Discussion: Goodreads Organization

When I first joined Goodreads in November 2007, I spent two or three days adding ALL of my books. I just went through my bookshelves and my boxes of books and added everything. I had books everywhere for that couple of days, until I got them all back where they belonged. It was pretty impressive: within a week I had over a thousand books on my Goodreads shelves.

I still haven’t read most of them. goodreads organization

Between then and now, my reading tastes have changed. I used to read a lot of adult romances, then I switched to mysteries/thrillers/suspense books, then to true crime. Now I rarely read anything other than young adult books.

To make things even worse, I didn’t do ANY organization. I simply added all of my books. I didn’t shelve them as read or to be read. I didn’t shelve them by genre or anything else. I just put them up and they landed on the default shelf, which was TBR.

All of this boils down to the fact that my Goodreads account is massively unorganized and I don’t know how to fix it without a ton of work. It has books, probably hundreds of them, that I no longer intend to read — or that I don’t even own anymore. I’ve tried on several occasions to go through and put books on the correct shelves (read/TBR, at least), but I never stick with it.

I’m tempted to delete everything on the TBR shelf and that start over, leaving only the books on the read shelf to categorize into genre, etc. Now that I’ve started blogging, though, I’ve added a lot of books to the TBR that I’d hate to lose track of. And anyway, some of those books on the TBR shelf might be books that I have read and just haven’t gotten onto the read shelf yet.

How organized are your Goodreads shelves? Did you start out with everything on the correct shelf, or did you have to go back and fix things the way I do?


  1. When it comes to Goodreads I am so unorganized. I add books as I read them. I’d like to add all my books and organize them but I am so impatient lol. So I use it to keep up with what I’ve read instead of a total organization type thing. Even though it’s not really organized I feel like I can keep up with things better this way. =D

  2. I haven’t read anywhere near the thousand books that you have. I only started Goodreads a couple months ago. Still getting the hang of it. I put in everything I’ve read so far this year, and some from last year as well. And that’s as far back as I went.

    I’m not obsessive about my shelves. I have the 3 they give you, plus a favorites. Anticipating 2014, 2015. Completed 2014. Cover crush. And DNF (although Goodreads still categorizes that as a ‘read’ book, too.). That’s it. I don’t get into separating the genres and whatnot.
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    • I like having the genres, but I’d much rather have all my read and TBR books on the correct shelves than have them shelved by genre.

      You can make a DNF shelf that doesn’t count them as a read book. Go to edit your shelf and click the checkbox under exclusives. Then, among the exclusive shelves (read, currently reading, TBR are the defaults) it will go only on that shelf. I have 7 exclusive shelves. They are actually the ones in the picture that goes with this post and I have a bunch more for genres and years.
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  3. I do have way too many books on my Goodreads, many added because they had to be added as part of a giveaway….and more than I can possibly read. And yes….they are totally disorganized. I really don’t know that I will even catch up, but I when I write a review and cross-post to Goodreads, I DO go back and make sure I have the book shelved the way I want it. I’ve also added 3 ‘exclusive’ shelves….DNF for ‘did not finish’, TBR-later for those that look good but I very probably will never get to, and high-priority for those that I must read in the next couple of months, either because reviews are due or it is a book club selection…or I definitely plan to read it in the next month or 2.

    I really do like LibraryThing better for organization. I just find it easier to be able to tag books without having a ton of shelves (or ‘collections’ in LibraryThing-speak!)
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    • I’m glad it’s not just me! I fix them as I review them, too, but it’s those older ones that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet and the ones I read years ago that are the problem.

      I remember looking into LibraryThing years ago but I was looking for a free site and they only let you add 200 books before paying. It might be worth it for better organization though!
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      • I get that. I would have been hesitant at the cost, too, but when Amazon took over Goodreads last year, Library Thing offered 1-yr accounts for free to all new accounts. That let me add unlimited books. To be honest, I’m pretty sure my 1 year is up, and they haven’t asked for money yet. When they do, I will probably pay. They only ask for $10 per year or $25 for lifetime. If you join, you are eligible for their Early Reviewers program and I’ve probably received a book a month for the last 6 months, so that alone paid for the lifetime membership. Maybe I should just do it to support them!

        BTW, if you decide to try it, I’m not sure you can get the unlimited trial now. So I’d recommend that for now, you just add new books instead of adding your Goodreads books. The reason is, LT makes it very easy to import your Goodreads collection, but I’m not sure how it will react to your large collection since the limit is 200 books. Once you decide to pay, if you do, you can import your GR collection then. I created a special ‘goodreads’ tag to indicate the books I imported. That is the only tag they have. But when I get time I go back and set new tags and add reviews to those. I also remove the ‘goodreads’ tag. That is how I track what still needs to be organized.
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  4. The only shelved books I have on GR are the ones that I’ve reviewed. Otherwise, my GR is a bit of a mess too. I’m just not sure if the time it would take to fix it is worth it…
    Jen @ YA Romantics
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  5. Goodreads is funny- I love the idea of GR, but do I actually use it much? No, for some reason. Of course, I don’t have thousands or even hundreds- my shelf is pretty small at the moment and I have books I want to add but never get around to LOL. I do try to remember to crosspost my reviews over there. I guess I’m building it up slowly… 🙂
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  6. I didn’t use to organize my Goodreads either, but at a point I had to, though I barely have the half than you have. I’m happy I did it after all and with only a few hundreds of books it wasn’t such a big stunt. Especially that I found out that if I only shelf books when I finished reading them except from those I’ve already read. Those took quite some time, but I managed in the end and I’ve been sticking with it so far.
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