Bring up book cataloguing with any giant book nerd (myself included) and you know you are about to get an earful. We each have our own system for tracking what books we’ve read and what we own. For some people it’s meticulous, others have are a bit more sporadic. For me it boils down to one word: LibraryThing.
I started my profile in 2006 and never looked back. Up to that point I’d used random collections of notebooks to write down what I was reading. There was no real way to track it and I still couldn’t tell you all the books I read in the years leading up to 2006. That year I was in the midst of graduating from college and starting my first job, so half of my books were in storage.
My best friend sent me a link to LibraryThing and within minutes I’d bought a lifetime membership (only $25, but that was a lot for me at that point!) and I started adding in my books. I even went to my Dad’s house and went through my boxes of books in his attic to write everything down to enter into LT. I got so caught up in what I was doing that I took a wrong step and fell through the ceiling.
Now, eight years later I have 2,979 listed in my library. This includes everything including categories like books I’ve “read but do not own” to books I “own but haven’t read.” I have dozens of tags that help me find what I’m looking for in a second. When I buy a book or start reading a new book I immediately add it into the system. It is second nature at this point and new books aren’t shelved in my home until they are in LT.
If I’m reading it I label it with the current month and year and note whether or not I own it. I can go back and see exactly home many books I’ve read each year and which months are better reading months for me. I also have tags for specific genres, graphic novels, poetry, nonfiction, etc. I can search through all of the nonfiction books I’ve read to give someone a recommendation when requested. The system also allows you to add in your own reviews, (I currently have 782 reviews up) and ratings. Unlike Goodreads you are allowed to use half stars, which I absolutely LOVE!
LibraryThing is also essential for helping me keep track of what’s on my kindle. Sometimes I buy a $1.99 daily deal and forget about it, but I always add it into LT and so I can check later and see that I own it. I find myself at used bookstores all the time checking LT on my phone to see if I already own a copy of a book that’s caught my eye. It’s saved me from making quite a few duplicate purchases.
I’m a huge fan of LT. I’ve tried Goodreads and just haven’t been a fan so far. I like seeing what my friends are reading, but I hate the dozens of friend requests I get from authors pushing their books. If you’ve never checked it out, I’d recommend at least stopping by LT to see if it’s a good fit for you.
How do you all track what you read and own?
p.s. Just in case anyone is wondering, I'm not getting anything for recommending LT, I just love their system.