Lucas Brenner » Articles » How I Organize My E-books

Why Is Organization Important?

In my opinion, it's important to categorize your books and e-books so you can access them quickly. Whenever I want to reread a book, tell someone about a passage, or look up a quote, my organization helps me. It also makes it easier to distinguish between the different book types.

I use an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and am happy with the device. I could also use the Kindle's search function to find a book, but the e-ink display makes typing tedious, and it doesn't display book covers in the search results.

Organize E-books into Collections

The Library is where all e-books are stored. I use this view frequently to search for books, so I have created several collections (folders) to categorize my e-books.

My three main collections are non-fiction, articles, and fiction. Since I often send articles to my Kindle via email, they have their own collection.[1]

For non-fiction, there are other collections where I categorize them by topic. The collections are:

I read mostly non-fiction, so I don't have a subdivision by topic for novels. If I were to read more fiction books, I would choose the following categories:

My Book Wish List

I think it's important to plan what to read next. That's why I use an Amazon list for my book requests. Not only does it make my book recommendations better, but I always know what book I'm going to buy next.

I use two lists: My default “Maybe” list is where all the items I add to my wish list end up.

A few days or weeks later, I go through this list and decide which books I really want to read. I then add those e-books to my “book list” and sort them there by priority. I buy the top book first, then the second, and so on.

What about Printed Books?

Before I bought a Kindle, I read paper books. There was even a time when I absolutely did not want to read on an e-reader!

I still own those books. Sometimes I still buy paper books, for one of three reasons:

  1. The new book is part of a series from which I own all the previous books as paper editions as well.
  2. The book contains a lot of (colorful) photos. On the Kindle, pictures are only displayed in black and white and the resolution is not optimal, so I prefer printed books in this case.
  3. The new book is a classic that I will quote and reread very often. For example, I own “Meditations” from Marcus Aurelius as a paper edition because I often want to browse and read it.

Otherwise, I buy e-books exclusively so that I can benefit from my system. For me, the advantages of the Kindle outweigh the advantages of printed books, so I'm happy to forgo them.

I also take notes for all books and mark quotes I want to keep. If you want to learn why a knowledge library is important, feel free to read my article “Creating a Knowledge Library.”


[1] There is also the “Miscellaneous” collection, where I store the “My Clipboard” e-book and user guides. The “Dictionaries” collection is created by Amazon and cannot be removed.