important to keep an eye on things and don ‘t accept too much of them.
I limited my reviews by limiting myself on not requesting. I currently have 5 review books to read that I requested. I keep track by having a shelf on Goodreads for those I received. I keep my requests to those that I know I’ll read and have been looking forward too. I’ve heard the stories from other bloggers that over request and then your bogged down, so I made sure I wouldn’t every run into that issue. ^_^
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It is great when you can prevent your review pile from getting too large in the first place. I think it’s great you manage to request so few books. I am getting better at it, but it’s still a struggle at times.
I’m now really careful – I try to limit myself to no more than 4 Netgalley arcs per month which I make a point of reading, unless I plain dislike it, then I send a short feedback note explaining that it is a DNF from me. I’ve done it 3 times so far. I keep track of what is coming up and when by using the Microsoft sticky note on my desktop with a list of all my Netgalley arcs and the publication dates. When I’ve read and reviewed them, they get wiped off the list and I shift them from my TBR list into a READ folder on my Kindle. So far that’s worked well as I currently have a 88% feedback rating with Netgalley. But I’m aware you review a LOT more arcs than I do!
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I am trying to limit my Netgalley ARC’s to only 2-3 per month max as I am part of a bunch of street teams as well. Since this year I’ve been doing better and trying to actually review the book on release day, which helped a lot, although a few books slipped through the cracks.
Sounds like your system works well for you and that’s great you have a 88% on netgalley. I am currently hovering around the 70%.
To keep track of my review books, I normally just note them in my bullet journal and keep tabs on their archive and publishing dates. When I first starting getting ARC’s I would just grab whatever looked good to me. But then, over the years I learned to be better about what I request. So now, I only request books I will read, books I would buy on my own.
A Journal sounds like a handy way to keep track of everything. Same her,e when I just started blogging I accepted and requested to many books. nowadays I try to be more careful and only request books I really want to read.
Like you, I went a little crazy accepting review books in the beginning and got myself behind. I worked my way out of that hole for the most part with just one older review book left on my list (and by older, I mean over a year). I took a different approach about getting the review books off my lists/piles/NG. I read them (mood or not) and then either finished or set them aside (for later or for never, depending). I then did a DNF posting and also sent a note to NG to get it off the list. Like you, I keep the save for later ones even if I don’t plan to finish them at the moment, just in case.
As to where my review lists are and how I update them, I have a few different ways. First of all, I have two different spreadsheets. One spread sheet tracks every book I own while the other tracks review books (even if its a physical copy that I technically own). I also have a Google Docs review list. My Excel spread sheet lists in order of release date (I color code if its a solicited vs. an unsolicited copy- and only the unsolicited if I think I’ll actually read it) and My Google Docs review lists by the date rec’d and has the date I plan to try to read it. I update all these lists only by DNF or finishing the book. The only review shelf I keep on GR is those that are finished.
I do agree that it can get intimidating seeing the list, but I also find it motivating to read the books. I don’t think there is any one best way, but just whatever works for each person.
Great topic, Lola!
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I really had wish I had been more carefully accepting/ requesting review books when I just started blogging.
That’s impressive you only have one book older than a year on your to-read list. I don’t think I can ever get there, but I am doing a lot better reading books soon-ish after I receive them.
I find that if I force myself to read a book mood or not, that i can really ruin my reading mood, so I don’t like doing that too often. I do know and then, but try to avoid that.
I am considering starting a spreadsheet for review books to keep the overview, maybe I’ll just start doing one for new books I get and then slowly add the ones I already have. It would be handy to have all the info about a book in one place. Your system sounds like it works well.
And I agree while it can be intimidating seeing the list, it’s also motivating to read the books.
When I first started blogging I got so many books, that I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to read them all. I still a lot of them too. I pick one every so often and read it, and then send the feed back. But it was so overwhelming. I have everything all scheduled out this time and don’t want to take on too much, so we’ll see how it goes. 😉
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I still have a lot of books from when I just started blogging and while there are some I still plan to read there are also ones I don’t think I’ll get to, so it’s nice to remove them from my list then. I finally have gotten better at balancing things and not requesting too much, but it’s still a challenge.
Ahhh, this is a very hot topic, I see.
I am guilty of having books on my Kindle that have been there since I got it, four/five years ago, and I don’t even know what they are anymore. I suppose I should arrange a ‘spring cleaning’ session on there, as a lot of them come from NetGalley as well, and I don’t even know how to get rid of them now that I’ve lost interest. I read books based on my mood, so that is why a lot of them have been on my Kindle for so long.
This was a great topic, Lola, thank you so much for sharing your views!
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I also read books based on my mood, so if I am not in the mood for a book it can stay on my list for a very long time. I like doing a cleaning session of my review books now and then as it feels good to get it cleaned out a bit and get a better overview of which books I still plan to read.
Oh! I’m so glad you raised this topic Lola!! I’m a newish blogger, and I did what you did. I’m now getting myself out of this problem. It can be extremely stressful!!! But, I’ve learned some things from your blog that I found useful!! Thank you very much!! I downloaded an app called Google Keep that I use to keep everything organized. I don’t know, that’s just my way of organizing things. It’s been working really well for me. Plus using my kindle folders to organize things helps too. But it doesn’t help that I’m a book addict. I guess we all are, that’s how we get ourselves into this. Lol. Thanks again for this VERY HELPFUL post!!!
Yes that’s my problem too, I love reading and just want more books. But if you accept too many of them it just becomes stressful. I feel like I am only since this year gotten better at managing new review copies effectively and not accepting too many of them.
That google keep app sounds like a good way to keep things organized. I guess we all have our own methods of organizing our books.
And I am glad to hear you learned some useful things from my blog :).
This is a fantastic topic, and speaks to some of the reasons I actually stopped reviewing. (lol) When I first started, I got caught up in all the free books from not one, but three review sites. Then I had the fun books to read on top of that, and real life, of course. You give some great example of how it works for you, though. Meanwhile, I still have to whittle down my HUGE TBR pile. *heh* Happy Saturday!
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Oh interesting to hear the point of view from someone who stopped reviewing! It is very tough to find a good balance between review books and other books and not accept too many of them. I feel like I only recently found a bit of a balance. And the huge TBR sounds like a problem many of us bookworms have ;).
This is a great topic! I find that I have a hard time letting go of physical review copies, even if I doubt I’ll ever read them. There’s just so much more pressure around physical ARCs, and in some ways I have this mentality where I feel as though if I have them around I will get to them some day, and they’re much more guilt inducing if I don’t.
I only get e-copies for review, but even then I never really delete them. I can imagine that it’s even worse with physical ARC’s.