Thoughts #10: Book Overload


Hello, my name is Rinn and I think I have a problem.

I may or may not have requested too many review copies of books when I first started out and – okay that’s no excuse. I STILL request too many copies. Recently, I suddenly got approved for a load of books that I requested months ago and completely forgot about. And then I spotted some great new releases from Random House, who I’ve never had a rejection from. But now my policy is that I only request it if it looks AMAZING – BUT WAIT THEY ALL LOOK AMAZING AHHHHHH


I can’t be the only one, right? I know I’m not. But it’s getting rather silly now. That’s my Netgalley dashboard above, and my ratio currently sits at 21.1%. Um. Oops. This year’s goal was to get it above 50%, but I just keep making it harder for myself. Here are my current dilemmas:

  • I’m going off to university in September, and I’ll be going abroad so will only have my Kindle. Therefore it’ll be nice to save some of these to read (which also saves me some money as I’ll be on a tight budget). That means that right now I want to concentrate on reading the physical books I have that I’ve been meaning to read for a while.
  • But I’ll be doing a Masters degree. The blog won’t be my priority, and I’ll probably be posting more discussion posts than reviews. So maybe I won’t get around to reading a lot of these?! I know the large majority of my reading will be course based, not fiction.
  • I should have 98 books left to read and review, but I only have 58 on my ‘to review’ list – which is also what’s on my Kindle. I think quite a few got lost in the Great Kindle Changeover of ’13, even though I backed things up and copied them over… so my ratio will never hit 80% as it is.

I know that this is all my fault and the only thing I can do right now is keep reading and stop requesting! I could perhaps aim to read at least four review copies a month. I’m also unsure whether it’s worth starting from the earliest requests and working towards the present, or just starting back a few months. Perhaps the publishers won’t be interested if it’s been that long? Of course I plan to get around to them all eventually (HAHA SHE SAYS) but I feel like it would be more worth my while to write reviews for more recent releases at the moment. And believe it or not: my terrible ratio has only resulted in one book rejection so far. THEY NEED TO STOP BEING SO NICE.

Help! Do you have any advice for me? I’d especially like to know what people think about submitting reviews for my earliest requests.

30 thoughts on “Thoughts #10: Book Overload”

  1. That’s a lot of approval! When NetGalley started showing my approval ratio, mine was at 35%! Four or five months later, and I’ve gotten it to 98%(so, I have one book I need to read & and review, basically, and it’s been a 100% until then). So while I’m definitely not the best at NetGalley, I think I did okay at taming mine. One thing I did was not be afraid to DNF. I wouldn’t DNF just for the sake of it or anything, but if I wasn’t enjoying a book by 25%, into the DNF pile it went(and I submitted feedback by linking to my DNF round-up feature).

    I also lost some files that were no longer available, so I submitted that in the “note to the publisher” section instead of stressing over it. Some of them I hadn’t downloaded before the archive date and never noticed. You don’t have to submit an actual review to submit something in the box that says “Comments to the publisher”(or something like that). So for those I just left a note saying I appreciated the opportunity but did not have a chance to download it before it was archived. And none of that has hurt the amount of approvals I get in the slightest(which is what I was worried about), so it’s definitely worth a shot for the books you lost.

    1. AAAAH Stormy that is insane! 98%! If we DNF a book, does it count against us? I know you can decline a book – but does it still appear on the ratio, or does it disappear?

      That’s true, I think I’ll have to do all that with the missing ones. It should clean up my ratio and make me feel better… good idea =) I’ll go and do that now, and report back with my new ratio ;D Thanks!

      1. I don’t think it should! When I DNF, I just write why I DNF-ed in the review space and say it in the notes to the publisher. So it still counts as feedback, it’s just not linked anywhere.

      2. Okay, I’ve gone through and found some of the books that I don’t have (why is the system so weird? I had to manually add them to my shelf before I could do anything!) – but that was apparently only 10 books, and now the ratio is 29.7%. So I think there’s still 20-odd books somewhere… I’m a bit confused now, especially as I can’t remember any others =/

        But THANK YOU for that tip! It fixed at least some of the ratio that I wouldn’t be able to change otherwise! =D

  2. I have that problem and I don’t really accept books for review! I think they look amazing, buy them in the bookstore or for my Kindle, and long before I get one read I’ve bought a ton of others. It is a hard habit to break!

    1. Oh I have this issue with physical books too… there’s just too many amazing books, isn’t there? ;D

      I’m just flapping about this because obviously it makes an impression on publishers, and there are slight deadlines (most of which I’ve missed…)

  3. I recently got approved for some books I requested a while ago, but I believe my percentage is about 81% and I already feel a little stressed. I can imagine that it’s not a fun feeling to have so many books, but I definitely thinks it’s a good idea to stop requesting for the moment. Work your way through some of them at least. What about making a spreadsheet to get more order?

    1. I do have a spreadsheet – I think the main problem is my self control! I need to not log onto Netgalley unless I’m submitting feedback or something. I think I might start out by reading the shorter/lighter books, to get through a bulk amount in less time =)

      In fact, I have a review to write up, so I’m going to do that now and that’ll be one more ticked off the list!

  4. Rinn, I have so much love for this post! I have so many of the same things: My ratio was at 20% at the start of this year, I’ll be starting my MSc in September and I’ve got a lot of books I physically won’t get to (though in my case it’s because I didn’t download them before they were archived).

    I’ve increased my ratio by about 5% since 1st January, but it’s been quite a depressing amount of work! It did of course involve a spreadsheet as Mel suggested (spreadsheet geek here!). I started by going through and figuring out exactly how many books I’d read but not reviewed, downloaded but not read, not downloaded and not read etc. Then I worked out how many books I needed to review to increase my review percentage by 1% and setting that as a small goal.

    I’ve been starting with the upcoming/recent releases, and mixing in the occasional older book based purely on what I fancy. I figure it’s better to keep the momentum even if that isn’t necessarily with timely releases. Stopping requesting is really really hard, so I’ve been trying to reduce my browsing as well to reduce temptation. I’m also going to include the change in my ratio in my monthly wrap-ups as a way to try and keep myself accountable.

    I did find at least a few of the ones I didn’t request are now available at our local library, but Stormy’s tip about the note to the publisher is an absolutely great tip I’m about to go and implement for myself!

    I know it feels awful looking at your ratio and feeling bad about it, but it is really satisfying to watch the numbers go up, even just a tiny bit. Good luck with it!

    1. First thing I noticed on your reply: your most recent post. SO fitting, and I will definitely be reading it =D

      Wow, looks like we’re in the exact same situation! As I said in my reply to Mel’s comment, I do have a spreadsheet for books to review ( but when I have a bit more time – perhaps after sorting out the last bit of formatting from the move to WordPress – I may create one for ALL review copies, review or not and keep important info like rating, publisher etc. Just to give myself a clear picture.

      We should work together on this and keep each other’s crazy requesting down, haha! Check up every week or so – ‘have you been on Netgalley lately? *frowny face*’ =P Also, that’s a great idea for the monthly wrap-ups. I shall have to mention something in this month’s too.

      Yes, definitely – that 8% was satisfying, I’ve never seen it above 30% so that will be a big step! I think I may set a goal of 50% pre-Masters, that seems achievable, right?

      Now I’m off to read your post =D

      1. 50% pre-masters seems like a very good goal! I got mine up to 35% yesterday thanks to Stormy’s comment which felt awesome.

        Your spreadsheet plans are more comprehensive than mine – I always MEAN to make notes but so far I’ve just got basic lists of titles and publication dates. Must get more organised!

        Haha weekly check-ins sound like a great idea! It might stop the oh so easy attitude of “Oh well, I already requested a bunch last week, what’s another 10 this week?!”

        [Also, confession, my NetGalley post wasn’t my most recent, I just chose it from the drop down on the off-chance it was of help ;)]

      2. Yay, well done! =D I think mine will be 41% when this glitch is fixed… as I’ve submitted feedback for 48 items and the dashboard only says 36. I’ve gone through and counted them all! But as Julie said in her comment below, there is apparently a bit of a problem so I’ve emailed them.

        Oh I’m so glad I made a spreadsheet, I didn’t have one for the first few months. And I’m so glad I kept a record of publication date & date requested – I just added the page numbers and that took long enough, but I think it’ll really help with deciding what to read first. For example, I know my next read after this will be another Doctor Who novella, as it’s short =)

        Yes, and we can tell each other off haha! I’m going to try and stop buying books altogether *gasp* since I won’t exactly be able to take them to uni, and I’ve got enough to read. If I HAVE to have something, I’ll use the library. So I don’t think I’ll be posting my Weekly Roundup for a while (which I honestly get a bit bored of posting), and that leaves more time for posting more fun discussions and stuff! =D

        Haha! I have to say, I went back to find it today and wondered why it wasn’t at the top. Then I realised! But it was a great read and very very useful, so thank you! =D

        I’ve now signed up for the Review Copy Cleanup, my post is scheduled for Saturday =)

      3. Page counts, that’s genius! (But also frustrating because it’ll take forever). Stealing that idea!

        41% is awesome! I see what you mean about the glitch – I hadn’t noticed until you’d pointed it out, but when I go through my spreadsheet compared to the ones showing as feedback submitted there’s a definite difference. Hopefully they can get it fixed soon and we can all have a little numbers boost πŸ˜‰

        I’ve been trying not to buy books either, because I counted the books I bought last year and I only read about a third of them, which is absolutely crazy when I’m supposed to be saving! Again, in an attempt to be accountable I’ve been owning up to my bookish spending each week.

        Good luck with the Review Copy Clean up! I’m hoping it can keep my new motivation going πŸ™‚

      4. Hehe =D The majority of my books seem to be somewhere between 300 and 400 pages, but I have a couple under (just read two Doctor Who novellas today, so that’s two more off the list!) and a couple over – mostly history books.

        I got this reply from Netgalley by the way:
        Thanks for reaching out. Yes, this is something that we’re aware of but be assured that your feedback has been submitted to the publisher (if you go to the title details page, then click the Feedback button you should see it) but we’re working on a change that will go into effect this weekend. So keep your eyes on your account this weekend and if you don’t see your stats fixed just let me know and I’ll alert our tech team.

        All best,

        Tarah Theoret | Reader Concierge

        So yay! Looks like our ratios will be improved soon =)

        I’ve bought a crazy amount of books in the past year, but the majority have been charity shop finds, normally at 50p each. I don’t really need more right now, and even though I’m on track with my savings for September there’s no harm in saving more than I need πŸ˜‰

  5. Wow I realize I should probably check out Netgalley more! πŸ™‚ Because you’re right, they all look so good! At least I need to keep an eye out for new Doctor Who books that come up! I don’t know that I have any advice other than read lots, but I would think you should start with the most recent books to review just in case that would be more helpful to the publishers.

    1. Oooh I didn’t realise you weren’t a big user of it. Yes, there’s often quite a few Doctor Who books – in fact I’m about to start reading one from there.

      Yep, I’m going to go for the most recent & appealing as I will read those much more quickly =D

  6. I have no idea how the pubs would take it but I have send feedback to the effect of ‘I lost interest, can’t find the title, saw too many bad reviews.’

    That said, you better read Gospel of Loki since I see it RIGHT THERE, and I didn’t get it =)

    1. Well I guess hearing something from the reviewer, even if it’s that they can’t review it, is better than hearing nothing! So I would hope that it doesn’t affect your review chances – especially as my not reviewing things doesn’t seem to have affected my chances.

      I know, I’m sorry you didn’t! It’s definitely high up on my list =)

  7. Rinn, I hear you, they all DO look amazing! I’ve worked hard to bring up my rating ever since NG brought in this feature. I’m so competitive (even with myself!) and now I’m over 90%. I’d suggest starting with the ones you are most excited about (not the oldest) as that way you’ll be looking forward to it. And I know what you mean about reading physical books now but if I were you I’d read every second one, that way you feel like you are making progress.
    And I’d repeat what Stormy said, don’t fear the DNF’s! And submitting feedback, even if it’s ‘I never got this book’ counts as feedback and will bring your approval ratio up. I had to do this on two books and it definitely worked.
    Good luck!

    1. Haha, I know right?! That’s amazing that you’re over 90%! I’m definitely going to follow your advice and go for the most appealing looking ones first. There’s quite a few I’m excited about =D And yes, although February will be mostly dedicated to reading ARCs, I will definitely need some physical copies too.

      I’ve submitted feedback for the lost copies, and now have about 41% ratio, ahhh! =D

  8. Woah that’s a lot of books that you need to review!
    Well, I suppose it hasn’t really affected whether the publishers approve your requests, so it’s probably not necessary to review every single book that you’ve been approved for- I find that the risk of having so many books you need to review is that it kinda becomes a bit of a chore.
    Anyway, good luck in getting the ratio up πŸ˜€

    1. If only I had your crazy reading speed Nara, I’d have no problem. Share your secret, please! D=

      It does feel like a bit of a chore. I’m going to start out with the most appealing ones that have the most recent publication dates, as I’ll read those more quickly and it’s probably best to review more recent publications right now than older ones!

      I’m definitely signing up for the review copy clean-up so I hope that helps =D

  9. Ah so your dashboard looks a lot like mine. I’m at 25%. I tried to submit feedback saying “Thank you for approving me for this title. Although I was looking forward to it, I unfortunately didn’t get around to reading it before it expired. Sorry for any inconvenience.” Some of the older archived items are hard to find, and it seems like they have a glitch and feedback submitted for those titles is not counting in my ratio. I lost a lot of books when my first kindle died too. Hopefully Netgalley will fix this glitch and you can go ahead and submit that feedback (rather than the review, put that in the note to publisher section).

    1. Yes, that’s what I’ve done now for the ones I lost when I got a new Kindle, and it bumped the ratio up to nearly 30%.

      I found some hidden away, Netgalley has a funny way of organising them – but that was only 11 or so books. I’m still trying to work out where the remaining 30 or so are! Maybe I should contact Netgalley.

      1. I had to do something that wasn’t intuitive to find the archived books. They were under activity or something, not the shelf or new place they list your books. It was confusing. Then I had to add them to my reading shelf to even find them again to be able to leave a feedback note. I did that for about 60 books, and it didn’t seem to go through or affect my ratio, so I reported it. They said they’re working on a fix.

      2. Yep, they’re hidden under activity then archived. Such a weird way of doing it! Oooh – I’m SURE I left ‘feedback’ or rather a note for more books than it counted. Maybe mine is glitching too… I hope! As I have 68 books on my actual list, plus 36 feedback – but my approval total is 117, so where are the other 13? =/ Hmm.

  10. I’m pretty good about not going overboard at Netgalley, but that doesn’t mean I’m not drowning in books anyway. I buy way too many and I can’t seem to stop. I rarely buy print books anymore, so I can’t see them piling up the way I did in the past. (Although it didn’t stop me then either…)

    1. Unsurprisingly, this appears to be a common problem amongst all of us! I mean if you see a book you know you want to read and it’s on sale, why not? If you’re buying ebooks (as I guess you are?) then you don’t even really have the space excuse to NOT buy them…

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