How Do I Maintain a TBR?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.

The short answer to this questions is that I don’t do it very well! Finding a better way of organizing and staying on top of my TBR is something I have thinking about quite a bit lately. I am hoping that writing this post will inspire me in some way.

Do you maintain a TBR physically, online or both?

My physical TBR is vastly different than the one I keep online on Goodreads. I have a separate shelf that houses the books I own but haven’t read and it has been awhile since I have counted just how many books are on there. I don’t even want to know! I used to have no more than 10 unread books on my physical TBR, but that all changed when I started book blogging.

I just looked at my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf and there are over 1000 books on there! I am sure there are many that I am no longer interested in, so I really should take the time to go though it. Maybe I will write a few blogposts about why I am removing certain books from my TBR.

I know that a lot of readers have an “Owned” shelf on Goodreads and that is something I have been wanting to do as well. It seems like a good way of keeping on top of things.

How do you decide which books get to go on your TBR?

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Goodreads makes it so easy to add a book to my TBR that I really do not put a lot of thought into it. Book bloggers, booktubers, and bookstagrammers have the biggest influence on my TBR. A really glowing review will instantly make me add a book to my TBR.

My physical TBR is a different story. I am more picky about the books that I actually buy and a lot of it is influenced by deals that I come across. Books are very expensive here in Canada, so it is rare for me to buy one at full price. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks through Scribd and Libro.fm, so if I listen to a book I really loved I will try to hunt down a physical copy. I want my shelves to be a collection of my favourite books!

Do you ever “prune” your TBR to remove old books, how do you decide who stays and who goes?

I did this with my physical TBR recently and it was so freeing! I was also able to donate a lot of books to Little Free Libraries. It is so nice to look at that shelf and realize that I am excited about every single book.

As I mentioned previously, my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf is entirely different story. I haven’t gone through it in years. I hope to do that before the end of the year, so look out for a blog post about it!

How do you organize your TBR shelf? How many books are on it? Any tips?

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36 thoughts on “How Do I Maintain a TBR?

  1. I’ve made good progress on my TBR pile recently. What I’ve started doing is I’ve started taking five books at a time from my pile which I want to read, I then take a photo of them in a pile and add it to Instagram and twitter. That then gives me the motivation to read them.

  2. During my time at university, I did not get to read any of the books on my TBR and I just kept mentally adding new books to it!😂 I mainly organize my TBR list by re-reading the synopses of older books and checking out reviews on them to make sure I am still interested in them. I also have a shelf of books that I have not yet read, but still need to… 😂 I am avoiding it also! Hahah.

  3. I dedicate one shelf to unread books, and then I have my TBR on Pinterest. I definitely prune it from time to time, but it usually hovers around 150.

  4. Due to college, I couldn’t read the books I wanted many a times. So due to pandemic and staying at home, I could finish many of my physical books. Now I’m mindful of the fact what kind of books I really really want to read according to my choice of genre.🤭

  5. I write it down…then lose the notepad I wrote it down on. Then I create a physical stack, then that stack gets cleaned up or moved because it’s usually in the way. Then I just say screw it and pick up the book I want to read hahah. My goodreads is a mess. I even made a NEW goodreads so I could just start fresh and keep it organized but it quickly became chaotic because that WANT TO READ button is so easy! lol

  6. I have an owned shelf on GoodReads, but for both that one and my want to read shelf I forget to add books so often.. The only thing that is really up to date is my currently reading haha! I often put something on currently reading and realize only then that the book was never on my want to read or owned shelf haha!

    My post!

  7. My online TBR used to be out of control too until I had a massive clear-out earlier in the year. Now, it never goes above a hundred. My golden rule is that if it’s been on the list for more a year and I don’t have any solid plans to read it within the year (e.g. for a reading challenge), it has to go!

  8. I’m definitely a poor organizer of such lists. I have an online list that I maintain at our public library. If I’m interested in a title, I often go there first. If I’m in no hurry to read it and they have it in their collection, it goes on my TBR list. I have one list on Amazon but that is a complete mish-mash, intermixed with book gift ideas for friends and family. I have a Goodreads TBR list. If I read a review and the book looks compelling, it often winds up there. And lastly, I have a couple of shelves in my house that holds books-to-be-read that have been given to me. These, I haven’t bothered to put on any list. So, you can see it’s a mess. Not sure I’ll ever find the time or motivation to get my TBR act together. Too much reading to do first.

  9. I switched to all ebooks a few years ago so I only have a virtual shelf. I guess the size of it doesn’t bother me because I haven’t bought any of those books and I don’t need to look at them taking up space on a physical shelf. I think of my goodreads TBR as my possibility shelf that I shop from! Every once in a while I spot one I know I’ve lost interest in and delete it. Right now I have 171 on my GR want-to-read (possibility) shelf.
    I usually don’t buy an ebook unless I’m committed to reading it soon….so my kindle que is manageable.
    My biggest challenge with TBR is in the area of ARCs! I feel pressure to keep up and review them by pub day! I had to go on a Netgalley diet last year to get my % above 80. Now I’m very very careful!

  10. This was such an interesting post! I really need to go through my Goodreads as well, I think I have about 1200 books on my want to read shelf and I’m sure there are many on there I’m no longer interested in. I think I remember someone doing a post series where they went through 10 books on their Goodreads shelf each week and would talk about whether they kept it on/took it off and why, which seems like a really great idea and fun process to do!

  11. I’m not allowed to buy books so my physical shelf stays to just what friends loan me. It’s my Goodreads one that is out of control!

  12. I try not to add too many books to my TBR at one time, but all the amazing recommendations from other book bloggers makes it difficult! Excellent discussion, Kristin.

  13. I never want to go through my Goodreads TBR because that sounds like torture! But my physical TBR is pretty limited as I don’t get to buy many books as I’m a broke student 🙁
    I also use Scribd and I read a lot of ebooks on it too! It’s honestly been a life changer for me since I started using it 2 months ago and it’s kind of made my physical TBR become overflowing since I haven’t really touched it and have been addicted to Scribd and all its shiny books!

  14. I’m the same as you – I add anything I like the look of to my Goodreads Want To Read shelf as a reminder to look it up, but I also keep a list on my blog of everything I own that is unread. It’s smaller but not by much – one of my main goals this year is to get it under 450 books, haha!

  15. I feel like I’m constantly culling my Goodreads Want to Read shelf, because if it isn’t in my physical TBR or on a list for the library or I’m not thinking about buying it, I need to rethink it. Over this last year, I got my list from like 900ish down to 700ish. I try to constantly be more mindful of books I go to add to my TBR.

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