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TSS: Track your reading!

January 15, 2012

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, readers! Life around these parts has been insanely busy and stress-tacular, and it’s not looking likely to improve for the next few months, so my apologies for the lateness of this post. It was meant to go up on New Year’s, and then last Sunday, and I’m only finally getting my act together now… but better late than never, eh?

As part of my New Year’s 2011 in review post, I put up a bunch of stats about my last year’s reading, and a graph of my reading habits over time. If you want to make pretty graphs and calculate stats of your own, you can download my reading tracking spreadsheet. This is substantially updated from the versions I’ve done in previous years. Each year is now on its own tab, with a "yearly comparison" tab to get a look at your reading habits over time.

The basic operation is easy – you enter information about the books you finish in the columns with blue headings, plus your reading and page count goals in the blue-highlighted cells at the top. The first few columns will be familiar to anybody who has used previous versions of the sheet – you enter the title, author, date finished, page count, and/or audiobook time – and the spreadsheet will calculate your yearly totals and daily averages. The dates and page totals will light up green if you’re ahead of the pace needed to meet your goal, red if you’re behind, and black if you’re right on target. The spreadsheet will use this information to generate the reading and page number graphs. If that’s all you’re interested in, you can stop here; all of the rest of the columns are totally optional.

The next four columns are used for tracking binary information about books – things that can be answered with a yes/no, male/female, etc. I’ve got it set up to track the author’s gender, and whether or not a book was an audiobook, graphic novel, or young adult. You can use these, or you can change them to some other yes/no question you’re interested in (whether a book was read as part of a challenge, etc.).

There are also three columns that can keep track of a number of categories: genre, TBR status, and "where did it come from?". These columns use 2-3 letter codes, so that for genre, I’ve got F = fantasy, SF = science fiction, M = mystery, etc.; TBR status is T = from the TBR pile, NO = not owned, A = audiobook, and E = E-book; locations are NBS = new book store, UBS = used book store, etc. You can break these down however you want to keep track of them; whatever categories and abbreviations you choose, the spreadsheet will tally them as long as you change them at the top of the year’s sheet (rows 1-8), and in column C on the Yearly Comparison sheet. You could also change these columns to keep track of other information that comes in multiple categories (i.e. author nationality).

The rest of the columns should be fairly straightforward: year published, date you acquired a book (and consequently how long it’s been sitting on your TBR pile), price paid, and rating (which I do on a 5-point scale, but which could easily be adjustable for a 10-point one), and whether or not it’s your first time reading an author’s work. It will also calculate how many authors you’ve read in a given year, but be careful: it looks at the exact spelling of an author’s name, so it will treat J. R. R. Tolkien and JRR Tolkien as two different people.

And I think that’s it! As always, I’d love to hear if and how you’re using the spreadsheet, and if you have any problems with it, or ideas for the next version, let me know!

© 2012 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2012 11:08 am

    I have been eagerly anticipating this spreadsheet! I started using your one last year and was immensely impressed, but this year’s is above and beyond! Thanks so much for sharing, I can’t wait to use it :)

  2. January 15, 2012 1:12 pm

    Woah now! Okay, this is super fancy. I’ve been using my own non-fancy spreadsheet to keep track of my books, but as I like nifty graphics and graphs and whatever I’m super interested in trying out yours. Love the changes you’ve done to it! It’s got all the stuff I keep track of already in it. Yay! :D

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us! And letting us download it, too!

  3. January 15, 2012 2:21 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I am learning the ropes. I may have a few questions down the road, but I’m already loving the statistics. :)

  4. January 15, 2012 2:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing your spreadsheet! I’m impressed with the changes you made this year. I’ve been using it for about 3 years now and it really helps me stay on track with my reading (I hate seeing those red dates! LOL!).

  5. January 15, 2012 3:45 pm

    Please excuse me while I spend the rest of the day TOTALLY GEEKING OUT OVER THIS.

  6. January 15, 2012 4:21 pm

    I’m not at home, but will try to remember to download that when I do get home!!

  7. January 15, 2012 4:43 pm

    How wonderful – thank you for taking the time to make this available to fellow bookish folks!

  8. January 15, 2012 7:12 pm

    Jen (Devourer of Books) shared with me your old tracker. I absolutely love it. I am definitely checking out the newest upgrades. Thanks for sharing!

  9. January 16, 2012 5:49 am

    That is so cool! I am not sure how I have missed previous years instalments of it…

  10. January 16, 2012 7:51 am

    I’m going to give yours a try this year. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. January 16, 2012 8:43 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  12. January 17, 2012 2:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This is so much better than the one that I’ve been using.

  13. January 21, 2012 12:48 pm

    Okay, so now that I’ve used it more: is there a way I can add in a “date started” cell without messing everything up? Sometimes I read more than one book at a time, or I skip a few days before starting a new book, and so the “days per book” total won’t be completely accurate.

    I think I had more questions, but I can’t remember them now. I may have to bug you again later!

    • January 21, 2012 1:16 pm

      Yes and no… You can add a column wherever you like by going to Insert>column, and excel should adjust around it. But it won’t change the way “days per book” is calculated. It’s kind of a misleading name, since what it actually calculates is not “how long did I spend reading each book” but rather “on average I finish a book every X days”. Does that make sense?

      I will see if I can finagle a way to make it calculate the former, though!

  14. January 22, 2012 6:49 am

    You are THE BEST for making this available to us. I started using this last year and it made my compiling year-end stats geekiness all the much easier. Thanks for doing this again and sharing it with all of us!

  15. January 22, 2012 11:22 am

    <> This might be just the thing I need to get my reading back on track – I love a challenge and it’s so much easier when I can track my progress and be geeky with it! Thanks :)

  16. January 25, 2012 11:29 pm

    Hi! I have a question and I might just have missed the answer… How do you account for short story collections in the M/F category? (This is my first year trying this, so maybe I am missing something…)

    • January 26, 2012 7:26 am

      Kailana – There’s not really a great way of doing it. You could go by the gender of the editor if you wanted, but I usually just enter “various”, which excludes it from the tallies and percentage calculations.

  17. Ashley Chattaway permalink
    May 23, 2012 11:16 am

    Just wanted to say thank you for this download! I love being able to track my books and looking back at each year prior is so wonderful! I was wondering if it was possible to have two genres listed? I tried to enter it with a comma between each one, but it wasn’t shown in the count. I could’ve definitely entered it incorrectly though. Any thoughts? Thanks again for offering this!

  18. March 10, 2013 10:51 am

    I’m late on discovering this, but that doesn’t mean I’m not spending all morning catching up on 2013! Thank you so much!

  19. December 20, 2013 12:41 pm

    First, thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been using it for a few years now. Second, I’m sorry for my ignorance, but how do you add a new year? I’ve just been resaving the spreadsheet and then renaming some of the years but it would be ideal if I know how to add a year. Also, I think in a previous post the possibility of adding the date started was mentioned, were you able to figure out a way to add that? Thank you again so much! This is just incredible!


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  6. 2012 Year in Review « Fyrefly's Book Blog
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  9. Getting Statty on Sunday | River City Reading
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  14. Year in Review 2015 | Fyrefly's Book Blog
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