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How I Keep Track Of The Books I Read

A photograph of row of books

This is a question that’s popped up in my blog stats and it’s one I can answer (“how to get rid of worms”, for example, isn’t my forte).

I’ve been keeping track of the books I read since 2009, a little before I started book blogging, and it’s one of those things that have become important to me. Not only does a log mean I remember my books (apart from reviews), I find it helps keep me in check regarding goals. I reckon everyone would champion their own methods and I’m sure there are a few I’ve never thought of, but I’m going to explain a couple.

I keep track via a database. Well, I say database – in reality it’s a word processing document I’ve set up as a big table. Each new year sees a new document. I tend to finish all the books I read in the year I started them; any I don’t get carried over – I remove the entry from the official year and place it as the first entry of the year I finish it, whether I finish in January or October and whether it’s in the next year or a few years later. (Tolstoy, I’m looking at you.)

My columns have multiplied as the years have gone on. The headings are as follows: Title; Author; Type (Fiction/Non-Fiction); Main genre; Secondary genre; Page count (if known); Date began; Date finished; Publisher; Initial publication date; Rating; Fame (in other words am I reading classics?); Notes.

I had thought to add gender to it because I’m aware I read far more women and want to balance it out but, well, you see how long that list is already and I’ve found keeping the awareness of balance in mind helps anyway.

My data is naturally tailored to the fact I blog – if you’re not a blogger no matter what method you use you’ll likely have more space for fun data and I’m somewhat envious.

Horizontal scrolling aside, what I like about this method is that you can add as much or as little information as you want. Book covers, opinions, different ratings, music that you listened to whilst reading and so on. The downside is unless you use Google Docs or even if you use one, it’s not always going to be available. I’ve sometimes had to estimate start dates due to being away from my device.

If I didn’t use a database I’d most likely use a book journal, be it one designed with tracking in mind or a notebook I modified for the purpose. The added bonus of using an official reading journal is there’s space to note your thoughts. The downside is you’ve limited space and you’re stuck conforming to whatever categories of information the designer deemed important. In many ways a customised notebook is the way to go.

When choosing it really depends on who you are, why you want to keep track of your books.

Book blogging itself is a good way – I love that I no longer have to remember all my thoughts – the vast majority are written out as posts.

What’s your method?



October 14, 2015, 5:10 pm

I don’t do anything particularly organised or fancy to record my books. I have found my blog has become the best way for me to remember what I’ve been reading and what I thought about them. I also keep a basic list in a notebook of review copies and all the books by favourite authors, so I can cross them off as I read them.

Tanya Patrice

October 15, 2015, 4:23 am

I use Goodreads. It’s the only method I’m most consistent with.

Jenny @ Reading the End

October 16, 2015, 12:38 pm

I have a spreadsheet that I keep in DropBox. I don’t keep track of publishers or page counts etc., but I do track gender, race if I know it, and nationality, as I’m doing a New Year’s Resolution about how many non-white and non-American authors I’m determined to read. I love my lovely spreadsheet. :D


October 17, 2015, 3:51 am

I use librarything and I guess goodreads.


October 18, 2015, 7:41 pm

I should create a spreadsheet like this! At the moment it’s all on GoodReads.



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