How to Manage Your eBook Collection

February 14, 2011

Managing a library once meant the construction of a proper bookshelf, and the allocation of enough space to house a collection that awed in terms of volume (and volumes) as it does in measure of the amount of knowledge in the books.

Does size matter? In book terms it does not anymore. Ebooks offer the opportunity to put nearly every piece of recorded human thought into an area that easily fits into a corner on desk. Calibre downloads provides users with an excellent way to not only acquire but also manage the books in their collection. Even though Calibre might provide the tools, it still requires a plan to properly manage a collect of books.

Perhaps the best novel ever written took place in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. The invasion of the Grand Armee of the Russian Empire was the backdrop of Leo Tolsoy’s masterpiece War and Peace. Tolstoy explored deep philosophies such as platonic love and the forces of history within the pages of one of the most powerful pieces of literature ever created.

The problem with Tolstoy’s Magnum Opus is not that the book pushes boundaries, but that it fails to neatly fit into any category. Is it:

1. History

2. Literature

3. Russian Contemporary Study

4. Love and Romance

One of the most memorable characters from the novel is Napoleon Bonaparte. Tolstoy wrote from the perspective of the one-time conqueror of Europe despite being less than a contemporary. Tolstoy was born long after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo. Where does a historical piece of fiction belong in a library?

That is the first question that must be answered before laying out an ebook library. Deciding on how to organize the library is the first decision to make. Even though there might be a classic way to organize a library, one of the best features of ebooks is that organization can depend on the preference of the user.

Calibre syncs up with any ereader, and it allows a massive amount of ebooks to be organized. The high level of customization separates ebook management from other forms of organization. Rather than rely on a program that is as outdated as the Dewey Decimal System, think of using tags to organize an electronic library. Rather than be based on category such an history or science, tags allow users to customize their libraries towards personal choices.

Using the example of a novel such as War and Peace, a user could tag it as anything from history to romance. Using a data management system to organize ebooks gives users the opportunity to place their collection into something that is customized for their interest.

The resources on the Internet provide people with more options than have ever existed to customize everything from their music collections to their literature collections. Even though critics of the Internet might worry that it prevents educated discourse between people, the ability to organize a library through online resources shows that the reach of literature expands further than ever. Does the opportunity to read for free online encourage people to expand their interests into other areas?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bob Koure December 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Do bear in mind that ebooks don’t have to be in any one category.
they are, instead, tagged, and can be in as many categories as you like. This is like physical books with a card catalog, only all access is through the card catalog, and the “what shelf to put a book on” question is gone.

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