Customizing my Goodreads shelves

9 April 2015

It seems like most people I know are on Goodreads to some degree or another; posting reviews, getting recommendations, or just finding other like-minded bibliophiles to discuss anything and everything literature.

For me, it’s about record keeping. I read this sort of thing. One of the things I wanted to do was try to better utilize my shelves as a means of keeping these records organized. At one point, I thought more detail (aka more lists) was the best way to do this. But that wasn’t working. So as I was going through all my shelves recently, I realize there was something major in Goodreads’ organizational structure that I just didn’t like.

I had a handful of books that I just never finished for one reason or another, and had not interested in finishing. But with Goodreads, your books must fall into one of three categories: Read, Want to Read, or Currently Reading. And those books didn’t fit into any of those. That’s when I discovered, thanks to Goodreads’ twitter folks, that you can create your own exclusive shelves. What this means is, you can place books on those custom shelves without having to put them on one of the default 3.

Goodreads edit shelves

This may not be news to you, or even that interesting… but for me it felt like a game changer. I could now have a DNF shelf and those books would be in their proper place. I didn’t want credit for reading something I hadn’t, nor did I want to leave it as something I wanted to read when I truly didn’t.

As you can see, there are other options for customizing your shelves. For me, the next major one is picking which I want to receive recommendations for (obviously not the DNF list). And then after that I decided I wanted to create my own featured books on my profile. “Favorites” wasn’t just an apt thing for me, as sometimes I might rate things under 5 stars, but still think it’s worth checking out. Thus my “crushworthy” list. They’re not all phenomenal works of literature, but there’s something to love about each of them.

Goodreads profile


I’ve been a fan of Goodreads for a long while, and I’m trying to utilize it and its community better. But for now, I’m at least feeling a little better about how I’m using it to keep track of the books in my life.

*Yes, I totally still have Chicago listed as my hometown despite the fact that I am living in Indiana now. No desire to change this just yet.
  • I love Goodreads! I personally hate when people have too many shelves, it makes it harder to find like books. It is the best place to document what books I have read. When I first started I had a hard time remembering what books I had already read, but now I add them immediately. I always write reviews now and that seems to help getting better recommendations from fellow readers. I only have 5 other shelves besides the premade ones. It helps me keep track of what books I still want, what my favorites are and what’s on my Nook. That’s cool you have lived both in Chi town and Indiana. I was born in the Chicagoish area and moved to Indiana when I was two. Where in Indiana?

    • I don’t mind having a lot of shelves because I find, at least for me, there’s overlap.

      I’m at BSU right now. I grew up near here, then when to school up north (Goshen), and from there moved to Chicago.

  • Kay

    I SO need to do this with my bookshelves. I feel like mine aren’t very organized, and therefore inaccurate. Plus, I haven’t update my profile since, well, college…which was almost eight years ago haha. Sooo, that could use some work! For some reason, there are still books on my to-read list that I have since read, and marked as finished, but never got taken off the list? So confusing. I need to do some serious Goodreads housecleaning!

    • I feel like I sort of opened a can of worms with mine! I keep thinking “can I make this more efficient? what about *this* shelf?” So I’m still making some changes. But I feel like I’m getting a decent system with it. 🙂

  • I love Goodreads too, I really need to get organized on there though.

    • I just wish I had known about the shelf settings a while ago! I have no clue how long they’ve been in place, but it feels like they were hidden. But I’m super glad that they pointed them out to me, and that they were there in the first place! 🙂

  • I love Goodreads, I use it to track what I’ve read, read reviews before I buy books (or even check them out at the library! haha!) I’ve got a bazzillion lists and created a “didn’t finished” bookshelf as well! Haha

    • I definitely use it for those reasons too. A lot of times I want to find a new book, but have no clue what to read. Goodreads has generally always been helpful. I mean, I do get annoyed by the people who give 5 star reviews before a book comes out without even reading an ARC or anything. It’s awesome they love the cover or the author or whatever, but it really doesn’t help the rest of us out!

  • I was so happy when I found out about the custom shelving options, it really helps that need for personal organization. Originally when I didn’t finish a book I would just add it back to my to-read list and that bothered me. So having the ability to move them to their own shelf is just awesome.

    I may rename my “favorites” list to crushworthy. The name is so cute and would really encompass the non-five star rated books I have listed.

    • That’s what I did with my DNF books too! It just feel wrong. Glad they allow the exclusive shelves.

      You can totally take the name “crushworthy”! I had a blog feature of the same name, but didn’t really do anything with it. I might revive it at some point.

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