Conquering Your TBR Pile: 5 Great Ways To Track Your Reading!

Conquering Your TBR Pile: 5 Great Ways To Track Your Reading!

Let's be honest, the siren song of a new book is undeniable, that post bookstore high is very real, and as you eagerly crack open your new treasure and dive into the first chapter, a pang of guilt inevitably hits as you glace over at the towering TBR stack which has been gathering dust for months, and once again, that shiny new purchase bumps those poor neglected souls on down the bookshelf pile!

Luckily for us book lovers, there are now some great ways to keep on track with your reading goals and in this blog we're going to take you through our personal top 5. So, grab yourself a hot drink, settle in, and get ready to find your new favourite way to manage your TBR and keep yourself motivated!

1. Goodreads : The OG of Book Tracking

This one is a classic for a reason! Goodreads is a bookworm's paradise, letting you build virtual shelves of books you are reading, want to read, and have already read. You can rate and review books, discover hidden gems through recommendations, follow friends, and connect with a vibrant community of readers who share your passion for specific genres.

Despite all of it's obvious benefits, Goodreads isn't perfect and there are a few downsides to keep in mind:

  • Social comparison: Goodreads can become a bit of a breeding ground for feeling behind on your reading goals. Seeing friends amassing huge libraries can be motivational and even exciting for the competitive readers amongst us, but for many (especially those of us with busy lives, jobs, and/or children) it can also lead to discouragement and comparison when you can't keep up.
  • Unreliable ratings: Anyone can rate a book on Goodreads, whether they have actually read it or not. This can lead to inflated ratings for anticipated reads, as well as skewed scores on others due to negative biases. You will often see very different ratings for certain books on Goodreads than you will on Amazon, despite the app being Amazon owned.
  • Clunky Interface: While Goodreads offers many great features, the overall design and functionality haven't been significantly updated in recent years, and as a result can often lead to the app feeling a little slow and clunky at times.
  • Spoiler Issues: One of the main problems with Goodreads that I unfortunately discovered for myself the hard way, is that reviews aren't always spoiler-free, which can be a huge turn-off for readers who like to go into a book blind. I have on more than one occasion while halfway through a book, been scrolling through Goodreads reviews to read others perspectives on it, and come across big spoilers which were not marked as such, a huge no-no!

2. StoryGraph: The New Sheriff in Town?

 With Goodreads being the go-to platform for Bookworms for the past decade, it seemed unlikely that another app would try to steal it's crown, but a challenger has emerged! StoryGraph is the new book tracking app on the block and although still fairly unknown in comparison to Goodreads, it shows lots of potential. StoryGraph boasts a clean, modern interface which is super simple to navigate and a real joy to use. The best part... a DNF (did not finish) option as well as half star ratings! Finally a rating system that reflects the complexity of those books that you just couldn't make it through, as well as those that were great.. but not quite a 5 star read! StoryGraph is also a great space to connect with friends and other book lovers, while the focus stays firmly on the books themselves and less on the social aspect. It's biggest benefit is in the name itself, if you're a bit of a stats nerd this is definitely the app for you, it has graphs that break down your reading habits into bitesize pieces such as moods, ratings and pace, and because of this it's recommendations seem to be pretty finely tuned in for the reader.

Like Goodreads, no app is perfect (shhh, apart from you Pinterest) so here are the downsides to consider.

  • New Kid On The Block: Because StoryGraph is still a growing platform it can lack some of the features that Goodreads as accumulated over the years, such as large book communities as well as author and reader Q&A's
  • Indie Focused: While it's great to discover new hidden gems, StoryGraph does have a bias towards indie books, which may leave it a little more difficult for readers to spot the new mainstream releases everyone is talking about.
  • Networking: Whether you consider the large communities of Goodreads a pro or a con, making the switch to StoryGraph while your friends might still be on Goodreads, makes it much less convenient for following and sharing literary adventures with your book buddies.

3. The Humble iPhone Notes:

Sometimes, all you need is a good ol' fashioned list! The simple yet always effective notes app on your iPhone can be a surprisingly powerful reading tracker. Create yourself a reading adventures folder with different lists for different categories (genres, current reads, finished books, reviews, quotes and recommendations etc), and jot down your musings on each book. Simple, effective, and always in your pocket, so you can get those thoughts down wherever you are while they are still fresh in your mind.

4. LibraryThing: Organising Like A Pro

LibraryThing is a well-established online tool that caters to book lovers who enjoy detailed cataloging and it excels at in-depth book organisation.

Although the platform does have an app so you can still track on the go, this one is for those of you who prefer to use your desktop/laptop for book tracking as opposed to an app. You can add custom fields, track editions and formats, and tag specific aspects of a book. While by no means does it have the largest user base, LibraryThing fosters a more niche, community feel, and discussions tend to be in-depth and focused on specific interests. All that being said, LibraryThing is the lesser known of the 3 apps, and like the others, it does also have a few drawbacks.

  • Dated Interface: While some users are specifically looking for a simple, functional reading app, for others the visual design might feel outdated compared to more modern apps. You might like to make the comparison that LibraryThing has more of a feeling of pottering around a quaint, indie bookstore, while StoryGraph is more akin to the more modern, sleek Waterstones experience (or Barnes and Noble if you're stateside).
  • Focus on Cataloguing: While you can track your reading status, LibraryThing is more focused on detailed book organisation than features like setting reading goals, or finding your next 5 star read of the summer.
  • Steeper Learning Curve: The customisation options can be a little overwhelming for new uses and it might take some time to get comfortable with all the features.

Limited App: The mobile app has much fewer features compared to the web version, which you have to be taken to and out of the app to read things such as reviews and have access the community.


5. Soul Cat Studio Free Printable Reading Journal:

There's nothing quite like the satisfaction and focus that comes with classic pen to paper journaling, and while digital trackers offer convenience, the act of writing your thoughts, feelings, and reactions in physical form can create a deeper sense of connection to the books you read, and can make for a more enjoyable reading experience. 

For this reason we have created a Free reading journal for our book loving community that you can download, print and use to create your own physical reading tracker. In this file you will find a reading log, book review page, TBR, as well as a cover to keep it all looking as aesthetic as your bookshelves! With prompts for ratings, reviews and quotes, it's the perfect companion to enrich your reading experience and create a lasting record of your literary adventures.

To download the free Soul Cat Studio reading journal simply subscribe to our newsletter and you will receive an automatic reply with the PDF download link.


Ultimately, the best choice for you depends on your needs and preferences, (and how deep down the organisational rabbit hole you wish to go!) Why not give a few of the methods above a try and see what sparks the most bookish joy in you!

We'd love to hear from you in the comments and know how you keep track of your reading journey! Are you a digital devotee, or will pen and paper always be the undefeated champion? If you have any other methods or tips please feel free to share them below!



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