Organizing The To Be Read Books

Confession: sometimes I’m a bit overwhelmed by the to-be-read pile.

What is your current organization scheme?

I have bookshelves in the basement with copies (ARCs and final copies). Those are arranged in alphabetical order. I know some people do by release date, but that makes it harder for me to find books.

The books that I think I may be reading or reviewing are then in bookshelves in my room.

Why do I pick them? They look interesting, or I’ve heard some good buzz, or it’s an author or topic I like. Or, I need to read something for a specific project. What type of project? Some examples: when I moderated the panel for SummerTeen I wanted to read the books the panelists wrote. I have a program in an upcoming library conference, and I have books I need to read for this.

But that’s still not the end.

No, then I pull out the titles I intend to read in the next week. At this point, the project deadline matters. So, too, does mixing up my books. I try to avoid reading the same types of books, one right after the other, because I want to read the book on its own and not compare it to what I just read. I also like variety so get bored with the same type of book back to back. And, mixing it up is a book palete cleanser. I also look at the publishers at this point. I don’t want to have too many books by one publisher.

I use sticky notes as a bit of a mental reminder, putting on it the day I hope to read the book. The problem with this method is when I’m over ambitious about my reading timeline, so end up playing catch up.

One problem with this whole method is you know what doesn’t factor in very well? E-books on my reader.

I think my organization lacks good organization.

So, what do you do? Any thoughts or suggestions?



10 thoughts on “Organizing The To Be Read Books

  1. Organizing To Be Read books? Am I supposed to do that?

    Here is one of the pleasures of eBook TBRs–I load up my reader with sale items. Then I tend to forget about them. When I do do some eBook reading, I’ve often forgotten what the books are about. And that’s a good thing. It makes for a surprising and fun reading experience.


  2. My to-read organization is similarly disorganized. I have my galleys lined up by my desk, my reader’s choice award books stacked on my buffet, my review books out in plain sight so I feel guilt for not reading them every time I have dinner. Yes, it is hard to find a way to work in e-books because their lack of a physical presence makes them easy to forget. Case in point, I had an e-galley of Code Name Verity that sat on my Kindle for two years! Maybe I need a giant dry erase calendar like I used in college. It’s worth a try!


    1. tiffany, I’ve realized I am the type of person who needs to see something to remember it (my explanation for a messy desk, among other things.) I’m also considering some type of big dry erase board to write stuff on so it’s always in front of me.


  3. I’m still going, basically, with this crazy plan:

    Though I have so many exceptions, like right now reading for Capitol Choices, that this is just what I fall back to when I have nothing pressing with a deadline.

    And piles! Piles everywhere! I periodically try to weed them down and turn books in for later. Boxes or piles for ARCs, yes, by date published.


    1. Right now I have piles under the bed. In my defense, and in exception to the “need to see it” rule, they are things I HAVE to read for an upcoming program and I had no where else to put them. I will remember them because of the approaching deadline.


  4. I have large bookshelves full of everything I receive or purchase (occasionally weeded), with two shelves in the center for the higher priority titles (either things catching my eye, or that I requested), and a separate pile for picture books that I might/ought to review. Then a few really high priority titles usually land on my nightstand. The Kindle books are not organized, so those tend to come into play when I for whatever reason prefer to read on Kindle. Lately, all of the stacks are overflowing!


    1. My NOOK and the books/galleys on it seem to only come into play when I’m traveling and want to bring less; or, once or twice, a must-read ARC. But, for the most part, it and its contents are second place to the piles.


  5. I don’t have enough space in my apartment to store that many books, so I have to be careful about what books I acquire. Still, of course, I have a big TBR shelf. I find I do better about clearing away the TBR books if they are UNorganized. I never did as well with my TBR pile as when they were an actual pile in the middle of my bedroom, and I had the choice between reading them and having them clutter up my floor. I really do not like clutter.


    1. I have to get better about realizing some books will never, ever, ever be read and just let them go. I am careful about what I buy, for the most part, but for the blog – -sigh. That’s the bigger problem.


  6. I have a separate bookcase that I keep for books I intend to read in the very near future, mostly library books. When I’m actually reading the book, it’s in my room in a pile on the floor, or in my bag. I also try to have 1 current book of the four main categories I read (mg, YA, adult nf, adult fiction) going at any given time, though that’s more or less successful depending on all kinds of things. The bookcase is also separated out by those categories. It’s not as organized as it could be, but it usually works pretty well.


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