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Thursday, April 14, 2016

How Do You Keep Your To Read List? Request for Assistance.

I am at the Glenview Library waiting for the next meeting of the ARRT Speculative Fiction Genre Study to begin. Today we will be doing our Science Fiction Bootcamp.

But that is not the topic of this post in any way.  I have been spending way too much time thinking about how I keep track of what I want to read. Much of this has been forced upon me because Shelfari shut down and made me switch to Goodreads.

I have nothing against Goodreads.  I use it all of the time as a resource, however the point of Goodreads is for readers to interact with each other. It’s a social media space for book lovers. What I loved about Shelfari is that it was first and foremost about the books. It was a space to keep a virtual bookshelf.  It was cumbersome to interact with other users, but that’s why I liked it. I was using it to keep track of what I had read but more importantly, what I wanted to read next.

The switch to Goodreads has been unsatisfactory for me on many fronts. For example, although Shelfari and Goodreads were the same company, when I did the approved import from Shelfari to Goodreads, my dates when I read all of my books were lost.  It now looks like I read hundreds of books this year.

Now that is only mildly annoying. I have more complaints, but my biggest one is how terrible Goodreads is for keeping my to-read list. I used to rely on Shelfari as the place where I kept my large to-read list. I put the books on a shelf virtually and regularly went back to “pull" one off the shelf and place a hold at the library. I could easily browse my shelf-- that looked like a book shelf-- and pick my next reads.

I am not enjoying using Goodreads for this. Again, I think it is because the strength of Goodreads is in the social aspect and I want it to be a place to park my lists. 

Beyond being annoying, I have noticed a HUGE problem with my lack of a reliable to-read list-- I am not reading as many backlist titles as I have in years' past. I think that is because I am relying on placing pre-pub books in my library catalog holds queue. They won’t all come at once because they are not out yet. But older titles will come right away. I don’t want that. So what is happening as a result is that I am not reading backlist titles at all.

That is not good. So now, I am ready to take action.

As you can see, I have spent far too much time thinking about this topic. I need to stop. That’s where you come in. Today, I am asking all of you, please let me know what you use to keep your to-read lists and if you like it by leaving a comment.


Colleen Ringel said...

Becky, I have to agree. I loved Shelfari for a lot of reasons and although I had a GoodReads account, I found Shelfari much more to my needs. If I put a book on the to-read shelf and then moved it to the reading shelf, it became the first item on the list. Now in GoodReads, if I move a book from my to-read shelf to my currently reading shelf, I have to search for it because GoodReads keeps it on the list by date added to my shelf.

But the one feature I miss the most from Shelfari, was the recommended books by my favorite authors or next in series. Now I have to go to sites like Cozy Mystery or Stop Your Killing Me to scroll down lists by month to see if anything is coming out in series that I read, then I have to return to GoodReads and add it to my to-read list.

I am thankful that I did keep both sites relatively up to date so when Shelfari was on its last legs and I saw the problems people were having with the import/export, I cancelled my Shelfari account. But I do miss Shelfari.

Lynne said...

I also use my library holds queue as a to-read list for books I'm really serious about reading. To keep older titles from coming right away and to stagger newer titles, I suspend my holds until I'm ready for them.

hloy said...

Have you looked at LibraryThing https://www.librarything.com as an alternative? Reminds me of Shelfari.

Stephanie said...

I've used LibraryThing for this for years. As I add books to read, I tag them with the library where I can borrow them. Then when I'm in the library, I click on the tag and there's my shopping list. When I finish a book, I tag it with the year, and in one click in December, I have a list of all the books I've read in that years. It's a great site, and maybe someday they'll have a fully functioning app. And every year they celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day: http://blog.librarything.com/main/category/talk-like-a-pirate-day/

Montano said...

I also use Library Thing for my personal book inventory. I never used Shelfari so I can't compare but I've been a member of Library Thing for ten years. It works great for me. I use Goodreads for the social aspect, to connect with my friends. To be fair,Goodreads can be used for a TBR list. I've got 47 books on my TBR "shelf" in Goodreads.

Becky said...

I am just getting around to responding to all of these good ideas. I haven’t used LibraryThing. I think I may go back to it. Also, I know I can use Goodreads for my to-read list, I just don’t like the way it is displayed. And I totally forgot about suspending my holds on my library catalog. Duh. I think that may be what I end up doing because then it is all in one place and I can easily move it from to read-to read by triggering the hold.

Keep the ideas coming though. Thanks all.

Donna said...

I sent you a friend request on Goodreads so you can see how I do my shelves. I basically create a multitude of to-read shelves by category. You can make these shelves 'exclusive' so only certain books go on a particular shelf and nowhere else. I'm kind of weird in that I want my books only on one shelf at a time. If a shelf gets too unwieldy then I split it into smaller categories (see various mystery shelves).

I signed up for Shelfari once long ago, but never used it. I do use it as "facebook for reading nerds" and my goal is to have more goodreads friends than facebook friends. Getting close to that. Goodreads also gives some basic read alikes for your titles.

Amy Byrne said...

Hi Becky,

I use Goodreads, and that's the only book management system I've used. I don't have anything else to compare it to, and I like it a lot. I'm not too keen on the social aspect, so I just don't pay attention to that part. I have specific styles, genres, and types of books I like, and I rarely rely on recommendations from other people for what to read. This is probably pretty shocking considering I'm a Librarian! I'm a heavy series reader, particularly of cozy mysteries, so I like going through the various series of authors or subjects I enjoy.

My problem with my To read list is my own...I'm not going back in regularly enough to check to see what's on my list :) But I do add to it regularly as a way for me to keep track of what I find interesting.

I look forward to reading what others are doing, and what you discover.

Amy Byrne

Becky said...

Update: I am going to try to use the LISTS feature on my library’s catalog more. The catalog was upgraded last year and I spent so much time learning to work the staff side of it, I never invested the time needed on the patron side.

I think this will work best for me because I only get books through the library; I really don’t buy any. This way I can click on the book from my To-Read list. it will pull up the consortia catalog, and with 1 click I can place a hold to have it sent to me.

I am going to look at Library Thing again too. I use Goodreads to find readalikes and read comments from real readers, but I do not need or want it to socialize with book lovers. I use Twitter and my blog for that.

In a few months I will do an update for everyone. But please, keep leaving comments on this post. I will be altered via email when a new one shows up no matter how far in the future you comment. I see this as an ongoing conversation/issue.

Thanks all.

Bridget Ryan said...

When it comes to data, I am one of those super-organized types. So for me, an aspiring librarian with a TBR list a mile long and always growing, an Excel spreadsheet is the only way to go to manage my TBR list. I actually have four files - one for career books, one for personal interest/fun reading, and one for religious reading. In each of those, I have separate worksheets for each category of books (e.g. historical fiction, mystery, biography, etc.). I also have a separate list of books I want to read as audiobooks!

Michelle said...

I use Amazon wish lists for my to-read lists.

Anonymous said...

I use goodreads. I don't care about the social aspect. Mainly I use it to help me remember what books I want to read. I rarely have trouble forgetting what I've read but I mainly read new books. Also goodreads tells me when my authors have a new book being published. Although I still see senior library patrons with their paper book binders where they painstakingly write down each title they've read.