10 Tips on Tackling Your TBR Pile

Whether your To Be Read Pile is 3 books big or 300 books big here are some ideas to get your pile under control.

1. Multiple Books at a Time:

If you’ve sufficient attention, I suggest you try to read multiple books at a time. You might not read them faster, but you’ll be making progress on them all and if one sucks you in so much the better. You’ll punch it out and already have a few other books started to return to without that listless period of trying to figure out what to read next.

2. Oldest to Newest:

If you organize your books in the order that you buy them, you’ll be able to keep track of your reading and spending habits with ease. If you bought 10 books every month but read only 5, you’d notice your TBR explode. Knowing this you could reduce your spending and buy only 5 books a month or you could eliminate new purchases until you caught up with your stack. This method also eliminates a lot of guilt of having bought something 6 months ago and it’s still sitting around somewhere gathering dust.

3. Alternate:

Read the oldest book by publish date or purchase date and then read the newest. Eventually you’ll reach the middle of the pile and eliminate that too!

4. Library:

Depending on your own preferences you could do one of two things. Keep your TBR strictly library oriented. My library has a couple awesome features on its website. You can create lists with ease and from this list select them to be ordered when you’re ready. You can also order your items and put the order on the hold until you’re ready to read it. This preserves your spot in the waiting list, which is very handy.

Or if you buy a lot of books, perhaps it’s time to slow down on the library loans. Maybe only check out books from the library after you’ve read a few books in your TBR pile. Or maybe only order books through the library you aren’t sure you want or are hard to find elsewhere. This could help ease the pressure of due dates and time crunches on finishing books in and out of your TBR pile. This way you have prioritized your TBR pile at home versus the separate one you’d get from the library.

5. Random Selection:

When you aren’t sure which book you want to read next, randomize it. Get someone else to select a book based on the cover or Eeny, meeny, miny, moe it. Or whatever works for you! This will keep your reading fresh and not make it seem monotonous as reading oldest to newest method might.

6. Stop Buying:

Set a goal. You’re not allowed to buy a book, even if the book is a fraction of a dollar, unless you read so many books. Now have the strength to keep that goal and you’ll be getting through your TBR pile faster than most!

7. Review Books First:

Bloggers, read all your review books first. No exceptions. It might be tough, but getting them read and caught up on those will definitely make your TBR load seem a lot lighter and you’ll be happier knowing you’ve successfully kept your promises to read and review within certain periods of time.

Or if that method of reading is too chore-like, switch it up. Read a review book, then a normal book or an ebook or a magazine or whatever. Then go back and read a review book. I use both the first method and this method depending on my mood in a particular month. I find it’s no trouble at all to do and it keeps reading fun.

8. Put a Freeze on Review Books:

As much as you want to read all the books offered to you, sometimes it’s too much commitment to keep up. Slow it down, accept less or none at all for a short period and your “required” TBR pile will shrink with gusto.

9. Do a TV Show Marathon:

It sounds counterintuitive, you want to decrease the books in your pile and watching a TV series all the way through one season or several will eat into your reading time, but consider this as a way to recharge your batteries. If you deny yourself time to read by doing something else, you’re going to find more ways to squeeze it in and work around the “famine” period.

10. Play the Sentence Cover Game:

Create stacks of books based on their titles. Try to make sentences out of the titles. When you have a sentence, create a new stack. When you’ve done this for as much of your TBR pile as you want pick a stack and read through it. See if you can find anything to link them besides the sentence you created! That could make for a fun post to share or as a topic of discussion over coffee with a friend.

Here are 5 other posts for further reading on TBR Pile management:

What tips do you have?

Photo Credits: nSeika, Squeaky Books

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  1. Thank you! Thank you! *kowtows*

    I need this.. I have a mountain of TBR.

    • You’re welcome! My TBR pile goes from manageable to unmanageable and back again all the time depending on if I’m following my own advice or not. lol 🙂

  2. did you really say “stop buying”?

  3. A few years old, but no less useful. Great ideas!

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