5 Ways to Keep Track of What You are Reading

I’m one of those people who is always in the middle of multiple books at a time. Sometimes I abandon a book for months while something new and shiny catches my eye or when I have to return it to the library for someone else who has it on hold. If you’re anything like me, it becomes essential to find a way to keep track of your books somewhere besides just in your head. You’re probably heard of Goodreads, but have you tried any others? Below I’ll outline 5 different methods of tracking books and what each method is good for.

Goodreads – If you are a major book nerd, you simply can’t live without Goodreads. There are several websites that fill a similar role (see below) but none have caught on quite like Goodreads has. You can mark books as “read,” “to-read,” and “currently reading,” as well create your own shelves such as the “Did Not Finish” shelf I wrote about last May. You can leave reviews, add your favorite quotes, make lists, and more. It also functions as social media, where you can see what your friends are reading, like their statuses, and recommend books to them. This is the single most useful tool I use to keep track of my books, but sometimes it’s not enough.

readerslegacyReader’s LegacyReader’s Legacy functions very much like Goodreads, give or take a few features. You can indicate what you are currently reading, write reviews, and follow your friends, but you can also scan in all the books you own to virtually display your library.  On top of that, you can browse the libraries of your friends and favorite authors. Lastly, it has an incentive feature called “litcoins,” which you can earn through interacting with the site in any way, be it adding books, rating books, etc. Those coins can then be used to purchase books, event tickets, or other book-related items. The biggest problem with this site is that it isn’t as popular as Goodreads, so your friends probably aren’t on it. It also started auto-playing ads whenever you log in, which is really annoying. I used it for a couple of weeks and then stopped.

“My Library” on Google Books – Again, this site is similar to Goodreads, with its “reading now,” “to read,” and “have read” sections. You can also keep track of books you have on Google Play, books you’ve reviewed, and books you’ve viewed recently, as well as add notes and labels to books. It’s biggest drawback? I’d literally never heard of it until researching for this post. It’s probably great if you use a lot of Google functions like Google+ and Google Play and want all those things to be interconnected with your reading list.

14438790_10154664062644015_1428364016_oA Physical Book Journal – A friend gave me a book journal as a gift a couple years ago, and I have only now gotten around to starting it. It is organized by alphabetical tabs like an old-fashioned address book. Each page includes a template with sections like title, author, publisher, date read, opinion, rating,  awards, quotes, and more. I have the beautiful Moleskine one, although there are plenty of other versions you can find on Amazon or you could even make one yourself with a blank journal.  The online methods may be a little more convenient to use, but if you’re someone who finds it satisfying to write by hand (looking at you, bullet-journalers), or if you are trying to disconnect from the web, especially right before bed when you are most likely to be reading, this is a good option.

An Excel Spreadsheet – I find this method most useful when I am trying to keep track of something besides the titles and pure quantity of the books I’m reading. For example, during the Sci-fi Summer Reading Challenge, I marked down all the books I read, but added an extra column for whether or not they count as sci-fi. I did something similar for my “We Need Diverse Books” New Year’s Resolution, this time marking books that were diverse and adding a note about what kind of diversity they displayed. This method is also good for keeping a more accurate count for your yearly reading challenge than Goodreads, which doesn’t show if you reread a book you have previously read, or if you read any books that are not on the site.

I personally use a combination of Goodreads and Excel but have just started the physical book journal, though it does feel a bit redundant.

What have you found is the best way to keep track of your reads? Have you tried any of the above methods, or discovered any I don’t have on my list? Let me know in the comments!

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