As someone who loves planning, tracking and statistics, it will come as no surprise that I have plenty of ways of keeping track of what I’m reading, how many books I’m reading and the amount of books I have.
It’s definitely not a necessity – when I was at school I went from one book to the next with no concept of how many books I read in a year or what I ratings I gave them (other than library lessons in English where I didn’t read quickly enough to get the same merits as my friends, not that I’m bitter). But Goodreads didn’t exist back then and I had no idea about communities like bookstagram (booktok was but a distant dream!).
It’s not a key part of my reading and absolutely nothing to do with why I love reading so much, but like when you’ve watched a cool TV show or seen an amazing film, having a community and a place to share a hobby you love just enhances the experience. The journalling aspect of my book tracking isn’t shared with anyone and isn’t online in any way, but like a literary scrapbook it’s nice to look back on the books I’ve read in years gone by.
So, my go-to method of book tracking is…
Storygraph – an app and website alternative to goodreads that isn’t owned by Amazon and provides much more in depth statistics and data around your reading habits. Including many of the same features – setting a reading goal, adding books to a ‘want to read’ shelf and writing reviews – but Storygraph also gives additional options such as adding half and quarter ratings to books, fantastic pie charts and graphs about what genres you read, the pages you’ve read, the pace, the format, the authors you keep coming back to and your average ratings! Seeing my annual statistics is one of my favourite parts of the New Year period.
I also love that you can track how far you are through a book – it’s how I know that I’m currently 92% through ‘The Bride Test’ by Helen Hoang and I’m listening to that one as an audio book, so I can track the minutes I’ve listened to as well as the pages of physical books!
I also find Storygraph is the best place to make note of books I want to read that I don’t own yet – whether I’ve seen it on BookTube, Bookstagram, BookTok or just from a browse in Waterstones, I can add these books to my ‘want to read’ section and as and when I get to a point where I can buy myself a new book (or I have a new audible credit), I have a list of titles I already know I’m interested in.
When I finish a book, Storygraph is the first part of my routine in documenting it so I can see my annual total increase and write my little review.
Alongside Storygraph, I have a book Journal – for my birthday my sibling gave me the Book Tok journal which I started using in January (I have a review on my tiktok, and there’s a follow up video!) – this is the main place I can write down everything I’m reading, my reviews and how I rated the book. I also have a segment in my bullet journal where I am also tracking how much I’m reading, what I’m reading, the genres, an alphabet challenge (trying to read a book for every letter of the alphabet!), a reading log, a book of the year flow chart and a page celebrating my 5 star reads.
Most of it is a repetition of the data I put in on Storygraph, but I like documenting it with paper and coloured pen in a different visual format too.
It’s all absolutely unnecessary, but I enjoy it and honestly, I don’t do enough things just because I enjoy them!
The other thing I’ve started just in 2023, is using a spreadsheet tracker – I had a look at the few trackers I could find online, but a lot of them were for creators who make a living from making content about books and integrated a content planner and places to track ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), which I don’t need, so instead I designed this.
Why do I need to repeat all this data again? I don’t know! But I like the idea of being able to make my own graphs at the end of the year and more accurately tracking my pages (Storygraph doesn’t always have them exactly right) and knowing how many books I’m reading from my backlist and tbr jar. Which leads to…
My book spreadsheet. This makes my heart happy just looking at it.
Here I have a list of all the unread books on my shelf (TBR Reads), the books we received as wedding gifts that I haven’t read (Wedding Library) and the new books I’ve bought. Once I’ve read a book, I move it over to the ‘READ IN 2023’ section and update the numbers on the right which details the total number of unread books I had as of January 1st, how many new books I’ve bought, how many backlist I’ve read and the consequent remaining number of books I have that I haven’t read (please don’t judge me).
Having all of this information in one spreadsheet that’s completely customisable and in pretty colours brings me joy.
I also have a bookstagram account where I have my reading goal tally and my current reads listed in my bio and an app called Bookshelf where I can see every physical book I own. This has been particularly useful as my memory has got worse to remind myself whether I’ve already bought the pretty book I saw in a shop.
I lose track of whether it’s familiar because I saw someone talking about it online or because I already have it and I don’t know whether I should be concerned about that considering I am only 26.
Writing it all out like this has really shown me that the ways I track my reading are very repetitive and not very streamlined at all, but in my head they all serve slightly different purposes. Though even if they didn’t, sitting with my journal of an evening is a lovely way to spend five minutes documenting what I’ve read, being part of an online community is an amazing way to share what I love and my spreadsheet brings me joy – what other reason do I need!
Thank you for reading,