Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

The TBR Long Tail

My “to be read” (TBR) list is long. Too long. Over a thousand books long.

Part of the problem is Goodreads. I will hear about some book say on the radio, open up the app, find it and mark it TBR. Often enough, I will find that I already have. There are 207 TBR physical books I own and 156 TBR Kindle books.

That puts me almost in the realm of where the author of Coming to Terms With My Unread Pile is. Enough are virtual I do not have the same problem. And I never have a fear of not having something to read.

  1. I have several I am reading on at any given time, so finishing one means reading more on another(s) until I pick something else.
  2. Given every year I have the goal of reading some specific, I separate out those books so I can make sure I pick up those when I need to start something new.
  3. I buy books for cheap (used, sales), so I am not spending that much per book but still obviously a lot on them.


This section resonated:

For a while I made great progress [in reading through the books], cutting the pile down by a third. But eventually I once again started acquiring books faster than I could read them. Several factors contributed to this. Obviously I buy a lot of books but I get surprisingly number for free either as gifts or through library conferences and book festivals. However they were acquired, my unread pile has become a series of three piles.

Goodreads does point out a glaring issue. Some of them all have the date “January 10, 2008” which I am going to guess is when I imported my collection from LibraryThing into Goodreads. In eight years I have not read these seven books. The TBR counts by year:

  • 2015: 350
  • 2014: 195
  • 2013: 175
  • 2012: 84
  • 2011: 104
  • 2010: 2
  • 2009: 6
  • 2008: 10

I had hoped the distribution of books by year would start high and quickly fall off into a relatively low numbers by the end. Essentially a Long Tail. Too bad real data is messy. :'(

There is now a temptation to go read the 2008-2010 books just to get them read. Eighteen is not bad at all. But, the sad reality is there is no way I’m going to read everything on the TBR list. The 363 ones I own is doable in 5 years if I buy nothing at all in that time. (Unlikely.)






2 responses to “The TBR Long Tail”

  1. […] post The TBR Long Tail appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric […]

  2. SherryKaraoke Avatar

    Ezra, you’re telling my story.

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