Books, Books, and More Books! ~ Sandra Owens

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Reading As I’m writing this, it’s twelve degrees outside and there are snow flurries. The number one thing I love to do on a day like this is to curl up in front of a crackling fire with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Pure heaven!

Recently, a discussion on a blog site got me to thinking about how I buy and read books versus how others do. I found the whole subject fascinating. One person said she had over a hundred books downloaded on her e-book waiting for her to read. Another said she was trying to decide which book in her TBR pile she would choose next. Another said she only reads print books, and still another said she buys one book at a time.

For me, I have a system that I rarely deviate from. With a few exceptions (like all the free books I came home with from RWA) I read everything on my Kindle. When I find a book I want to read, I put it on my Wish List. When it’s time to download more books, I do it from that list. I have to download the oldest five on the list, then I pick five others that I’m dying to read. So, that’s ten books downloaded at a time onto my Kindle. With few exceptions I read them in order from top to bottom. When I get to the tenth book, the process is repeated again. *grins* Sounds a little neurotic doesn’t it? It was the routine I started when I first got my Kindle, and it works for me.

Another thing that came up in the discussion was how many books we read at a time. One person said she was at various stages in reading four books. That made me blink! I read one book at a time. When I start a book, that’s the only book I want in my mind. I know some people do read more than one at a time, and if that works for them, that’s great. I just can’t do it.

Curious, I asked some of my fellow Embracing Romance authors how they bought and read books and got some interesting answers.


Collette Collette Cameron ~ I’m an eclectic reader, at least as far as the media I use. Right now I have three hard copy books on my nightstand that I’m either in the process of reading, or intend to read ASAP. I have a folder in Yahoo I keep ARC and review copies of books I’m planning on reading, and I usually only download the book when I’m ready to read and review it. I’m also a bit of an impulse buyer. If I see a great book for $.99 or free, I snatch it, though I limit those to one or two a month. Otherwise I’ll have a ton of books on my Kindle or Ipad and sometimes, I forget what I’ve downloaded. Imagine that! I grab new releases of friends that I’ve been waiting for too. I don’t leave eBooks on my Kindle. I read and delete with very few exceptions. I also don’t keep very many print books after I read them, unless their research books, autographed, or have some sentimental meaning.



Gina Conkle ~ For print, a book has to pass three decision markers for me. First, snag my interest with the back-of-the-book blurb. If the book passes, then my second requirement is a great first page, which becomes turning page after page in the bookstore. If the first page doesn’t grab me, the book goes back on the shelf. The third factor is my “wild card” (which may save the purchase). A) Is this an author I’ve loved before? If so, I will look at a random page in the book and see if I’m drawn into the story. B) A new author gets the random page. If I find long narratives, the book gets shelved. For ebooks, I’m more selective. Generally, I wait for the discount lists: BookSends, BookBub, and ReadCheaply. Then I look at the ratings. If it’s a mix of reviews, I’ll keep looking. Then I go to the best and worst reviews to see what’s being said. If I read about poor writing quality, that is generally a turn-off for me.


perf5.000x8.000.indd Jessica Jefferson ~ I download everything I see and then read randomly – except if I like the author, I go and buy as much of the back list as I can and do not move on until I’ve read them all. And if its a series – I’m pretty much unable to function again until I’ve read them all, even if I didn’t like the book. I can’t move on knowing I’ve only read a partial series. Horrible. So, I own the complete Eloisa James along with several other authors. I made the mistake of starting the Outlander series this fall. I’m on book six so I can’t really start another until I’m done with 8 – and these are pretty long books. I’ll allow myself about an hour of non-Outlander books a day, but that’s it. It’s like having homework. Kindle has only made it worse – I used to have to delay gratification until I get to the store. Now I can download the complete Tessa Dare in twenty seconds or less!


Barbara Barbara Monajem ~My attention span for reading is very short. It didn’t used to be, but when I had small children, I learned to read in short bursts, and although my kids are grown up now, I’ve never regained my attention span. I have two or three novels going at any one time—usually mysteries or romances. I’ll read a page or two of one, sometimes even a chapter, then get up and do something else. Later I’ll pick up another of the books and read a bit of that. A story has to be absolutely fabulous to hold my attention for longer, and even then it usually takes me three or four days to finish a book. Sometimes if a story is wonderfully written but emotionally trying, I stop partway through and pick it up again later when I’m feeling ready for it. I prefer to read on paper because I do a lot of flipping back and forth, especially with mysteries, but my Kindle is great for trying a new author or for travel.


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I guess we all have our quirks and routines for how we buy and read books, and I would love to hear yours. Do you have a TRB pile that’s out of control? Do you only read one book at a time, or more than one? Do you prefer print or e-book?


Trivia Question: This is an easy yes or no question. Do I read more than one book at a time? (Enter your answer in the form at the top of this post.)

12 Responses

  1. Bronwen Evans

    Hi Sandra
    I love this blog post, it shows how individual we are. I only read ebooks now, mainly because in NZ we don’t get a huge variety of books in-store, and for convenience and my eyesight. I’m long-sighted so print is not good. Plus with my iphone, ipad, kindle etc I can read anywhere. Today I read at the doctors surgery waiting to get some stitches out.

    I have over 1000 books on my kindle because when I see a book I think I might like to read, I grab it or I’ll forget about it. Plus, I have a huge keeper’s file on my kindle. Books I re-read over and over.

    • Sandra Owens

      Wow, Bronwen, 1,000 books? You have some reading to do. 🙂 The eye problem is one of the reasons I prefer to read on ebooks. So much easier to read. The only negative I’ve found is that I’m one of those who reads the end first, and for that, print books are easier.

  2. Violetta Rand (@ViolettaRand)

    Love the idea of you being surrounded by all those stories–needing to read them–not being able to choose too easily. 🙂 I LOVE books and read as much as I can. Thanks Sandra, lovely post.

    • Sandra Owens

      LOL, Violetta, like any avid reader, I want to read ALL the books!

    • Sandra Owens

      I still buy some print ones, Collette, but only ones I consider keepers. Reading on an ebook is so convenient, especially when going on vacation.

  3. Barbara Monajem

    LOL. I’m the exact opposite of Jessica. Not only do I read several books at once, but I also usually get tired of a series by about the fifth book! Then I just stop reading that series, usually forever.

    Like Collette, I sometimes forget about books I have downloaded — which means the occasional nice surprise when I search through what’s on my Kindle. 🙂

    • Sandra Owens

      It really is interesting, Barbara, how each of us reads and buys books. I just can’t read more than one book at a time, though. 🙂

  4. JoannaM

    I’m like you Sandra, I cannot read more than one book at a time. It’s silly but to me it’s like an affront to the book a story I’m reading. Books deserve my undivided attention and love and if I open a book before finishing another it’s like blasphemy for me LOL I know, I’m weird like that 😛
    On the other hand, I’m afraid to count how many books I have waiting for me on my Kindle and I think I have over 1000 books on my TBR so it will be a while before I run out books to read. Print or otherwise.

    • Sandra Owens

      Yah, Joanna, we’re one book at a time soul mates! I don’t have over 1,000 books in my TBR pile, so I’ll turn you over to Bronwen to discuss that. 🙂

  5. Glenda

    I used to only read one book at a time, but lately I’ve been reading both a print book and an ebook. With an ebook, I can have it with me all the time and read a bit when I have time – as long as my kindly sync is working. 🙂

    As for buying books…. I love that my kindle (and nook app — let’s be honest) can hold tons of books. I’ll buy a book when it’s on sale even though I know I don’t have time to read it. It’ll be there when I’ve got the time. 🙂

    • Sandra Owens

      That’s one of the things I love about an ebook, Glenda, is being able to carry around a bunch of books in one little device. Thanks for stopping by!