How to Track Your Reading: a guide to start

How to Track Your Reading:

There are various methods on tracking you reading. There is no one correct method. In fact, try different approaches and discover what works best for you. You may enjoy doing a mixed way of doing things. However, why should you track your reading?

Benefits of tracking your reading:

  • beneficial for improving your reading habits
  • encourages you to read more
  • observe the statistics; what you read, what you like
  • helps organise your thoughts (handy for reviews)
  • provides insight on your reading habits
  • helps with recommending books
  • find hidden biases

Yes, so it’s established that there are numerous benefits to tracking your reading, but how do you track your reading?

Before running off and grabbing the nearest book and/or pen, first consider your preferred format. Do you love writing and underlining whilst reading? Do you love writing your ideas in a book or do you prefer to type your ideas? Below is a general list of pros and cons of physical format vs digital format.

Tracking your reading in different formats:

  1. Physical Format
    • DIY book (e.g. bullet journal, book journal): can be any notebook/bullet journal.
    • Printed (printed journal, pre-printed journal): a specific book made for tracking your ideas (e.g. reading journal on Etsy)
  2. Digital Format
    • Apps (Goodreads, Instagram, YouTube, Blog, Twitter, etc.)
    • Software (Spreadsheet, Word, Scrivener, Notion, etc.)

Physical Format

  • Bullet Journal
    • Pros
      • Fully customisable for your specific needs
      • Portable
      • Easily accessible
      • Doesn’t have to be “artistic”
    • Cons
      • Can be time-consuming if you don’t have a consistent system
      • If you’re a perfectionist, can be discouraging
      • Limited pages and space
  • Reading Journal (printed or pre-printed journal)
    • Pros
      • Easy to use
      • Portable
      • Can purchase a reading journal
      • You don’t have to design it, designs and template is already there
      • Pre-made templates make it handy although can be limiting
    • Cons
      • Can be pricey depending on the brand you buy (or access)
      • There can be limitations with the pre-made templates as it may not be suitable for you
      • Limited pages and space

Digital Format

  • Goodreads (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Great resource for books
      • Accessible and straight-forward to use
      • Community is already established
    • Cons
      • There are some limitations with Goodreads (e.g. interface)
      • Need internet connection
  • Bookstagram: (Instagram dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Easy to use
      • Great community
      • Great for those who love taking pictures
      • Can be aesthetic but doesn’t have to be
    • Cons
      • Can be daunting to start
      • Can be discouraging if you’re not “good at taking pictures”
      • Algorithm can be disheartening
      • Need internet connection
  • BookTok (Tik Tok dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Easy to use
      • Great for those who love making videos
      • Easy to make content
      • Established community
    • Cons
      • if you’re not into visual media may be difficult or daunting
      • Algorithm can be disheartening
      • Need internet connection
  • Book Twitter (Twitter dedicated for books) (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Easily accessible via App
      • Perfect for those who don’t want to make too much content (visual or video) and want to share thoughts
    • Cons
      • can be chaotic as it’s not as organised
      • can be messy/hard to organise thoughts
      • Need internet connection
  • Notion (Available as an App and Website)
    • Pros
      • Fully customisable to your needs
      • Pre-designed templates to help you
    • Cons
      • No community
      • Can be time-consuming making your templates
      • Need internet connection
  • StoryGraph (Available as an App* and Website)
    • Pros
      • Great recommendation tool
      • Unique search function
      • Creates handy graphs to indicate your reading stats
    • Cons
      • Not a lot of users yet
      • If a book is not on the system you may beed to add it to the database
      • Need internet connection
  • Bookly (Available as an App)
    • Pros
      • Can create a reading plan and goals
      • Creates handy graphs to indicate your reading stats
    • Cons
      • Free access may be limited as a payment is needed for full access
      • Need internet connection
  • Spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers, etc.)
    • Pros:
      • Perfect for those who appreciate stats and graphs
      • Spreadsheets are customisable
      • Great for people who are good with numbers and are visual
      • Can be easily shared and accessible to many people (digital)
      • May not need the internet for use (depending on program/version)
    • Cons:
      • May be difficult to get into if you don’t know how to use the program (e.g. Excel)
      • May need internet connection
  • Scrivener
    • Pros
      • Can store plenty of information, good database
      • Great writing and organisation tool
      • Easy to use
      • Don’t need the internet to use
    • Cons
      • Need to pay for the program (one time pay)

Ideas on What to Track for Reading:

Title
Author
Year Published
Publisher
Rating
Genre
Format read
Dates read
Quotes
Cost
Owned/burrowed
Background of book (e.g. author identity, translated book, etc.)
Content warnings
Misc notes (e.g. representation?)
Review

What works for me:

Whilst I love physical copies I need to be realistic with my lifestyle and schedule. I’m very on the go. My schedule is haphazard and I don’t always have access to a pen and paper. Therefore, digital media works best for me.

Digital:

  • Bookstagram: For general summaries, and reviews. I find this app to be fun, and quick. I love creating photos and I love the community there.
  • Blog (more in-depth): I love to ramble on and share links.
  • BookTok: I enjoy making video content, it’s easy to create
  • Google notes: I use this to start writing ideas and reviews

Do you track your reading? What works for you?

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