Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What do you do with the books you DNF?

Hello, lovelies! I haven't done a discussion post in ages, even though I've saved several topics that I want to talk about. DNFing books happens to be one of them!

1) Do you DNF books?
2) How long do you typically give a book before deciding to DNF it?
3) What do you do with the books you DNF?

When I first started blogging (as Books, Sweets & Other Treats), I would finish every book I started. I felt obligated to read the review copies I received, even if the story wasn't something I was enjoying. It made reading feel like a chore, and it's one of the reasons I stopped blogging after college. Falling in love with books is what makes you want to read more books! If you don't like what you're reading, then what's the point?

I told myself things would be different when I started blogging again, and they have been. I don't put as much pressure on myself, or feel the need to post something every day. I post when I have time, or when I've made a commitment (like for a blog tour or an ARC). I try to read review copies before their release date, but it doesn't always work out. It has made this entire experience much more enjoyable! I look forward to logging on and talking to you guys about books! Blog hopping is something I really try to make time for, because it makes me happy to see what you've been reading, and to let you know that your content is appreciated.

Now that I've started DNFing the books that don't work for me, I needed a way to review those in a simple and effective way. That's why I started DNF&Y, and just do a single collective post at the end of every month. As I DNF a book, I write down what it was that I disliked, and then I move on. If it's an e-ARC, I delete it and don't think about it again. If it's a physical copy, I feel stuck. Do I want to host a giveaway for a book I didn't like? I don't like the idea of promoting something that didn't work for me, but my experience might not be your experience. I'm not going to sell an ARC for obvious reasons, and it feels wrong to donate them (because Goodwill and other thrift stores will sell them). If I donate them to my local library, they might toss it, or they might also try to sell it during a Library Sale.

I feel like this really limits what can and cannot be done with an ARC. I've never heard of a publisher or author requesting people send their ARCs back, but donating them doesn't work either. I've found two ways that have worked for me in the past, but I would love to know how you handle similar situations.
  1. I'll host a giveaway and hope the winner likes it more than I did. 
  2. I'll put the book in a Little Free Library and hope someone else likes it more than I did. 
It's possible for a book I've DNFd to find a happy and loving home, but there's no way to really know for sure.

I know a lot of people that simply don't review the books they've DNFd, and just choose to remove them from their Goodreads and such altogether. I'm not a fan of pretending a book didn't happen, because I believe knowing why you didn't like something is just as beneficial as knowing why you loved something else. What you hated about a book, might be something I look for and enjoy.

There are others that continue reading a book despite their disinterest, and I don't know how you keep loving what you do, when you suffer through part of it. Do you keep reading because you feel obligated, or do you think the story might improve?  Either way, what do you do with those books that you disliked or wish you would have DNFd?

35 comments:

  1. I hardly ever DNF a book. If I start reading one, I usually finish it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I applaud your dedication! :) I can't stick with a story I'm not enjoying, because then reading feels like a chore. I want to look forward to picking a book back up, not dreading how much longer it will take me to finish it, haha. Do you research your books before starting them, or just see them through to the end as a rule?

      Delete
  2. I am not a huge DNFer (fine, I am the worst ever) but with any physical DNF, or ARC I just plain don't like in general, funnily enough I do exactly what you do! I give them away a lot of the time, or I put them in the Little Free Library! I want to start one in my new development, but of course that is on hold. I don't even mind donating them AS much, but I am just kind of too lazy to figure out who to donate them TO. I find that school libraries are quite particular, and I just never bothered trying Goodwill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so hard to find places that will accept and not sell ARCs! I've discovered many ARCs at library sales, and feel bad about buying them (even though they're usually only $1). Our local Goodwill has ARCs ALL THE TIME (Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), so I think someone in my area is a reviewer as well. I've had the best luck with giveaways, Little Free Libraries, and asking if someone else wants them. There's not a LFL in our new neighborhood, but Jacob is going to build one for me! He's even adding a little shelf/holder that will hold a small hand sanitizer, so people can stay safe while using the library. :) I hadn't thought of schools! Thanks for the rec.

      Delete
  3. "it feels wrong to donate them (because Goodwill and other thrift stores will sell them). If I donate them to my local library, they might toss it, or they might also try to sell it during a Library Sale."
    Ugh. Do they? This is...I don't think I have an appropriate word for it.

    Due to my thorough research about each and every book I read, I rarely have really bad reading experiences. I've very recently rated a book 1.5 stars, but since it was so short that I managed to read it all in a day, I didn't even bother not to finish it, if this makes sense - plus, it wasn't like the writing was cringeful (which would have driven me to DNF it for sure).

    So, I've only DNF two books so far! One was a review copy I requested from a publisher I've worked with until they closed, and it was the only time I've gone wrong with one of their books. Since it was a short-story collection, I decided to rate what I had read (which was most of it), though I stated that it was a DNF - and I gave it 2 stars. (I did skim through the last stories, but they were definitely not what I expected when I requested the book). My other DNF was a book that an author asked me via email if I would be interested in reading, and based on the synopsis, I accepted. But it turned out to be very romance-driven, and what's worse, very bad in the actual writing department, so I excused myself out of it. Me and the author parted amicably, but since I felt bad for her, I gave her the chance to decide if I should post a short DNF review, or simply mark the book as DNF on GR, or do as if I'd never read it in the first place - and of course she chose the easy way out. Let me tell you, it felt like cheating big time for me. Like you, I'm not "a fan of pretending a book didn't happen", so if a thing like this should happen to me again, I would state beforehand that I will leave a review no matter what, and let the author decide if it's worth the risk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I find ARCs at library sales ALL THE TIME. Even when I point out that they technically aren't supposed to sell ARCs, they just shrug and tell me I don't have to buy them. That's not the point! They could give them away for FREE, so people could enjoy reading them without the library making a profit. There are too many people out there selling ARCs for their own benefit, and it hurts authors.

      I know what you mean about not DNFing a short book... There have been several comics that I've wanted to DNF, but they're like 20 pages. Hah! I would feel ridiculous if I didn't finish them.

      I know it's in the past, but I feel like the author took advantage of your kindness. They didn't want a bad rating, so they wanted you to act like it never happened. It does feel like cheating, which is why I think we have to say SOMETHING when we DNF a book. I don't think it hurts them to list why a book didn't work for us, because someone else might like what we didn't.

      Delete
  4. I only submit DNF reviews to the pub. I don't want to put that much time and energy into something I didn't even enjoy, and I feel like there is always the possibility that it could have gotten better. I just DNFed a book this morning at the 58% mark, and I was sad, but I wasn't expecting a political book, never mind agenda politics. Not my thing regardless of what side the author is pushing. I love the idea of donating books to English teachers, group homes, youth detention centers, but I never know where to start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you list the books you DNF on Goodreads? I know low ratings will bring down a reviewers average as well, so I can see why some people would choose not to. However, I think knowing why a book didn't work for you is just as helpful as knowing why something else did. For example, a lot of people love The Hating Game, but it's one I disliked. I thought their office hate-to-love romance was a little too much, but other people really loved that aspect. Everyone has their own interests, so a DNF shouldn't be seen as a wholly negative thing, just something that didn't work for one individual. I do think publishers need the information, because if a lot of people give similar feedback, it might be worth looking into.

      Truth. I always think there's a chance that a book could get better, but it's never guaranteed. Like you, I don't want to put my time and energy into something I'm not enjoying. I barely have time to read as it is, so when I do get to sit down and open a book, I want to lose myself in the story.

      Delete
    2. I think you'd have to reach out to a school's librarian and go from there, but I'm not 100% sure. I haven't tried donating books to a school, but it's definitely something to think about (if we ever reopen schools, haha).

      Delete
  5. I DNF quite a bit - sometimes within the first couple pages, but I can get up to even 50% before I decide to quit. Depends on the book. I have a DNF shelf on Goodreads so I can at least remember I attempted the book. As for physical copies, I will pass them around to family who wants to read them, but after that... I've kind of been tossing them? I don't want to keep them knowing I won't read them again, but donating a potentially unfinished book to the library doesn't seem right (although my library gives away ARCs at events sometimes!). IDK, maybe one could craft with the pages? Upcycle it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you and I are the black sheep on this one, Angela! I love that you can tell whether or not you'll like a book within the first few pages. I try to give a book at least 50 pages to see if anything piques my interest, but sometimes I can't make it that far either. I accepted an unsolicited ARC once, and couldn't get past the first page.

      Wow! I've never heard of someone tossing their books! I'm assuming you mean trashing them? Like, into the recycling bin? I agree that it doesn't make sense to keep something you have no intention of reading again, but I don't think I would craft with it's pages! Haha! I'm literally laughing out loud over here. ;) I agree that it doesn't seem right to give unfinished copies to libraries or other businesses that might sell them, or simply not be the same version that's ultimately published. You've given me something to think about!

      Delete
  6. I rarely DNF to be honest, but when I do I simply mark them as so and move on.
    If you are looking for places to donate books you might like to contact a local senior citizens activity center, assisted living home or homeless refuge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you review them at all, or at least list why they didn't work for you? I'm just curious! I love learning about other people's processes. I'm not sure a senior citizens activity center would want to read the books I'm DNFing! Haha! ;) I do like the idea of checking with a homeless shelter. Thanks!

      Delete
  7. I dnf all the time. Mostly I get my books from libraries or as ebooks so I either send them back or forget about them. I like the idea of doing a monthly review of all the books I've abandoned if I can remember them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DNFing books from the library is a lot easier, since they have a home to go back to! ;) I've really enjoyed doing a DNF&Y post at the end of every month. I think the information is beneficial to potential readers, and the feedback is fun!

      Delete
  8. I don't typically review the books I DNF, unless it is an e-arc. In that case, I'll just write a brief description of what wasn't working and move on. I try not to be too negative in any review that I post.

    For physical ARC's I also donate to my Little Free Library. That way any future reader can give it a shot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I first started blogging, I would remove the books I didn't finish from Goodreads and then pretend like they never happened. That felt like cheating, so I started listing why they didn't work for me, and then I got the idea for my DNF&Y post. It's been my favorite solution so far!

      Little Free Libraries are my preferred method these days! Someone else might love what I didn't, so fingers crossed they all find good homes. :)

      Delete
  9. I came here to comment that I usually put my DNFs in a free little library somewhere-- but you're already on to that I see :) I never know what to do with my DNF books revew-wise. I sometimes do a wrap up post talking about them-- sometimes I guess I go the "pretend it never happened" route. It's tough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Several people apparently go the Little Free Library route! It seems like the best option, since it's not charging anyone for the books, and someone else might love what we didn't. I think a lot of people like to pretend they never happened! I get it. It's the easiest solution. However, I always felt like I was doing something wrong whenever I did that. I think briefly explaining why a book didn't work for you is beneficial for you, authors, publishers, and other readers.

      Delete
  10. I don't DNF too often - I'm pretty good at choosing books I'll enjoy - but I have done it. You definitely don't want to waste time reading a book you don't like. I like how you decide to get rid of your ARCs. I tend to donate mine to the library - I know they might end up for sale, but I feel like it benefits the library so it's okay, and it's not someone earning tons of money by selling it for crazy amounts on Ebay (not cool!) haha

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had similar feelings about donating books to the library, since they do need the funds to keep doing the programs they do. I just feel icky when ARCs are sold for any reason, since that takes money away from the author. They wrote something, and someone else is benefiting from it, even if it seems small. The people that sell ARCs for 100's of dollars, they should know better. I wish their was a way to report them, so publisher's could ban them, but I know it's not feasible.

      Delete
  11. I DNF quite often because I have better things to do than force myself to read a book I am not enjoying. If it's a physical book, I will give it to a friend, sell, or donate to a charity shop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've donated a lot of physical books to thrift stores and second-hand shops! I just never know what to do when their physical ARCs. I don't want to take them somewhere where they'll be sold, but I also don't want to keep a book I have no intention of reading ever again. Donating to the library is an option, but they also sell books occasionally. Giving them away to friends, strangers, or putting them in a Little Free Library has worked best for me! :)

      Delete
  12. So I was the same. I use to read every book I started in the beginning of blogging. And over the years I've realized why?! Lol. But I just mark them as read some wasn't for me on Goodreads. I've never taken the time to list them or review them on our blog since I usually just want to dive into the next book. For the most part they have been ebooks I've bought or borrowed through KU but the physical books I've just passed them along to different friends at my kiddos school pickup.
    Jen @ Star-Crossed Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I first started DNFing books, I would remove them from Goodreads like they never happened. "Who was reading this? Not me!" ;) It felt wrong, so over time I started listing why they didn't work. It was a bullet point list at first, and that eventually evolved into DNF&Y.

      Delete
  13. I'm a great believer in DNFing a book that I'm just not enjoying as I have a huge TBR and can't waste time on stuff that isn't entertaining me. I basically quit a book as soon as I lose interest in it-it can be two chapters, 50 pages or whatever. I give some books to the small library in the men's club my uncle goes to, the rest go to charity shops. Hopefully the next reader likes them better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My TBR grows faster than I can read the books on it! :) I actually think DNFing books helps me get through them more efficiently, since I'm able to knock off the ones that aren't working for me. Forcing myself to slog through them would 1) make it take longer and 2) keep me from reading something that I might actually enjoy.

      Delete
  14. In the past I have struggled to DNF books but the busier I get as a blogger with ARCs and such, I've gotten better at doing it if a book isn't working for me. I usually try to make it at least a third of the way through before I give up and I don't typically review DNFs but I did finally make myself a DNF shelf on Goodreads to shelve them on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read faster when I'm enjoying a book, so DNFing helps me get through my books faster! If I don't like something, I'm less inclined to pick it up when I have time, and I don't want to start something new until I've finished it. Horrible cycle! DNFing just makes my life easier. :)

      Delete
  15. My answer is "it depends". Like you I try to keep my blogging enjoyable and not a chore. When it comes to DNF, I just follow my gut. Sometimes I mark as DNF on goodreads, sometimes I give a little reason, sometimes I act like the book never happened. Whatever makes me feel best about putting it down and moving on is what I do. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been asked by several authors to remove a review when it's a book I've DNFd, and I don't think that's fair. My reasons for not continuing a book are just a valid for those I do. We're all different, so it makes sense that our reading preferences would be different to. I'm not mean when I review, and I never bash the author, but I do clearly state what about a book didn't work for me. I think that's helpful for me and other potential readers. Who knows? I might DNF a book because the pacing was too slow, and someone else my pick it up for the exact same reason. I think negative reviews are just as informative and helpful as positive reviews. :)

      Delete
  16. I don't DNF review books anymore because too many people on Goodreads gave me grief about "not giving it a chance". I might skim read and stop and read every four chapters or so, but I finish them. Ha ha. Non ARCs I give about three chapters, but never more than 20%. My creative writing teacher in college said if you are reading a book in a genre you like and the author hasn't grabbed you in the first three chapters they haven't done their job. 😁

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You shouldn't care about what people on Goodreads think! Read what you want, when you want, and however much of it you want. Whenever you pick up a book, you're "giving it a chance." If the chance that YOU decided to take doesn't work out, fine. Not every book is for everyone, and reading should be enjoyable, not work. If you're skimming and skipping, clearly something about the story isn't working for you. Haters gonna hate... ;) You're creative writing teacher sounds smart. <3

      Delete
  17. Like you, I would not stop reading a book I didnt enjoy earlier when I started blogging. But then it became too difficult to do that. So currently if I DNF I pass on the books to friends who might enjoy them or donate to the libraries, which is kinda rare to be honest.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

    ReplyDelete
  18. I rarely DNF a book and I think that's because I'm much better at choosing books for myself than I used to be. Or I could have just been super lucky over the past couple of years! :)
    I don't hesitate to DNF if I'm not feeling something though. Reading time is too precious to waste on books that feel like a chore.

    I don't have the physical ARC problem either as I've never received one (except the one you loaned me)... Downside or perk to being in the UK? lol
    The digital ARCs, I just delete.

    ReplyDelete

Click the "Notify me" box if you want to be notified when someone responds!

“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless