Managing a Shared Kindle Library

I belong to a family of readers.  In my immediate family, we have 3 Nooks, 8 Kindle devices, and 2 iPads, not to mention the Nook and Kindle applications on our smartphones.  With the Kindle devices, we can share our Kindle books together as a family, as long as the same book isn’t on more than 6 of the devices at one time.  That isn’t as challenging as it sounds since we all have very diverse reading interests.  I tell the family to just send their finished books back up to the “Cloud” when they are finished reading them, and that way it ensures that books are freed up for the next person.  Of course, if it is a book that they want to keep on their device for reference, they are welcome to do so.

People who do the “shared” Kindle library have different methods of managing them.  When it comes to the purchasing of books, you have to have your “shared” library under one account.  If you decide to let anyone in your shared group purchase books, then they will have to be able to access your account, including the password.  There are some other workarounds, though.

Purchasing Options:
1.  My daughter buys an online Amazon gift certificate and then emails the code to me, along with the list of books that she wants me to purchase for the Kindle library.

2.  You could add books that one of your group wanted and they could reimburse you via Paypal.

3.  With a “trusted” family member, they could add their credit card to your credit cards on file and then, when they want to purchase some Kindle books, they could go in and change the 1-click settings to their credit card, make the purchases, and then go back and change the 1-click settings back to your default credit card.  This option should be reserved for TRUSTED family members.  I have one family member who uses this method and she always texts me first to let me know that she is going to be ordering some books within a few minutes so that I don’t accidentally go up on Amazon and order something else while things are set to her credit card.  Then she texts me as soon as she has set things back to my default.

4.  You could have members email you with books that they want added.  You could then add them on your own dime and each month, email each person the total that they owe you and let them reimburse you as mutually agreed upon.

Keeping Track of Titles Read:
The challenge has come about with trying to remember who has read what!  As the “librarian” for our little Kindle library of 800+ books and growing, I had begun creating a Google document each month of all the new titles that I’d added that month.  I would include a short synopsis of the title and also assign a genre category to each book for those who wanted to quickly scan through for only “action-thrillers”, for example.
Then, at the end of the month, I’d send out a link to the document to all of the members of our family library, letting them know that it was available for viewing.

My brother came up for a short visit this past weekend and he suggested that I try creating a spreadsheet instead.  I could put all of the info from the past monthly documents into this spreadsheet and then include a column for us to “check” as we read a title.  We sat down together and came up with the columns that we thought would be important (genre, title, author, description, and then a spot for each of us to check off when we’d read the title).

I’m creating this in Google docs and will “share” it with the group so that any of them can “edit” it.  Thus, they’ll be able to go in and mark books read but they’ll also be able to change the sorting of the books. For example, if they want to search by “author”, they can have the spreadsheet rearrange everything alphabetically by author.  (And that makes me realize that I need to go back in and edit the authors’ names so that they are “last name, first name”.)

My hubby suggested separating the spreadsheet into Tabs with a tab for each Genre.  Once I have the books all entered, he’ll help me get this set up in that format.

This will also make things easier when we find ourselves searching for that next book to read from our library.  We can find the genre that interests us and then scroll through and browse through the descriptions until we find one that strikes our fancy, checking to make sure we haven’t already read it.  Yay!

Hope you find some of these suggestions useful if you, too, are finding your Kindle library expanding at alarming rates and especially, if you are sharing your library with others.  Happy e-reading!

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Hot Flashed Funk


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