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Topic: Organizing your Reading List

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Subject: Organizing your Reading List
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 115
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I don't really know where else to put this topic but here is my question:  I want to know if there is a database (I guess that is what is needed) or some way to organize the books read; authors and series and those read of that author and series.  Make sense?  I got a book journal last year where I entered my favorite authors and most have series going.  I prefer to read series in order if it is possible.  Anyway, I just added authors as I thought of them or found them (either here, the library, UBS or book club).  It is a cumbersome, time-consuming chore to find out if I have read a book by a certain author or not. I discovered this when I went to Half Price Books (remember I got $150 in gift cards for Christmas?).  I brought my "journal" (I really don't use it as a journal) and good amount of fumbling, flipping pages, etc. every time I would find a book by an author I like. Surely there must be a way this is more efficient?  Any ideas?  Thanks in advance.

ETA: thank you all for your ideas and help. Kate H. was nice enough to share her system and it worked well for me.  Although it did take me 3 days of doing nothing but organizing books using Excel.  Take that back: I didn't use Excel but used QuattroPro which is packaged with WordPerfect Office.  Works just like Excel though...am guessing at that but I was able to follow her directions and everything worked as it should.  I am still interested in that software someone mentioned in reply (sorry, I don't remember who, my bad).  Anyway, Thanks, everyone!

Last Edited on: 1/9/10 8:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 3,387
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i know a lot of people like shelfari and librarything.  i don't use those personally, though (and i've bought books i already own at HPB myself!  lol)

if you want a portable journal like you have, maybe a three ring binder or one of those photo albums where you slide pictures into slots?  you could have tabs for different genres, or authors' last names, or whatever.  and if you wanted to use the photo albums, index cards (color coded for more fun!) could be used.

good luck finding something that works!

Date Posted: 1/4/2010 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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My Dad uses index cards.  I could see using one of those small three ring binder address books.  (I'd need to be able to enter new folks in alpha order.)  I tried using Delicious Library as I loved the idea of scanning the ISBN numbers.  Too bad the idea was better than the scanning.  Or my room is too dark at night to scan.

Part of this is a decision on what works best for you.  Having a great system that isn't comfortable is worse than no system.  Some folks want it by genre, some by author.

ETA  And think about if you need it portable, such as a phone ap or a small book.  That way you could take it to bookstores if you go to brick stores. 

Last Edited on: 1/4/10 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,167
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I have a books read folder on my desktop every time I finish a book I add it to my list by Author, date I read it, Title and #if series.

                                                         (A Knitting Mystery)

Example  Kruger, Mary   8/08      Died in the Wool  1st

                  Kruger, Mary   9/08       Knit Fast Die Young 2nd

I tried years ago to keep a notebook but it quickly became disorganized.  On the computer I can keep adding them alphabetically.

If I can't remember whether I read something or not I can quickly look on my desktop list.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Date Posted: 1/5/2010 1:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,467
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I keep an excel spreadsheet.

Date Posted: 1/5/2010 1:38 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 115
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Thanks, to all of you, for your replies...some food for thought for me anyway.  Karen, two things...how did you set up your spreadsheet to make it work for you and I would love to wake up in 1743 and find Jamie Fraser myself! lol

Date Posted: 1/5/2010 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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I use software called "Book Collector" ... it costs $30 ... its great for cataloging books. You can just put in the ISBNs of your books and it will download all the info for you from online sources like Amazon, you can mark the status of the book (have it, ordered it, want it, got rid of it, etc) and you can add your own info into the records ... so yur own reviews and notes on the books. It also already has fields for series name and number, etc.

If its an old book, you can enter in all the info yourself. You can edit all of the info for the books. It knows the original prices of the books, so if you keep a backup of your database somewhere else, you can use it for insurance purposes.

I have thousands of books, so it really comes in handy for me to track what I have read. Otherwise, if I read it a while ago, I can be a couple of chapters into it and then I realize I've read it before. Hate that!

Last Edited on: 1/5/10 1:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/5/2010 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I have Excel spreadsheets I create for the authors I read.  I get the data from http://www.fictiondb.com/ then paste it into Word, do a little manipulation and then put it into Excel.  I have one worksheet for books and one for series.  I then have cells for library, shelf and read.  The first thing I do is to mark off all the library books for that author.  If it's a large print book, I use an uppercase "X" otherwise a lowercase "x".  When I am done reading a book I mark it off my list.  I find this system really helpful when I am deciding what to buy on this site.  I'm a sucker for the 3/1 and 4/1 offers so I end up in buying books I may not necessarily be looking for.  I hate it when I buy a book and then find it was available in the library, especially if it was available in large print. 

This method works really well for me. 

If you want to know how I create my spreadsheets, PM me.  I have the steps written down because a buddy asked me how to do it.

Last Edited on: 1/5/10 3:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/5/2010 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2009
Posts: 584
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I use this database. I list books as I get them and have found time to list all books I have in my home library. It is a good database and is free!!!!

Date Posted: 1/5/2010 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,467
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Stephanie, my excel spreadsheet is nothing special at all.  I simply keep a list of my books that I own, in author order. I list the purlication date, and if it's a series, I mark 1/4 or 3/8.  I'm a stickler for not staring a series till I have them all.  It sounds like you are looking for much more than I track. Then I keep a sheet of books I've read, by year I read them, just for the hell of it.  PS - yea, some day I want to go to Ireland and try to find Jaime. I have gone to Carmel CA to look for Clint Eastwood, but I never did find him. mmmmm

Last Edited on: 1/5/10 9:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1