I’m a Little Too Organized: How I Track My Read Books, ARCs, and TBR with, You Guessed it, Google Spreadsheets

Sometimes, I can be a little too organized.

SOMETIMES. Pretty much every aspect of my life is unorganized or messy, because I’m lazy and have no motivation to clean or organize.

Except!! With books!!!

Looking at my spreadsheets makes me a bit overwhelmed but also really proud that I’ve been able to create something like them. The most details I track have to be from my read books. I don’t really do anything much with my ARCs and TBR??

But I thought it would be fun to show you all how my 2018 reading spreadsheets look like and explain what I’m tracking. I might even do a tutorial on how I created mine, since there are some things I was confused about and had to Google??

(Also, I was inspired to make these spreadsheets after seeing Fadwa’s incredible post on how she manages to keep track of her reading and blogging so be sure to check her post out and give her a well-deserved follow!!)

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READ BOOKS

This is my favorite spreadsheet! It’s how I keep track of the books I’ve read this year, and all the details about it, like the author, genre, age group, publication year, origin, and more.

And I KNOW I CAN USE GOODREADS. But I track a lot more details in my spreadsheet, especially the types of diversity in each book, since that’s something really important to me.

My spreadsheet is really long width-wise because I have a lot of details I wanted to track (mainly diversity aspects) so here screenshots of how I tracked my first 28 reads of 2018.

(if my eyes-that-need-glasses can see this, your eyes can too. but if it’s REALLY too small, click on it and then it’ll hopefully open up into a new tab as a larger image!)

As you can see I really suck at keeping track of novel lengths. Partly because I 1) forget to check how many pages there are before returning the library book and 2) I don’t know how many pages long it is when it’s an ebook???

It’s also REALLY obvious that I read mostly YA and get books from the library. I love being broke. (And by free download, I don’t mean sites where you download books’ epubs or something! I mean like, actual free downloads, from a site like Riveted! Or a site like Tor.com where you can read short stories for free!)

Usually the books I read are hardcover, because they’re from the library and libraries buy hardcovers! And a majority of the books I read are published in like 2017 and 2018 because I like to Keep Up With The The Hype. There are some published before 2017 but are pretty much all after 2010! Except for stupid To Kill a Mockingbird which I had to read for school.

Here is where I start tracking whether books are diverse or not, and I’m really proud to have only read 2 non-diverse books. To Kill a Mockingbird DOES have black people, but it’s a book about racism in the Civil Rights era? So it HAS to include black people? I don’t know, I just don’t feel comfortable calling it diverse.

The second non-diverse book was Isle of Blood and Stone. I genuinely could not find any mention of a marginalized character in the ARC and I hoped it changed in the final copy because books published in 2018 should ALL be diverse.

I don’t make a huge effort to find out whether a book is ownvoices or not, because, like I discussed recently, I don’t want to pry into an author’s business to find whether or not they are marginalized, and if so, in what ways. (Hence all the 0s/blank spaces in the “author” spaces both in this screenshot and the one above, as well as in the “ownvoices” space!)

However, if a book IS ownvoices and/or the author IS marginalized and I don’t have to pry to know that, then I want to recognize the book and/or them for it! So the option is there but not something I take seriously, if that makes sense?

Lots of female authors. Lots of 3rd person POVs (THANK GOD). A surprising amount of dual-POV books? I’m surprised. I really haven’t been looking at this spreadsheet lmao.

And now we get into tracking the specific diverse rep! I make sure to differentiate between marginalized main characters and marginalized side characters. Because if you have two side characters of color and every one else including the main character is white… well, I can’t explain it but it’s just something I want to keep track of.

Here’s the last of my diverse-rep-tracking! (I should really make a separate abuse rep column.) Some of the rep that I’m tracking, like Asian rep, bi rep, ace-spec rep, anxiety rep, and depression rep, are my specific identities, so I want to note which books have that kind of rep!

(It makes me sad to see all these 0s. We need to do better!!!!)

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ARCs

Okay, so my ARC spreadsheet is really confusing and I don’t even keep track of it that much but I wanted to show it anyway! It’s like… a combination of me trying to keep track of the books I want to request from publishers and also what ARCs I need to read and review and when. Confusing.

(I’m sorry for blocking out the emails but I’m paranoid that I’m going to get in trouble for posting them publicly!!!! Even though I probably won’t.)

The last two books were offered to me by the author so I don’t have that kind of publishing info, since that’s only necessary for me when requesting ARCs!

(YES I HAVE AN ARC OF CITY OF GHOSTS. SCREAMING FOREVER.)

As you can see, it’s a combination of ARCs to request and what ARCs need reading & reviewing. It would have been much more organized to do separate spreadsheets??? But I’m WAY TOO LAZY. And not smart.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it would have been SO much better to do separate spreadsheets. I’ve requested more ARCs than just those four and yet,,,

I’m pretty sure that all my pending requests are actually… hughghhguh how to put this lightly… REJECTED. (I’m fine, I’m fine, just going to cry for the next four months until I can read Blanca y Roja.)

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TBR

Okay, it’s a misleading name: It’s more like,,, keeping track of books I want to read in certain months. I don’t actually track my huge TBR in a spreadsheet because that’s what Goodreads is for. Can you ever imagine me being organized and motivated enough to do something like that?????

(IT’S READABLE, OKAY. BARELY, BUT READABLE.)

So as you can see, I really suck at monthly TBRs! Except for this month, even though I have had the opportunity to read other amazing books and sadly had to… pass…

I’m pretty much a HUGE mood reader, so I pick up whatever I’m feeling at the moment. And I also just go with whatever’s available at my library, and I don’t plan what specific books I’m getting from the library. (But I also have a kinda-TBR because of my library books? Since I don’t like returning unread books? I mean I don’t LIKE it but I end up doing it a lot.)

But there are certain books I plan on reading for specific months, like Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. It’s become my tradition to reread it every year in December okay. So I want to keep track of that! And for something like Pride month, it’s nice to see all the books I plan to read in one spot.

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REALLY USELESS WISHLIST

The reason I didn’t put this in the title of my blog post is because it’s really useless. I rarely buy books (I’m unprivileged to be broke but privileged to have access to books without having to buy them!), and a lot of the books I WANT to buy are releasing later in the year?

(Too lazy to take a new screenshot atm but actually, Blanca y Roja and What If It’s Us are both releasing on October 9, so 1) rip my money and 2) ignore my incorrect release date for B&R.)

I TOLD YOU IT WAS SHORT.

I was blessed to get one of my most anticipated releases from another blogger (The Astonishing Color of After) and the other from the publisher (Girls of Paper and Fire) so that leaves just Blanca y Roja and What if It’s Us!

And I never got to buy Six of Crows (while I have Crooked Kingdom) and I REALLY. WANT. IT. And I really loved Simon Vs. and it’s so rereadable that I want to buy it!

(I also want to get the rest of the PJO books that I don’t own but also. do I really need them.*)

*Do I really NEED to buy any book???? (Yes.)


shall we chat

are you as organized as me? (it’s just an illusion) do you track your read books like this? or just use goodreads? or another way? do you have a to-buy book wishlist? what books are on it? and DO YOU WANT A TUTORIAL ON HOW I MADE THESE SPREADSHEETS??? i’m running out of post ideas

blog signoff

104 thoughts on “I’m a Little Too Organized: How I Track My Read Books, ARCs, and TBR with, You Guessed it, Google Spreadsheets

  1. I am NOT this organized. I have a book planner and I keep Goodreads lists. But mostly, it’s just all in my head. And I don’t keep track of rep? I have general ideas and I definitely know what rep I haven’t read.
    Your organization is just incredible!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I could never keep track of it in my head (even though I don’t read that many books)!! And yeah same, usually I know what rep there is in a book, but I just like to track it anywhere and have a visual representation of it. 😊

      Like

  2. I love this post! For years now I’ve used a Booktuber’s (Brock @ Let’s Read) spreadsheet that he updates every year for us to use, and it gives me life, organization, AND ALL THE PRETTY CHARTS! But I love the ones you’ve made so very much, babe! As for keeping track of my arcs, I use my bullet journal, because coloring the boxes also gives me life and makes me feel fake accomplished! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I think I looked at those spreadsheets when I saw you mention using them! I might use them next year, especially since I have to make my own charts and graphs. 😭 MEL! I didn’t know you had a bullet journal!! You’re going to have to show me some pictures of it 😍

      Like

      1. Hehe! I will send you pictures once I’m home but…. I’m not the most artistic person in the world, fair warning! Hahaha! And yeah, I love Brock’s spreadsheets EXCEPT for the diversity drop down, just because if there is more than one type you just put “combo” but at the end of the year I wanna see EXACTLY what I read, you know? But I still completely recommend them, but yours is honestly amazing, love! 💗xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Holy crap I need to do this! (but I’m also lazy so idk if I could convince myself to do it…)

    Forgive the math nerd inside of me for breaking out to say this, but it would be sooooo interesting to take data like this and use it (by crafting a linear regression equation) to try to predict one’s rating for a book. Though there are a lot of categorical variables here so it might be a pain in the butt and not actually worth it, hmmmm…

    Lol sorry that wasn’t much of a comment and more of me just thinking on screen. But those spreadsheets are amazing, I’m so impressed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YOU CAN DO IT!! I believe in you! The hardest part is starting the spreadsheet, honestly, keeping up with it is fun (at least for me 😂).

      Ah, no, you’re fine!! I’m not much of a math fan but it would be SUPER cool to predict a rating for a book (though I think I can predict that without any complicated math 😂). Thank you! ❤

      Like

  4. OOOH this is all so organized!! I have the same problem with page numbers in e-books, but a handy-dandy trick (that sounded so cheesy) is to go to Google the book and go to Amazon and see the page amount listed in the information section, if that makes sense??
    Also, A++ ON THE DIVERSITY!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! The spreadsheets you’ve made are so detailed and impressive!

    I love staying organized like this and making lists of things in general. I started using Google spreadsheets awhile ago and I really like it. Mine are still in progress. I have 6 sheets (Reading + TBR; Wishlist; Manga Wishlist; Manga Read by Volume; 2018 Releases; 2019 Releases) and I may add more lol.

    I would very much appreciate a tutorial because its honestly trickier than I thought it’d be. You’d think that Google would have made their own tutorial but I guess not ?? 🤷 Sorry for the long post btw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AAHH THANK YOU SO MUCH!! And yes, I’m not usually organized in any other area of my life so why not in reading? 😂 Ooh, your spreadsheets sound really great!! I would do a 2018 & 2019 releases spreadsheet but I already have so many on my Goodreads shelves that I think it would be too much work 😂

      Ooh, thanks for the input! I think I’ll be making a tutorial post, since so many people have expressed interest in that! 😊 But yeah I had to google a lot of things to make my spreadsheets…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow this is absolutely incredible and amazing!! I have a reading log (to keep track of the books I’m reading) on google sheets, but it’s definitely not as organized or comprehensive as your spreadsheets haha. (I also use Goodreads to organize the books I’m reading/want to read, but I don’t have a lot of shelves.) And I’d definitely be interested in seeing a tutorial on how you made these spreadsheets! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much! ❤ And detailed or not, all spreadsheets are cool! Yes, Goodreads pretty much keeps track of my read/want-to-read books, but I just go a little more in depth for my read books in my spreadsheets! 😊 And aahh that's good to hear! I'll probably be making a tutorial post ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MAYYYY!!!! This is so organised and smol and I love it. I’m not organised at all but you have given me a purpose to live (other than SoC 3). I must go put all my books into a spread sheet now. *Thinks about getting up* *Starts to get up* *Gives up* Oh well. Maybe later. Your spreadsheets are so detailed and I love them aaghhh. Riveted is actually so good. I read 3 Pride Books through it! (Because my library actually doesn’t seem to have any?!?!? Or maybe I’m just looking in the wrong place? Hmm) And it’s so sad that there’s so little diversity! I Know. Every book published recently should at least have a bit of diversity! High five for being a mood reader! Omg I have so many books I want to buy. Can I buy them? No. I need SoC as well and tCK. I love spreadsheets and organisation!! xx❤️😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AAAHH thank you so so much, Kerys! I’m glad someone loves my spreadsheets as much as I do. 😂 And I hope you can find some motivation to make spreadsheets! They’re so much fun ahaha.

      Riveted is amazing!! I’ve read all the books Riveted provided for Pride (except for one, which is one I don’t plan on reading) and I’m so happy Riveted chose those books! And yes, every book should have at least some SMALL bit of diversity. It’s the smallest thing you can do to make your book realistic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. NOO PROBLEM!! Spreadsheets are just awesome! I made an arc one and a books I’ve read one! It was so exciting (i’m weird) but I didn’t know how to do all the formatting and stuff till I looked it up! Maybe you could do a post on it?

        It is so great!! I’ve read quite a few as well! They’re all so gooooooddd!!! Aristotle and Dante is amazing!! I’m so excited I got to read them!! That is honestly so true!In some books everyone’s like white and no. That just doesn’t happen even if you’re in future America where everyone usually looks the same. xx❤️😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m definitely not this organized, but I do keep track of 2 things on my spreadsheet: the first one is my read books, and the second one is my 2018 releases. The funny thing is, the 2018 lists is so different from all the ARCs I got, sooo…. My tbr just keeps growing uncontrollably. I keep my trackers simple as tracking too much stuff usually ended up overwhelming me! I just track whether it’s an arc or not, the format, and the age group 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, those are both two very good things to keep track of in spreadsheets! (I would keep track of future releases but I think I would get overwhelmed. 😂) And it’s good that you only track a little bit! I know for me it isn’t super overwhelming, but like I said, tracking releases would be way over my head. 😂

      Like

  9. I love this post! I’m also organised when it comes to books, and I also track my reading in a spreadsheet. It’s very inspirational to see how you’ve done it with your reading. I do keep track of diversity but not to the same extent you do. For me it’s just one column in which I write down what kind of diversity a book has (or ‘no’ if it doesn’t have any), ie. a type of mental illness, PoC, LGBTQIAA+, etc. I also write it down if there is a character with autism, I have autism and ADD, so that’s something that’s important to me.

    For my book collection I use a progam called Book Collector, in which I keep track of all sorts of different statistics of the books I own (both read and unread). Since a while ago they let you add your own type of statistics to keep track of, so I’ve included the weirdest things such as ‘how many words are in the title of this book’ and ‘cover colour’ and ‘spine colour’. I also track diversity in there, with different checkboxes (like your 0’s and 1’s) for different types of diversity.

    I would love a post tutorial on how you make your spreadsheets. I’m always looking to learn more about how to do certain things in spreadsheets or what else to add to mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aaahh, I’m so glad you track reading in a spreadsheet as well!! It’s so much fun ahaha. Your way of tracking diversity is great too! I like to have mine a little spread out personally so I can see how many different marginalizations were included. 😊

      Ooh, that seems like such a cool program! I haven’t heard of it and I think Goodreads is my Book Collector, but it’s so cool that you can add your own stats to it! And thank you so much! I’m planning on writing a tutorial soon so I hope you enjoy it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow that is amazing!! I have a spreadsheet that basically lists books in the order I read them (going back a good 12 or so years), but these days I mostly use Goodreads. I do like the way you’ve organised yours those…it’s given me a few ideas… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my good I need this in my life. I’ve been making a yearly list of what I read since about 2013 but this takes it to a whole new level.
    Your spreadsheet is beautiful. Yes I said it. I love me a good spreadsheet. We’re all nerds here 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Can I just say that your spreadsheets are ABSOLUTE GOALS??? Seriously, I try SO hard (okay, maybe not as hard as I COULD) to be organized but all I have to keep track of reading is Goodreads (omg when it was having issues the other day with books read it felt like my entire lifeline had been cut) and I have a word document where I put books I need to read (ARCs, sent for review, NetGalley, etc.) and that’s IT. I don’t even keep it as updated as I should ergh… Maybe if I just write it down on paper and tape it to my wall it’ll be easier (OMG MAYBE I SHOULD DO THAT) Spreadsheets and lists are so satisfying to see though and it is nice to have something organized to count on even if the rest of your life seems like it isn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SAVANNAH!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH 💛💛 Yeah, I only rely solely on Goodreads for my TBR! (I would… die if something happened that made all my to-read books disappear.) A lot of my shelves on Goodreads are things I have in my spreadsheets. 😂 And aahh I really need to do something for my ARCs!! I’m not very organized in that section lmaooo. And YES. I don’t have any kind of organization anywhere else but in reading

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Before reading this post I thought I was organised. I use spreadsheets to keep track of the books I’ve read and a lot of blogging related things as well (so what posts I have saved in my drafts folder, what tags I still need to take part in and what future TTT themes there) but compared to what you’ve created that’s nothing.
    I am completely in awe of this post May (and kind of jealous you have a City of Ghosts ARC, I really hope you love it and I’ll be keeping a close eye out for your review for it as well). I think this is a great way to keep track of everything and I love the focus you’re putting on the diversity in the books you read and the authors as well. 🙂
    I love spreadsheets, I may have to adapt some of mine to see if I can keep up with your level of organisation here! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha Beth I’m sure you’re still very organized!! (For example: You use spreadsheets for blogging and I do not. I’m in fact quite unorganized when it comes to blogging. 😂)

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! (And omg I almost screamed when I saw the package from Scholastic!) For some reason all these compliments about my spreadsheets make me feel so good haha 😂❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I have spreadsheets for pretty much every aspect of my life, they may not be as in depths but there’s a lot of them that’s for sure.
        That’s all right, and I’m sure you’re getting lots of compliments because they’re great spreadsheets! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  14. You are the queen of organization, May, I have no idea how you do this haha – I love your spreadsheets so much though, they look pretty amazing and ahhh. I only have one spreadsheet where I track my reads, and it’s only for ARCs – to know what I requested and to know what I should read, have read and should reviewed, etc. It’s ridiculously small but it helps me and makes me feel like I’m a good blogger somehow hahaha.
    I LOVE the wishlist idea – I have a wishlist too, but it’s already waiting on book depository, which is not a great idea. I mean…. just a couple clicks and I can buy it, it’s so dangerous for my book budget hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! (But I’m not organized in any other aspect of my life so maybe just Queen of Reading Organization 😂) And aahh a lot of people seem to use spreadsheets for their ARCs! I think I’ll have to make a better spreadsheet for ARCs next year :’)

      Omg noooo, don’t do that Marie! Your wishlist should be far far away from any place you can buy those books from 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I wish I was as organized as you are when it comes to tracking books, its contents, and their ratings! Yours are SO aesthetically pleasing. I do have the same weird organizational habit as you, though– I did make a five page guide on how to throw a party for teenaged library volunteers (plus an additional three pages of spreadsheets of all the pizza places in town detailing links, pizza sizes, and delivery options) and did spend four hours meticulously organizing a closet filled with college stuff. Also, YES PLEASE on that tutorial!!!

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | http://story-eyed.com

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ahh, this is an amazing post, May! I’m kinda the opposite of you organizationally- I’m super organized in everything except books (in which I mostly just use Goodreads and hope for the best).😂This post inspired me to do this next year, though! I love how you’re tracking all the diversity in books, I should do that if I decide to also use spreadsheets. And I’d love to see a tutorial!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Olivia! Ahaha, we complement each other well — I’m organized in nothing BUT books!! 😂 I wish you all the luck in the world if you decide to make spreadsheets next year ❤ And yes, I think I'm definitely going to do a tutorial post soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This gives me organisation flutters 😬😬
    I have a spreadsheet for my arcs and I used to have one for the books I wanted to buy, now you’ve got me wanting to keep track again! You’ve given me so many ideas 😍 thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I keep track mostly using Goodreads. But I also need a much better way of tracking my ARCs because I’ve missed so many deadlines bc I can’t keep on top of things 🤦🏻‍♀️ but that’s also bc I’m a huge mood reader too! And tracking diverse reads is such a neat idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh my gosh YES SPREADSHEETS! I have one for read book, one for ARCs, one for TBR/wishlist, and one for blog posts! I would be so lots without all my spreadsheets lol. And I keep track of lots of different things for my read books, including certain types of rep. But I use my ARC sheet more to keep track of if I’ve read the book, if I’ve written the review, where I’ve posted the review so far (blog, GR, Amazon), and if I’ve sent in my review. Anyway, yay organization!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, those are GREAT spreadsheets!! (I’m glad to see they’re similar to mine, kinda! 😂) Ah thank you for the ideas for the ARCs spreadsheet! I’ll have to do something similar to yours when I make a better spreadsheet next year 😂

      Like

  20. I see that you’ve joined the dark side 😂😂 i literally have spreadsheets for every part of my life and i’m not ashamed 💀 they just make my life so much easier!
    And I love yours, they’re so pretty and efficient!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I only use Goodreads to track my read books, but I do also have spreadsheets for ARCs and my TBR (also despite being a mood reader). AND I FIND IT AWESOME THAT MY SPREADSHEET’S ALSO PINK. 😉 But I’m horrible at updating them, so… ~hides in shame~

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow, this spreadsheet is beautiful! I have started using one for my own books, but it isn’t even half as detailed as this! I have always wondered if I should include a diversity section, but I haven’t quite got round to putting it in place (story of my life).

    I do like your ARC section too! I’ve only recently started getting a couple of ARCs and it would be good to have a section for them with a pub date, so at least I know when I *should* be reading.

    Well done on creating such a fabulous grid, and with all those tick-boxes/formulae! Bookish goals~

    Like

  23. WOW MAY I AM IN AWE THIS IS NOT ONLY SUPER ORGANISED BUT ALSO SO PRETTY AND NICE TO LOOK AT?? I started to make spreadsheets for my blog planning after I saw Fadwa’s post, but they’re nothing like yours lol

    Like

  24. oh boy, oh boy……… that’s so organized!!! im honestly in awe
    i just make myself a lot of shelves on gr and call it a day :<<<< the only thing i actually keep track of are my arcs but even that i don't do as often as i should lmao

    Like

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