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If you are anything like me, your To-Be-Read (TBR) list is getting a litttttle crazy this year.
With staying home I’ve been reading more than ever this year. It highlighted the need for a method that was relatively simple, but useful to keep track of books I have at home, books already read, and books to be purchased (my favorite category 😀 ).
However, I do not have an organized bone in my body. My book lists are a collection of scattered pieces of paper around the house, saved posts on my Instagram account, and iNotes with a random selection of books, most of them already read.
When I was finally able to go to an Independent Bookstore in October, I stood in the shop during my designated 30-minute shopping window with NO CLUE what to buy. All the books I have been drooling over the past several months in quarantine completely vanished from my headspace.
I needed a better strategy to avoid coming home empty-handed and disappointed.
Enter the TBR Reading Tracker.
Now there is a MULTITUDE of reading trackers out there.
There are many many free printables on the interwebs, and they tend to be fairly simple. More robust printables usually just cost a few bucks, such as this reading log from EllagantStudies on Etsy.
Fancy Web Apps
There are several options for reading log apps, but I found most of them were either expensive or cumbersome to use. Goodreads is the most popular and while I liked the website, I very quickly stopped using it.
If I had a type A soul, I would purchase this spreadsheet (UPDATE link to 2022 tracker) from fellow blogger, Never Enough Novels. It is the organized book lover’s wet dream; a spreadsheet that analyzes your reading patterns. New for this year is the ability to track ARC (advanced reader copies), critical for serious book bloggers. A steal at only $5.
Purchase a blank or pre-designed physical book journal like this beautiful one from EricaGelabertDesigns on Etsy.
Starting with a blank journal, you can create your own style of Book Log. A simple method would be to start a Bullet Journal; they are incredibly popular right now for a reason. You can create a very simple TBR list in your journal or add complexity with star ratings, favorite quotes, and thoughts about the books.
Another method is to dig into your creative side and draw a bookshelf to be filled in with book titles as you finish each book.
Reading Trackers for the Type B Soul
However, the tracker that I needed had to be:
- Always with me (ie on my phone). I have lost far too many journals and random note pads to use something that doesn’t back up to the internet.
- Very simple and user-friendly. If it’s too complicated and takes hours to use and set up, I’m not going to use it.
- Have an accurate book counter as I’m too lazy to manually count my books read each year
- Separate the books that I have not purchased or read into a different list to make it very simple to figure out which books to hunt for when shopping
I ended up designing this simple interface on google sheets as a reading tracker and I’ve been happily using it for the past month.
Benefits of Using This Reading Tracker
Benefits I have noticed in the past month:
- Not walking empty-handed out of a bookshop
- An accurate count of the books I’ve read… which is always too few
- Able to easily give book recommendations to friends by genre
- Very quickly able to add books that I see from Instagram, various book blogs, and even during conversations with my Zoom Book Club. I have the Google Sheets app located directly next to my Instagram app on my home screen for no excuses.
This is the first time in years that I know exactly which books I still need to purchase and exactly which books I already purchased… but haven’t read yet. Now instead of these books taunting me just on my bookshelf, they also taunt me from my google sheets app.
I jest, I jest 🙂
How To Use This Simple TBR Tracker
This tracker is fully editable for your reading needs.
After you enter your email address below, follow the directions to open the google sheets link. (full disclosure- this does add you to our email list, but feel free to unsubscribe if you aren’t interested.)
Immediately, you will open up a “view only” copy of the reading tracker. You will click “file” and then “make a copy” and then, VOILA! Your own copy of the tracker in Google Sheets.
I highly recommend downloading the Google Sheets app to your mobile device. Once you have signed into your Google account, you can access the tracker on your phone on the go AND when you are scrolling through #bookstagram.
There are two different types of TBR trackers offered. One is organized by genre and the other is just a giant list for the truly lazy book readers like me. Both lists automatically organize your books into “TAUNTING YOU FROM THE SHELF!- purchased but unread” and “GET TO THE BOOKSHOP!- still to be purchased and read.
One tip is to avoid editing the two sheets labeled “Template” and leaving them to make new copies of the tracker each year or even each month, you voracious readers!
Click “duplicate” as shown below, and then re-name your new tracker each year!
Now go download your reading tracker and get a little more organized this year!
We would love to hear any suggestions for improvement so we can keep this reading tracker simple and useful.
Do you need some book recommendations to start your To-Be-Read List?
- 26 Fantastic New Books for 2021
- 11 Female Fantasy Books that KickAss
- Introduction to the World of True Crime Novels
- 12 Holiday Books to Get You Ready for the Holiday Season
Or follow us on Instagram! We are always updating with our current reads, both good and bad.
-Alice, Anne, and Jane