My out of control TBR (and what I can do about it)

Posted July 21, 2020 in Discussion Tags:

When I see a book that looks interesting, I add it to my TBR list on goodreads. Then, I never think about it again!! Sometimes, I will see a book on sale at Amazon and snag it. Then, it sits on my kindle and never gets read. Am I the only one that does this?


So, I decided to start looking through my goodreads account. My inital goal was to create a shelf of TBR books that I also happened to own. I quickly realized that this would be a herculean task and decided to first pare down my TBR. Seriously people, it was ridiculous. Here is what I did:

  1.   I went to my Want to Read shelf and started with the oldest ones. These date back to 2014 (meaning, I added them to my list in 2014).
  2.   I started by just deleting the books that I knew I wouldn’t be interested in any more.
  3.   Then, I had to look deeper at some of the books to figure out why I put it on my TBR to begin with. If it didn’t sounds super interesting, I deleted it.

You have to be savage when doing this. Seriously, there were many times I thought “Oh this one sounds cute” and I would move to keep it, but really, would I prioritize it over the books I had already? If the answer was no, it got deleted. Be savage!

Ok, now comes the more difficult part. I own so many kindle books. I thought there would be overlap on my TBR with my kindle list. WRONG!


My first thought was “Why did I buy this?!?” and then I realized they were free books I just grabbed because it sounded kinda interesting and it was free. I regret this now. Goodness how I regret this.

I started by searching my kindle for books that made it through the goodreads purge. Time consuming doesn’t begin to describe it. But, I had come this far.


I stopped after this. It had taken me several hours to get this far. Now, I have a goodreads TBR that has books I currently would still like to read, and cross referenced with books I own on kindle.

PS: You can friend me on Goodreads!

What’s next? My next task will be to tackle all those books on my kindle that aren’t on my TBR. I have to decide if I really want to read them and want to add them to my goodreads TBR. But that is a task for another (multiple) day!

How out of control is your TBR? Have you ever attempted something like this?

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9 responses to “My out of control TBR (and what I can do about it)

  1. Haha, this is exactly why I avoid Kindle freebies. I know I’d download all of them and get overwhelmed. A few times a year, I go through my TBR spreadsheet and delete anything that no longer interests me. My spreadsheet gets out of control occasionally, but I think it’s okay right now. Currently, I have 494 books on my must-read-someday list. I own around 50 unread books.

  2. I do quarterly shelf culling on GR. I also review my Amazon wishlists to make sure I still am interested in the book. It has helped me keep the shelves under control. Making weekly TBRs has helped me incorporate shelf books too, which I would otherwise forget about. I always include one throwback book, and that forces me to go through those older books.

  3. Well I am OCD so when I buy a Kindle freebie I added it to Goodreads shelf 9-kfree, along with genre and other info to find it when I am ready to read it. I also have a 1TT shelf for ones that I plan to read for Thrifty Thursday, but they are also on 9-kfree since that is how I got them. Anyway, I am saying I have lots of books, thousands but my Goodreads has them all organized since 2012 when I got my first Kindle.

    Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter
  4. I can’t remember the last time that I bought a Kindle Freebie. I did a purge of my TBR Pile on Goodreads and on my Kindle a while ago and I think it healed something in me because I’ve never gotten out of control again with requesting ARC’s, with adding books that I know I’ll never read to my shelves on Goodreads or bought another Kindle Freebie that I knew I was never going to read. Life is great now! Haha, I’m glad to see that you’re doing the same thing. I promise you’ll feel so much better once it’s all done.

    Rowena recently posted: Review: Parasite
  5. I admire your dedication to this task because we all know this the struggles. It’s so easy to just add something to the list which sounds vaguely interesting. I am also so guilty of getting freebie Kindle reads cos they sound vaguely interesting… and then never getting to read them. I am normally way better at keeping my Goodreads TBR under control than I am at actually clearing off my Kindle. I do like that now I can delete books permanently directly on my Kindle instead of having to go manage my content and devices but it’s still time-consuming, especially when you’re having to go back and forth between Goodreads and your kindle to figure out what’s what. I hope you manage to get it all organised like you want because it will be so satisfying when you do. You definitely have to be brutal though.

  6. Years ago when I got my first Kindle I went crazy with all the freebies. As I’m sure most of us did. And they mostly still sit there unread. Now it’s pretty rare than I download a freebie. It has to be an author that I already enjoy or having been wanting to try.

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