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Should You DNF A Book? How To Decide And Next Steps To Take.

Should You DNF A Book? How To Decide And Next Steps To Take.

Should you DNF a book? A question we readers struggle with. At times we ask ourselves:

“How do I know when to DNF a book?”

The truth is, we don’t! It is difficult to decide to give up on a book or not as every book has some value to offer. 

And if you’re anything like me (FOMO), you don’t want to miss out on the insights a book may offer you.

This DNF book problem is definitely something worth talking about. Especially when there are only a few more months left in a year and you may not be able to hit your yearly reading goal.

Personally, I have always struggled with deciding if I should DNF a book. This is why i’ve written this guide after talking to multiple bookstagrammers.

This article should explain what does DNF mean, pros and cons of DNFing a book, should you still review a DNF-ed book and if you really want to finish a book despite not enjoying it as much, here are a few tips!

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More Reading Tips:

What does DNF mean?

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Before we begin, what does it mean to DNF a book? 

DNF means “do not finish”

In the bookish community, this means to not finish a book and to set it aside.

There are definitely some benefits from DNF-ing a book, but there are also some negatives which you may not be aware of.

A common misconception of DNF-ing a book is thinking that when you DNF a book, you leave it aside and never pick it up again to finish it.

Sometimes, you can leave it aside for sometime and go back to it when you have the mood. This is a common thing to do as a mood reader.

Or you may take months, even years to finish it because although you’ve decided to leave it aside, you still pick it up once in a while to read a chapter or two.

Pros in DNF-ing A Book

Pros of DNF-ing a book means what are the benefits you can obtain by deciding to shelf the book and not finish it anytime soon.

Saves You Time

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Here’s the thing, a lot of us readers are busy people! We might be busy with school, work or even family. 

Our reading time is limited and we do not want to give that time away to something we do not find joy in.

Plus, you can move on to another book which you will most probably finish and that brings you closer to your yearly reading goal.

Good For Mood Readers

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DNF-ing a book is really good for mood readers to do. 

This is because mood readers read according to their mood and if they do not feel like reading a book, they should most definitely not force themselves or they might just STOP reading. 

So if you are a mood reader, DNF-ing a book is something you might want to consider.

FOR YOU: Mood Reader Guide: How To Read More As A Mood Reader

Avoid Going Into A Reading Slump

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Reading is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, not a chore. If it starts feeling like a chore, you might be heading into a reading slump.

This is why DNFing a book here could be the right thing to do.

Cons Of DNF-ing A Book

Cons of DNF-ing a book means what are the disadvantages of deciding to shelf the book and not finish it anytime soon.

You’ll Never Know How It Ends 

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If you’re anything like me, you want to know how a book ends, even if it is something you have started and do not enjoy.

Also, the fear of missing out if it is an extremely popular book may be the case of not wanting to DNF it.

Whether you enjoy the book or not, almost every book has some value to offer. By DNF-ing the book, you’re giving up on the information you could have obtained.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

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Have you heard of sunk cost fallacy? It is a theory in behavioural economics but i’ll tell you how it can apply to not wanting to DNF a book.

Sunk cost is exactly like what it sounds, the cost of something can no longer be retrieved. 

The cost of reading a book here is TIME. We have already invested so much time into it and this is one of the reasons why some readers do not want to give up on a book. 

It makes us feel guilty.

Just imagine, you’ve spent a week reading this book and you’re only halfway through it. 

But that’s the thing, you are ALREADY HALFWAY through it!

It would be too painful to give up now. The disadvantage here is the lost time that you cannot retrieve. 

Not Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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Sometimes we end up DNF-ing a book that does not happen to be the type of book we usually read.

For example, you might DNF a nonfiction book if you’re not someone who likes reading that genre.

But here’s the truth:

DNF-ing a book because it is out of your comfort zone can be a bad thing. 

As readers, we read because it is something that we enjoy doing. 

However, we should try to push ourselves to read something that’s not considered “fun” in our dictionary every once in a while to widen our perspectives and learn more.

So yes, DNF-ing a book can hinder your growth as a reader.

Do You Count DNF Books As Read?

Personally, yes. Especially if I’ve read more than half of it (50% and more). I have spent time and energy into a book and therefore, it is considered read although I did not finish it nor enjoy it.

A good friend of mine from bookstagram, @phs.n  has a similar opinion. She says she considers a book read when she reads about 75% of it. 

Some readers do mark the book complete and add it to their reading goal on goodreads while some don’t.

This is something personal and there is no black and white answer. 

Should You Still Review A Book You DNF-ed?

As mentioned above, a book is considered read to most readers if they’ve read almost half of it. So yes, it is definitely worth reviewing a book you DNF-ed. 

In fact, why not mention in your review that it has been DNF-ed and the reasons why you chose to DNF the book. It will definitely be insightful to many readers out there.

How To Get Through A Book You Don’t Want To DNF.

I love finishing books. I simply do not know how to DNF a book. 

Over the past year, this has taught me several ways to get through the books I started losing interest in.

Build A No Distraction Zone

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I do not read in front of my phone and laptop. 

All notifications are silent and I block time for myself to read daily using google calendar. Time blocking is an efficient way to read more.

As silly as it may sound to some, prepare your body and mind to read for the time you’ve blocked. 

This means, go to the washroom beforehand and not let it interrupt your reading (okay if it is an emergency, please don’t hold it in). 

Prepare your water, coffee and snacks so you don’t have to keep going to the kitchen. Do whatever it takes for you to not leave your reading spot.

Write Down The Positives

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As mentioned, every book has something to offer. 

To encourage me to get through book I may want to DNF, I write down the positives or lessons I’ve learned from this book at the back of the book.

You can try tabbing or using sticky notes but I like having all my points in one place so that it’s convenient to view and uplift me when feeling moody about reading it.

Read Multiple Books At Once

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If you are a mood reader and you still are persistent in finishing a book then consider reading multiple books at once. 

This will really help uplift your mood because you can focus your time and energy on a different book that makes you feel good and go back to this other book every once in a while.

You do not have to visit this other book every once a day. 

It could be once a week, one a month, really doesn’t matter as long as this reminds you that you are taking small steps to finishing the book.

So, is it ok to DNF a book? The answer is YES! It is perfectly fine to not finish a book but you must be aware of the pros and cons attached to it.

As long as you are happy with your decision despite knowing the disadvantages, it is fine!

Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to finish a book. Be kind to yourself. Whether you finish the book or not, you are still a reader and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

More Reading Tips:

Should You DNF A Book? How To Decide And Next Steps To Take.

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