Let’s Talk: How do you organize your Goodreads shelves?

GR shelves


How do you organize your Goodreads shelves?

I think you can learn a lot about people and their reading preferences by glancing at their Goodreads shelves. Are you a someone with so many created shelves for organizing your GR collection that you’ve lost track? Perhaps you haven’t created any shelves, and you stick to the default options that Goodreads provides.  Or maybe you fall somewhere in between, like me.

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Exclusive Shelves

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These are my exclusive shelves. Creating more of these was the best thing I’ve ever done on Goodreads in terms of organization.  The TBR shelves have been amazing at helping me keep track of unread books I own vs. those I don’t yet.

I use the “to read” shelf for books I don’t plan to buy:

  • comics, graphic novels, and manga
  • books I want to get from the library
  • potential blog tour books I haven’t been approved for yet
  • books I want to look more into before adding to my WL

“On pause” are books I’ve started and set aside for now.  I wanted a way to get them off my “currently reading” shelf without labeling them DNF, because I do plan to finish them eventually! Often these books are bind-ups that contain an unread volume and books I’m not in the mood for. I kept these books on my Currently Reading shelf for so long that I built up a CR shelf of 15+ books.  When I realized I could update the status to leave a note of my current page number, the “on pause” shelf was born.

The “not for me” shelf is a new creation, which is why it only has a couple books on it right now. I’m using it to keep track of problematic authors and books I’m not interested in.

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Non-Exclusive Shelves

I call these the labeling or tagging shelves.  These are boxes I tick off when adding a book to my shelves or when I finish reading a book. As you can see, I don’t have shelves for any genre, only those I want to be able to view at a glance. For example, I created the bullying shelf to keep track of options for the Anti-Bullying Readathon I participate in every year.  The historical fiction shelf was created in the hopes that I’d be more motivated to read that genre (it hasn’t worked so far).  I think most of the shelves pretty self-explanatory.  Some of these are harder for me to remember to update than others, like the “for review” shelves that I’m constantly renaming and forgetting about.  I love looking at other readers’ non-exclusive shelves.  I think they tell a lot about someone’s reading preferences and habits.  When I add someone new on GR, the first thing I do is scroll down to their shelves and see what they’ve created.  It’s so interesting!

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Tell me all about your shelves! How do you keep your books organized on Goodreads? Do you have a lot of shelves or just a few? Or many you haven’t created any! Let me know in the comments.  

And let’s be friends on Goodreads

20 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: How do you organize your Goodreads shelves?

  1. I like my bookshelves tidy. Having a lot of folders would bother me and stress me out. I’ve got one for each year, (2015 and 2016) so far and then I’ve got DNF and a non-fiction shelf. That’s it, besides the default ones, I think. I let my rating and whatever review I have speak for what I think about the book.


  2. Wow! Your shelves are super organized! You’ve got me rethinking my own shelves! I absolutely love that you have more than four exclusive shelves. I have the default three, but I also added a DNF exclusive shelf. I’m thinking about making my wishlist exclusive.

    I have a shelf to keep track of 2016 releases and then I have my multiple owned shelves. (Owned ARCs, physical, kindle, preordered.) I made those for OTSPSecretSister, but they have proved to be so useful. It’s nice to keep track of what you have already. I just did a HUGE bookshelf purge, so I have to find the time and go in and edit.

    This was a fun post! Thanks for the insight and the shelf suggestions!


    • Adding extra exclusive shelves has been amazing for my organization!

      Those owned shelves must be so helpful for your sis. I have a hard time keeping up with my owned books sometimes, especially for ebooks and eARCs. I never remember to update them.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  3. Oh my. You have me feeling so lame! I only have the default 3! Nothing else. Some of these are pretty good ideas though, annnnd I have been meaning to get more organized…


    • I use my shelves daily for organization and looking through genres for TTT and tag post ideas and all kinds of things! Feel free to use any of my shelf ideas 🙂 I’ve talked about my exclusive shelves loads of times on Twitter and a lot of people have borrowed the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll be blogging later this month about why I decided to delete my goodreads account, but back when I had one I kept my shelves really simple-‘read’, ‘to read’ and ‘dnf’ 🙂


  5. This made me realize that I need to reorganize my goodreads shelfs. I never thought of adding more exclusive shelfs – that’s a great idea. I have over 1000 books on my to read shelf so dividing that on separate lists would definitely help make it more manageable.


  6. I like the idea of having an ‘on pause’ shelf! I need to do that! I usually get such a massive amount of books in my currently reading that it’s just a nightmare! I also have a ‘no-no-no-never’ shelf, mostly meant for 50 shades haha

    Thanks so much for this post! Actually, you’ve inspired me to give my GR shelves a makeover. I’ll get on that 😉


  7. I have like a billion shelves on Goodreads. Lol. Besides the 3 default exclusive shelves I added another 35. As for the non-exclusive ones, they’re predominantly for tagging purposes of books I’ve already read, though also genre, target, years published, etc. I’ve found this to be invaluable whenever I’m giving book recs, especially specific ones like for example, YA fiction with religious elements and friendship. By selecting the 4 relevant shelves (target-young-adult, text-fiction, genre-religion & friendship) to find books that fit the requirements.

    The reason I’m able to keep this up is that I’ve done it ever since the number of books I shelved was still small. Starting this years after setting up a GR account would probably be a nightmare. Lol.


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  9. My GR shelves are super-organised, too, because I started getting stressed out about the sheer size of the ‘to-read’ list. So now I use the default to-read list for literally everything I’ve ever seen that caught my eye that *doesn’t* fall into one of the other categories (all my shelves are exclusive). I have shelves for books that haven’t been released yet, by month (eg 2016-04-releases); these help me keep my pre-orders organised. I have two shelves each for diverse books or books outside my genre comfort zone; one’s a catch-all, much like the to-read shelf, the other is the books in those respective categories I’m particularly keen on. And then I have my TBR shelf which is all the books I want to read yesterday.

    It makes the size of my to-read pile seem a lot less daunting; between my three priority shelves I have fewer than 60 books, and I don’t shelve books there that haven’t been released yet, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the fact that I want to read something like 300 books.


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  11. As much as I like lists and charts I must admit I haven’t changed any of the lists on my Goodreads. It works for me but lately after seeing how so many people have different lists makes me wonder if I should update my lists LOL


  12. Arrived here from Google, searching for tips on organizing Goodreads bookshelves. I took your organization as a jumping-off point and I think that my new shelving system will help me to read more books (SO many things were lost amongst long lists on shelves pulling double and triple duty). Thanks!!


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