If you’re looking for some great ideas on how to remember what you read, I’ve got you covered! From hi-tech book trackers to screen-free logs, I’ve tried it all over the years. Here are my favorite methods below.
Just a quick note: I came across this topic, “how to remember what you read” when I was searching for blog post inspiration and jotted it down for my “writers block” days. In retrospect, I realize that people searching for it were probably looking for ways to literally remember the words (or overall gist) of what they read (with a long e), and not how to remember which books they’ve read (with a short e). I blame the English language, we have too many words that are spelled the same but mean totally different things when you just change the inflection of the vowel sounds.
So, if you landed here because you want to better remember the words on a page (and not because you want a good book tracker), I’m sorry about that. I don’t want to leave you hanging, so try the video below, it has some decent tips. For those who actually DO want a “books read” tracker, keep reading!
Last note: this post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
My Top 5 Favorite Book Tracker Ideas
1. A simple lined journal
My very first book log was just a tiny little fairy notebook that my mom gave me as a stocking stuffer over 20 years ago,. I just started writing down everything I read (title, author, page numbers). After about a year, I realized I’d run out of pages pretty quickly, so I upgraded to another gift from my mom- an Alice in Wonderland journal.
I can’t find the exact one that I have anymore, but I found this customizable one for you instead! While it doesn’t offer a reading log as one of the options, you can get it with blank, wide-ruled, or college-ruled pages. The downside is that it only has 70 pages. If you want something a bit more robust and don’t care about personalization features, check out the Amazon list below for a few more that I really love.
2. Reading log journal
I personally prefer a blank journal because I can customize it for my own preferences, but there are tons of great actual reading log journals out there, too. This one (pictured above) is my favorite from Amazon. I also really like this one from Journals Unlimited on Amazon:
If you need some inspiration or love doing reading challenges, I also made a reading journal for my 52-week reading challenge. While it’s available on Amazon, it was my first attempt at KDP (Amazon’s print-on-demand book service), so it’s not the prettiest out there.
If you want it and don’t mind printing it out yourself (and don’t really need the cover), take it. Seriously, no one is buying it anyway. You can have it. Just click here to get the printable PDF. The image below gives you a preview of the internal page. You get 3 basic log pages, then each prompt includes a lined page for notes and a “book review” page.
3. Print-as-you-go “books read” binder
The only downside of journals and log books is that you can’t really add pages. If you only read a few books a year (say, less than 50) AND you keep your tracking simple like I do, that’s not a huge issue. I’ve yet to run out of space in my Alice in Wonderland book because I keep my log short & sweet. Each one takes up 3 lines (two for the info, and a blank one between).
However, if you’re a “book a day” reader, you’ll want something expandable. A binder + print-as-you-go pages is the perfect solution. While you can’t add infinite pages, a good heavy-duty 3″ binder holds up to 475-ish full-size pages. Still not enough? They make 5″ binders that hold almost 1,000 sheets.
Fill them with blank paper or printable reading logs. I love this one by KDPWarrior on Creative Fabrica (shown above). Technically, it’s made for KDP sellers, but you can grab it for yourself, too. Print it out, punch a few holes in it, and you’re good to go. It’s only $2, or free with a Creative Fabrica membership (which is totally worth it if you want to download a lot of different printables).
4. Book tracker spreadsheet
Prefer spreadsheets? That works, too! You can make one in Excel or Google Sheets, then add an infinite number of books to it. Plus, it’s easy to customize to fit your needs. If you don’t really want to spend hours making your own, I LOVE Bourque’s Books spreadsheet. It’s free (unlike a few others that I looked at) and very robust. Along with the basics, it includes columns for things like audiobooks, keeping track of your library books, and more. Here’s a screenshot of just the first sheet (there are others, like visual stats, TBR lists, and more):
I prefer using offline tools for my main book tracker because no one can take that away from me. Services shut down, apps vanish, tech crashes. A journal is easier to keep forever. That said, I also use GoodReads. I like it because I can add books to my “read” shelf directly from my Kindle, since Amazon owns the site.
It’s nice because you can get as detailed as you want with it, or just go the lazy “basic book tracker” route like me! I usually just click through and add books that I’ve read without bothering with the dates and what not. Every so often, I go in and add reviews (or I add them if I’ve reviewed the book here on my site).
Other online book tracker apps & services
While those methods above are my top 5 favorite ways to remember what you read, there are TONS of other options out there. Here are a few of the better ones I’ve come across:
- Libbib.com– Let’s you manage up to 5,000 books with a free account. They offer a pro account that lets you track 100K items, but it’s more for libraries I think. You can also use it to catalog your movies and music, which is neat! I’m thinking of trying it for my movie collection.
- Bookly– If you prefer to track using a smartphone app, this is a good option. It’s available in both the Google Play and the App stores. Along with tracking books read, it has some other cute features- like quotes, infographics, and goal tracking and more.
- Biblionasium-If you’re looking for a good book tracker for kids, I came across Blblionasium while researching this post and I was really impressed. It’s kind of like GoodReads for children. Not only can they track what they’re reading (including comic books), but they can discuss books with other children their age in a safe environment. It’s basically like an online social book club for kids.
There you go! My top five ways to remember what you read, plus a few extras. I hope you find something that works for you!
Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API