Quite a few of my commenters in the past month have talked about their to-be-read lists or their to-be-bought lists, and it got me thinking. I read a lot which means I own a LOT of books - I tend to buy them from the bookstore before I remember I probably could have borrowed them from the library.
Some books I deliberately buy twice - once in e-copy for my Sony Reader, and then if I really like it, I'll buy it as a paperback for those times when an e-Reader just won't do (like my long soaks in the tub). Sometimes it works the other way around. Sometimes I buy a second paperback copy because my first copy has been so well-read it is literally falling apart at the seams - several of Diana Gabaldon's novels - Outlander and Drums of Autumn for instance.
However, sometimes I own two copies of a paperback because, quite simply, I've forgotten I already own a copy when I'm at the bookstore and pick it up again. I own two of Lynsay Sand's The Rogue Hunter from her Argeneau series. I bought the first one and read it as soon as I got home. Then about ten days later I was in a book store with Guitar Hero, saw Lynsay's book on the end cap and thought "Oooh, I totally forgot she had another Argeneau book coming out" and picked it up again. It wasn't until I was home later that afternoon and halfway through the first chapter I began to get that "Gee, I've read this before" feeling and discovered that I was now the proud owner of two books. Only a few months before, I'd done the same with Kathryn Smith's latest vampire novel. It was just one (or two) in a long list of double buys.
It's not that their books were forgettable, it's just that I read so many books that I can't keep them straight. That photo above is a shot of just two of my book shelves - yes, they're stacked double depth. Those are two shelves of 5. They're not my keeper shelf either which is above my desk. There's another book cabinet in my dining room (I was running out of room to store my books and it was the only spare space I had) and a third in the upstairs hall. That's not including the three huge grocery bags of books that I have packed up to give away. Nor the ones I've already given away this year.
A few years back I read over 300 books in one year - I resorted to keeping an excel spreadsheet so I could keep track of them. In 2007 (or was it 2008?) I kept a list on my blog of what I was currently reading and what I'd read. (I wasn't as prolific that year, I think I read just over 100 books then.) But that doesn't help me when I'm standing in the romance section at the bookstore.
So how do you keep track of what you've read/already own and what you need to/want to buy? Do you keep a list tucked away in your purse? Do you have some software on a PDA that you pull out when you're perusing the shelves? Or do you find yourself buying multiple copies of a book on occasion?