Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do You Suffer from TBR Syndrome?


Are you the unknowing victim of this sly malady? Do you go out for groceries for your family and suddenly look up and realize you’ve parked in front of the bookstore?

Is your idea of a dream date a few hours alone in a bookstore while you stare, dreamy eyed at the shiny new gift card in your hand?

Does your computer’s browser automatically open up to

We all know our weaknesses and just how to ignore that little voice of reason. So it was with me when I downloaded Kindle for Mac to my ITouch. Oh Amazon. How can you sleep at night? Your ‘One click’ shopping is like handing an addict a free syringe.

It started out completely innocent. Don’t all vices? I’d won a free kindle version of a book online, so, OF COURSE, I had to make the move to an e-reader! Free download, what harm can that be, right? Voila’. I have a Kindle reader ‘at no extra charge’.

Now I have 16 fiction books on my version of the Kindle. Almost all were free, a few were .99 and I think I’ve bought only one of them at the full Kindle price.
I almost never buy new books; I love to win them, or find them cheap and used on Amazon (I have a wonderful wish list there!) Mostly I depend on my library system. Seriously, buying books is a luxury item in comparison to gas and groceries.

Last month I decided to do the unthinkable--buy a new book within a month or so of its release. This is a big deal to me. But I’m getting tired of waiting and hoping I can find it through my library system in a year or two. (For instance, I finally found Rita Gerlach’s Surrender the Wind through my library. Problem is, I’m on a waiting list!)

So my real live To Be Read pile can not stand alone but must be stacked on a bookshelf. I’ve just gone over 18 books. Hey, I had a 40% off coupon at Borders and I was actually traveling near one. Didn’t I just HAVE to use it? (Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall) Again, many of them were free thanks to blog giveaways and conference freebies.

I know I am not the only compulsive book buyer here. I’m usually pretty good. I honestly can’t read more than a book or two maximum in a month. I only read at bedtime and if I’ve been up late writing that reading time lasts about ten minutes! So, I have 34 books TBR which means I should not borrow, buy or even consider any new ones for a year or two, right?


So, in the tradition of any addiction- counseling group, let’s compare vices.
What’s the current number in your TBR pile?

Have you ever snuck a newly purchased book into your house? Oooh, you’re bad!

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  1. Yep! I have! Especially when I go to Ollie's and they have a ton of cheap books. I have to limit myself from going there too often because it does add up.

    TBR pile: 85!

    Most of them I've gotten off of and Ollies.

    I've actually put my wishlist of paperbackswap on hold until I get some of my TBR's read. I've actually lowered my total TBR's by about 20 over the last few months.

    I love books!

  2. collettakay. You have set the bar high. 85? yikes! For some reason the name Ollies is making me think of the southwest. Is that a bookstore chain? Is there any reason why I would remember going to one in Tucson?

    Okay, folks, Colletta is in the lead. I don't know if her 85 makes me feel better about my 34 or not. Maybe I'm envious? ha~

  3. I don't even now how many books are in my TBR pile. I've had to shelve them. See I had the excuse that I was going to be leaving the country and it would be hard to find English language books. I know I had several boxes worth. I shelved most of them in April and have been slowly weeding through, and trying (partially successfully) not to buy new ones until I read through some of the ones I have on my shelves. The nice thing is that perusing my own shelves is kind of like going to the library. No telling what treasure I'll turn up.

  4. My TBR bookshelf (yes, a whole bookshelf!) is over 50 actual books. That doesn't count all the free download I've made to my Kindle app, so I'm probably pushing 80. The problem is that I can't stop getting new ones, so sometimes the old ones languish for years! Honestly, there are a few on that shelf I will probably never get to, but I can't seem to let them go on the off chance that I'll suddenly find a few absolutely empty weeks with nothing to do but read! LOL!

  5. I am closely pushing 100 books on my TBR list. I really must say that pain meds and reading books do not always go together lol.

  6. My TBR pile is largely electronic. I keep a spreadsheet of books that I hear about and want to read. I've had to start purging but even with the purge, the list is several hundred books long. I actually do refer to it when I'm thinking about going to a bookstore or buying online.

    Physically, I usually have a stack of 10-15 books that I'm working my way through. I've been known to get to the bottom.

    But now I also have an digital pile, courtesy of Kindle for PC and Adobe Digital Editions, which I use for NetGalley.

    I know in my heart it's just not possible to ever read all these books, but that's okay. My reading tastes change over time, one reason that books can purge off the list.

  7. Hello, my name is Amber Stokes and I am a Christian fiction addict. ;) Oh boy, this post hit home for me! Thanks to my blog I can now get free books for review, but does that stop me from buying new ones off and on...?

    I got a hardcover three-in-one copy of Tamera Alexander's first series for $6.99 (+ S&H) from, and since I love her work and I haven't read this series, how could I pass that up?


    OK, this is definitely the thing I need to work on now! I'm so thankful for giveaways and review books, and I need to realize that having 3 books marked as "currently-reading," 4 books sitting on my printer to be reviewed, 10 books under my bed that don't have to be reviewed, and several more coming in the mail...

    Ummm...maybe simply writing this comment will help me realize that I have a lot to be thankful for and I should learn more about being content!


  8. Lisa, I love your thinking. BE PREPARED! a good girl scout always is. You never know when the day will come that you can't get a book, so stock up!

    I bought a couple at ACFW last year that I still haven't gotten to. I can see by reading the other comments, that I've uncovered a serious problem.
    I'm sure we are all ENABLERS to each other...

  9. Hey Anne,
    yes, that Kindle app has made me even more OCD. I check the freebie and reduced kindle books compulsively. Niki Turner sent us a website that feeds that addiction!

    Who can pass up a free book that you know you're going to love (IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO READ IT)!

    always great to see your smiling face here! I hope all your edits are going well. Tell us the proposed "in-store" date for your debut book!

  10. Louise, I hope your list is mostly a list and not a pile in your home waiting to crash down on you someday!

    I will say that blogs help sell books. There are so many books out there and if I've 'met' the author and heard about her personal story AND her book, I'm much more likely to grab it.

  11. Patricia! Hey, it's great to see you here. We miss you! I see you around the blogosphere--we've probably bumped into each other vying for a free book somewhere. HA!

    I picture TBR piles on bedside tables. Dangerous but that's where mine usually is. Well, it was. It went to a book shelf in my bedroom when it became a safety issue!

    I've gone to the bookstore with a coupon and have not been able to find a book - basically because I have a hard time picking one -or, because I'm looking for a particular book and it's not on the shelf. Brick and mortar stores are so limited.

  12. Amber - you're not the only one who is 'currently' reading multiple books. I am always listening to one audio book in my truck, plus a non-fiction and a fiction going. Add in my critique partner's work and my own WIP and I wonder how I can keep them all straight. I do. I may forget the things that I need to remember each day but not a storyline!

    Thanks for dropping in and sharing your addiction. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery. Who wants to recover? HA!

  13. I think I have 30-40 real books on a shelf upstairs. But, I am a bargain book shopper. I get a lot of them for free, and a lot at a closeout store for $3-4 each. I am definitely like a junkie in a bookstore, though. I buy books the way some women buy purses or shoes. Trying to think the last books I paid full price for. Faithful at the ACFW conference, probably. Before that, maybe The Silent Governess and some medieval research books. But, when I can resist on my behalf, a lot of times I end up buying books for my daughter instead.

  14. LOL! I thought I was the only one who fantasized about dates at Barnes & Noble! In fact, the best gift my husband has given me (with the exception of this year, when he really outdid himself) was the year he bought me a stack of brand new books for Christmas. Best Christmas ever!
    My current TBR stack is all on my Kindle right now, and my Amazon wish list. Actual number? I have no idea.

  15. Oh Deb, you've got me pegged. How many books in my pile? I don't even know, but I'm thinking 7. And I totally pay full price for books sometimes...if I want to support a friend or, well, for less noble purposes too. We go to B&N on dates sometimes. The best!

    We have quite a fellowship, don't we?

    Thanks for the post, Deb!

  16. Hi Inky Sisters! We are sisters in many ways, eh?

    Dina, I admit I have little interest in clothes, shoes, purses. (I do like to buy earrings when I'm on vacation...) but my greatest temptation is books online.

    Niki, you do have to own up to your part in sharing the secret Kindle stash with me. Gotta love those freebies, though!

    Susie, I've thought about how buying books on sale affects my writer friends, but I'm hoping that most of the time they've gotten their advance and I'm not doing them a disservice by being so cheap!

    If I'm wrong, somebody needs to set me straight. I admit my ignorance!

    Nice to see you all come out and support each other. I don't see anyone looking for an intervention, though!

  17. I try to show some restraint. I LOVE getting books in the mail to review and am so grateful for the opportunity, so I really try to read what I choose... the stack can get pretty high!

    I'm also a disaster at a buffet table...


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