Getting Organized With GoodReads

Whether you are a big reader, pick up a book occasionally or are new to reading, sometimes it’s hard to remember which books we want to read, which books we’ve already read and how we felt about them. With books being a popular gift over the holidays, you may be wondering how you can keep track of them all.

As a book blogger, library assistant and voracious reader, I read over 150 books per year which could make organizing all those books a bit tricky. Some people like to use pen and paper but for me, I like to use an easy way to keep track of books online that also has a handy app…GoodReads!


For almost a decade I’ve used to organize my books. It is a free site where you can create a profile, keep track of your books and be part of an online community of readers. You can be involved as little or as much as you want. I love it because it is an easy site to use and modify to fit my needs. I can organize my books as Read, Not Yet Read and even DNF (did not finish). I can further organize them into various ‘bookshelves’ according to genres, favourites or any other label I choose. Do you want to keep track of books from Great Aunt Ethel? Make a bookshelf for the books she gives you! Want to make a shelf titled ‘Books I Want My Kids To Read’? Have at it!

GoodReads is also a great site to use if you’re looking for a book to read. There is LOTS of inspiration and one of the things I like the most is that the books are rated by ‘regular Joes’, not book critics. Word of mouth books are the very best books! I enjoy being able to rate (and review) the books I’ve read, find people with similar bookish tastes, and follow authors I enjoy. There are even opportunities to win free books from authors/publishers. If you have books on your Want To Read shelf and there’s a giveaway, you will be notified to enter!

First Steps

Your GR Profile PageYou’ll want to create a profile. You can keep it simple with just your name (real or an invented profile name), or you can add more information about yourself – where you’re from, your favourite books and hobbies …. Include as little or as much information as you are comfortable with sharing.

Once you have your profile set up, you can start exploring your Home Page.

GR Home PageOn your Home Page, you will see the books you’re currently reading, your progress in those books, any messages you may have from other readers and any ‘friend requests’.

Accept only the people you want because you’ll see the books they read on your daily feed.

3To help you decide if you want to befriend someone, you can Compare Books.

With Compare Books, GoodReads will show you how many books you have in common. It’s a great way to see if you have similar reading tastes and the info also gives you a nifty visual and a list of books you both have on your shelves with your ratings.

Exploring Your Home Page

Let’s explore the tabs across the top of your Home Page.

MY BOOKS: This is where the books you’ve added are shown. From this screen you can make different ‘bookshelves’ to organize your books. GoodReads gives you Read, Currently Reading and Want to Read options but you can go on to further organize with shelves according to genre, source, format … Don’t forget to add those eBooks and audiobooks too!

BROWSE: you can browse for recommendations, new releases, giveaways from publishers/authors and explore their wonderful lists according to genre. You can become more involved with the GoodReads community by commenting or ‘liking’ reviews written by other readers.


  • Join Groups (giveaway groups, book club groups, and look at featured groups)
  • Add to discussions on various books within the groups you’ve joined … or start a new book discussion!
  • Look for or add to quotes for a certain book
  • Ask the AuthorGoodReads shows featured authors but if you click on an author’s name (and they’re a GoodReads author), you can follow them. That means you can see what books they’re reading, learn about upcoming events, see the books that they’re written.

PEOPLE: See the most popular reviewers that week in Canada

EVENTS: Add your country, (and in non-Covid times, how far you’d be willing to venture for an event) and the event type and GoodReads will pull up events near you.

Other Great Features

GoodReads App

With this handy app, you can easily add books to your shelves using your smart phone. You can type in a title or scan the barcode of a book with your phone’s camera within the app. This is a great option when you’re perusing at Words Worth Books in UpTown Waterloo, for example, and already have an armload of books to buy. Add it to your Want To Read shelf so you don’t forget that you want to read it!

Yearly Book Challenge

Set your own reading challenge by listing the number of books you hope to read each year and GoodReads will let you know how you’re doing. If your intentions were bigger than your reading time, you can easily adjust the number of books at any point in the year. No pressure. At the end of each calendar year, GoodReads will compile your Year in Books so you can see the books you read, the number of pages, genres etc.

That is GoodReads is a brief nutshell. I couldn’t get to all of the cool features in one post, but this gives you a general idea of what it can do for you and the opportunities it has for readers of all kinds. It’s clear why GoodReads is a must-have for this bookworm. Happy reading!

— Laurie P.

NOTE: to view the images featured in this post in a larger format, simply click here.