Happy Sunday y’all! I’m hoping that today can be a lazy day around our house. It’s hotter than hot outside and this is one of our last few Sundays before we start the back to school grind. Except in our case it’ll be the start of school grind. I’m a ball of anxiety thinking about sending Elle to Kindergarten. Not because it means she’s growing up (though, wahhhhhhh), but because of how much more juggling it will add to our days. But, let’s not talk about that today.
Keeping a Book Catalog Spreadsheet
Earlier this week Goodreads rolled out a new webpage format. While I have tried and tried throughout the years to get onboard with Goodreads, I just can’t seem to keep up with it. Part of it is the daunting idea of adding my entire backlog of books into the database and the other part is the lack of half stars. Yes, my biggest hangup with Goodreads is that I cannot use 3.5 or 4.5 stars to rate a book. Put into percentages, there’s a huge difference between 60%, 80%, and 100%. I want to use 70% and 90%!
Years and years ago, I briefly shared my method for cataloging books and talking with a few gals on twitter this week prompted me to finally share again and in a little more detail. Book Nerd Alert! Though, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you can relate in some shape or fashion.
Once upon a time, I was able to hold all of my books on a single shelf in my bedroom. I didn’t pay much attention to what I read or which books I owned. When I was a high school senior, a teacher asked us to write down all of the books we had read that year for pleasure. I was surprised at the list that I came up with and this started my habit of tracking books that I had read.
A few years later, my great-aunt passed away. She had the most amazing library in her home. I loved visiting her and just scanning through her bookshelves at the treasures she had. When she died, she had roughly 10,000 books in her home. One of her nephews cataloged all of her books for her and each niece and nephew received a list to select a few books to keep. I loved the idea of this list so much that I created my own list of books that I owned. And the book catalog was born.
I started using Access but transferred everything to Excel a few years later. Each of the spreadsheets below can be enlarged for easier viewing. I’ve thought about transferring each to Google Docs, but honestly I can’t be bothered.
Tracking Bookish Data
I keep track of the title, the author, binding, publication date, the edition I own, the genre, source, date received/bought, how much I spent, and the date that I finished the book. One thing I wish I had kept track of is the publisher as I think this would be fascinating to analyze, but with almost 600 books in my house I can’t imagine going back now. The source, date received, and cost are all columns that I added after reading the comments on my original post in 2009. I’ve definitely become much better about not buying so many books. At least physical ones. You’ll see I have a tab for e-books as well.
Types of Media Tracked
I have a separate spreadsheet for audiobooks and ebooks. While not all of the columns from the Books spreadsheet is applicable, I’ve added in a few other columns. One thing I would love to add to my Audiobook spreadsheet is narrator. But just like adding the publisher, who has time!
While I am better at listening to my audiobooks than I am reading my ebooks, keeping spreadsheets of both helps keep me on track. I love to sort by the “Date Read/Listened” column so that I can see which of my oldest books I still haven’t read.
The Books Read Tab
It wasn’t until much after creating my original spreadsheet that I thought to create a tab for books that I’ve read. Before this, my list was either on my blog or just included the books I had read from my own library. Thankfully this was most of my books as I rarely borrow from friends or the library, but it definitely wasn’t a complete record. This became a bigger problem when I started culling my shelves and didn’t have the books I had finished in my “books” tab anymore.
I started by copying the books I had finished from my “books” tab and then tried to fill in the holes where I could. Now when I finish a book, I copy the line from one tab to the other. The trick with using a books, audiobooks, and ebook spreadsheet is making sure that the columns line up with one another. Sometimes I have to do a minor bit of formatting, but I’m despite the trouble, I’m glad to have a full list of books I’ve read now.
It’s not a perfect system, but it works well for my needs!
So, crazytown Trish? The hardest part is keeping up with it, especially the past few years. Adding books hasn’t been as bad now that I’m not accepting ARCs, going to library sales, and most of my acquisition is through the ereader, but I still get behind. I still find it easier to input here than in an online database and I love that I can sort by alpha, or publication date, or genre, date acquired, date read, etc. I can filter for how many books I’ve read in a certain year or for how many books I’ve received from a publicist.
Does any of it really matter? No–not really. But Book Nerds gonna Nerd Out, right?
Do you keep a list of all of the books in your library/books that you’ve read? How do you keep track?
Books Recently Finished: I can’t remember the last time I talked about books finished? In July I listened to I Am Legend and read/listened to The Fireman by Joe Hill. Earlier this week I read Confess by Colleen Hoover for book club. It’s been a busy couple of months with a bit of reading here and there on the side. Hello summer!
New Books on my E-Reader: Oh dear. The Nazi Officer’s Wife, The Girls, A Little Life, Unlatched, Sophie’s Choice. Four of these were Kindle deals.
Books on the Nightstand: Should I say IN the nightstand? I started Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer at the end of June but put it down when I needed to read The Fireman. Then I needed to read Confess for book club and was up against a library deadline. So it’s still sitting in my bedside table drawer. Along with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko–both which I set aside for some reason or another. I’m slowly making my way through Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (mostly on my phone) and The Cuckcoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (on audio).
What’s going on in your world lately–bookish or otherwise?
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