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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The TBR: Determining What Gets Added


It’s been a while since I blogged last about my TBR, but there were still a few things that I wanted to cover, so today I’m talking about how I decide what I add to my TBR list.

You wouldn’t know it by the number of books on there, but I’m actually really selective about what I put on my TBR list. The past few years have seen less and less being added – not because I don’t think something looks good, but because I have a feeling I’m never going to actually get through the list. And because I mostly limit myself to only allowing myself to buy books that I already have on my TBR list (unless it looks REALLY good), I have less impulse buys – meaning that the piles seem much more manageable at any given time.

But how do I decide what I actually add to my TBR list? It really depends on how I hear about the book – if it’s been recommended to me, if it’s through an email from an author/publisher/publicist/etc, if it’s through another site in the book community, if it’s by an author I’ve recently read another book from, if it’s a part of a series I’m reading… each of these dictates what I look at before deciding whether I am going to add something to my TBR list.

Recommended Books

There are very few people who I will automatically add a book to my TBR when they recommend it. (Really, it’s only Rachel, Karen and my mother that I do this for.) Most of the time, though, I’ll research the book on various book blogs to see if it sounds like something I will really enjoy.

Through Promotional Emails

It’s very rare that I will add these books to my TBR list. Often I get emails about books that are completely irrelevant to what I read… or they are addressed to “blogger” or “blog owner” (which means I automatically hit that “delete” button.

Through the Book Community

In this I include both books from other book bloggers (via their blog or Twitter), books I hear of through LibraryThing, and books I hear from publishers websites/blogs/Twitter feeds/etc.

Often if there is a lot of hype in the community, I will skip the book completely. But if there are a few people I trust who have been talking about it, or if the publisher sounds really excited about it, then I’ll look further into what it is. If it sounds like something I would have seeked out on my own, it gets added.

By Series or Trilogy

If I have absolutely loved the first book I’ve read in a series/trilogy, all of the others get added. This happened in the case of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books (and I have still only read 2 from that series at this point). Most of the time, however, I will only add the next book in the series, and once I have finished that one I will determine whether I want to continue reading the next one, and so on.

As far as series that I’ve loved that haven’t been completed yet, I will often put placeholders for my favourite series, for two reasons. First of all, it means that I don’t have to update the list as soon as the book has been released, second it allows me to add the date it will be released, and I have a very easy place to keep track of upcoming books I want.

By Author

When I’ve read a book by an author I enjoy, I will often go out in search of other books by the same author, but that doesn’t mean I will add them all to my TBR list… except in the case of authors like Georgette Heyer, whose books I have a little obsession with. Usually, I will look up the books on the author’s website, and if they sound good I will then look them up on LibraryThing to see how the ratings and reviews are for that book. I will only add the ones that sound the best to the TBR list.

What about you?

How do you determine whether you add a book to your TBR list?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:18 am May 23, 2014.
Category: Bookish Talk

  • Bibliomama

    Oh Courtney, if I tell you I add ALL THE BOOKS WILLY-NILLY, will you still be my friend? Yes, OBVIOUSLY I will never get through them all, but I can’t bear the thought that one day I might think “what was that book I read about, with the duck and the fedora?” and not be able to comb through my TBR list and find it.

    I’ve been waiting for Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett from my library FOREVER – I’m not convinced they even HAVE a copy any more. I can’t buy it right now because my ACTUAL TBR pile (like, the one right next to me), is threatening to avalanche on me at any moment, but I might at some point.

  • Lesley Donaldson

    My TBR list includes… EVERYTHING .. oh wait – is that over-reaching? Upcoming on my list are books by newer authors, Canadian authors who aren’t in the big 5 (or Robert Munsch), Canadian authors who are in the big 5, and must-finish-Game-of-Thrones-before-HBO-series-is-complete.