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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

TBR Lists

I spend at least an hour every weekend updating my TBR list. I currently have it as a spreadsheet in Google Documents, where I have fields for the author (organized by last name then first), title, year originally published, ISBN of the copy I want, and links to various places I can get it from. As well as fields for whether I own it, who recommended it, links to other blogs that have reviewed it, and links to it on LibraryThing and Listal… and every time I add anything there, it takes a fairly long time to do so because there are so many fields to fill out. But! I love having it so organized and all that information at my fingertips. That way, if I’m looking specifically for a copy of, say, Goethe’s Faust, I can easily just click the link for,, and Bookmooch.

And working on it this morning has made me wonder – how do you keep track of all the books you want to read?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:59 am January 24, 2009.
Category: Bookish Talk

  • Shannon

    I have this bookshelf full of books I haven’t read. I start at the top left and go left to right and find the first book that I have yet to read. And then I read it. Unless it’s part of a series and I haven’t read its predecessors yet. Alan’s got lots of books I have yet to read.

  • Memory

    Your TBR sounds amazing. I keep mine on LibraryThing, separate from my main account. I add new books as they come into my home, then delete them once I’ve finished them.

  • Nymeth

    wow, you’re so organized! I’d love to do that, but I’m lazy :P

  • Katherine

    I used to organize my books by spreadsheet, though not as detailed as yours! Now I use LibraryThing to organize my TBR list; I simply add a “TBR” tag to everything I want to read. Then, once I’ve finished a book, I choose something else from the list (usually a book that’s also tagged “own”).

  • Lisa

    For books I own: I use MediaMan to keep track of all my books. All I have to do is enter the ISBN and it imports the info from Amazon. However I did have to hand enter a lot since I have a lot of books pre-ISBN. I have a section that is specifically TBR. When I’m going someplace I export my whole library list into an Excel spreadsheet on my Palm Pilot. Online they are listed on GoodReads.

    For books I don’t own: I have a similar system as yours! :) Makes it easy for me since I can just take the list with me.

  • Laura

    I use google spreadsheets as well, although I stick with just title, author, and where I first heard about it. I also keep a wishlist at the Boston Public Library’s catalog, so any time I’m running low I can just request the next thing on my list.

  • Court

    Shannon – lol. But what if you’re not in the mood for the one that you come to next on the shelf?

    Memory – I was thinking about adding them to LT, but didn’t want to mess with my current account – a separate account is a good idea.

    Nymeth – Yeah, organized. Ha. More like obsessive. :)

    Katherine – What made you move from spreadsheet to LibraryThing?

    Lisa – Huh. MediaMan looks pretty cool. Do you keep all of your movies and other stuff in there too? Would you recommend using it?

    Laura – That’s a good idea – I should start using my library more often.

  • Vega

    My list is just author and title (sometimes with translator, if a particular translation was recommended) in a vanilla HTML file, organized alphabetically. I also can highlight the books I’ve read – which is definitely fun, although I haven’t made a huge dent in the whitespace of TBR so far!

    And it definitely helps to put books on hold from the library, so there’s always something in line, and when I return books I can immediately check out new ones.

    (PS: first comment here, even though I’ve known about your booklog for a while =) )

  • Court

    Vega – Thanks for the comment. :) Yes, I can imagine putting things on hold at the library would definitely help. Maybe I should get into the habit of that haha. :)

  • Valentina

    I use Librarything, I have a “to be read” tag. For those that I don’t own but wish to read one day, I use my amazon wishlist. Which gets updated almost daily (Being a book blogger and working in a bookshop does that to you!)
    I also have a big cardboard sheet where I wrote down in big letters the books I have to read and I cross them off as I read them. I love doing that:P

  • Court

    Valentia – Oooh, cardboard sheet where you can cross stuff as you read them! That would be so much fun!