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6 Easy Tips to Manage Your TBR List

Last week I asked everyone how they managed their TBR lists in this post. While all of us love books and reading, not many of us had any firm ideas on how to manage our to-be-read lists.

The most common response to the post last week was: “Please let me know if you hear of any good ideas! My TBR is crazy too!” With so many people wondering how to manage the growing beast that is the TBR, I couldn’t just let this post go.

I did a bit of research and came up with some ideas to help us out! Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Use book sites to keep track of  your to-read list. If you’re not using Goodreads, LibraryThing or Shelfari as a way to keep track of the books you want to read, I highly recommend them! On Goodreads, when you view a book, there’s an “add to my books” button underneath the book image. Hover over the button and select the “to-read” label to add this book to your to-read list!
  • Export your TBR list from Goodreads to an Excel doc. If you already have a massive list of books to read listed on Goodreads, you can export the file to your computer as an Excel spreadsheet. Once you’re logged into Goodreads, go to the the “My Books” tab. On the left sidebar, click the “to-read” link.

Now, click the “import/export” link further down on the left sidebar under the heading “Tools.” Next, on the right sidebar, under “Export your books,” click “Export to a CSV file.” This may take some time if you have a ginormous list, but a doc will appear in your downloads folder with your TBR list! Voila!

  • Sort books by review deadline or publication date. Whether they’re physical books or e-copies, keep a list of books you want to read and sort them by the date that they’ll be published. They can be listed in different columns in a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet, but sort the books with the closest publication date at the top of the list. Most NetGalley publishers request that ARC reviews be posted within a month of the book’s publication, so I make sure to list these books at the top of my list so that I don’t miss the deadlines.
  • Schedule reviews weeks (or even months) in advance. Write down publications dates and book titles in your Google calendar, on a physical calendar, in a spreadsheet or by any other method you prefer. I’ve already written down the books I want to review for the next two weeks on the calendar hanging in my kitchen. This way I can visually keep track of the books coming down the pike and plan for new ones that pop up. Plus, it gives me the satisfaction of physically checking off reviews, which gives me endless joy.
  • Review an older book on your TBR once a month. Find a book that’s been sitting in your TBR for ages and incorporate it into your scheduled reviews, which are now listed on your calendar or spreadsheet. This way you’ve committed to reading the book! If you add in an oldie once every couple weeks, then the most ancient of books on your TBR will be dusted off, read and reviewed in no time!
  • Re-evaluate your list. Go back through your TBR and really evaluate the books you’ve added. Has the book been sitting there for months because you haven’t found the time or because you’ve lost interest? If you think you’ll continue to feel uninterested in reviewing the book in the next 6 months, either remove the book from your TBR altogether or put in on a back shelf (figuratively or literally 🙂 ). Even though it sucks to admit it- there’s only so much time in a day to read.

I hope some of these tips have been helpful! For me, I know I need to get organized. It’s a simple step that can feel overwhelming. I’ve already begun the process, though, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought once I set aside a few minutes and really dug in.

As always, any suggestions, ideas and comments are welcome! 😀

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Susanna P

    I would read your post, but the shelf of books is distracting me…

    Actually, I already do a lot of these things. My problem is that with school and some extracurriculars, I don’t have enough time to read. It’s much quicker to acquire books than to read them. 🙂 I don’t even touch e-books or buy books online; once I start, I don’t think I’ll ever see the end of it.

  • Ckeaton

    Incredibly good advice! I’m going to go add more shelves to my Goodreads right now to keep me more organized…

  • Ems

    I need to do better at getting my ARC reviews out on time. I’m still trying to get caught up from May’s books! O_o

    Great suggestions here though. I’m going to export my TBR list to Excel and see if that helps me manage it better. (Of course, that assumes that I’ll stop grabbing books that catch my eye at the library…)

  • Great tips! Thanks for posting them.

  • A tip that’s working for me is to join challenges like the Original TBR challenge. Really helpful in keeping some of those books that have been there a while in the forefront of my mind.
    Excellent tips!

  • SO helpful. thank you! 🙂

  • oodlesofbooks

    Awesome! Thanks for this 🙂 I had no idea I could export my TBR list…going to do that now

  • You’re so right, checking things off manually is so much more satisfying than a virtual to-do list…sorry, trees, but I prefer real paper to a word doc for to-do lists!

  • Truly Bookish

    Such a great post. I have my books on Goodreads but the bottom line is that I have to get more organized with my reading and reviewing.
    Truly Bookish

  • BJ Rae

    I started hyperventilating at the word “spreadsheet”… my fluid personality can’t handle that much organization! 🙂 Interesting ideas, though, thank you!

    • bahahahahahaa!! I can def understand that! I’m an organization freak, so that didn’t freak me out too much. Goodreads makes it easy and fun, at least! 🙂

  • Melissa Hayden

    Oh, I try to do all these tips. I try to be organized. But then what I found is life gets me behind with all the books. I’ve got myself behind in review books lately and trying really hard to dig my way out. I really don’t know how that happened, but it did. I was scheduling really good. Then boom, I was behind. Oh well, I’ll get caught up. 🙂 Thanks for the tips here!

    • Mel, I really should have added that to the list. Like, 7. Don’t let life get in the way of reading! lol I get behind ALL the time with this. Organization can only take you so far sometimes! haha!

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