When the ladies from ChapterBreak.net and I started brainstorming the Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge, I knew in my heart that my most neglected shelf was everything that lived on my eReader. You see my physical to-read shelf is right across my bed. So every morning when I wake up I see my beloved books. Every night as I fall asleep, I see my beloved books. How I was I ever going to get a handle on the books that I don’t see on a daily basis? I realized the key in all of this was being able to physically see these books and how they impact my physical to-read shelf.
Step 1. Organize my eBooks
I have almost always used Calibre to keep my eBook files in check. It’s free and you can customize the database to fit your needs. I added 2 fields to my version—Book Type and Read?. I used book type to track my book source like ARCs. The read column has three options in the dropdown—Yes, No, Abandoned.
Step 2. Take screenshots
Somehow I stumbled upon two buttons in the lower right corner of Calibre. One will show the book covers as a grid. The other will show a single cover. I filtered my eBook collection by the books I have not read. Then opted to view my collection by cover. I used Snip (a free tool for Macs) to take screenshots of every single book cover.
But, Terri, I have Windows. The latest version of Windows have a snipping tool built right in.
Buy, why use snipping software? Can’t I just use the print screen button? Certainly, by all means, if that works best for you. I used a tool because I just wanted the cover of the book not my entire screen. I didn’t want to spend hours cropping every screenshot down to just the book cover.
Terri, you do know that Macs have a keyboard shortcut to take a shot of just a portion of the screen. Yes, I do know this, but I can never remember the key combination and Snip allowed me to just click an icon in my menu bar and tell Snip exactly where to save the photos.
Step 3. Send those images to print.
I’m a fan of our local photography business, PhotoPro, as they have always been so helpful to me as an amateur photographer. But you, honestly, could send all your screenshots to Shutterfly, or Walgreens or Walmart. I would just look for some place that offers a good deal on bulk prints. I had over a 100 images that needed to be printed. Or if you have a decent color printer, you could always print them at home.
Step 4. Put the books in an album.
This probably took the longest. I spent way to much time in Michael’s trying to find albums that would work. I wanted a single album, but all the larger albums only accommodated horizontal photos and all book covers are vertical. I didn’t want to have to rotate the album to page through my collection. So I just went with the $2 brag books. If you time it right, which I didn’t, you might be able to find a sale or coupons to use to get a good deal on your albums.
Some of the screenshots weren’t high quality so alphabetizing them was kind of a pain because I had to go between my Nook and the picture to figure out who the author was. Once I was done getting all the books in the albums, I used Photoshop to personalize the covers with my blog button and title. I just printed these out at home on normal paper and cut them down to size. If you are more artistic, which I am not, you could draw covers or scrapbook covers for the albums.
Optional step. Upload the images to a photo sharing site.
All my photos live on Flickr. By uploading the images to Flickr, I could easily share the album in the January post by using the album embed code. My hope is to manage a Read album on Flickr so when I finish a book, I move it from the to-read album to the read album so I can easily share that album in future posts.
So what’s the damage in time and money?
It probably took me two to three hours to get this all done. It cost me just over $40, but I know there are cheaper ways to get the images printed and better deals to be had on photo albums. I was at the point where I just wanted it done and if I waited any longer, it wasn’t going to happen.
Any rewards so far?
What’s been really fun is to see my 4 albums sitting on my shelf every day. When I finish a book, I pull the picture out, apply a mailing label and write in big red letters READ and the date. I feel such a sense of accomplishment and I think to myself, “Yes, I think I can make it a year without buying another book.
So how about you, how do you organize your electronic bookshelf? What motivates you to read books you don’t see that are not ARCs? Have you gone to this extreme?