Counting up the books: 2017



For a brief period last year, I had the crazy idea that I’d do a mini-inventory of my books each month. Basically, I decided I’d count all the unread books on my shelves and on my e-reader, then track my monthly reading and buying and see if my numbers went down (the goal) or up (the reality). The point was both to remind myself that I actually own oodles of books that I should get around to reading and discourage myself from buying more books than I read.

Did it work?

Well. No.

I quit my counting project after a few months. My spreadsheets were messy, my tracking was arbitrary, and in the end, who needs the pressure?

But here I am, back again with a brand new approach!

libib2Thanks to being turned on to the oh-so-fun-and-useful Libib app (, I have a whole new way to get geeky about counting my books.

With Libib, you can create libraries of books, movies, music, etc, organized in whatever way suits you. Adding books is super easy — there’s a scanning feature, so I went through my entire house and starting scanning book barcodes using my smartphone. The scanning feature won’t work for books that have bookstore stickers over the original barcode, and I also got incorrect results for some of my older books. Most of the time, though, scanning worked beautifully, letting me build my home library record over the course of a few hours. (And for anything that didn’t scan, manual entry via the website was quick and easy.)

I decided to include just the unread books in my house, so I’d have a starting place for keeping track. I broke my inventory out into four categories, and here’s where I stand at the moment:

I decided to exclude book I felt pretty sure I’d never read — and in fact, created a new stack of books to donate or give away while I was at it. I also excluded e-ARCs, and any Kindle titles that I doubted I’d get to.

Grand total: 657

The last time I counted in February 2016, my numbers were:

Books: 428
E-books: 76
Graphic novels: 40
Non-fiction: 52

For a total of…  596

Hmmm. My numbers keep going up and up. To be fair, I’ve done a lot of public library reading this past year, but still, I’d like to think I’m reading books from my home library too. I did make a big dent in my graphic novel collection, so yay me!

Anyway, this is all really just for my own bookish entertainment. (My son thinks I’m a total nerd.) I’m not going to be doing monthly updates, but it might be fun to see where I end up at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, my project 2.0 with Libib will be to go back through my house with the scanner one more time and create a “books I’ve read” library too. You never know when that dreaded moment will hit, as you stumble on a book you’re tempted to buy and think “wait, do I own that one already?” Okay, this mainly happens to me in regards to my Stephen King collection, but it’s still fun to have a reference of all my books ready at my fingertips.

abacus-1866497_1920Anyone else crazy about counting books? What methods do you use for keeping count?

I’m so glad I discovered Libib!

A big step forward over my older methods, after all.



27 thoughts on “Counting up the books: 2017

  1. Ooh, thanks for introducing me to this app, Lisa! It sounds great – I may have to try using it myself, I do love a list. =) Especially as I want to make more of an effort to read books I already own, particularly books I’ve owned for a while, this year too.

  2. This sounds like a great way to keep on top of your TBR! I use Goodreads, especially for those I’ve read, but I’ve got a lot of books on my shelf and on my ereader that I’m not tracking anywhere. I may need to try out this app!

    • I felt like it would be too much work to go back through all my Goodreads books and mark which ones I own but haven’t read. This ended up being a really quick and easy way to get it done!

  3. I liked those posts! But I can totally see why you didn’t want to keep doing it every month. Libib sounds pretty useful for this sort of thing. I have a pretty accurate “inventory” using Goodreads though, so I’m not planning on using another app as well.

    I mainly keep track using a Goodreads TBR shelf (which is only books I have) and I also post that number on my blog sidebar. (For the record, my starting number also was reset at the beginning of the year! And no, my number’s not going in the right direction either! I really need to work on that…) I’ve tried my best to be accurate, but if there’s an error or omission here or there, I don’t worry about it.

    • My Goodreads TBR list is a total mish-mosh of books I own, books I’ve heard of and want to remember to get to, books I want to buy at some point, etc. I’m trying to avoid anything that resembles pressure when it comes to reading, so that’s why I don’t want to focus on my book numbers too often; otherwise, it becomes just one more thing to worry about!

    • So far, so good! My spreadsheet was nice when I first set it up, but it got messier and messier as I added more books, gave some away, and started trying to track which ones I’d read. I still use Goodreads to mark all my current and past reading, but Libib gives me a nice way to keep tracking of all my unread books with almost no effort required. 🙂

  4. Sounds interesting, I’ve been using Pinterest boards to track TBR and books read by year. But my TBR list includes stuff I’ve heard about but don’t also own. This app sounds good for managing the books I own.

    • Using Pinterest to track TBR books is a great idea! I’ve been using a Pinterest board for books I’ve read and reviewed, but hadn’t thought about doing a “want to read” section. What I like about the app is getting to be as specific as I’d like, and it seems like it’ll be really easy to update when I want to mark books as read.

      • Pinterest is how I found your blog! With the app, I love simply moving books finished from a what to read next board to an annual books read board–books/pins are tallied by year and provide and a nice list with links to reviews 😉 in case I forget what the book was about (which definitely happens!).

  5. I use a different app on my phone that is not connected to a shelving website like that, but it lets me keep track of the books I own so that I can pull it up when I’m out shopping for books and just check real quick to make sure I don’t duplicate. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve only messed up one time, and I think I did that time only because I have so many books by that author that I missed it.

    Either way, it’s so nice to have an app on one’s phone that keeps track of your collection of books for when you’re out shopping. Especially if you always buy new. Duplicating at new book prices can get pretty pricey! 🙂

    • I agree! I always end up with problems at our library’s big sale. Seems like every time, I come home with at least a couple of books that are duplicates. (Since they’re all $3 or less, not really a problem… I just turn around and donate them back to the library!) What app do you use?

      • I use an app called Book Catalogue (that is the exact spelling) for my book collection. I have it on Android, so I’m not sure if it’s on Apple as well. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful app I have ever used, but it is definitely the best one I have ever used. I rarely encounter books that it cannot find, and when it does, they are typically the older books that I pick up, so I don’t mind entering them manually. It has lots of options for sorting your collection, and you can minimize the sections within the list so that you don’t have to scroll as much to find what you want.

  6. I never even thought about counting my books- owned or read. I don’t think I actually own that many, but I have little piles of say, 2-12 books, sprinkled around my house. (It makes dusting more fun when I get to visit my mini collections:-) Besides, then I always feel prepared for… whatever.

    • Well, even though I’ve done an initial count, I can’t say that my books are organized at all! I also have piles all over the house, sometimes stuck into odd little corners. You’re right, it can be fun!

  7. That app sounds like a godsend! It looks like it makes everything so organized. Recently I’ve bought more books than I usually do (which is I actually bought books instead of using the library haha!) and this sounds like it would organize what I have to read. I may just be checking this out, thanks for this! 🙂

  8. I’ve been tracking something similar on spreadsheets too but not as detailed as this — I love it though! I’ve been trying to keep track of what I buy, when I buy it, how much I paid for it, and when/if I’ve read it. I went back through my kindle purchases and was shocked at how few I actually read. lol I need a better way of organizing though so I’m definitely going to have to check out this app!

    • I’ve completely given up on my spreadsheets. They just got way too confusing. I never thought about tracking how much I paid — I have a feeling that would just be too depressing, especially considering how many books I buy and then never read.

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