Keeping Track Of Books – How I Do It

Earlier today I posted my Monthly Reading Roundup where I list all the books I read (or listened to) during the previous month. I always enjoy doing that post because I love stats and it’s fun to look back on the month at what I read. Being a bit of a stats hound I’m always looking for a better way to keep track of…well…everything. But I especially like keeping track of my books.

Occasionally someone will ask me how I do it. Everyone always assumes I keep a master spreadsheet. I hate to disappoint my fellow stats lovers, but I have no master spreadsheet. How is that possible you ask? How do I post lists like this if I have no spreadsheet? Well, I do use excel but I don’t keep a master spreadsheet. I use GoodReads to keep track of what I’ve read, and what I want to read. It’s really handy and I like having all my bookshelves in one place without having to type it all out. Just a few clicks and my shelves are updated.

One of my favorite features about GoodReads is that I can export my data to a .csv file which I can open in Excel.  I know, I told you I don’t keep a master spreadsheet and I don’t. I simply export my books into a spreadsheet each month for my Reading Roundup post, sort the data, delete the irrelevant columns, then copy and paste into my blog post. It’s a snap and only takes a few minutes.

Here is how I export my GoodReads data:

Go to GoodReads and click on “my books” on the navigation bar at the top of the page. Next, click on “import/export” in the left hand column.

Then, you’ll see this:

Click the “export to a csv file” link and save your file.  [Warning: This will export all the books in your database so if yours is massive be prepared.] Then simply open with Excel or whatever software you have that can open a csv file. I tried opening the document with Google docs. The formatting was off and would have taken forever to fix so I just use Excel. If you don’t have Excel, Open Office works great and it’s free. Once I have my spreadsheet I sort, then copy and past whatever info I need from it. I don’t save the spreadsheets each month, although I think downloading a cvs file and saving it now and then for back up purposes might be a good idea. If something crazy ever happened at GoodReads and your info got deleted, you could upload your data from the .csv file.

So, that’s how I do my once a month Reading Roundup  and Yearly Roundup posts, quick and easy. Do you have another way keeping track and posting your lists on your blog? If so, please share!



  1. says

    I’m still entering my books in both GRs and LibraryThing because I love how the library works (searching, organization, viewing options, fields that get exported, etc) in LT, but I love the social aspect of GRs… and the social aspects are much enhanced by having your books in there, y’know.

    Also, I might be about the only m/m romance reader left standing in LT…

  2. says

    Awww it warms my heart I found another geek like me. Did you know I have a minor in Math? Geeks unite!! Sometimes I like to download my GR data just so I can stare at it in Excel and marvel at the beauty of a spreadsheet.

  3. says

    @Chris: What? No m/m readers at LT? Sup with that? Do I need to sprinkle some rainbow glitter over there or something? Because I will. :)

    @Samantha: Oh so maybe I do download my data just to look at it now and then. You got me.

    @Catherine: Honestly I don’t think I could without goodreads. I’m not disciplined enough to keep an accurate spreadsheet but GR makes it so easy.

    @Jennifer@The Book Nympho: If I could I would but I like that I can scan books with my phone to add them to GR etc. I’m lazy. LOL

  4. says

    I absolutely adore Goodreads. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if they shut down for some reason. I would be totally lost! lol

  5. says

    That whole post sounded like Charlie Brown’s teachers…which means I do it old-school: I write down each book in my book journal as I read it and hope I don’t forget any. Low-tech – that’s me!

    I like goodreads for the social aspect, to look up books. I really need to find my way into the 21st century.

  6. says

    Okay, I had no clue about this goodreads feature. Here I am, making my life more difficult than it has to be because I have lists everywhere.

    Thank you so much for sharing this tip! I’m looking forward to trying it. ;)

  7. Meggerfly says

    I love goodreads for this exact reason! It’s so easy to use and keep track of books.