Kindle e-readers make it easy to amass and read books. Unfortunately, they don’t make it particularly easy to organize them. There’s no folder structure or tagging system to impose order on large libraries. Instead, Kindle offers Collections, a way of sorting books into logical groupings on the device screen.

Alas, Collections are far from perfect. You can’t drag-and-drop books, even if your Kindle has a touchscreen, or otherwise organize books en masse. You have to open each book and assign it to a collection individually. Still, with some effort and patience, Collections can help you streamline your library, which will definitely help you better enjoy your Kindle. Here’s how to get started.

How to delete books from your Kindle

The first step to organizing a big library is to trim it down. Sure, the thought of getting rid of books sickens most bibliophiles. The beauty of the Kindle, though, is that purchased books deleted from the device aren’t truly gone—they’re still available in your Kindle account to be downloaded again whenever you get the urge to reread them. It makes sense, then, to start your organization efforts by removing any books you’ve already read, as well as those you don’t plan to ready anytime soon. This is also a good time to get rid of any book samples cluttering up your library.

Michael Ansaldo/IDG

Long-tapping on a book opens options to delete it or add it to a Collection.

To get started, tap Your Library from the Kindle home screen to get to your books. By default, the Kindle will display all your books—both those on the device and the ones in the cloud. On the upper left of the homescreen, tap Downloaded to see just those books stored on your Kindle. Then go to the upper right, tap Sort, and choose either Grid or List to customize how the books are displayed.

Personally I like Grid mode, as it lets me easily identify books by their covers. List mode seems to enable faster scrolling, however, as it doesn’t load thumbnails. That may make it better for combining large collections.

From this point, all you have to do is find a book you want to remove from the Kindle. In Grid mode, just long-tap the book cover and select Remove From Device from the pop-up menu. In List mode, tap the three-dot icon at the far right of the book title and do the same. Then move on to the next book, and so on, until you’ve thinned your library to your liking.

How to create Collections

A Collection is essentially a virtual folder into which you can group books by genre, subject, or other criteria. Grouping ideas will likely present themselves as you scroll through your books, but one of the simplest ways to use Collections is to sort books into those you’ve read and those you’ve yet to read. Really, you’re limited only by your imagination.

cloud collections Michael Ansaldo/IDG

You can create Cloud Collections on the Amazon website, which will sync with your Kindle.

There are three ways to create Collections: on the Amazon website (called Kindle Cloud Collections), in the Kindle app, and on the Kindle itself. Let’s look at each in turn.

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