Goodreads: A Fantastic, Free Way to Track Books Read

It’s happened to the best of us. You found a book at the library or bookstore that sounds great based on the blurb. You start reading and it seems familiar and can’t help but wonder, have I read this before? With Goodreads, you can easily check to see if you have already read a book.

Goodreads is a website that helps you keep track of what books you have read and what books you would like to read. There are also many other features of the website (and app!) that include reviews, book giveaways, recommendations, and more.

Getting Started

Screenshot of Goodreads homepage prompting user to sign up for an account.

You have the options of creating an account with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, or your email address. Note: the Goodreads website and app have slightly different layouts. In this post, I will be covering the website, which is accessible in a browser on mobile or desktop devices.


Screenshot showing user shelves in Goodreads.

Once your account is created, you can start adding books to your shelves. By default, you are started with the standard shelves: Read, Currently Reading and Want to Read. You can make additional custom shelves as well by clicking or tapping on the add shelf button. For example, I have a shelf called Upcoming Releases, for books I want to read that haven’t been released yet.

Searching and Browsing

Screenshot showing search field auto populating results.

To find a book to add to your shelves, start typing in the search box. Results will auto populate based on what you’ve typed. When you see the book you’re looking for, click or tap on the title. When searching for an author or something with more than one result, hit enter on your keyboard or tap on the magnifying glass icon to see all the results.

Screenshot of search results.

Once you get to the results screen, you can limit by title or author. There are also other ways to filter your search by using the tabbed categories for the results. Groups are a social feature of Goodreads where users discuss certain authors, genres, topics, etc. The Quotes tab displays results for quotes (from books, authors, etc.) featuring the search term. People displays users with that search term. This is how you can search for people you know that may be on Goodreads. Listopia displays user created lists featuring that search term.

Book Listings

Screenshot of Goodreads book listing.

The main page for a book displays the average rating from Goodreads readers, a summary of what the book is about, the genres readers have tagged it, the length, and when it was first published.

On a listing for a book, there is the option to add the book to one or more of your shelves. Clicking or tapping on want to read adds the book to your to-read shelf. To add it to a different shelf, click or tap on the arrow next to want to read. Since Amazon owns Goodreads, if the book is available on Kindle format, the Kindle price is displayed. Adding a book to any of your shelves other than want to read or currently reading automatically marks the book as read.

To write a review, click on the number of star you want to give the book. From there, choose whether or not to add a review in addition to the rating.

Screenshot showing five stars being rated on a book listing.

Scrolling down farther on the book listing page, you’ll see if any of your Goodreads friends have read the book and beneath that, reviews from Goodreads readers. You can filter by the number of stars a reviewer gave, search for a word or phrase used in a review, sort by when the review was written, which edition, and the language of the review written.

Find New Books to Read

There are many ways to find books to read with Goodreads. I have found great suggestions by searching for a book I enjoyed and on the book’s listing, scrolling down to readers also enjoyed.

Screenshot of readers also enjoyed with similar titles.

Once you have rated a decent amount of books, you can view recommendations from Goodreads based on titles you previously rated. On the top bar, click on browse and then recommendations.

Screenshot showing Goodreads recommendations page.

Here are recommendations sorted by your shelves. Mouse over or lightly tap on a book cover to display a brief summary of that book. There is also a because you added field, which shows why Goodreads recommended that title.

Screenshot showing example of close up of book.


Another great way to find books is browsing a particular genre. Click on browse and then genres. There is the option to add your favorite genres for easy access.

Screenshot showing historical fiction genre page.

Within the genre, there are new releases within that genre, related genres, blog posts from Goodreads, giveaways for books in that genre, and the most read books that week in that genre. Mousing over any of the book covers shows the same synopsis discussed earlier.

Screenshot showing Goodreads giveaway page.

On the genre pages, there are also related reader lists and the most popular books overall in that genre. Also on the genre pages are new releases from authors you’ve read.

Friends and Communities

If your friends or family are on Goodreads, you can send them a friend request. Once they accept, you are able to see the books they’ve read and rated, along with any book reviews they’ve written.

Once you have added friends, you will see updates on the Goodreads homepage when friends have added a new book or entered a giveaway.

In addition to being able to add friends, you can follow your favorite authors and get updates when they release a new book. There are certain authors that have added the books they have read or are currently reading.

Giveaways, Awards, Blogs, and More

But wait, there’s more!

Goodreads has frequent book giveaways! Enter to win copies of books.

Every year, Goodreads holds their annual Readers’ Choice Awards where readers vote for their favorite book within particular categories.

There is a great news and interviews section, where they highlight upcoming new book releases and author interviews.

Readers can challenge themselves by entering the yearly book challenge with the goal of reading a certain number of books. Throughout the year, Goodreads gives you progress on how you’re doing towards reaching your goal. For example, they tell you “you are three books ahead of schedule” based on how many books you’ve read so far that year and how many you have challenged yourself to read.

Last but not least, the library has our own Goodreads profile where library staff rate and review books they’ve enjoyed.

Have you used Goodreads? Let us know in the comments!

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