Note: Even though this post was written in 2013, this is still my method for managing digital products. You really can get the goody out of digital products if you keep them organized and use them smartly!
In light of the many eBook sales going on right now, I have found myself inundated with emails asking how I handle all these eBooks. I’ve been emailing people back with my answer, but I thought it might be a good idea, considering how many emails I’ve received, to write a post about how I store my ebooks.
First off, I like ebooks. A lot. I never thought I would, but it turns out the fact that I am an information hog extends beyond books you hold in your hand. I like the way the information in ebooks is condensed into a form that doesn’t take up space on my shelves. I like how I can go to my computer and find all sorts of great ideas and curriculum and planners at my fingertips. And I really like the price!
When I see a sale on an ebook I am interested in (I really prefer not to buy full price, if I can help it), I will purchase it and immediately download it. That’s right – every time I purchase a digital bundle, I download every single ebook that night. I have waited before, but I really don’t like to because the longer I take to download, the more likely I will be to forget or lose the link to the download.
When I download a big bundle, I typically put everything into one folder on my desktop and label it with a name that is indicative of what is in the package. You could name it Homeschool eBook Sale or Homemaking Bundle with the year or whatever will help you to remember what is in there.
Now, I can take a break and make some decisions.
I have a folder on my computer entitled School. In that folder, I have other categorized folders like Math, Holidays, Unit Studies, etc. I also own an external hard drive like this one (it is 2TB, so it is highly unlikely you will fill this thing up!):
(We also own one of these specifically for our oldest daughter’s digital photographs. It is a very worthwhile purchase!)
And finally, I have a printer.
These are the 3 options I use when deciding how to store my ebooks. So, let me go through the steps I take to decide which of these 3 options is best for each ebook.
First off, I start perusing the ebook folder I dumped everything into. There are always going to be titles you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to gobble up now! Go ahead! Open those first. Look at them and decide if it is something you can file or if it is something you really need to print right now. For instance, when I purchased my Holiday Planner, I knew right away I would be printing it out.
Now, I want to say something about printing ebooks because I know some of you are thinking, “Some of these ebooks are huge! No way can I print them out!”
I do not print every single page.
I just heard some of you diehard bibliophiles gasp in shock. I know, I know, it is awful of me not to print the pretty cover or the page with the credits or every single worksheet in the book whether I plan to use them or not. But, if I am not binding the book, I do not want to waste ink. Wait…I don’t want to waste ink even if I AM binding the book!
Since I mentioned binding your ebooks, I’ll interject a note about that here. You can take your ebooks on a thumb drive to an office supply store and have it printed and bound there. You can also bind them yourself at home using glue and folders (see this post for more information) or purchase a comb binder and bind them that way.
Important Note: Pay attention to how many pages the comb binder you are purchasing can handle. The one above can do 150 pages, but many of them do less than 100. You want to buy one that will fit your needs.
My Holiday Planner is not bound, but rather in a notebook with page protectors. This is a good option for ebooks with a lot of worksheets or eCookbooks. You can also simply print the pages you need and put them in a cheapo folder like one of these:
All that said, MOST of my ebooks are stored in folders on my computer or on the external hard drive. Anything I think I might use in the upcoming year, I place in an appropriately labeled folder ON my computer desktop. (Anything I don’t think I’ll use soon or anything I’ve printed and don’t plan on needing again soon, I put on the hard drive.) I do this so I can read at my convenience and later print as needed.
If you are storing on your computer, it is important to categorize your folders so you don’t forget you have all these great ebooks! Here’s a short list of a few of the folders in my School file to give you an idea of the categories you can use:
- American History
- File Folder Games
- Home Ec
As I go through my download folder, I sort to the appropriate folder. That way, when I need a lapbook, I know I can check my Lapbook folder. When I need a photography resource for my daughter, I can have her check there. I categorize on my hard drive as well. Do the work of making new folders as you go. You’ll be glad you did!
One other thing I do is send ebooks I really want to read to my iPad (iBooks) via the cloud. When we were traveling this Spring, I downloaded several to my iPad to read on the plane. It was so nice!
If you learn how to manage your digital products, you will be glad you’ve saved the money!