I’ve always been the type of person who likes to keep track of things. I save ticket stubs to tape into my journal and have endless lists cluttering up the Notes app on my phone. So of course that extends into meticulously tracking the books that I read.
Today I’ll be going into how I track my reading and why, in case anyone out there wants to try it out for themselves!
Like most readers, I have a Goodreads account where I record all of the books that I read as well as everything on my TBR. And, of course, I have lots of shelves to sort books into:
Goodreads isn’t my only method of tracking my reading, though. I also use an Excel spreadsheet throughout the year where I record what I read along with certain information about all of the books.
I started tracking my reading using a spreadsheet back in 2018, which was also when I started blogging. Part of it was so that I could create my end of the year reading stats with more information than probably anyone needs to know. But more so, it was for me to keep an eye on the types of books I read and notice things like trends or gaping holes in my reading habits.
My spreadsheet from 2019 looked like this…
(though the complete version is a lot longer than this)
And my 2020 spreadsheet, so far, looks like this:
I’ll go through each of the columns and talk about what each means and why I include each category.
Rating: what I rated the book, out of five stars. Since Goodreads doesn’t track half star ratings, this will give me a better sense of my average rating throughout the year.
Pages: how long are the books that I’m reading? Am I mostly picking up novellas? Or have I read lots of 500+ page tomes?
Publication year: it’s nice to see whether I’m reading more frontlist or backlist books. Much of the time these days, it’s frontlist.
Genre: this one can get a bit murky, especially once we get into genre overlaps like historical fantasy. I try to keep these pretty broad, like “fantasy,” “contemporary,” “sci-fi,” etc.
Age group: adult vs. YA vs. middle grade. What age group am I reading the most from? (The answer is usually YA.)
Author gender: I tend to read more female authors anyway, and this column helps me keep track of that. In 2019, I went several months without reading any male authors at all, which was pretty cool.
Author race: this is a new category for me this year, since I want to be more deliberate in picking up authors of color. I think this will probably be one of the more difficult columns to keep track of.
Publisher: since I do want to work in publishing at some point, I like to keep track of which publishers put out which books. I usually go by publishing house first, with the imprint in parentheses.
Series or standalone: abbreviated S or S-A, this helps me keep track of whether or not I’m keeping up with series.
Source: where did I get the book that I read? For the most part, the options are “library,” “bought,” “NetGalley/Edelweiss,” or “borrowed.”
Format: did I read it as a physical book, an ebook, an audiobook, or a graphic novel? (I know that graphic novels are pretty much the same thing as physical books, but I didn’t have anywhere else to keep track of them.)
Reread: this is either a yes or a no: was this book a reread? I tend to reread a lot of books, and this helps me keep track of exactly how many.
ARC: another yes/no, about whether or not I read this book as an ARC.
Debut: was this book a debut for the author? I keep track of this whether or not it’s a debut from that year, so if I read a debut book from 2017 in 2020, I’ll still mark it as yes.
Number of days to read: how long did it take me to read the book? This is always interesting to look at and see if it correlates with how much I enjoyed the book or how busy my life was at the time.
I’ll also have a month-by-month breakdown off to the side…
…where I’ll track how many books I read each month, the total I’ve read so far in the year, and my average rating for the month.
So that’s my system! It makes me feel organized. It’s not hard to keep up with, since most of this information is easily available on Goodreads, and it allows to calculate things like averages and sort by different categories.
Do you track your reading? Do you use Goodreads or some other method? What kind of stats do you like to track?