We’ve shared a version of this reading tracking spreadsheet for two years now, and I’ve received so many email messages and requests for more options from readers who absolutely adore it.
Poorva C. wrote to me:
“I just wanted to say thanks for creating the Reading Tracking spreadsheet – it’s been a godsend, both so that the books I read don’t slip through my sieve of a memory, and for making sure I read diversely.
I looked at a bunch of other trackers, and SBTB’s was easily the best balance of detail and user-friendliness, and modifying the columns to better reflect what I read (I adore romance, but I will admit to a fondness for othe genres as well) was easy even for an Excel noob like me.
Please pass on my sincerest thanks to Amanda (I think it’s Amanda?) (SW: Andrea, but close!) for all the hard work she put in to ensure we get the pretty pie charts and stats bars. Seeing how many (or how few) marginalised authors I read has been a HUGE motivator and I hope there are plans for a tracking spreadsheet in 2020!”
Aw, heck yeah, there are plans for a 2020 tracking spreadsheet. I’ve got it right here!
I LOVE THIS SPREADSHEET SO MUCH. I’ve used it all year, I love it, and I’m so pleased I’m not alone in enjoying the process of tracking what I read and how I read, too. I’ve made a few updates to the 2020 version, but the great thing about this spreadsheet is that it’s so very easy to customize. Aarya has a version that she’s modified to track an extensive number of book characteristics, for example. So you can make it your own!
First, and most important, THANK YOU ANDREA. The original spreadsheet was created and shared by Andrea in the comments of podcast Episode 275 about Reading Habits. Thank you so, so very much, Andrea. We wish you the most excellent of reading for the rest of your waking life.
Want to get started and not read any more about tracking your reading? I get it – here, you can go directly to the spreadsheet download link.
If you’re curious about why and how we track our reading using this shared spreadsheet, read on!
Tracking your reading?
Doesn’t that mean you’re entering a lot of books?
Oh, yes. Yes, it does. And that means delicious, nutritious data!!
Some background: I’ve been using – wow, for four years now – a Google spreadsheet to track my future reading. I needed to know four major pieces of info:
- what I wanted to read and when
- what genre it was
- when the book was coming out
- where the book or ebook file was so I could find it.
Present and Future Sarah do not ever remember what Past Sarah did, so Past Sarah tries to help out by leaving us notes. (We get along pretty well, the three of us, thanks for asking!) And since I receive a lot of books well in advance of publication date, or after a long library hold, leaving myself a record helps me manage my reading.
After two years of keeping both spreadsheets, one to track what I’m going to read in the future (mine), and one to track what I have read so far (Andrea’s) my reading has changed a lot. I’m aware of changes in my reading tastes, what books I sped through quickly, which ones I savored, and which genres are showing up in greater numbers in my history.
In 2019, I set reading goals for myself (and met them – yay, me!) and I learned to set a weekly reminder on my ToDo-ist to log my reading every Friday so I don’t miss anything. (NB: affiliate link if you want to try ToDo-ist out – I use it to run most of my daily life, alongside Google Calendar.)
For 2020, I’ve made a few changes to the spreadsheet for things I want to track, and I’m including them in the shared version. You do not, of course, have to use my columns! You can track whatever you want, and change them to account for aspects of your reading that are important to you. This is why Andrea’s spreadsheet is so nifty, and why I really enjoy using it.
For the 2020 version, like the 2019, I’ve combined my Planning sheet and Andrea’s original Reading sheet into one spreadsheet with three tabs. You don’t have to use the To Be Read tab if you don’t want to, but in case it would be useful, it’s available.
Here’s a link to a copy of the 2020 Reading Tracking Spreadsheet:
This link is view-only.
All you need to do is click File, then Make a Copy to save your own version to your Google Drive.
Let’s take a tour, shall we?
Starting with the Books Read 2020 tab: this is where you enter the data on the books you’ve read.
Title, Author, Series, Pub Date, Pages, Format, and the date started, ended, and days read fields are all pretty self explanatory.
The genre fields, and the fields about diverse characters and marginalized writers require a few notes.
First, be consistent about what terms you use. Currently, the genres listed are as follows:
- Contemporary Romance
- Historical Fiction
- Historical Romance
- Paranormal Romance
- Romantic Suspense
- Erotic Romance
- Regency Romance
You can use different terms but it requires some editing of the tables on the next tab – more on that in a moment. You can also use more than one term to describe a book.
Under Diverse Characters and Marginalized Writers, you also need to be consistent in what you enter in those fields. You can use “Yes” and “No” as the answers, as I have in the sample data, or you can be more specific, as the chart on the next tab will support multiple terms. Just be consistent. You can’t mix up “Yes” and “yes” or your data will be a bit wonky.
New for 2020: Book Source! I am tracking where my books come from, and a few people have asked for a similar option. You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to, of course.
In the sample data, I’ve included four options: NetGalley, Hoopla, Amazon, Library. As with the other columns, you have to be consistent (e.g. NetGalley and Netgalley will produce separate results in the charts on the next tab) but you can enter as many sources as you use to find your books: Scribd, AO3, FanFiction.net, Tumblr, Libby, Little Free Library, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Now let’s look at the Statistics page because this is where the magic happens.
Andrea, as the original creator of all this spreadsheet magic, deserves all the praise and wine.
On the second tab, the data you entered from the first tab is turned into graphs, statistics, and charts that allow you to see the results of your reading.
Pivot Tables, Oh Yeah.
The spreadsheet as I’ve shared it has some sample data that you can delete, obviously. That data is only provided to give you a preview of the statistics that are being tracked.
Books Per Month, Rating Distribution, and Page Count are also displayed in graph form below:
Then we get to Categories and this part allows for customization if you know how to work your spreadsheets (I, for example, do not, and was very nervous about attempting changes).
This is where the tricky editing can occur if you need it.
If you’d like to change the categories or genres, you can, but you need to make that change consistent and make sure to edit the formula in the “Total*” column as well.
The category statistics are compiled from the data entered in column K of the “Books” tab. So if you added “Historical Fiction, DNF” as the genre/category for Pride and Prejudice, your statistics would include 1 Historical Fiction and 1 DNF. As Andrea noted in her original construction, totals may be higher than total number of books because categories may overlap.
You’ll notice that one of the categories is “Other/TK.” That’s the one we’re going to edit so you can add a genre should you need to.
Say you want that category to track a genre you like that isn’t listed here. For example: Westerns!
First, easy part: change the label from “Other/TK” to “Westerns.”
Now the tricky part! Click on the next cell in the “Total*” column:
When that cell is selected, look up – up in the sky! Is it snowing? Kidding. Don’t look at the sky.
Look at the fx area, aka the formula bar. It’s just above the spreadsheet, below the toolbar.
See the part in the formula bar that reads: =COUNTIF(‘Books Read 2019’!K:K,… etc?
Highlight “*Other/TK*” and change that to read “*Westerns*”
Now, when you list a book as a “Western” in the Genres column on the data sheet (aka column K), it will be counted in the Statistics correctly.
Again: the words you use have to be consistent, and that includes capital letters. “Western” and “western” are not interchangeable.
Additional Graphs – Make Your Own, Customize, Have Fun!
Then there’s the graphs at the bottom: Diverse Characters and Marginalized Writers. You can adjust the titles and the data to fit your own needs or goals, of course.
The data you enter into columns L and M on the “Books” tab create the pie charts on the “Statistics” page:
These charts are based on the sample data I entered, and I kept the fields as “Yes/No” for ease of demonstration.
You can customize these columns and charts to fit your own reading goals, interests, and habits.
For example, if you read mostly queer romance and want to focus on detailed representation of sexuality, instead of Column L reading “Diverse Characters,” you can change it to “LGBTQIA+?” and track more specific options, such as characters who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Aro, Ace, etc.
So with this data:
The pie chart would look like this:
As long as you are consistent with the terminology, your chart should accommodate the data.
Make it your own to help you!
Again, the data shown here is all based on the sample books I entered. Once you delete the sample data and begin entering your own, you’ll see your own reading history.
I have found using this spreadsheet to be very inspiring: I want to keep reading and keep adding to my totals, and I already read quite a lot. But I also want to focus on what I read, who I read, and what sub genres I’m reading more of. Seeing my own tastes evolve over a month, a quarter, or an entire year has been very interesting.
Again, you can grab your own copy of the 2020 Reading and Books Data Spreadsheet by clicking this link, and, inside the Google Sheets menu, clicking “File — Make A Copy” to create your own spreadsheet inside your Google Drive.
I hope this spreadsheet is helpful. Again, massive thanks to Andrea for sharing the original version, and to Elyse for customizing the current version.
What do you want to track? Do you think this will be useful for your own reading habits? And did you track last year? What did you think?
Happy New Year of Reading!