When I wrote this post about why you should give up on books you aren’t enjoying, lots of people mentioned that one reason it’s hard to quit a book is because they use Goodreads and since Goodreads only gives you three exclusive categories (currently reading, want-to-read and read), there’s nothing to do with books that don’t fit into one of those three.
You guys are my PEOPLE!
I live for tracking and data and numbers, so giving up on a book and having nowhere to put it on Goodreads?
Not my favorite.
About 5 or 6 years ago, I created a fourth exclusive category on Goodreads so that I could drop books there if I decided to give up on them.
(If you’d like to follow me on Goodreads, which I’ve been using religiously for the past 12 years, my profile is here).
At this point, I have 102 books in that unfinished category and it’s so gratifying not to have those books floating around in my “currently-reading” category or incorrectly categorized as “read.”
If you’d like to add an “Unfinished” category to your Goodreads account, here’s how to do it:
How to Create a “Didn’t Finish” Category on Goodreads
In Goodreads, click the “My Books” tab on the top toolbar.
On the lefthand column, click the “edit” button next to “Bookshelves.”
In the search bar at the top of the page, type in the name for your new shelf (“Unfinished” or “Did Not Finish” or “Abandoned” or “Couldn’t Slog Through” or whatever you want to call it) and push “Add.”
Scroll through the list of shelfs until you find your new shelf and check the “Exclusive” box for it.
A pop-up will appear informing you that this will make it an exclusive shelf meaning that if you put a book in that category, it will no longer appear in one of the other exclusive categories (to-read, currently reading, or read). Click OK and you’re good to go!
Now you can quit books guilt-free!
If you have any questions about how to make an exclusive category or any questions about Goodreads in general, let me know and I’m happy to try to answer!
And also, if you’re curious about some of the books I’ve abandoned, you can see a post I did a few years ago with 26 books I just couldn’t manage to force my way through.
If you liked this post about Abandoned books, you might also like these posts:
- 5 fun ways to track your child’s reading
- 7 easy ways to fit in more reading
- 13 books on my summer reading list
Photos by Heather Mildenstein
Angela Carpenter says
Thank you for this! It’s the lowest level of guilt (who exactly is suffering if my book is marked read?) but it genuinely bothers me.
I did this years ago too! So helpful! I’ve since added a whole bunch more exclusive shelves so I can categorize everything exactly the way I want to for my own reading life. So, for example, I also have a separate TBR shelf to distinguish books I own and actively plan to read vs the more general “to-read” shelf where I add titles I’ve just heard about and want to make a note of as potentially interesting. I also have a cookbook shelf, a reference shelf, and a kids activity book shelf because those don’t fit neatly in the original 3 options either. I have a DNF shelf as you’ve described here, but also a partially read shelf where I stick books I’ve only read parts of on purpose (a specific chapter, short story, essay, etc) vs abandoned and categorized as DNF because I didn’t like it and don’t ever want to finish. Once you realize how customizeable GR is, it’s so fun to play around with it!
Mind blown. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit just how much relief this is going to give me not having to keep these books in my currently reading. 😉 Thank you so much for this post!!
Priscilla N says
Haha mind blown! I didn’t even think about this as an option! I just put all of my unreads in the “read” section and then put a “not finished” label on it. This is so much more satisfying. Thanks! Also, I’ve been in a mood lately. These days, I’m either finishing a book in two days or I only get 30 pages into it and then abandon it. There is no in-between!
Thank you! This has been bothering me for years!
How about a “not currently reading because it had to go back to the library but I didn’t read enough to know if I want to finish or not” shelf? I need one of those! I am definitely going to make some exclusive categories now that I know I can. Thanks for the tip. Also, does anyone else wish there were more rating options than five stars, like 1-10 maybe? One through five feels limiting sometimes. Just me?
This is only sort of related to your post – but for kids and picture books, how and when do you start to discard/donate books? (Especially with multiple ages of kids in your family?) I find that my girls (3 years apart) are sometimes drawn to totally different books, and it’s hard to decide whether or not to get rid of some (especially ones my older child didn’t enjoy bc the younger one might actually love it later.) I am also sentimental so it’s hard to let some go! Do you have a process for keeping only a few books out at a time? Also, do you have any special storage bins you recommend for seasonal books?? Are you saving any for your children to have when they’ve grown? Am SO curious about how you streamline and manage your own home library!!
I’m assuming this can’t be done on mobile? Because I don’t see those options anywhere!
Janssen Bradshaw says
Correct – they won’t let you make exclusive categories on the app.
Thank you for this! I have been just deleting books, but that didn’t feel right either because I did read them in part. Having a new shelf going forward will be great! (I am one who doesn’t set books aside easily, but I think I need to come to terms with that and do it more often. My stack of books waiting to be read is so large that I’ll never get to them all if I don’t! 🙂