Posted by: Jeanie F | December 28, 2009

Keeping Track of the TBR Titles

I think many of us come across more intriguing book titles than we can actually get around to reading. In fact, this is sort of the impetus for my blog title – Too Many Books, Too Little Time! I’ve been struggling with this lately – how to keep track of the interesting titles that I want to read and not have them lost due to my poor memory.

I’ve been considering a few options:

– Getting a journal to list them

– Starting an Excel spreadsheet

– Starting genre pages here on my blog

– Keeping a list on Library Thing or Good Reads

Do any of you have a great way that you keep track of the books you plan to get around to when you have the time?


  1. Hi, I have a Kindle and download the sample. I also just buy them and shelve them.

  2. I use the samples on my Kindle, too, for books that are available in that format. It’s a great way to decide whether or not I want the book!!

  3. Managing the various technologies does get tricky! But managing them all is the key, which I’ve just adopted a strategy (via my blogs) that works for me.

  4. I’ve done them all. I keep a master list on an excel spreadsheet, and also list them in the To Read collection on LT (if I own them) or wishlist or lil (look in library) collecions if I just want to find them. It’s easy then to see what challenge they will go into and post them when read.

    PS = love the snowfalling on your blog!

    • Thanks for the suggestions! BTW – the snow falling is a widget that is provided by WordPress. Kind of fun for the holidays!

  5. I created a separate page on my blog with a Virtual TBR pile. It lists the books and the source of how I found out about it. I like having a more annotated record from a trusted source. I use the OpenBooks widget (wordpress) to minimize keystroking. Check it out.

    • I’ve never seen the OpenBooks widget – will definitely check it out!

  6. I have a gigantic wishlist on where I keep a list of books I want to read.

    • That’s a great idea – I’ve seen that option on, but never really thought about using it to keep track of books I’m interested in exploring. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. I record information in The Book Lust Journal, available in several versions on places like Amazon, with suggestions for even further reading. Before that time, I tore out reviews or other notes and put them in a file folder. It is old fashioned, but I found I had trouble finding time to even keep up with that effort at times. At some point I decided to keep a few titles with me at all times is OK, and I do not need to record everything to be read or read.

    • Haley, I’ll have to check out Book Lust Journal. Thanks for the suggestion!

  8. I have been trying to figure out the best way to keep track of this, too. A friend of mine gave me a journal that has three sections – one for books loaned, one for favorite books read, and one for books to read. That is good, except when I can’t find it because my two year old took it and used it for her coloring book…

    I’d love to see your various ideas once you get a big list.

  9. I adore GoodReads for just this purpose. When I’m ready to start requesting a new batch of library books I just visit my GoodReads “To-Read” shelf and start looking from the oldest date for the list.

    I also just list the first of series, so I usually end up spending a bit of time on making sure there are no other books to follow up, and if there are, making sure to request them as well!

    Took me about 4 months to get a working system, but it works really well for me and I end up reading around 35-40 books a month without any interruption of wondering what to read next.

    • Wow – 35 – 40 books a month??? It’s taken me all month to get halfway through Wolf Hall! I’m impressed!

      It looks like keeping a list on GoodReads or LibraryThing is the way to go. Thanks for your input!

  10. I use LibraryThing to keep track of my TBR list as well as the list I have already read. This allows me to have access to my TBR list and my read list wherever I can access the Internet. I like the idea of keeping a journal and have done this in the past, but it isn’t searchable and I sometimes don’t have it with me.

    • I have the same problem with the Excel spreadsheet – don’t have it with me when I need it! Maybe I’ll start tattooing my TBR list on my arm!

      Right now I use GoodReads AND LibraryThing, which is a little cumbersome. I think I need to choose one and stick to it. Thanks for sharing your recommendation!

      • The other option, if you like using a spreadsheet is using something like Google Docs which you can access from anywhere and share. 🙂

    • Bingo! The spreadsheet idea is perfect for me (see my reply to Shonda)! Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. I’ve been thinking about this too. Like you, I prefer to have my TBR List accessible when I’m at the library or book store. I finally decided to keep it in an Excel spreadsheet. I have columns for authors’ names, titles, series, date added to list, where I saw it, if the library owns it, etc. I started keeping track in LibraryThing initially, but not sure if I will keep this up (it’s bit repetitive). My work around is saving my spreadsheet to my iDisk. I have the iDisk app on my iPhone so I can access my spreadsheet that way.

    • Great minds work alike (the great minds being yours and Becky’s)! After reading Becky’s comment, I set up a spreadsheet in Google Docs, which I can view on my new Droid (Verizon’s answer to the iPhone), and it works like a charm. I made the same columns you made (except not a column for “series”). I think this may really work for me, since my phone is always with me. Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. I keep a master list in excel, and then a hand-written one. Oh and I do have a pile on my desk of books I’ve not read yet, I don’t shelf them until I do.


    • If I did that, I wouldn’t ever be able to see my desk!! You must have tremendous self-control when it comes to buying books!

  13. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of titles I want to find. I also have a large wish list on Paperback Swap.
    Often I find myself in book stores looking at titles of books I cannot buy at the time. I take a picture with my cell phone then transfer the title to my spreadsheet. This way I will not forget what I saw.

    • I would have NEVER thought to take a picture with my cell phone – what a great idea! That happens to me all the time in bookstores – and now I’ll know how to solve the problem. I usually end up buying the book so I don’t forget – this could save me a ton of money.

  14. On my blog I have a TBR page and a Wish List page.

    The TBR page are books that I own that I haven’t read yet. When I buy new books i will just add them to this list.

    In terms of books that I want to read, thats harder to keep track of. I have the wish list page on my blog, but i actually find that it is better to have a list in my wallet for when I end up at a book shop.

    So I have a couple of a4 pages that I have folded up really small in my wallet, and whenever someone recommends a book to me i write it on that and cross them out as i purchase them. that way if i am in a bookshop i can look at my iwsh list and figure out what i want.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: