Organizing Your Shelves on Goodreads {Discussion}

Discussion Post

Okay, let me just come out and admit this…I’m a Goodreads whore. This is not a bad thing — I’m actually quite happy with my status and hope to slut up as many other people as I can 😉

What I mean is that I’m basically on Goodreads 24/7. It might as well be my homepage (do people still have those?). I started using it back at the beginning of 2012 and, since then, haven’t stopped. I have over 2,000 books in my shelves, and that number is growing every day! I don’t do a lot of socializing on there, and I don’t have very many friends (be my friend!), but that’s mostly because I see it as, more than anything, an organizational tool.

I have 85 shelves on Goodreads, 6 of those being exclusive shelves. This may seem like overkill to some of you, but it really helps keep me on track organization-wise. A huge chunk of those shelves (23 of them) is dedicated solely to classifying the historical fiction genre. Since I post those awesome historical fiction spotlights every once in a while on the blog, having different shelves on Goodreads for different time periods of historical fiction helps me be able to easily put those posts together.

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But my favorite part of the shelves is the exclusive shelves. Every Goodreads account comes with three non-deletable exclusive shelves — To Read, Currently Reading, and Read. But you can add other exclusive shelves if you want, too. I’ve added three more — Consider Later, TBR Already Own, and Not Interested.

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This helps me the most when I’m searching for new books to read/buy. I own a lot of books. So many books, in fact, that I sometimes forget if I own a certain one or not (that is so embarrassing…I hope this happens to other people, too!). But, because of my shelves, when I’m looking at the Goodreads page for a book, I can easily see if it’s on my TBR shelf, or if it’s on my wishlist, or if I’ve already decided that I’m not interested in it. At only a glance, I can get a lot of information about a book just by looking at that handy-dandy bar under the book’s picture on its Goodreads page.

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I love using my non-exclusive shelves, too. I have sort of a system. Once I purchase a book, it immediately goes into the “TBR Already Own” shelf, then I choose my non-exclusive shelves — usually, either “Kindle To Read” or “Paperback/Hardback Owned.” Then, I have a few other shelves I might want to put it in, like “Young Adult To Read” or “ARC.”

But I have a rule…I don’t put a book in its particular genre shelf (or shelves) until after I’ve read it. Just because I have so many books on Goodreads in general, it’d be ridiculous to have them all sorted into genre shelves. It also helps like things with Top Ten Tuesday. If the theme that week is “Top Ten Favorite Dystopians” or whatever…I can easily go into the genre shelf and pick, without having to sift around all of the books that I haven’t even read yet. It’s just easier for me that way!

But sometimes I do want to look at the books in a certain genre that I specifically haven’t read yet, so I’ve added a few “[Genre] To Read” shelves, like the young adult one that I mentioned above.

This system just works for me! I think that the whole Goodreads shelves thing might seem overwhelming or just like too much work to some people…but I’m a Type A person who loves to organize, so it’s pretty much a Godsend for me!

How do you sort your Goodreads shelves? Have you added any of your own exclusive shelves? Do you use Goodreads as much as I do? Is there any special sort of system that has worked for you?

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36 responses to “Organizing Your Shelves on Goodreads {Discussion}

  1. I wish I could be better at keeping my Goodreads organized but I fail at it. I see so many friends who has amazing shelves that are awesome when I am digging around for a new recommendation. Recommend shelves, best of xxx genre shelves, best of xxxx year shelves, DNF shelves. I find them very helpful when other people do it, but I have yet to do anything cool like that.

  2. You are so awesome! I think I’m scared of GR shelves so I just don’t use them. Plus it seems like a lot of work to go back and categorize all my books. I could never add all the books I own to GR because I would literally have to stop everything I’m doing in my life to do that. But I’m glad the system works for you!

    • Yeah I get what you mean…I’m glad that I started updating my Goodreads shelves before I became as super crazy of a reader as I’ve become lately. I can totally see how going bad to add all of the books you own now would be a difficult challenge.

  3. I love how sortable Goodreads shelves are! I agree with you about the shelves being the best feature of the site. I love your system and

    I have all the read-in-(insert year) shelves because it makes me feel so good to see how many books I read in a year, how many I can read, and so on.

    I added a yet-to-finish shelf when I realized that I won’t be finishing a certain book anytime soon and got tired of having to look at it everyone on my currently-reading shelf. I also added a to-read-soon shelf so that I can look at it and just feel good that yes, I know what books to pick from, just in case.

    I do want to expand my shelves more and I’m getting there slowly. I also use Goodreads at least once a day. I’m clearly addicted to it. =D

    • I like your to-read-soon and yet-to-finish shelves! That’s a really good idea. I have a list of my upcoming reading schedule in a draft post on my blog so I don’t have a shelf for that, and I only have one book that I’ve been perpetually in the middle of for a while, so I don’t have that one either…but I like the idea behind them 🙂 I might eventually do a “to-read-soon” shelf depending on if I think it might be easier than having a draft post.

      I do the read-in-year shelves, too! I love those ones. Hahaha I’m definitely addicted to Goodreads, too! I’m on there a couple times a day, minimum. I just love it so much 🙂 Even though I’m intrigued, I can’t imagine ever switching to something like Literally, because I’m so in love with GR. The only two things I wish they had differently is (a) the ability to draft reviews, and (b) something to keep track of page counts. I know that Literally has the page count thing, but as of right now, that’s the only reason I’d use it, so it’s just not worth it for me yet.

  4. I use the three default shelves, and I’ve only added two more for “wish list” and “favorites”. Any more than that and I get overwhelmed! Although I only have about 200 on my TBR so I guess that’s nothing compared to yours 😛

  5. I’ve been on Goodreads for a while now and I have no organization system… at all. I guess I’ve always been intimidated by it but after reading this I’m going to get to work! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. I love Goodreads, an i love using it as an organisational tool, as well. I am bad at being social on that site, and my comments are usually me bemoaning about the fact that I can’t get my hands on x book, or rejoicing that someone is reading y book, haha.
    I only have 17 shelves. This is because I hate clutter, and when i had more than this number of shelves, I cringed every time I opened my Goodreads profile. I don’t want more than however many fit in four columns (if that makes sense). I just couldn’t stand seeing heaps and heaps of shelves.
    Although now I really want to add a ‘TBR Own’ shelf because at the moment I only have an ‘own’ shelf, and there’s TBR and read books in there which can get kind of confusing. So thank you for that, because i shall employ it from now on! 😀
    I am going to try and figure out how to make that an exclusive shelf, actually.
    I am quite addicted, but not as much as I used to be! I think it’s because I am trying to avoid adding too many more books to my TBR because to be quite frank, it’s getting out of hand, haha.

    • Glad I could help! To make it an exclusive shelf, just go to your Bookshelves, Edit Bookshelves (top left), add a TBR Own shelf, and make sure that you check “exclusive” after you add it.

      I agree that lots of shelves can make it a little cluttered. But I’ve noticed people that have WAY more shelves than I do haha. That’s why I only do genre-focused shelves. I don’t have shelves that say, like, “love triangle” or random characterizations of characters, like “hot guy” or “bitchy heroine.” Sometimes I think it’s fun to read what shelves like that people have categorized certain books into, but for me that would just be way too many shelves, so I stick to only genres. I still have a lot, but I find that (at least for me) it’s mostly helpful not confusing.

  7. I do the same thing as you, adding genres to books only after I’ve read them! It helps me remember what each book was about and I find that it’s a lot more accurate than shelving according to genres before reading. That’s especially the case when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi because so many people seem to confuse these two genres on GR. I’m even more shelf-happy than you though. I must have 300 shelves or so on GR. Hahaha. It’s useful for recommending books when friends ask me for something specific, like maybe, a book about music that focuses more on friendship than romance. Looking at my shelves I can quickly identify such a book. Very nifty, I find.

    Other than that, I have 11 exclusive shelves, including the 3 standard ones. Of the 9 I added, 2 are reference shelves (baking & photography), one is my DNF shelf, and the other 6 are more specific TBR shelves (books from the library, books I own, books others recommended, etc). So yeah, I heavily depend on GR to organise my reading life.

    • I like reading about this stuff! 12 exclusive shelves sounded like a lot to me at first, but I can see why it’d be useful to have them for that. Hmm I don’t have a DNF exclusive shelf. Maybe I should make one?

      I like how the shelves help me be able to quickly identify certain books, too. It’s useful to have certain categories for things like doing a Top Ten Tuesday post or something similar on the blog. Or for recommendations to people, like you said.

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  10. That is excellent use of GR shelves! I don’t have as many, but I’ve been creating more shelves too. I really want to create an “own” shelf, but the act of actually going thru and shelving all my actual owned books is scary to me, especially the ebooks. That would take AGES! But I really need to because I’m constantly buying books and later finding out I already own a copy. oops. So great post 🙂

    • I’m glad that’s not the only one that has happened to! That’s exactly why I ended up making an “own” shelf as well. And it hasn’t happened since! I really like having it as an exclusive shelf vs. a regular shelf, too, because it’s so easy to see right from the book’s page whether you own it or not, instead of having to look through the drop-down menu of shelves just to make sure.

  11. I use GR for cataloging my books too. In fact, I need to re-catalog my books but I slacked off a bit.

    I’m almost as bad as you! Almost. LOL I, too, have 6 exclusive shelfs but only have 30 shelves (non-exclusive).

  12. Wow you are so organized! Do my shelves next! 😛 but seriously. That organization is just wow. I only use GR to track my reading mostly. I’m barely on there myself but I would love to fix it up. There are just too many books!

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  15. My Goodreads shelves are partially sorted. But I do want more sorting, especially my TBR shelves. I also want to identify the free books I have, since I love browsing other people’s free-Kindle shelves.

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  17. I have so many to reads/read books listed on my Goodreads account – I need to do some serious work so it’s easier for me to find books. I’ve been meaning to do it since you posted a link in January to So Obsessed With’s post on getting organized on Goodreads. This post is another reminder for me to do it!

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  19. For organizing books I ended up going with, the fact that they let you tag your books has made organizing so much easier. I was doing it similarly to you, with about 40 shelves in GR, but I really wanted everything in one shelf, and then to just run a search for the set of books I wanted. Much easier for me… just thought I’d through it out there!

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I think that I’ll probably stick with Goodreads for now since I really like how I have my shelves set up (and with 2500 books in my shelves, it’d be a HUGE project to switch over!), but it’s cool that you found a good service that works for you 🙂

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  21. First of all wow ! the number of shelves is dizzying. But I can see your point about how it helps. I joined Goodreads quite recently and honestly, I am really bad at getting organized. I have only 3 additional shelves over and above the usual ones – I keep trying to arrange it at times but keep failing at it. maybe soon 😉

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