How I Track My TBR & Reading Habits

Posted March 8, 2018 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Blog Tips, Features / 15 Comments

One thing I am always fascinated with is how people track their TBRs. In their heads? With a physical pile? Using Goodreads? Before blogging I never really worried about it, but now as a blogger juggling a posting schedule/review copies/etc., I’ve found that I wanted a more cohesive systems over the past few years. I’ve tried a variety of methods (a monthly TBR GR shelf, writing it out in my planner, stacking the books on my nightstand, etc.) but nothing really got the job done just right. Then last year I saw Lauren over at Serious Reviews do an in depth post about how she tracks her TBR and fell in love with her method and had to try it myself! I used it for most of 2017 and now 2018 and really wanted to feature how it’s worked for me in conjunction with some of my own methods that I’d already been using!

TBR Tracker

I loved Lauren’s system of keeping it all in a spreadsheet that was color coded (I’m a sucker for anything color coded in rainbow order) so I created a spreadsheet in Google Sheets to do my TBR tracking. While I created specific categories, I opted to keep them just focused on the source of the books and the month rather than incorporating reading goals/challenges too. Above, you can see my most heavily used categories which are Physical TBR, Kindle TBR, NetGalley/ARCs, and Library TBR.

Toward the bottom of the sheet I’ve also incorporated sections to help me track what books I’ve borrowed (from other people, not the library), pre-ordered, and purchased that month. These categories aren’t necessarily part of my planned TBR, but I like tracking all of the books I’m accumulating each month, both those part and not a part of my planned TBR. This section gets used less than the top half of the spreadsheet but it’s nice to have a space to record purchases and per-orders too.

Notes and Formatting
  • Books that I actually read have a strike through them so I can at a glance see what I’ve finished (though I also have a different Google sheet that tracks all of my books read).
  • Books in bold are high priority/must reads for that month.
  • Books that carry over from month to month are reminders for me that I didn’t get to them the previous month but am still planning on having them on my main TBR. Books that don’t get carried over (like The Language of Thorns) I’ve decided to put on hold for the time being- they could crop up again later in the year!
ARC Tracker

I also have a separate spreadsheet where I specifically track ARCs that I’ve acquired, so I can keep track of their release dates and if I’ve read/reviewed them in a timely manner. I’ve found that even though it means storing date multiple places, I do like having a place just with ARC info, especially so I can ensure I am on target with release dates and getting my reviews posted accordingly. I started this back in 2015 and have used it sporadically on and off since (each year is a different tab) but I’ve been consistent with keeping up with it in 2018 and am really finding it beneficial!

Annual Reading Tracker

Last but not least is my general annual bookish spreadsheet, created by the lovely Crini which I know many bloggers use! It is such a HUGE HELP with end of the year book wrap up posts and it’s less TBR focused (I actually don’t use the TBR tracking function in this one) and much more focused on what I have read and ensuring I’m on target for my Goodreads goal and any other bookish challenges.

I’ve also added some custom columns of my own too at the end so I can easily track the publisher and location of the book.

So yes, I do use three separate spreadsheets at the end of the day to track my TBR/reading habits which seems tedious but it’s the system that I’ve found works best for me! Now I’d love to hear from you- how do you track your TBR? On paper? In a spreadsheet? Just using Goodreads? Let me know in the comments!


15 responses to “How I Track My TBR & Reading Habits

  1. I am living for this post! I have a ridiculous number of bookish spreadsheets and I swear they just make my heart swell! I love this idea for tracking your TBR as I tend to spend more time tracking what I read and what I own! It might be time for me to start a new colorful google doc! Right now, I mostly keep track of my TBR on goodreads and on a Trello board!

    • Right?? Tracking my bookish stats is so weirdly fun for me (and one of the reasons I love December/January because I always love looking at how everyone’s year end stats panned out along with compiling my own!). And ooooh I’ve never heard of Trello, I must check it out!

  2. YES THIS IS SO GOOD. Why didn’t you tell me about this TBR tracker beforeeeeeee. I need to read Lauren’s post too. I have been trying to figure out the best way to track release dates for ARC and have been so lazy (even though I use Crini’s spreadsheet, you’d think that would help me be more organized)

    • I know I totally should have told you, but I figured you probably had your own fancy system already lol. While I love Crini’s spreadsheet it wasn’t the best to help me keep track of ARCs, so I decided to come up with my own! Yes, three spreadsheets is a lot but I’ve found it works really well for me so I can’t complain!

  3. I use the same overall spreadsheet and it’s been SUCH a lifesaver over the past three years! That’s a good idea to keep track of the publishers! Whenever I get emails from publishers, I always wonder exactly how many of their books I’ve read and it’d be really cool to see what the spread is. I admire you for being able to stick to a monthly TBR! I tried a while ago and it was an absolute disaster. Maybe I have a problem with authority (even if it’s my past-self authority), but once I make the list, I immediately feel like reading anything but whatever is on the list which is absolutely ridiculous. I’m just a solid mood reader. I do love reading everyone else’s TBR posts, though 🙂

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • This is the first year I’ve tracked publishers so I’m really excited to see at the end of the year which houses I’ve been reading the most from! The monthly TBR has really only been a thing for the past few months or so- I initially though I’d never be able to stick to one, but it’s honestly made me feel so much more accountable for what I read, and I would say I’ve been sticking to it about 60-70% of the time!

  4. I use Goodreads, but I also have a spreadsheet. I add ARCs by publication date, and add other books (library, purchased) when they are on my weekly TBR. Then I color code for my weekly TBR/read/currently reading. I have columns for reading challenges, age, genre, etc. Your spreadsheet is really nice.

    Sam@WLABB recently posted: Discussion: Irrational Book Envy
  5. YAY! I’m so glad that you found my spreadsheet and post helpful! And OMG I love what you’ve done! I really like how you sorted it out by the type of book (ARC, etc). I know I try to limit myself when it comes to ARCs but I often pick up more and I don’t have the spots to put them there. I know I could increase the rows but I don’t want to encourage myself. I just keep the dates on a calendar for now 😛

    I love your annual tracker spreadsheet! Right now I use a word document and have columns for Books, Audiobooks, Novellas and DNFs. I never thought of doing it in Excel though to take advantage of the built in formulas…hmmm I might have another project to do next week! 😉

    Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews recently posted: Series Review: Nights by A M Salinger
    • Thank you, Lauren!! While I put my own spin on the TBR tracker spreadsheet, your idea of color coding was SO helpful for me! I love the visual separation between the type of book. Yes, I *try* not to add rows too (but it sometimes just happens!) so it usually helps me TBR stay somewhat in control.

      My annual tracker spreadsheet that I got from Crini has been a lifesaver! I’m not super spreadsheet savvy so it’s so helpful to have all the formulas already plugged in and everything. I would highly recommend downloading her spreadsheet through Google Sheets from her blog It’s All About Books!

    • Thanks Nicole! I honestly need to be better about tracking/cleaning my shelves on goodreads- I mainly just use it to track the books I’ve read in general for the annual challenge but I know many bloggers have super intricate shelving systems and I’d love to have something like that one day!

  6. […] How I Track my TBR & Reading Habits at Girl in the Pages | I need a better system for tracking my ARCs because I’m pretty bad at remembering I have them sometimes! I’m thinking of adopting some pieces of Cristina’s here. I already use a spreadsheet but am thinking I can add another sheet. […]

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