A few days ago, I posted screenshots of my reading spreadsheet + stats charts on Twitter not thinking much of it and asking if by any chance people would want me to make a template available for public use. Lo and behold, the engagement was WILD! So many people loved the spreadsheet and showed interest in wanting to use it for themselves so who am I not to oblige? Which is exactly what I’m doing in this post! I have two types of templates linked below.
But before I talk about my current spreadsheet in detail, how I use it, link you to the templates AND give you a few tips on how to make using them easier and slightly customizable, I thought it would be fun to take you all down memory lane with me and show you how I got to the system I have today. Starting from my very first reading spreadsheet, which I made in 2017 and its evolution throughout the years. To truly show y’all why I think I’ve just peaked and reached galaxy brain with this year’s. I’m really proud of it, especially since I don’t consider myself to be super well-versed in spreadsheets and I mostly got here through googling. Without further ado, here it goes.
So in 2017 all I knew is that I wanted to track my reading, did I know how? NOPE. How to use spreadsheets? Even more nope. So I didn’t actually make this one, I just made a copy of a spreadsheet I’d found online (I can’t remember who made it, sorry!) and customized it to delete all the information I wasn’t interested in tracking and add the review tracking part. I actually messed it up lol rip.
This spreadsheet had a stats page attached to it but when I deleted some columns, I messed it up and had no idea how to fix it, so I deleted it and just calculated my stats at the end of the year manually. Tedious I know, but this is literally what I’ve done every year up to 2020. Oops. I also didn’t even know how to make drop down menus or colors add automatically.
The first page is the main reading tracker above. I settled on tracking the following:
- The title, author, their gender and country.
- The year the book was published, the publisher, the age group and genre.
- I also had a diversity column in which I kept track of any representation the book had and I HATED how I had done this one but didn’t yet figure out how to make it better.
- The format, page count, if it was part of a series, book status (if I’d read the book for the first time, reread it, buddy-read it or DNFed it)
- Then the month and dates in which I read it, how long it took me to read it and whether or not I had reviewed it.
Besides the diversity column, I was pretty satisfied with the rest of it and since I was just getting the hang of using a spreadsheet I didn’t make much of it besides fill it up and add a couple colors MANUALLY. Blue, for when a book was 5 stars. Green, for when it was a digital ARC. Yellow for a physical copy I was sent.
Then I had a series tracking page, which is pretty self explanatory. Here again, I added the color manually and blacked out “Next book” in the series I either finished or decided to DNF. Although I tracked the last two columns for this whole year, I quickly realized it was a chore and something that felt very unnecessary for me to track.
Back then, I also had a spreadsheet for tracking my ARCS (which I now track on Trello). I liked this at first but then again, it became a chore because I found that besides the release date, I was tracking the exact same information TWICE, because once I read the ARC I put it into the reading tracker. I also colored the ones I read in pink so I had an easy visual of how many ARCs I still had to read.
I did not change much this year. Actually, I didn’t change anything about the main reading tracker, so there’s no use in showing it again here. It’s the one above but with different books.
The only thing that changed about this one is that I got rid of that info I didn’t care about above. So no more “number of books in series” or “last book completed”.
This still existed and didn’t change much besides the colors. Whenever I read a book I highlighted it in a different color having a specific meaning. Green for a Netgalley ARC, Yellow for an Edelweiss ARC, Blue for a physical ARC and pink for a copy gotten through other means (the author, a blog tour, etc…). Black/Dark grey is for when I DNFed a book.
As you can see, not much has changed. In 2018, I still didn’t put that much thought into my tracker, what it looked like or the info I actually wanted to track. I just used it because it was there, ready and convenient.
Last year the year I got rid of my ARC tracker AND the one when I really decide to invest some time into making my tracker and figuring out what I really wanted to track and learn the basics of Google Spreadsheets, like how the heck am I going to make categories in drop down menu format and for God’s sake, please I needed to stop adding colors manually.
I kept a lot of the same things from the one I used before, but I made it from scratch this time and I MADE MY OWN DROP DOWN MENUS!!!! Be proud of me, please, this has been three years in the making! The few things that changed are:
- The order in which I put my columns next to each other so that it actually made sense to my brain.
- I finally FINALLY figured out a way to track the representation in books in a way I am actually satisfied with. Having it broken down like this actually makes tracking and filling it up easier. And it’s obviously more organized and you can have a quick glance and know what kinds of rep your books have.
- I got rid of the ratings (this happened in the middle of the year actually, but still) and replaced them with a variety of opinions that simplistically sum up my thoughts.
- I added a column for whether or not I crossposted a review to Goodreads because that’s something I often lost track of and I had to look at my read books on GR one by one to figure out which ones still needed their full reviews.
- I also added a Monthly pages read column to track the total of pages I read each month. I still hadn’t figured out formula so I calculated that and entered it manually at the end of each month.
The series tracker is the same one as in 2020 so you’ll see it below.
This is where it gets interesting for you because this is the EXACT SAME spreadsheet you’ll be getting if you choose to use my template. IT ALSO HAS GRAPHS!!! AND STATS!!! Because I finally learned how to make those and have them update as I fill in the spreadsheet. I also made my spreadsheet in the colors of my blog, because why not?
I made this one based on the 2019 one and added a few categories to it and another thing I did you can’t see here is that I added a lot of new options to my pre-existing one. But here’s what was added:
- Author status: whether an author is a debut the year I’m using the spreadsheet (so 2020 now), new to me, or if I’m already familiar with them. I saw a few people track this and I was really curious as to which one of those categories I read most.
- Whereas before I was tracking publishers by imprints, I now separated the two, I have a column for imprint and one, with a drop down menu, for publishing houses. I’m really curious to see which publisher I read from most.
- I also added Secondary genre because the past few years I found myself often having to choose between two genres. Eg: historical romance, do I put historical fiction? romance? WHY NOT BOTH? So this category was born.
- I also added Source, as in where the book came from. To keep track of where the books I’m reading are coming from.
- I deleted the dates read, because they were a chore to track and I found that it was something I could find on goodreads and I was really only interested in seeing how much time it took me to read each book.
I have many, MANY more series, especially ones I’m not caught up on, but this is just to show you I got rid of the “Gender” column that I tracked in 2018, because that was useless to a series tracker and it was something I tracked when I read the books individually anyway. This tracker is exclusively to keep track of which series I was reading and where I was at in them and that’s exactly what it does now.
My stats graphics
I put almost every category I track in the spreadsheets in graph formats, and more specifically, in pie charts, because those are the ones that work the best for me visually and that give percentages, which is what I’m looking for when I’m tracking.
As I add more books and more options get chosen from each category’s drop down menu, it’ll appear in the charts. I’ll put all the options for each one down below.
- Books read every month.
- My opinion: New favorite, highly recommend, recommend, ambivalent, didn’t like but (would recommend in some cases), did like but (would recommend cautiously), do not recommend, DNF.
- Primary genre. All the genres you can think of. Seriously.
- Age range: Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult.
- Format: Finished copy, physical ARC, eARC, ebook, audiobook.
- Source: bought, borrowed (scribd or similar platforms, library, overdrive, etc…), the author, the publisher, gift.
- Author gender: Male, female, non-binary, collab (two or +)
- Year published.
- Publishers: I have the big 5, Harlequin, small press and self pub. Will be adding more to it as I read from more publishers (you can too, I’ll show you how a little later in the post.)
- Author status: Debut, familiar with, new to me.
This is ALL to give a historic of how I got where I got and I also thought it would be something fun to share, to show y’all that I really freaking sucked at spreadsheets but with patience and lots of googling, I got the hang of them. But if you don’t want to do that, well that’s where I come in haha, I will shut up now and give you the spreadsheet links.
PLEASE MAKE A COPY OF THE TEMPLATE AND USE THAT, NOT THE ORIGINAL.
If you don’t make a copy, you’ll be using the public template that everyone with a link can see and not your own copy of it, so please make sure to do that for your own sake! If you don’t know how to, go to file > make a copy , name it as you wish and VOILA! It’ll show up in your drive. It’s super easy to access. Like I said, there are two versions, one with ratings (with half stars!) and one for those like me who don’t rate books, and with the exact opinions I stated above.
To use these spreadsheets, it’s super simple. You just have to enter the info for every book you read in the corresponding columns, most of which are drop down menus you can choose from, so it’s a fairly quick process. The charts in the “Stats” page update automatically as you enter more books into the spreadsheet so you don’t have to worry about them, the only time you need to check those out is when you’re curious about what your reading looks like.
Drop down menu customization
Above, you see a “categories” tab and that’s where you can customize your drop down menus. It looks like this:
All you have to do to have a new option added to your drop-down menu is to write it in the corresponding column. So let’s say you want to add Tor Publishing to your Publishers menu, all you have to do is write “Tor Publishing”, in column M and it will appear in the menu on your main spreadsheet because I already took care of the formula for you. MAGIC! Same thing applies to all the other categories.
Changing the colors
As you can see, the colors are different in these spreadsheets because I made them more “standard” for the templates but you can make them your own and change the colors as you wish, like follows:
- For the tabs at the bottom, right click on the tab > change color > choose the color of your liking.
- For the stats and the color of each part of the pies, just double click on the part you want to change the color of and it’ll give you the option to change the color.
- The colors that get added in the spreadsheet cells with specific words are the same for everyone and get added automatically. (yellow for new favorite, red for do not recommend, green for yes, redish pink for no/not yet)
Monthly pages read total
One last thing I want to touch on. For the monthly pages reads, I said above that I used to write them in manually at the end of each month but I figured out how to make google sheets do that work for me. Here are the steps:
- Go to the cell you want the number of pages added to and enter =sum( in the Fx part up top, this one:
- Now after the ( you need to enter the cells you want the spreadsheet to give you a sum of, and doing that is simple, you just have to go to the “Pages” column and select the cells of the book you read that month.
- You should have the total of books you read under your “Monthly Pages Read” column. Make sure you have selected a cell (ideally the one for the first or last book you read that month) that falls UNDER the “Monthly Pages Read” column.
And that’s everything I wanted to tell you all about my reading spreadsheet and the templates. If I forgot anything, you have any questions on how to use them or something I said is unclear, just ask in the comments and i’ll be happy to clarify!
These templates are 100% free, but if you like them and would like to tip me and support
my work, here’s where you can do that
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.