Last year I took the plunge and decided to only read collected editions, cutting out monthly comic books. Overall it’s been a pleasant experience, enjoying entire story arcs and not experiencing hiatus periods of big name books; is All Star Batman still being published?
At first it felt like my spending had been reduced as I was waiting for series to be released in trade paperbacks or hardcovers. During that down time I started picking up books I hadn’t been aware of or kept putting off, like European books from Fantagraphics and Cinebook. As well I started taking advantage of sales and picked up what seemed like a mountain of older Marvel and DC books. What started as a fresh way to enjoy comics became a fear of being buried under an avalanche of purchases.
Like most comics readers I kept a stack of books that were waiting to be read. It then became two stacks, then another and things were getting out of hand. What’s that you say, just stop buying? That would be completely counter intuitive to the collecting mentality. Lucky for me my wife and I have always been avid readers and we dedicated one of the bedrooms in our house as a library complete with floor to ceiling bookshelves. I did a major reorganization and made lots of shelf space available for my burgeoning comic collection.
First I organized by publisher and format: softcover on one shelf and hardcover on another. Everything was neatly laid out and looking great with no more piles of books around the house. Of course I now had very little idea if and when I would get to reading these since they were neatly squared away, so I started a small reading pile again. I find myself reading in spurts: nothing for a week or two and then ten books in a week.
So I came up with a system. New books went on one shelf closest to my reading chair in my library; it’s a six foot shelf so if it fills I need to seriously reduce my purchasing until it’s under control. When I was done reading I made a note in my collection spreadsheet indicating month and year last read; again an indication of how much gets read versus just filling up space. As well I started tracking what I’m reading month by month with the title of the book and one paragraph of my thoughts: this really helps with writing reviews and feels like I’m better organized, posting it at my eBabble blog.