Organizing your TBR Pile

May 13th, 2016 Kimberly Feature, Guest Post 39 Comments

13th May

Today for the Caffeinated BEA Takeover we have Bee from Quite the Novel Idea chatting about Organizing your TBR Pile. She has some tips that work for her so grab a cup of coffee and check it out. Bee will be responding to comments and visiting you today. It is the last day of BEA and I will be flying home tomorrow. Enjoy the post and stay caffeinated!



Organizing your TBR


Today I have the immense pleasure ofย talking to you here on Kim’s awesome blog because she’s off to BEA (so jealous *pout*). ย I’m going to tell you how you can organize your TBR and make sure how NOT to fall so terribly behind. Of course, this is MY method and it works well for ME. I am not telling you what to do, I’m just giving you tips that might help.

A TBR is often a monstrous and terrifying thing that often threatens to fall over and make a pancake out of us bookworms. And it never stops growing. For every book you read, at least 5 get added onto it.


There is no definite way to ever get to every single book you put on it unless you’re immortal. (If you are, please tell me how your secrets!) BUT there is a way to get it under control, you know… a bit. So I’ll give you all the secrets as to how I do it and hopefully it helps you at least a little bit. And it’s quite simple actually.

Prioritize with Lists & Goodreads Shelves!

ISN’T THAT SIMPLE? Why yes it is. You see, I love making lists. I have a zillion post-its next to my usual computer spot. Actually only three at the moment. I have my April TBR and my May TBR which contain my review copies for said months. (The books that release in late April, May and early June + non-ARC review copies.) And I have my Backlist TBR which contains the books I own and want to read ASAP.

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These lists help me decide what to read next. BUT these little papers can get lost or something, so I have SHELVES! Goodreads is an immense help for keeping my TBR organized. I have my To-Read-First shelf which contains all my review copies and I have my backlist-tbr-asap shelf which contains ALL the already released books I own that have priority over the hundreds of other books on my normal to-read shelf. I also have a waiting-for-release shelf for all the unreleased books I do not own but am waiting for (obviously) and a wishlist shelf for all the books that I do not own, but are released.

Now how does this help me decide what to read next and not fall behind on review copies? IT’S ALSO SO VERY SIMPLE. You see, I’m a mood reader. I always have a specific mood that’s very genre-related. Sometimes I’m in the mood for fantasy, other times for contemporary and there are also those rare moods where I want to read paranormal, historical or science fiction. My To-Read-First shelf and my backlist-tbr-asap shelf both have books that are from a variety of genres. So when I know what I’m in the mood for, I first go to my review copies because those are books that I got from publishers/authors for review and thus have priority over all the others. I pick a book from my list (preferably from my TBR from the current month) when I know my mood and read it. Sometimes it happens that I get half of that monthly TBR done before I’m even halfway through the month, so I get to choose from my backlist TBR. YAY! That or I choose to take a week off and do some other stuff like catch up on TV-shows/movies/anime/… This is also an excellent way to avoid the feared reading slump.

I’ll give you an example. Say I’m in the mood for contemporary book. It’s April as I’m writing this so I go to my April TBR list and I pick a book from it to read. Since I can’t choose which contemporary, I just pick the one that releases the soonest. If I have several that release on the same day, I just pick blindly or I choose the one whose blurb sounds the best. So it’s April and I want contemporary, so I pick either Suffer Love, Alice & the Fly or The Way Back to You.

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Yes it is Dean. It’s a simple but very efficient system that I worked out for myself and it works. I can’t enjoy something I’m absolutely not in the mood for but I like to be organized at least a little bit so I found this to be a good alternative. I have a planned TBR that allows me to choose according to my mood. The best of both worlds, so to speak.


Quite the Novel IdeaThank you Bee!ย Loving the ย gif of Dean ๐Ÿ™‚ Bee runs the blog Quite the Novel Ideaย where you can find lots of discussion posts, reviews in all genres and even movie reviews.ย Bee is twenty five and lives in Belgium. She shares a birthday with J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. How cool is that? I might add my youngest was born on the same day ๐Ÿ™‚ Bee is also an author who pens under the nameย Nelly B. Jones, in honor of her Grandmother. Bee actively participates in the blogging community and loves to comment and share. I hope you take some time to introduce yourself if you haven’t already done so.

Be sure to follow Quite the Novel Idea on ย Bloglovin

Chatย with Bee on social media:Twitter |Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Organizing your TBR Pile w/Bee during the Caffeinated BEA Takeover Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

39 Responses to “Organizing your TBR Pile”

  1. Lauren

    I’m in the process of moving back home after finishing at university and I scanned all my books into libib…. I’m at 468 books.. and I’d say only 100 or so of these I’ve read. I don’t think I’ll ever be a at low book count for my TBR :’) thank you for the advice though

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    Thanks for sharing your organization tips, Bee! I like the idea of having the lists for each month and separating them into review books vs backlist books. And I think I can handle having those lists on paper. As for Goodreads… My GR shelves need so much help! And it’ll take some time to do it so until I have that time to dedicate to creating new shelves and organizing those I already have, I’ll keep the lists on paper. But someday… ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Lorna

    I quit making lists and using post-it notes when I retired after years of relying on them for my work. Now I am completely unorganized, have no real idea what is in my tbr-there could be wonderful books, but most I don’t even remember what they are about.And yes I keep buying more books. I really should start using more lists on GoodReads. I do keep a wish list on Amazon of books that I usually get from the library when I can. So that’s something I guess. These were some good tips and ideas. Thank you for helping me to get more organized or least get me thinking about how I could do it-eventually ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Samantha

    I love the idea of creating a backlist TBR list. I never thought of that. I’m definitely going to start making a list for books I need to read each month. It’ll be so much easier than trying to keep all that in my head.

  5. Deborah

    I’m a list-maker as well!

    I sort mine chronologically (in order of publication date) and then do a bit of prioritising depending on mood etc.

    I almost only get books I’ve requested – so rarely get unsolicited books – though if I do I usually put those to the side unless they really interest me.


    • Bee

      I rarely get unsolicited books, if any at all. Most likely because I live in Belgium so they can’t always send those to me. But yay for lists! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Melanie Simmons

    I don’t really have a system. I don’t get a huge number of arcs. I have two audiobooks to review and two books that I need to read (one I’m at 50%, so I guess I have one and half). I review a lot of purchased and library books, so I read what I want when I want. I do have a shelf in Goodreads that I use to separate out the books I want to review soon to help separate those books from the overwhelming to-read list. It helps me keep track of books releasing soon or what book is coming out next in series that already out. It has 30ish books on it instead of 400+. Much easier for me to keep track of what is coming out next and to pick up next in a series. Great topic.

    • Bee

      Lucky you then! ๐Ÿ˜› Yeah, I have that backlist shelf for that reason too. If I can read a few backlist titles, I pick from that shelf first because those are the ones people keep telling me to read.

  7. cindy

    Great tips! I am going to start a TBR shelf on Goodreads. I usually just organize by the publish date but I like the idea of a TBR shelf. Thanks again:)

  8. Suzanne

    Great post and very helpful! I’m just starting out as a book blogger and have been desperately trying to get myself TBR a little more organized.

    • Bee

      Well, welcome to the community then! ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad my post was helpful!

  9. Wattle

    Wonderful post Bee ๐Ÿ™‚ I always like reading about how other people organise their books. I have no real system at the moment (though I keep meaning to trial a few things!) but eventually I’m going to set up a spreadsheet so I will stop buying multiple copies of books years later lol I really like the idea of monthly lists, though I don’t think I read enough for that. Might be something to consider for the holidays later in the year though ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you both for sharing!

    • Bee

      Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ Yes, I’ve seen others that use spreadsheets. I think it’s awesome if you have something that works for you. Even if that something is no having no system whatsoever. ๐Ÿ™‚ As long as you enjoy reading, it’s all good.

  10. Sharon

    Another notebook lister here ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I also use the “50 book pledge” shelves of tbr, ‘currently reading’, and ‘books read’ to keep track . Nice to earn the badges for reading there ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ve heard bloggers that use spreadsheets, so that’s another option someone might appreciate.
    Thanks for sharing, Bee!

  11. Tiffany

    I’ve recently starting making monthly lists, and it’s really helped me these past several months. I like the agar shelves idea. I don’t know why I don’t do that already. Sounds so simple and efficient.

    • Bee

      It sounds simple and efficient because it is!! That’s my main reason why I’m on GR in the first place, because of the shelves!

    • Bee

      AAhahahah XD I had that at one point and I could just feel it judging me. XD

  12. Sophia Rose

    This is a nice system, Bee. Thank you for sharing it.

    I, too, am a list and organized shelf person. I call mine something different, but they have the same function. And instead of Post-Its, I use a little notebook. But yes, as a mood reader, I agree that having a list of possibilities instead of just grabbing the next one on the pile works best.

    Nice to ‘meet’ you, Bee! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Tanya

    Great post! I have a chart in my planner that lists the book and the release date. I normally try to pick the dates closest to me and work forward. If I don’t have any forward, I’ll go back to the arcs I missed reading forever ago and never got to. My problem is when release dates overlap, and you have the popular books you’ve been dying to get, and the books from authors that are new to me. That one is a struggle for me.

    • Bee

      Yeah, I know! It’s so hard to choose between popular titles and less popular ones. Though sometimes I tend to gravitate towards the lesser popular ones because the ones that are very well known and highly anticipated tend to have a lot of hype around them and I’m scared of hyped books. XD

  14. Stacy Renee

    My reading has become much more organised ever since I started yearly TBR shelves on Goodreads. I recently started doing monthly TBRs on my blog as well and so far (I’ve only been at it for 2 months) it has been going great. I’m on my way to tackling all those arcs and backlist books!

  15. kindlemom1

    I love the idea of adding some shelves to Goodreads to help with this, you are brilliant! ๐Ÿ˜› Thanks so much for the tips!

  16. Ramona

    I had a system … then two … then a few more. Until the systems were beginning to get in the way of my reading enjoyment. So everything collapsed… I’m sure I’ve got a system now too, but I’m actively trying not to think about it too much ๐Ÿ˜€ I read. I enjoy. I’m lucky ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Bee

      Lucky indeed! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the most important thing after all, that we enjoy reading.

  17. Mary Kirkland

    For the print books, I just put them on the living room shelf and after I read them they go on one of the other 4 bookshelves. That way I can always keep track of what hasn’t been read yet. For the ebooks, since I don’t really have many of them, I can keep track on them on my kindle. When I’ve read it and reviewed it, I delete it from my kindle. That way I know the books on my kindle haven’t been read yet.

    • Bee

      Simple, but effective! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you have a system that works for you!

  18. blodeuedd

    SIgh, I had THE best system. *sobs* On shelfari you could easily move books around and that was my system of what to be read next.