With the great deals on Kindle books (including a huge amount of free stuff for your Kindle), it’s easy to find your ebook reader getting completely overrun with titles. Once you get a few hundred books, keeping it organized can become especially difficult. When you get into the thousands, it starts feeling impossible to find things. But if you know how to manage your Kindle, you can take back control quickly.
By deleting, filtering, sorting, and using Collections, you can make it much easier to find the book you’re looking for. Here’s how to get started.
Deleting Kindle Books
If you feel overwhelmed when you look at your Kindle, there’s a good chance that you need to delete some books. Being a book collector myself, I understand how hard this is. Cleaning out your bookshelves can be a painful experience, and your digital bookshelf is no exception. But remember that your digital books are always stored in your Kindle account, and you can always get them back. Or, if you use Calibre, which I highly recommend, they’ll be on your computer.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s delete some books. From the homescreen, tap My Library to see a list of your books. Now scroll through the list until you find the book you want to delete. Tap and hold on the title (or the cover image, if you’re in Grid View). In List View, you can also press the three-dot icon to the right of the book title.
From there, just hit Remove from Device. That’s all you have to do! The fact that it says “remove from device” instead of “delete” should be reassuring. You can still get that book back. (If you’ve emailed yourself a document, it may say “delete.” In that case, you’ll need to re-email it.)
Sorting Kindle Books
Once you’ve deleted a few books, it’s time to tame your library. The Kindle provides some sorting options that can make this a lot easier (though sorting is, admittedly, a bit finicky). I recommend using the List View to make this a bit easier. Tap on All Items at the top of your library list and select List View.
Now, tap the sorting menu to the right of All Items (in these screenshots, it says “Recent,” but you may also see “Title,” “Author,” or “Collection”). Choose one of these options to sort the books in your library. Recent will show you books in the order that you last opened them. Theoretically, this will show you the book that you were reading last at the top of the list. But if you tend to go back to flip through other books or look at highlights, the order will get a bit messed up.
Title and Author are pretty self-explanatory: they both alphabetize by the chosen criteria. Collection is a bit different. You can put your books in Collections (the Kindle equivalent of folders), which we’ll discuss in a moment. When you sort by Title, Author, or Recent, any book that’s in a Collection will still show up in the main library list. No matter how many Collections you have, those sorting methods will always show you every book on your Kindle.
Sorting by Collection, however, is different. Your Collections show up at the top of the list, and any books that haven’t been put into Collections show up below them. If you decide to use Collections to organize your books, this is definitely the best view.
In the view menu, where you can choose between the List and Grid View, there are a number of other options. By default, “All Items” is selected. You can also chose “Books,” “Periodicals,” “Docs,” and “Collections.” You’ll only need to use this filtering if you use your Kindle for many different types of documents.
If you want to see documents that you’ve sent to your Kindle, hit Docs. Kindle magazines, newspapers, and similar items are under Periodicals. And to only see your Collections, just tap Collections. That’s all there is to it.
Using Kindle Collections (Folders)
One of the best ways to keep your Kindle from getting overrun by books is to use Collections, the Kindle equivalent of folders. Keeping your books organized in Collections makes it a lot easier to find what you’re looking for. Let’s start by creating a new Collection.
Open the menu (the three-dot icon in the top-right corner under the clock) and select Create New Collection.
Type in the name of the Collection. Here you’ll see that I’ve chosen to create an “Unread” folder. Tap OK, and your Collection is ready to go.
After you create your Collection, you’ll have the opportunity to add as many books as you’d like. Just place a check next to the books you want and hit OK. (You can get back to this multi-selection tool by opening the Collection from your library, opening the three-dot menu, and selecting Add/Remove Items.)
To add individual books, tap and hold on the title or cover, and select Add to Collection. Tap the box to the right of the Collection you want to add the book to, and hit OK. You can add one book to as many different Collections as you’d like, so they can also function like tags, as well.
Now, create some more collections and start sorting your books into them! How you want to organize them is totally up to you. I’ve tried a few different methods of organization. My current one uses only three folders: Read, Unread, and Read Again. Unread speaks for itself. Read Again is for books that I’ve read, but would like to read again in the near-ish future. Read holds books that I’ve read and were good enough not to delete. Any books that I really didn’t like just get deleted after I’m finished.
I’ve used genre-based folders before, with Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Horror, Humor, and so on, but I found that took too much thought during the sorting process, so I decided to use my current structure instead. Of course, there are as many organizational schemes out there as there are readers, so use whatever appeals to you.
Searching Your Library
Even when your Kindle is highly organized, there are going to be times when you can’t browse directly to what you’re looking for. In these cases, use the search bar to find it. Just start typing the book’s title or author, and you’ll see an instant list of results.
Items with a book icon next to them are on your Kindle, and a search term with a shopping cart next to it will search the Kindle store for you. You can also select the “search everywhere” option to see results from your library, the Kindle store, Goodreads, and other places.
Another organizational tool that you can use is the Reading Lists feature. While this won’t help you find a book that you bought years ago, it’s a cool feature that will remind you of the books you want to read next. Because of the link between Amazon and Goodreads, you can see both your Goodreads “want to read” list and your Amazon wish list directly from your Kindle. There’s a good chance that your reading list is already out of control, but that’s another story.
Just hit the menu button (three dots in the top-right corner) and tap My Reading Lists. You’ll see both your Goodreads and Amazon lists, and you can tap See More to get the full list. This will bring you to the book’s store page, where you can buy and download it immediately.
Organizing your Kindle isn’t always easy, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of books on your device. With sorting, filtering, and Collections, you can turn an overwhelming list into a well-curated and easily searchable one.
How do you organize your Kindle? Do you delete, sort, categorize, and filter? Just search for what you need? Or do you browse around until you find what you’re looking for? Please share your strategies with other MakeUseOf readers in the comments below!
Image Credit: Nadezhda Adramian via Shutterstock.com