While libraries organize by topic/genre and then alphabetically by author's last name, that might not be quite the best system for organizing an ebook library. Ebook readers' goal is to remember which books they were most excited about and to not lose them at the bottom of a very stacked library.
The point is, when walking past your everyday physical library, it's easy to see that it's out of whack and needs to be reorganized. An ebook library, on the other hand, is often an entirely different story.
"Out of sight, out of mind" may be the perfect phrase to use for most ebook libraries, because the clutter that’s there never really bothers you until you’re looking for the next book to read. Sometimes it can take nearly 30 minutes of your time scrolling through titles before you find the book you’re looking for. This is because most ebook libraries are stocked with free books you’ve collected as well as purchases and gifts; after a while, that many online page-turners can really remind a person of their grandmother's cluttered attic.
How even to begin cleaning it up?
Well, organizing an ebook library can actually be surprisingly simple, and even allow for the preference and creativity of each library's owner. No matter whether your portable library exists on nook, kindle, or other ebook platforms, there are simple ways to declutter and shelve your ebooks just the way you would your regular ones.
The best way to organize is the way that makes the most sense to you. Therefore, consider what your preference for organizing all the online material would be. Is it categorizing books as simple "read" and "not read"? Perhaps you want to organize into times that you read, such as these categories: books for vacation, books for commuting, books for lunch breaks, etc. Take a moment and consider if there are very simple methods that you’d remember for your own library's organization!
For extreme organization, create a hierarchal system. Set up your own little database, either online, in a document, on Microsoft excel, wherever you can think to put it. When you purchase a new ebook, organize it with the rest in a hierarchy: genre, author, title, and format. Now, you don’t necessarily have to use "format" as one of your databases parameters; not all of us have 10,000+ ebooks.
The clear benefit of your own database is that everything you want to know about your books, probably purchased through a variety of online stores and apps, will now be centralized. An amazing app that specifically organizes ebooks in this fashion is Calibre.
Organize your ebooks onto one device. If you started out ereading on Kindle, then switched to your iPad after a while, and then finally over to Nook, odds are your books are going to be strewn all over the place. Many apps, like the Kindle app, can actually be downloaded on almost any device, not just the branded device they were created for. Or, if that doesn't work, take the downloaded files and put them into Dropbox or Google Drive, which can then be shared around your devices.
Categorize into "Collections" or "Bookshelves." This option will depend mostly on the app or device that you are using to house your books.
Nook Tablet Library: This device allows you to separate your books and place them on "shelves" that you build. When you first get your Nook tablet, it will have one shelf in it called "favorites." Use this shelf as an example to build and name the others.
Amazon Kindle Ereader, Phone, Tablet, or Computer: Here you can organize your books into "collections" and give each collection a title. You may want to do this by genre (mystery, biography, romance, etc.), or you might want to organize alphabetically by author's last name. If you have two or multiple authors with the same last name, then you may want to organize differently.
Also: If you accidentally delete any of your libraries or collections, the books still remain on your device. This is great news for when kids are playing with the iPad and accidents happen.
Alphabetize in chunks. If your elibrary isn’t a massive one of 5,000+ books, then instead of designating a library or collection for each letter, you can use a simpler method for organizing an ebook library. Consider breaking the letters up and organizing your library like this: Books A-K, Books L-U, and so on.
If you decide to try organizing an ebook library by genre, always have a general nonfiction and a general fiction collection. Not all books fit into a genre, even though we try our hardest to make them belong in one or the other. For those books that don’t have a clear genre, don’t just tuck them away in the genre closest to their type; otherwise, the next time you try and find that book, odds are you’ll remember that it was similar to two or three different genres. Then you have multiple files to sift through, and there goes the point of all that organization.
Finally, have fun with your library! Books and reading are entirely about enjoying yourself and the world between your fingertips. Make your library an environment that invites you to read, and if that means organizing in a crazy way that only you would understand, well, then feel free to do it. After all, guests rarely ever see your elibrary, just your regular one.
What tips have you found for organizing your ebook libraries?