Discussion Time: How Do You Manage Your TBR List?

Part of being a book blogger, it seems, is having a TBR list so long that you doubt you’ll ever be able to conquer it. There are plenty of different things that make us add books to our TBR list, but before we know it we’ve marked hundreds, maybe even thousands, as ‘to-read’.

From amazing series that have been out in the world for a few years to new releases with insane hype surrounding them there are so many books out there, and most of them end up on our TBR list and soon forgotten about. That’s when the question becomes how do you keep on top of all those books, because if you’re anything like me you’ve forgotten what you’ve added and have tried to mark books as ‘to-read’ more than once.

How Do You Manage Your TBR List

How Do You Manage Your TBR List?

For me there are a few things a book needs to be added to my TBR list. Every one of us out there probably has the same list, or a very similar one.

The Cover

Yes you could say this is kind of shallow of me, and there are probably a few great books I’ve missed out on simply because I’m not a massive fan of the cover but I can’t help it. Pretty covers draw my eye and there have even been a few books here and there, Ink and Wild Beauty to name two, that I’ve added to my to-read list purely based on the gorgeous covers.

How Do You Manage Your TBR List (1)

The Author

We all have auto-buy authors. Writers who could release a hardcover edition of their shopping list that we’d rush out to buy. For me there are too many to list but the main three are V.E. Schwab, Samantha Shannon and Marissa Meyer. It doesn’t matter what they release, I won’t even need to see the cover or read the blurb to know it would be a book at the top of my TBR list.

How Do You Manage Your TBR List (2)

The Hype

This can backfire. Luckily it hasn’t happened too often to me but there are so many books I added to my to-read list simply because I’ve seen how excited everyone in the blogging community has been for its release and I’ve been swept away by that hype. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is one I loved, but one I only picked up because of how excited everyone else seemed to be for it.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Reviews

Like the hype other blogger’s reviews play a large part in what books I pick up. The Belles, for example, was a book that only made it onto my radar because I saw how excited Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books was for it. A lot of the YA contemporary books I’ve added to my TBR list are because of her reviews actually.

The Belles

The Genre/Blurb

There are certain buzzwords (I guess you could call them) that, if I spot in a blurb, will make me automatically add a book to my to-read list, ‘Magical realism’, ‘time travel’, and ‘fairytale retelling’ are three that never fail to grab me, and a book with all three would be a dream come true.


Looking back at this list it’s almost easy to see why I have a mountain of books on my TBR list, and unfortunately I don’t think there’s an easy way to manage it. I tend to be really bad at keeping on top of my to-read list on Goodreads but I know there are people who manage to make it work, and Goodreads is a great tool for bookworms. You can create different shelves based on what you need to manage your TBR list; books that are still to be released, books by genre, or author, or average reviews.

I use an Excel spreadsheet for a lot of my to-read list, simply because this way is easier for me to keep track of when upcoming books are actually being released.

Another way to keep track of upcoming releases, and I would be wary of this one because it could backfire if you’re not careful with your money, is to use Amazon. I pre-order books months and months in advance and then tend to forget about them until, all of a sudden, money comes out of my account and a book arrives on my porch. That way I don’t have to worry about losing books among the hundreds on my to-read list, but like I said it can be risky and one day it’s very likely to backfire on me.


Part of me thinks having an unmanageable to-read list is just part of being a book blogger, but maybe this is just me being really unorganised (please let me know if it is so I can have some motivation to sort out my Goodreads). However with so many amazing books being released, so many incredible series left to discover, and so so many books that could potentially be added to our TBR lists it’s not something that’s going to get any easier anytime soon.


Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:

What do you like to see in books you add to your TBR list? Is it the cover, the author, or something completely different?

How do you manage your TBR list? Do you use Goodreads or is there another method you prefer to keep track of upcoming releases?

How unmanageable can your TBR list get?

Let me know in the comments below.

81 thoughts on “Discussion Time: How Do You Manage Your TBR List?

  1. Ooh, I love this discussion, Beth! I think the only thing I do to keep my TBR under control is… not add sequels/books in the series if I haven’t read the first book? A lot of the books on my Goodreads TBR are books I probably won’t ever get to and don’t want to but it sounds interesting enough. (I’m really too lazy to take them off haha.)

    I do like the idea of a spreadsheet though! I just mostly use Goodreads, but I do have a spreadsheet of the books that I want to read in certain months of the year (I don’t know… it’s weird haha). And I also have a spreadsheet of the books I want to buy, which is not that many, fortunately! I mean I would love to buy a BUNCH of books but I’m broke. :’)

    Great discussion! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much May. 🙂 Ohh that’s maybe something I should do actually (I feel like it would probably cut my TBR list in half or something!)
      Yeah, I feel like our reading tastes change all the time so something we put on a month ago could now be something we know we won’t ever get around to.
      I have a spreadsheet for every single aspect of my life and it’s amazing. It also makes people think I’m much more organised than I am which is kind of an added bonus! 😀
      Thanks again. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I totally fall for pretty covers! (don’t we all 😉 ) And I absolutely have auto-buy/auto-read authors! And yeah, as much as it can backfire, hype definitely draws me to certain books. And I definitely have buzzwords that make me add a book- especially fairy tale retelling! I really relate to how many books end up on the tbr as well, but I must admit my way of keeping track of books isn’t even as good as an excel spreadsheet 😉
    Great post! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess we’re weak when it comes to pretty things. Hype can either be the best thing for books or the worst, depends how hyped and how amazing the book ends up being.
      Fairytale retellings are just amazing right?
      One day we’ll get through out TBR list, at least I hope we will. I aim for more manageable at the moment though.
      Thanks. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great discussion post! 🙂 I mainly look for the same things like you do: author (I definitely have those that I always support and buy books from) and especially the genre/synopsis. If something about the synopsis sounds interesting to me I will add the book to my TBR! But Review definitely influence me as well. If all my blogging friends don’t like a book and bring up a lot of reasons I can relate to, I won’t add it to my TBR.
    I mainly keep track of my TBR through Goodreads and I have even added a physical TBR shelf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much. 🙂 Yeah I think these are the main ones aren’t they? Everyone’s going to have an auto-add/auto-buy author, and when it comes to new books the blurb is always going to influence our opinions.
      I’ve added so many books to my TBR list since I started blogging, it just seems that ever since I discovered WordPress I discovered so many new books with it! 🙂
      GR is the best for book tracking isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great topic Beth! I usually add books to my TBR 1) based on the hype of the book 2) who the author is, Maggie stiefvater is an auto-read author for me. 3) whatever books goodreads thinks I may like I put on the list. Goodreads sends so many emails so I’m trying to play catch up still. 😝

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Meghan. 🙂 Oh after The Raven Cycle Maggie is an auto add author for me too, but V.E. Schwab is the main one though.
      I don’t really check my emails that often, but I probably should. I’ll probably find so many books added to my TBR list if I go back and read all the ones GR have sent me. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! V.E. Schwab is another author I gravitate towards too!
        Oh gosh, I get so many emails so I’m constantly checking! Haha, it may not be such a good idea if you’re trying to keep your TBR down! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely use Goodreads to keep order in all the books I want to read.
    I usually trust my gut for novels. Sometimes it happend that some reviews make me change my mind about a novel, but often I read them for preparing myself to the read. Like, if there are strong themes or is actually a light read.
    For the reast, I usually try to stick with the blurb but covers also play a huge impact. Looking at my shelves, seeing them al pretty and such, relax my mind and help my stress.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m probably a little too swayed when it comes to reviews, it’s why for a lot of books I prefer to go in blind because then I can trust my gut instinct which I normally find steers me the right way. 🙂
      Blurb is a big part for me, but I don’t normally check out the blurb unless the cover catches me eye so maybe you could say cover plays a bigger part. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My TBR has grown massively lol since I started blogging a month ago, but I’m kinda happy about it?? I was in a reading slump for ages, and this (all of the online bookish community) is helping me to read more. I’m not too scared by the size of my TBR yet, books will still be there as I chip away at it. Now getting reviews posted? Lol, that’s another thing.

    I definitely add to my list after I’ve read a few honest reviews. I’m so glad Goodreads exists; it’s so user-friendly for keeping track of everything. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I was happy when my TBR list grew because of blogging, but that’s great blogging helped you get out of a slump. Although give it a while and I reckon you will be scared of how your TBR list has grown.
      Yeah it’s a great site, so helpful for keeping track of new releases as well. 😀
      That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this thought-provoking discussion post! I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling slightly overwhelmed by my TBR list. I use Goodreads for mine but I try not to stress about the list getting too long – I’d rather have a long TBR than completely forget about books I’d love to read! I try to work through it by between new books and ones that have been on my TBR for a while, then I at least feel like I’m making a dent in it! Your strategy sounds very helpful, I like the way you are very selective about the books you add so they only make it onto your TBR if they’re really worth reading 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s all right, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I think all bookworms feel a little overwhelmed with the mountain that are our TBR lists. Yeah, and better a long TBR list than nothing to read as well right? Though I still tend to forget some of the books on mine. 🙂
      I think since I started blogging I’ve become more selective of the books I add to my TBR list, and I’m not going to waste my time reading something I know I won’t enjoy when there are so many books out there I will love. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I handle mine pretty horrendously. It just keeps growing, and I keep on buying more books without getting through any of the ones I actually have!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow, you are so organised!! I don’t have that many reasons to add a book. While a gorgeous cover will catch my attention, if the blurb doesn’t fit, I won’t read it. And that means blurb or auto-buy authors are the majority of my reasoning behind getting books. Of course, other bloggers play a role, but if a book gets pushed at me, I get defensive and won’t read it on purpose haha I am strange that way.
    For the books I have at home, I just have a simple post-it with a list of the ones I still have to read. I like ticking off things, but a lot of the times I haven’t been in the right mood lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Probably why I have so many books on my TBR when it comes down to it though. 🙂 Gorgeous covers are just irresistible, and when my favourite authors keep releasing amazing-sounding books I can’t resist adding them to my TBR list. 😀 Ha, but I get what you mean on that side of things though, kind of like when someone tells you you can’t do something you just end up more motivated to do it.
      Ohh, post-it notes must come in handy for keeping track though (I feel like with the amount of books I have to read I’ll need a lot of post-it notes!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw I’m so glad I made you add books to your TBR…. well, sorry if I made it grow out of control, there are SO many amazing contemporaries we could talk about haha, I love my contemporaries so, so much, you know me 😛
    I also add books because of the cover – but after takin a look at the synopsis as well, not only because of the cover, that rarely happens. The author,too (John Green and Lauren Oliver are, for instance, auto-buys for sure) and… well, cute contemporaries more often than not find their way on my TBR, too, you know me, I can’t resist haha. I also added tons of books to myTBR because of the hype, but I’m always super careful before actually buying them, making sure that I could actually enjoy them, despite of the hype. That’s such a hard thing to do, haha 🙂
    I use Goodreads mostly to keep track of my TBR – don’t know how I’d remember all the books without that website haha 🙂
    Lovely post! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, no need to be sorry. I’ve discovered some brilliant books thanks to your recommendations Marie, because yes there are some brilliant contemporaries out there! 😀
      Yeah it’s the same for me, it’s very rare I add a book to my to-read list just because of the cover, eight times out of ten I use to covers to help me decide which book I then want to check out the blurb of. Hype is a dangerous thing isn’t it. Granted most times I’ve loved books that have been really hyped up but there’s always a few occasions where the hype has been more misleading than not.
      Can you imagine if GR didn’t exist?! I probably wouldn’t have as big a TBR list if it didn’t but I’d have no way to keep track of it! 😀
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Not going to lie, but my answer would totally be that I don’t. That thing grows every second and is now a monster that I will probably never confront. I add books based on genre, blurb, author and reviews. There’s also a whole “must-read” tag to some that make them easy to add to my TBR. Great post, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I almost feel like the speed books are released we’d need to finish two or more books a day to keep the number on our TBR lists manageable. I need to start including tags on my TBR list, basically I need to make my GR TBR list a little more easy to read than it already is.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Back in September, I said I was going to limit my TBR to no more than 100 books at a time…then that became 150…now we’re over 200….so clearly I have a hard time limiting myself too, haha.

    As for how a book makes it onto my TBR, I try to be pretty selective so I don’t end up with thousands of books, but there’s still things that make me add a book automatically. One is the author/sequel thing you mentioned. If an author I love is coming out with a new book, it’s automatically added, even if I haven’t read the blurb. Pretty covers won’t make me add a book to my TBR, but they will make me look closer at a book I might otherwise ignore, or be the initial thing to catch my eye. Reviews don’t necessarily convince me to buy a book, unless it’s from someone I know I have similar reading tastes as, or if a blogger or bookstagrammers goes on and on about a particular book (This is how the Wicked Deep ended up on my TBR). Oh, and the buzzwords thing totally gets me, too. There was a book I read recently described as a “Fairy Tale of World War 1” in the blurb, so I got really excited based on the words fairy tale, and then it turned out to be a terrible book, and looking back on it, if I’d paid attention to the rest of the blurb, I probably would have known it wasn’t for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suppose having a set number is a good way of trying to manage it, but there are so many amazing books being released you kind of need to read really really fast to keep up right? 🙂
      I have found that since I started blogging I have been a lot more selective in what books I end up picking up. Covers/blurbs that catch my attention are the main ones I think, but there are also automatic authors I will always read for me too. I feel like it’s a guarantee that if we love the author/series they’ll end up on our TBR list.
      There are a few bloggers out there whose opinions I trust so any book they love with automatically go onto my TBR list (that’s how The Wicked Deep ended up on my TBR list).
      Ohh, what book was described as “Fairy Tale of World War 1”, because before I read the rest of your comment about how it turned out to be a terrible book it caught me too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a book called The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge. I saw it on Netgalley and was like “that description is amazing” and then it turned out to be this really long, boring literary fiction book about people reminiscing on how their early 1900’s childhoods were so much easier than life after the war and it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Beth! Great discussion post! I think I am attracted to books for all the reasons that you’ve mentioned. The cover still matters to me, although it is less than before, since I read a lot ebooks and audiobooks now so I don’t always have a physical book in my hand. Now seeing that the book is by a certain author and reading positive reviews from bloggers definitely matter more! I would instantly buy any new releases from Becky Albertalli and VE Schwab for example 🙂
    My TBR is like the wild west haha! I use Goodreads to keep track, however there are so many books on my to-read list that I have forgotten about or don’t care about anymore. And often I come across a new book that I absolutely HAVE to read and completely ignore the books on my TBR haha 🙂 That is a good idea to create shelves on Goodreads and to use spreadsheets – sounds like you are much more organized than me haha 🙂 Great post ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Sophie. 🙂 ❤
      Yeah while I'll rarely pick up a book solely because of the cover I still use them to help me decide what books I'll then check out the blurb for. Granted I usually read on my Kindle so the cover isn't always important but it still leads my decisions you know? Positive reviews and authors are go-to for a lot of people I think (both Becky Albertalli and V.E. Schwab are my auto-buy authors as well!)
      Ha, I love that saying, and mine is the same actually. I tend to forget about certain books I've added to my TBR list but I really need to go through and sort out the ones I have on my GR list for sure, there are some I'll more likely than not need to remove.
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes a brilliant cover definitely does draw my attention, and at the same time I can feel repelled by an unappealing cover.
        I definitely need to go through my GR list and get rid of books I don’t feel strongly about anymore haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Covers can be so tempting but I’m learning not to rely on them! Besides an interesting blurb, books that are recommended by my trusted reviewers immediately get thrown into the pile!

    Dark fantasy, steampunk, and violence have been my recent go-to reads hahaha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I should try and do the same, but I just can’t resist a pretty cover. Granted I rarely add a book to my TBR just for the cover, I normally use them to help me decide which books I’ll then check the blurb out of.
      Books with good reviews and books people whose opinions I trust are automatic adds yeah. 🙂

      Like

  15. I’ve given up on it… 😀 I mean it’s unmanageable…
    I have about 600 books marked as TBR on goodreads, 100+ books on my kindle i haven’t read, and an increasing amount of physical copies that i bought recently but haven’t read.
    So i’m like “ok, well this is my life now”… and just ignore their existence 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow that is a lot, I have my TBR books saved in so many different places I don’t think I could come up with one number as to how many I’ve said I’ll read one day, but it’s not that much I think.
      The whole “OK, well this is my life now” thing though, that I get. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I know that it sounds bad, but if I am not familiar with the author’s work, the book cover is one of the main determining factors in deciding if/when I read the book. I love gorgeous covers, and if a book doesn’t look pretty, I just don’t have the motivation to read it sometimes. Also I use the Notes in my phone to keep a list of my TBR and I organize it by which books I would like to read that month. Then I check them off as I read them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think that’s bad, I’ll admit to doing the same thing sometimes. If I’m not familiar with the author or the book then the prettiness of the cover is a large factor on whether I decide to check out the blurb and see if it’s something I’ll be interested in reading. 🙂
      Ohh, that’s smart, I have excel spreadsheets saved on my computer but having a list on my phone would be better than that I think! 😀

      Like

  17. I hate to base my tbr on reviews/ average star rating on Goodreads but I can’t help myself! I am really horrible at tracking new releases and I usually use Goodreads (Most anticipated book lists) in order to keep up to date. As or right now, my physical TBR is not bad at all (granted I donated over 500 books this past year but it’s more my ebook TBR is the major problem! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My tbr is getting ridiculous. I’m usually abit more organised but I’m constantly adding books (or requesting them of Netgalley) that I have to write a list of books in order depending which one has to be reviewed first.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think my TBR list has ever been organised so you’re kind of a step ahead of me already! 🙂 Yeah when it comes to list I’m better at keeping track than I am on Goodreads, I just find it easier to add to my Excel spreadsheet than I do GR you know? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I have a separate Excel page which shows when I read each book. The one that tracks my TBR list is pretty much just the books by author I want to read, and if it’s not released yet I’ll include the release date as well. Helps me keep track.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Ahh this is a wonderful post, Beth! 💗

    I use Goodreads to keep track of all the book I want to read, but my TBR is so huge, and I don’t think I’ll ever manage to read all the books I want to read? 😦 And I mostly add books to my TBR because of the author, or the sypnosis, though I do get swayed by pretty covers as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lily. 🙂 ❤ I think Goodreads is what most people will use, and it's a great way to keep track and sort books as well (I need to actually review my Goodreads TBR list because I know there are a few books that I need to remove and/or add).
      We're weak when it comes to pretty covers aren't we? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. My TBR list is insane at the moment, especially because of the reading slump and general life craziness that’s been happening recently 😦 When it got too big, I made a smaller, priority TBR where I only put books that I know I absolutely need to finish and read next.
    One day, it will be conquered! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohh yeah reading slumps can really push you back can’t they? Especially when it seems like every day there’s a new book (or ten) you discover that you want to add. 🙂 A smaller, priority list is a great idea though, I may have to steal that for myself because then I’ll at least know what I have to get around to sooner. 🙂

      Like

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