Did you know Goodreads could do that? | Fun Questions

July 12, 2014 Fun Questions 34

Fun Questions LogoJoin me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Did you know Goodreads could do that?

Last month a blogger friend of mine was tying to find out a way to number her TBR on Goodreads for Random.org. I naturally found this to be a challenge I HAD to solve. What happened next, no one could have predicted.

I discovered so many things I had no clue Goodreads could do.

And I proceeded to spend the next three days reorganizing my shelves.

So I caution you – after reading this post, if you’re an organization freak like me and these features are new to you, you may lose countless hours reorganizing your shelves. Consider yourself warned. 🙂

Customizing your shelves settings

So the first thing I learned was all the ways you could customize what you see on your shelves – since that was the original goal. You can have total control over what details about your books shows up on your shelf. When you go to “My Books” you’ll get a screen that looks like this at the top.

If you click on Settings (indicated by the arrow) a whole panel opens up where you can select what features you want to see, including the option to number your books. Any change you make will immediately change the shelf you’re viewing, but for it to be permanent you have to hit “save current setting to your [name of shelf] shelf.” Click on the links in the picture below for details about different features I thought I’d point on. Most are self-explanatory and not worth note.

A couple of the settings really caught my attention though – in particular “owned” and “recommender” – and made me start to wonder what exactly Goodreads could do. This next bit is where I spent most my time…

Owned and Recommender Features

I’m grouping these two features together because you go to the same place to edit them. Basically Goodreads can keep track of all the copies of books you own. Cool right? Knowledge of this feature led to me spending days going through my Audible Account, Kindle Account, Barnes & Noble account and my physical book shelves noting every single book I owned. Yep, it took LOOOONG TIME. But it was so worth it and now I’m maintaining. Anyway…

So let’s say you just bought a book that I recommended to you. You’ve already added it to your “To Read” shelf but you want to remember that you own it and that I recommended it to you. Goodreads can do that for you. Go to the book page and scroll down to the “My Review” section. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have the right format selected – if it’s the wrong format click “edit” (see picture below) and select the correct format. Once you have that set correctly, click on “edit review” and the fun will begin!

Note: If you’re changing your format, after you hit edit this screen will come up.

Switch Edition

Just click “Switch to this edition.” If you have more than one edition on your shelf, hoover over the green check mark next to the edition you want to remove. It will change to a red X. Click the red x and remove that edition from your shelves.

Once you’ve entered the review screen there’s a whole slew of features that – if you’re like me – you may have been missing all because you didn’t hit “more options.” Hit it and see what appears! I was shocked.

So I spent a couple days adding all this information and then started thinking, man I wish I could tell at a glance what books I own that I haven’t read. Or that I need to read for review. And I wanted to get rid of the confusion of having them on multiple shelves. That’s when I discovered “exclusive shelves.”

Exclusive Shelves

I have to say, of all the things I discovered, Exclusive Shelves rocked my world the most. It is so much easier and faster for me to pick out what books I want to read and need to read now.

First of all – you may be asking – what is an exclusive shelf? Well basically every book on your shelves HAS to be on ONE AND ONLY ONE exclusive shelf. When you get your Goodreads account you get three automatic exclusive shelves: Read, To-Read, and Currently Reading. But you can create more!! I have EIGHT Exclusive Shelves
1. read
2. currently-reading
3. to-read
4. dying-to-read
5. hope-to-read
6. maybe-read
7. need-to-read-for-review
8. owned-but-not-read

I love this feature because now if a book is on my to-read shelf, that’s a signal to me that I haven’t filed it away properly. Most days I have 0 books on that shelf. My dying-to-read, hope-to-read and maybe-read shelves are for me to determine how much I really want to read a book. The need-to-read-for-review shelf is for books that I have accepted for review from authors, NetGalley, or Edelweiss. I love seeing at a quick glance how many I have and not having to sort through my TBR. And then there’s owned-but-not-read. This shelf was a shocker… I own 457 books that I haven’t read. Yikes! And I probably wouldn’t have figured that out if it weren’t for this shelf.

What makes exclusive shelves so great is that if a book is on my owned-but-not-read shelf, it’s not on any of the other seven shelves. So as long as I’m responsible about how I add my books, I’ll always have a clear picture of my reading situation. So here’s how to do this for yourself.

On your “My Books” page look at the list of shelves on the left hand side of the screen and next to “bookshelves” click “edit.”
Edit bookshelves

After you do that, this screen will come up. Any shelf you want to can be exclusive, just by clicking the box in that column. You cannot, however, remove any of the original three shelves or make them un-exclusive. See picture for tips.

Putting it all to good use

So all that hard work has to be worth something right? For me, it saves so much time when it’s time to pick out books. For one, I can look at what I already own at a quick glance now – which is much better for my book budget. In the mood for an audio book – I just have to sort the owned-but-not-read shelf by format and all the audio books I own will be sorted together. Bam!

I also recently learned that you can select multiple shelves to view – so I’m still working on this update but I’m working to sort my books better by genre and length. That way, if I want to read a book I already own, that’s on audio and a novella, fantasy genre, I can click on multiple shelves and just see the books that meet all those categories. How? Go to your “My Books” and at the bottom of the list of shelves you’ll see a small link that says “select multiple”. Once you do that little plus signs will appear by each shelf. Click the plus sign of a shelf you want to add to the mix. Change your mind? That plus sign turned into a minus sign, click the minus sign and it’s not included anymore. See picture below for a visual:

So, did you know Goodreads could do that? Any features I’m missing that you use?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

34 Responses to “Did you know Goodreads could do that? | Fun Questions”

  1. Julie S.

    OOh this is excellente my dear! I knew a bunch of that, and I LOVE shelving things in multiple shelves -but I had NO idea you could search multiple shelves at once! I gotta try that out. Yea so I’m not going to take the time to shelve everything I own because that would take ages! But I have been trying to make better use of the shelves moving forward.
    Julie S. recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island – July 22, 2014My Profile

  2. A Voracious Reader

    I knew about some of these features (even though I don’t use them), but the exclusive shelves have my attention. BookLikes has that feature and I use it. Just the thought of going through my shelves gives me palpitations. I have something like 5500 books there. O.O When I first joined I just added books by the original exclusive shelves. No genres or anything. And now Amazon asks me if I want to add all my books from there? That’s another 5K, which most haven’t even been added to my shelves (evil freebies). lol Anyway, I’m not sure I want to tackle a reorganization. It makes my head spin. o.O
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 49th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      I had NO CLUE. I only really started using goodreads about 8 months ago or so, so I guess it’s not surprising I didn’t know. I was a Shelfari girl before. Show me a way to get organized and I jump on it, it’s the perfect way to procrastinate without guilt lol 🙂 But I don’t have as many books as you do…
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 49th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      I was really excited to figure it out. I wish I’d found it earlier – but I’m so glad to have my shelves so organized now. I imagine it would take you longer than it did me, since you’ve been blogging for so much longer and have (I imagine) way more books – but it’s so worth it in my opinion.
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 49th EditionMy Profile

  3. Angie F.

    I don’t use the owned book feature anymore. I did way back when GR had their Bookswap, since you had to mark the books you wanted to trade as owned and choose the correct edition for shipping purposes. Of course, marking an e-book as owned was kind of pointless (except for your own information) since you couldn’t put them up for swap. I really miss the book swap! It was so convenient!

    I do love exclusive shelves! I added one for my unread freebies and a wishlist! The wishlist shelf also use to be used by the Bookswap to help you quickly see if anyone had that book up for swapping! Now it’s just for me to know which books I want to read but don’t own, or isn’t at the library.

    I haven’t used the multiple shelf filtering yet. I just don’t have enough shelves for that to be useful. I keep thinking about making more since I love in-depth organization, but I’m just too lazy to do it. 😛
    Angie F. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #138My Profile

    • Berls

      I wasn’t using Goodreads back when they had bookswap, but I imagine I would have loved it. The exclusive shelves has to be one of the best features – I love knowing exactly how many books I have to read. It does take a lot to organize everything – I have the shelves I need, but the books aren’t sorted well enough for me to use the multiple shelves feature yet. My problem is I don’t always know how to classify a book until after I’ve read it…
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 49th EditionMy Profile

      • Terri M.

        I loved the GoodReads Bookswap. I randomly keep track of the books I own. The trouble is I often resell my books at Half Price Books so I can…wait for it…BUY more books. Yeah, I’m sure that is a surprise to absolutely NO ONE. 🙂

        My favorite feature…GoodReads actually keeps tracks of the number of pages you read provided the book data had the number of pages. I outlined the steps back in a Feature & Follow. Instead of a book goal, I have a page goal of 20,000 pages. 🙂

          • Terri M. LeBlanc (Second Run Reviews)

            It wouldn’t count the audiobook if that is the edition you selected because audiobooks don’t have pages. With an audiobook, I usually select one of the physical copy versions of the book and then shelve it on my audiobook shelf. Of course that might spark a debate for some on whether listening is really reading….blah blah blah.

            I’ve noticed with eBooks some have page counts and other don’t. So if you want a count of pages that’s something to watch out for as well!
            Terri M. LeBlanc (Second Run Reviews) recently posted…Christmas in July! RevealMy Profile

    • Berls

      I’m glad to be able to share 🙂 I think a lot of people have been using goodreads for so long they know all the tricks, but as one of the newer users, this was knew to me! It does take quite some time to organize, but in my opinion it’s more than worth it!
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 49th EditionMy Profile

  4. Bea

    I actually knew about these tips, but I have no doubt whatsoever that there’s still much I don’t know. 🙂

    My TBR shelf on goodreads is the same as your owned-but-not-read. If there’s a book I want to read but don’t own, it’s on my wishlist shelf. I use my wishlist shelf as my library shopping list and to request review books. A few I end up buying.

    Good post! I hope you’ll do another one as you learn more.
    Bea recently posted…I’m At Romance at Random Today!My Profile

    • Berls

      Hmm you have me thinking that I should create a wish list shelf – but I guess that’s kind of my dying to read shelf – since if I found any of those books on sale I would scoop them up. I’m sure Goodreads has hidden depths I haven’t discovered, seeing as I just found these features after 8 months of use!
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Summer Vacation Update | Rocking this Read-a-thon!My Profile

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