Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A Step By Step Guide

Have you ever taken the time to clean out and organize your eReader? Or all those PDF eBook files you have stored on your computer? I’m going to make an argument that maybe it’s time to start permanently deleting some of those files.

Last month I shared my thoughts on balancing traditional books with eReaders and one of my biggest issues with eBooks is that once you buy and read them, you really can’t re-sell or share it with others legally.

I love to pass along a great book to a friend who I feel would also love reading it as well, and I have earned a small amount of money by selling some used books on Amazon or to Half Price Books. I know on Amazon Prime some eBooks you are able to share with other Amazon users for a 30 day window, but that doesn’t include all books.

I also understand, and even agree with, the thought that eBook authors want people to buy their books instead of sharing because file sharing in much different then loaning out one hardback book to one person. There are also copyright laws the prohibit certain eBook file sharing.

So after you buy or download a free eBook (either through Amazon Prime, another book store, or a PDF) you read it and then what?

You are basically stuck with it, and you can imagine those eFiles can start to build up fast, especially if you are like me (ah-hem) who likes to download a lot of free eBooks for no other reason then that they are free. I  may or may not have a small problem in this area 😉

Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A step by step guide to completely organize, purge and categorize all your eBooks both on your computer and your Kindle or other eReader.

I have had the original Kindle Fire for about two and a half years now and I have downloaded hundreds of books, most of them being free. One of the ways I have been simplifying my electronic files is by organizing them, and even in most cases, deleting them.

This January when I was making my reading list, I spent an entire afternoon really examining all the eBooks I had downloaded and stored on either my Kindle or computer. And you know what? I gave myself permission to delete a lot of books I had…

  • no intention of ever reading,
  • I had attempted to read and turned out to be a dud or
  • I had completely read and knew it was time to move along

There were also several books I knew I wanted to keep because I paid for them and really enjoyed, just like I keep my favorite hardback books. But in the interest of simplicity and organization, I’m going to show you the process I went through to once and for all get my eBooks in order.

Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A step by step guide to completely organize, purge and categorize all your eBooks both on your computer and your Kindle or other eReader.

On the Computer

In my personal opinion I think the easiest way to organize all of those PDF files is to great a master EBOOKS folder. Inside of that, you can break them down into specific categories like homemaking, marriage, parenting, learning at home, etc.

I went through each file and deleted the books I had already read and knew I probably wouldn’t be coming back to. I also even deleted some I knew I would never read.

Sometimes when you buy one of those giant eBook bundles you also get a ton of books that either aren’t applicable or of interest to you. Instead of hanging on to them, you can either delete them or gift them. (If you are gifting them, you have to delete the file on your computer.) For example I deleted all of the books on pregnancies and childbirth, just to name a few. I was pretty confident with that decision because if I ever do get pregnant again I’m pretty educated on the whole process and don’t really need to read a whole lot of books on the topic.

Once I went through and deleted those files, I went back and created a new folder titled TO READ. Here is where I now house all of the eBooks that I have not read yet but do want to read soon. Once I read them I will either make the decision to either delete them or move to the appropriate folder to keep.

I should also note that I don’t have many of these types of eBooks that I am keeping, maybe just a handful.

On My Kindle

So here is where I spent the majority of my time because as I mentioned before, I had A LOT of eBooks downloaded on my Kindle, most of which I downloaded for free.

I also want to note that I am describing the process of how to organize and delete books on my version, the original Amazon Kindle Fire. I’m going to assume most of the Kindle’s have the same features in terms of storing books on your device or on the cloud, but I could be wrong. Either way I think the same steps could easily be applied to whatever device you are using.

Step One

Open up your cloud file on your device and go through each book and decide it it’s a keeper or one to delete. As far as I know, or at least in my experience so I maybe wrong here, you can’t permanently delete a file from your device. You can remove it but it will still be stored on your cloud.

Step Two

To remove it from your cloud, which is what I recommend if it’s something you are no longer interested in keeping, you have to log into your Amazon account and delete if there.

  • To do that log on to your Amazon account and click on the Hello (your name), Your Account button on the top tool bar.
  • Scroll down and click on the Manage Your Kindle button.

Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A step by step guide to completely organize, purge and categorize all your eBooks both on your computer and your Kindle or other eReader.

  • Your Kindle Library will come up and after each book title there is an Action Box button. Click on that.
  • You can either delete it, send it to your device, or loan it (if it’s a loan-able book). A word of caution, once it’s deleted you will have to repay to have it uploaded again so make sure you are really ready to delete it.

Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A step by step guide to completely organize, purge and categorize all your eBooks both on your computer and your Kindle or other eReader.

Step Three

After all the unwanted books are deleted, I like to add the books that I am planning to read to my Favorites file (again this is an original Kindle Fire so I’m not sure if all devices have a favorite file or not.)

The books that I want to keep are left on the cloud but not on my device, you can easily upload them to your device at anytime if they are stored on the cloud.

So the only books that I currently have on my Kindle right now are books that I am currently reading, planning on reading soon (as in the next few months) and some books that I have downloaded for my kids.

I’m also being a lot more cautious, and even more discerning, about what I download from here on out. Just because it’s free doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be downloaded! 🙂

I realize this might be overkill for some but I have found when I went through and organized my files I actually found several books that I forgot I had and was planning on buying soon. Just another example of how being organized can actually save your money!

Organizing Your Digital eBooks: A step by step guide to completely organize, purge and categorize all your eBooks both on your computer and your Kindle or other eReader.

So I’m curious to know, because I’m sure there are several different ways, how do you organize your eBooks?

 

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9 Comments

  1. This is awesome. I am scared to even look at my entire Kindle library. Eep!
    I used to receive emails daily about free book alerts, I had to unsubscribe because I was just downloading everything :/

    1. I had to unsubscribe to a similar freebie deals email too! 🙂 Free eBooks are kind of my weakness!

  2. Gosh. Thanks for sharing! I need to work on actually utilizing all the e-books I have on my computer… thanks for some great tips or organizing them! Maybe that’ll help me actually READ them too!

    1. When I organized mine I realized how many I had yet to read too! I still have some that I need to read but I’m no longer overwhelmed by all the books on my computer or on my Kindle 🙂

  3. This is really helpful. My Kindle library is completely out of control! I found you at the Cozy Spot Link-Up and I linked up our favorite Easter books and resources here. I also host an all-things-book link-up every Thursday on Mommynificent.com. We’d love to have you join us for Booknificent Thursday any time!
    Tina

    1. Thanks Tina, I’ll be sure to check out your link up too. I love finding fellow book lovers online! 🙂

  4. I have started organizing my ebooks but havent quite figured out how to organize the videos, audios, printables and curriculum I have downloaded. I really need to give myself permission to delete some stuff. Sounds like sacrilege to delete books! I have started doing the same thing with my kindle account and even have most of them organized into categories (much easier to do on a computer instead of on my tablet). I have about 20 on my device right now, including books for my kids. No extra tips on how to do it except dont try to do it all at once. Oh, I did get and idea from Amy at Raising Arrows: have a folder on your desktop that all new downloaded (non kindle) ebooks get saved into and then, when you have time, you can click and drag into the appropriate folder. Really handy when downloading bundles with large amounts of books.

    1. Tessa that is a good idea about having a separate download folder to put those documents in until you have more time to sort through them. I’ll have to try that! And yes, I used to feel that it was against everything I believed in to delete books too but can’t tell you the freedom I have felt as I have been clearing out the digit clutter from my life. I always have to remind myself that I don’t keep books that I don’t love on my bookshelves, so why would I keep them on my computer? And while I’m not homeschooling, I have downloaded my fair share of preschool resources that I desperately need to sort through and make some honest decisions if I will ever really use them! 🙂

  5. I use a plug-in called Send to Kindle to transfer all my PDF eBooks to my Kindle Fire. It has a checkbox that allows a backup of the eBook to be stored in your Kindle cloud. I like that feature and don’t know if that happens if you email an eBook to your Kindle.

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