Cataloging Your Books

Do you ever wish you knew just how many books you had on your shelf? That sometimes you could just hop onto a program or open a journal and see just how many books you actually have?

Well, cataloging may be for you!

Okay, now that I got the infomercial feel out of the way, seriously, cataloging is a really good way of listing your books in the order you want, see just how many you have, and there’s many different ways to do it.

I just discovered the joy of cataloging (no really, I had fun) and I found that it’s quite helpful to list books and mark whether I’ve read them or not, if I plan on reading them, or if they’re just there for one reason or another.

Here’s a few ways you can catalog your books:

  • Excel Spreadsheet: This is how I did it. It’s fast, easy, and it keeps track with numbers and columns so you can list the title, author, if you’ve read it or not, and whatever else you want to list beside it.
  • Word Document: This is probably easier in some ways because it’s much easier to rearrange and add titles if you have the same author in a row. You can also use a numbers or bullet system to catalog your books.
  • Pen & Paper: This one probably takes the longest as you have to set up the paper the way you want it and choose if you want a journal or notebook or loose papers. Here’s an example by Sasha Alsberg of abookutopia on YouTube where she shows how she catalogs.
  • Google Docs: You can choose a similar spreadsheet like Excel or Word, and go about doing it that way.
  • Your phone: If you have a Smartphone, I’m sure there’s a bagillion organizational apps that you can choose from to organize your books and have the list right in the palm of your hand.

I find that it’s relaxing and helpful to know just what kinds of books I have sitting on my shelf, which ones are waiting to be read, and more.

Here’s how I’m cataloging:


  • Column A: Title of the book
  • Column B: Author(s)
  • Column C: Format in which I own it (some have multiples)
  • Column D: If I’ve read it, if it’s to be read (TBR), or if I’m currently reading it (this includes books I have not finished yet, such as Stephen King’s “On Writing”).

Now this is very basic in its own way, and I can add or subtract as I see fit. I like this method as I can change whether or not I finished the book.

If you haven’t cataloged your collection, what’s stopping you? Give it a try and see if it helps organizationally or anything.

Do you catalog your books? What are your methods? Would you consider doing it? Let me know!

10 thoughts on “Cataloging Your Books

  1. Between having built up a “pastor’s library” and being a history buff, I’ve got something in the order of 300 books, plus a similar number of fiction & music books… so yeah, cataloging is something I could really benefit from. Thanks for sharing your experience with it; I’m encouraged to give it a try now!


  2. I have recently wrote down the lists of books I read and bought by month. And I go highlight read and “reviewed” books. And also my to-be-read and to-be-bought on separate page, which i cross out once I have read and bought them. 🙂


  3. Rayna, you are so much more organized than I am. I have a leather diary where I track some of my reading, primarily series. I authors sign the book at conventions so I am not tempted to hoard books that I have read just because they are signed. Other than that, I rely entirely on Goodreads.


    • Heh, I’ve been relying on Goodreads, too, but if it’s ever down for some reason then I can always look at something that won’t be. And I can add books I physically have rather than books I want to read so it’s not so much.


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