Reading More Than One Book At A Time: Pros and Cons To Weigh

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Reading More Than One Book At A Time: Pros and Cons To Weigh

If you have ever wondered if reading more than one book at a time is a good idea, you’ve come to the right place! 

Although it seems like a daunting task, there are some benefits to reading several books at once. And there are many tips to help you do this efficiently.

Reading a couple of books at once can heighten your reading experience to a whole other level. And when done right, it can help you take full advantage of the benefits reading provides. When you get the hang of it, it can be a fun way to consume books. 

Of course, this may not be for everyone. Some enjoy avoiding distractions and immersing themselves entirely in one title. Others might find it difficult to juggle more than a couple of books at once.

If you’re still wondering is reading multiple books bad for you, then continue reading below.

More Reading Tips:

Is it Bad To Read Multiple Books At Once? 

reading more than one book at a time
reading more than one book at a time

The short answer to this is, it depends. 

Okay, I know you want a straight-up answer, but really, it depends on the individual.

That’s why I’ve curated a list of PROs and CONs that help you decide if juggling books is for you.

When going through this list, ask yourself:

What you would like from your reading experience and which aspects are important to you. 

reading more than one book at a time


1. You Don’t Have To Get ‘Stuck’ On One Book 

Sometimes you may find yourself reading a book that makes you feel ‘stuck’. You may dread continuing to read it because of its somber atmosphere or heavy plot. Even though you feel this way you force yourself to finish the book so you may start another after.

Now imagine if you were reading two books at once

You could easily switch out the somber title for a cheery one. Reading multiple genres helps with this. 

If you feel weighed down by a mystery book with a lot of focus on the suspense the change of pace you get from a romance novel could help refresh you.  

It’s easy to feel like a book is taking too much out of you but this should not be the case.

2. Gives You Insight On Two Or More Books At Once 

It is not just about gaining double the knowledge at once.

One of the most interesting things about various books at once is that you begin to notice the connections between them. With this awareness, you can compare and contrast the characters and settings of individual books. 

Insight from one book can also help shed light on another.

When reading historical fiction, a non-fiction book from the same era gives a clearer understanding of the culture. This understanding can help you better immerse yourself in the historical setting of the book.

Another beneficial insight would be seeing how some books influence others. 

Shockingly, some books are actually based on one another. It is interesting to see an author’s take on an original story, and how they have put their own spin on it.

3. Finally Getting Through Your TBR List

As an avid reader, you surely have a long list of books to be read (TBR list). It would not be uncommon for this list to be extensive and ever-growing. 

It often seems like this list grows faster than you can read (oh come on, don’t lie to yourself about this!)

Luckily even if it’s reading two books at a time the dent it makes in your list is noticeable. If you did this you would not have to put a pause on your TBR list and your r
eading goals would be more attainable.

Checking off titles from your list is a pleasantly motivating plus to reading so many books at once.

Read More: How To Read More Books Before The Year Ends (12 Tested Tips)

4. Multiple Books Allow You To Read For Multiple Reasons

Some read for pleasure, others for knowledge, and a few are required for school or college. You may find yourself debating which to sacrifice when picking up a new book. 

But with reading multiple books you would not need to forego one aspect for the other.

This is especially beneficial for student bibliophiles as they often find themselves having to give up what they want to read for what is required. Even if you are not a student, it can provide you with a welcomed balance.

This can be as simple as reading a fantasy book for fun and a self-help book that aids you in improving your skills. It is one way to efficiently read and take full advantage of the benefits provided by reading.

5. Chance To Explore Beyond Physical Copies. 

There are an abundance of reading mediums available to us today. You do not have to just stick to physical copies of books. There are audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels and more at your disposal!

When reading multiple mediums at a time you begin to realize that each of them brings about a new experience. And you can take advantage of these experiences to suit your needs. 

For instance, since audiobooks only require you to listen, you can easily multitask as it plays in the background.

visually stimulating and engaging graphic novels can be read when you’re tired of reading books with only words.  

Reading more than one book at a time in multiple formats presents new ways to enjoy books in a variety of different environments.

Read More: What To Do While Listening To Audiobooks (26 Things!)

6. Escape A Boring Daily Routine

Reading the same thing day in and day out can be enjoyable but it surely lacks variety. There’s no denying that routine can get boring. Changing up your book every day can be an exciting change of pace. I would even argue it is necessary as it keeps things from getting dull.

Just like cinnamon in a latte, sometimes all you need is to add some spice to your life. No one made it a rule to keep to one book till you are done so do not be afraid to stray from the norm. 

Now you may be wondering, how is reading multiple books bad? There is no denying that some disadvantages come with juggling a few books at a time.

The question “can you read two books at once?” rests on whether the cons below are your deal-breakers.

Photo by @soniasingh_


1. Quality Of Reading Decreases

Quality over Quantity is a phrase often used to discourage sacrificing quality for efficiency. By reading more books at one time you could be sacrificing the quality of reading. 

This refers to how well you understand a book and the effort you put in into doing so.

By shortening the quality time spent on each you lose out on key points and effects the book has to offer. You are as attentive as you would be reading a singular book. 

This may be especially difficult for students who need to close read.

Since close reading requires close attention to the text to draw inferences from, students may find it difficult to do this for multiple books at one time. To analyze many books at once some aspects of understanding will be lost. 

2. Confusion

Reading multiple books can be confusing. If you are reading two books at a time with very similar settings, plots, and characters you could get them mixed up.

You could remember the plot of one book and apply it to another as they seem similar enough to fit. You could even completely omit parts of books in favor of others. 

3. Takes Longer To Read

It may not be by much but reading more than one book at a time does take longer. This aspect is also affected by how quickly or slowly you read a book. 

Although it assists you in checking off titles from your TBR list, the time it takes for you to finish each book is prolonged.

If you are someone who enjoys finishing books quickly, this aspect of extended reading time may be something you want to keep in mind.

4. You May Feel Less Invested

One of the joys of reading is being entirely invested in the story. When reading a singular story your focus and interest are solely directed to that book. 

But when your mind is occupied by a few books you lose the ability to get attached to what you are reading.

Having your attention divided this way means you may care less about those books and they lose their intended ‘oomph’. If you are struggling with multitasking this may make it difficult to read more than one book.

5. More Prone To Not Finishing A Book 

Earlier it was mentioned that one of the benefits of reading a few books at once was that you could avoid being ‘stuck’ on a book. The adverse effect of this is you could end up forgetting the book entirely.

With so many other options available to you, you might find it impossible to return to a book you had difficulty with.
You would not be as driven to finish a book you have started

This may be detrimental to you if you were to forget a book you were required to read.

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

6. Decreased Productivity 

When you surround yourself with many distractions you often find yourself not wanting to do what you need to. Reading so many books at once offers countless distractions for you to choose from. 

If you are someone who often finds themselves easily distracted, providing more distractions may not be the best idea. 

You would have to ask yourself “can you read two books at once?” without it affecting your responsibilities.

As you can see there is no straight answer for the question “Is it bad to read multiple books at once?.” But hopefully, this list of PROs and CONs will give you a clearer picture and help you decide if reading more than one book at a time is good for you.

Photo by @soniasingh_

How To Read More Than One Book At A Time? 

Now if you have decided to ditch singular book reading you may be wondering “How do you do it?”. Reading more than one book at a time may seem difficult at first but with these tips, you can do it with ease. 

1. Diversify Your Reading Choices

When reading two books at once it is best to choose books that do not resemble each other. You should diversify your selection of books to avoid confusion. One way you can do this is to choose varying genres and mediums.

Confusion is avoided as different genres mean that themes and settings do not overlap. Different mediums also mean a clearer distinction between books. For example, you would not confuse a graphic novel for an audiobook. 

2. Be Patient With Yourself

You need to be patient with yourself as you do this. It can easily take months to finish a book when you are juggling a few books at a time. Do not be discouraged by this. And do not be angry at yourself for needing extra time to finish a book.

Being patient with yourself is a key part of how to read more than one book at a time

3. Track Your Reading

How to read multiple books at once? By keeping an eye on them! Tracking your reading is a great way to read several books efficiently.

You can avoid forgetting about books if you are monitoring your progress on them.

Some great apps you can do this with are Goodreads and Bookly. Through Goodreads, you can shelve the books you are reading and sort them by ‘want to read’ and ‘read’. On Bookly you can track time spent on books, set reading goals, and update the number of pages you have read.

Another great tracking method is to have some book buddies! Book buddies or “buddy reading” can hold you accountable for the books you need to finish. You can also have shared goals of reading certain chapters and discussing them later.

4. Set A Time For You To Read 

A big part of how to read more than one book is literally having the time to. You should allocate time to just reading. Without scheduling a time to read it is easy to forget about books when you are busy.

You can assign a specific time to read and incorporate it into your routine or make simple goals like ‘read an hour a day.’ Take some time and treat yourself to a good book!

5. Read Books Based On Where You Are At

A fun tip on how to read multiple books at once is to scatter books in different places to motivate you into reading them there.

The idea is, you read wherever and whenever you can. If you were to leave a book on your bedside table, you could persuade yourself into reading before bed.

If you leave books in your bag or pre-save ebooks on your devices, whenever possible it would be easy to read them. Reading more than one book at a time does not always have to be a juggling act, it can simply be the right book and the right place.

6. Discipline

Is it bad to read multiple books at once? No, if you are disciplined enough. As mentioned previously, reading a few books at once is a great way to balance reading for pleasure and required reading. 

But to do this you have to practice discipline and be responsible with your reading.

It can be easy to slack and entirely forget books you are not interested in. That is why having discipline is a key part of how to read more than one book at a time. 

7. Adapt

Being flexible with your book choices makes reading more than one book at a time less overwhelming. 

Being able to choose books based on how you feel and where you are is a great tip. For example in the mornings when you are feeling lethargic it may not be best to read a complex book.

Another example is in moving vehicles reading written texts can be difficult so you can opt for an audiobook instead. 

Being rigid is not how to read more than one book. You need to adapt to avoid overwhelming yourself and making the reading experience unpleasant.  

In the end, reading more than one book at a time has its ups and downs. There are some great benefits and some bad disadvantages as well. Though there are some good tips here to help you do it, ultimately you have to decide what is best for you. 

If in your opinion the pros outweigh the cons then go for it! But if not that is okay. There is nothing wrong with reading one book at a time either. Hopefully, with the information presented here, you can decide if you should be reading more than one book at a time. 

Reading More Than One Book At A Time: Pros and Cons To Weigh

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