Published Sep 15. 2018 - 3 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 8. 2020

No tsundoku here!

Stacking up fishing books and never reading them… not here!

Tsundoku. PS: I did read all these.. except for one...
Martin Joergensen

I slowly stopped buying fishing books because I realized that I was in danger of turning into a victim of tsundoku.

Tsundoku is a Japanese word that means piling up books and never reading them. Kind of a book hoarder. Hoarders are those who keep things and never throw out, piling up stuff to such an extent that it can be difficult to move around in their home because they have saved old newspapers, plastic bags, cardboard and many other strange things, which most of us would throw out.
In English tsundoku is also sometimes referred to as bibliomania and the hoarder as a bibliomaniac. Some call it a bibliophile – a book lover – but the line between being a lover and being a maniac can be fine here.
The term has been well known through the history of books, and many a book lover has collected so many books, that one person could not read them in a lifetime.

My book hoarding isn’t quite as severe. I buy books that I find interesting and want to read or use. But during certain periods in my life I bought books at a rate that was way higher than my reading rate. So in other words I had books piling up, which I had never read. I found absolutely no reason to throw them out or get rid of them. I wanted to own them.

My book hoarding isn’t quite as severe.

OK, quite a few of my books aren’t “reading books” as such, but more like handbooks or encyclopedias, which I use to find and check facts, do research and get inspired by. Pattern books are a good example. You rarely read them from cover to cover like a novel, but dive into them now and then to find a specific recipe or just get ideas for something to tie.
The number of books flowing into my shelves has also declined significantly for other reasons: review copies… or lack of same, actually. Back when GFF was a small boy with bruised knees, we got quite a few review copies of recently published book, and publishers would contact us frequently, some even just sending out books for review without asking.
Now that the site is a fully grown man with a beard - and even a big beard - only a few publishers are still willing to offer review copies, and often have to be enticed to do so. Very few contact us on their own initiative and I can’t remember when I last got a book for review in the mailbox without knowing beforehand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that the publishers are pressed and that things aren’t as they used to be. Making money from books is harder than ever, but I honestly don’t think that cutting on the review copy budget is the right way to earn more on a publication. Of course the publishers still send out books for review – just not to us! We have a couple of things working against us: being digital rather than published on paper is definitely a drawback compared to paper magazines. We experience again and again that we are ignored because of that, which is somewhat a paradox considering the number of people we reach. We have a “circulation”, which is way higher than most niche magazines, and have a global audience, offering contact to a very large group of international readers and potential buyers.
The other reason is a logistical one. GFF is far away. I’m in Denmark, and most of the larger fly-fishing and fly-tying book publishers are in the US, and sending books across the Atlantic is prohibitively expensive, often costing way more than the book itself. We can have the books sent to the US and have one of the US GFF partners review them, but their contribution frequency has dropped during the last many years for different reasons, and they don’t have the time to write as much as they used to.

So the fact is that the books are not coming in at a rate like they used to, drastically influencing the number of reviews on the site. This year I have reviewed 6 books until now. Last year was 7, 2016 it was 10 all year and in 2015 there were 7 reviews. Compare that to 18 in 2014 and 12 in 2013 not to mention 38 each of the years 2012 and 2011, the busiest review years ever.

I have always bought a lot of books, also with a GFF review in mind, but I don’t buy quite as many anymore, so as long as many publishers ignore the Global FlyFisher and its large, book hungry audience, the number of book reviews isn’t going to increase significantly.

And there’s even less danger of me being hit by tsundoku...


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