Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Organize Thy Books!

January 21, 2011 Bloggiesta 119

It’s practically impossible to be a successful book blogger unless you have some sense of organization, from how you keep track of the review copies  you receive down to how you organize your bookshelves.  This post & mini-challenge will help you better organize your books!

Organization starts the instant you receive a pitch for a book.  Keep track of those pitches somehow!  I personally use an Excel spreadsheet saved in Google Docs, which grants me access to my files anytime & anywhere! Here are some of the things you should keep in this spreadsheet:

  • Date pitch received
  • Publicist Name
  • Book Info (Title, author, publication date)
  • Date book was received
  • Date review is scheduled to post
  • Date review is posted
  • Link to review
  • Date link to review sent to publicist

Mind you, these are just suggestions!

When I’m considering a pitch, I always consult my Google calendar on which I schedule all my reviews.  Within minutes I know if I’m able to accept a pitch for a book, based on the release date.  While I’m in the calendar, I go ahead and add the book to my calendar, typically within a week of the review date.

Organizing your books once they arrive is the next step!  Be it Goodreads, Librarything, or Shelfari, I always think it’s best to have your library organized somewhere virtually.  I personally use Librarything the most because of the many labels I can assign to books.  For example, I use the following labels: review copy, to be reviewed, read & own, read & not owned, library copy, etc.

Now, there’s no sense in getting organized if you can’t have fun doing it!  A few years ago, I invested in a CueCat, a USB barcode scanner you can use to scan your books directly into your Librarything library! It also allows you to scan your books into other web sites like Bookmooch, Swaptree, Paperbackswap, etc.   Adding your books to your virtual library will only take minutes (ok maybe hours!) instead of days! A great investment for a mere $15!

When I receive review copies in the mail, I follow these steps:

  1. Mark book as received in review database
  2. Add book to my Librarything library
  3. Check review calendar for review date.  If none, assign one
  4. Write review date on post it & affix to cover of the book
  5. Add book to my review copy bookshelf, by date of review

Yes, I have a bookshelf devoted to review copies!  This prevents review copies from getting lost among the hundreds of other books I own.  It’s not a fancy bookshelf or anything, just a small cube-shaped four shelf bookcase from IKEA. Since I generally have review copies up to 6-8 months before publication date, two months worth of books fit on one shelf. This bookshelf sits at the end of my chaise lounge so it is within reach at all times.

Looking back on this post, it might appear that keeping yourself organized is a time-consuming task.  I assure you it is not!  Once you get used to this routine it’s a piece of cake!  On average, I spend about 30-45 minutes per week organizing my books and I’m a little on the obsessive side.

Many of these tips will also help you in organizing your TBR (to-be-read) books, whether or not they are review copies.

So, how do you organize your books or review schedule?  Comment below & become eligible to win a publisher-sponsor prize! Go forth and organize!

Interested in participating in Bloggiesta & some of the other mini-challenges? Check out Maw Books Blog to learn more!

119 Responses to “Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Organize Thy Books!”

  1. Barbara (Basia's Bookshelf)
    Twitter: basiasbookshelf

    I use Goodreads to keep track of books when they come in and the archaic method of brightly colored pens on a special wall calendar above my desk that lets me know when books are scheduled for release (for ARCs and things) and when I have review deadlines.

    Just yesterday, I organized every single unread book I have into the order I need to have them read in (at Goodreads in an ascending list), allowing that there are going to be books coming in that will have to be squeezed in. I imagine when Bloggiesta dies down, I’ll work on a spreadsheet system.

  2. Heather

    As of right now, I have not received any books; however, when I begin to get them, I will remember your ideas!

  3. Terry Doherty

    You are so right about the scanner. I use Collectorz and a scanner. Collectorz returns a ready-made spreadsheet without having to type in lots of stuff. The database comes with labels (or you can add) for ARC, who it was received from, etc. I export it as text and then upload it both goodreads and librarything. Done.

    I keep one “table” just for the books that come in and a master table with all of the books we’ve received and/or processed.

  4. Vicky

    That sounds like a great system! Thanks for the tip :) I’ll need to start organizing my review copies into an Excel file too!

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