Track Your Reading: Goodreads or Story Graph? #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2022

May 27, 2022

How Do You Track Your Reading?
Or Do You Track Your Reading?

How Do You Track Your Reading (white text over a young woman holding a towering stack of books)

Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight. Finally, Bec @ Bec&Books has also inspired me to share my experiment and thoughts about Goodreads and Story Graph.

Let's Talk Bookish graphic

2022 Discussion Challenge (meme)

In my opinion, tracking your reading is a satisfying part of the reading life. Why?

  • Tracking allows you to notice how your tastes and habits change over time
  • Tracking encourages you to balance your reading life (fiction vs nonfiction, diverse reads, etc.)
  • Tracking holds you accountable (in the very best ways)
  • Tracking appeals to readers who love stats and lists
  • Tracking encourages reflection

How do you track your reading?

  • Some readers track their reading by creating a unique hashtag on Instagram for their pictures
  • Some readers use a commercial Reading Journal (like this one for example)

Book Journal Sample Page

  • Some readers make their own reading journals using a blank notebook like this one  (Bullet Journal approach)
  • Some readers use an app such as Goodreads
  • Some readers use an Excel spreadsheet
  • Some readers take screenshots and save them in their camera rolls
  • Some readers simply make a list somewhere

There is not one preferred method for tracking. It’s whatever works for you. I use Goodreads, Story Graph, and an Excel Spreadsheet. Overkill?!?!

Tracking Apps: GoodReads Vs. Story Graph

For years, I have used Goodreads (GR). Other book tracking platforms have attracted my attention from time to time, but I was never tempted until Story Graph (SG).

Story Graph seems to be gaining a great deal of traction in the book community, so I devoted last year to using BOTH Goodreads and Story Graph to compare and contrast.

Pros and Cons of GR and SG:

Ownership: GR is owned by Amazon and SG is independently and black-owned. This one difference has caused many readers to switch to SG in an effort to support independent and black-owned businesses.

Finding Books: Because I read a multitude of new releases, I have more difficulty finding them in SG’s database than in GR. It’s easy enough to add any title to SG but it’s a time-consuming extra step.

Bookshelves: I really enjoy creating virtual bookshelves on GR, and I like that I can see the bookshelves of the readers I follow. I enjoy shelving books in genres and categories. SG utilizes tags in lieu of shelving books. These tags are private so your friends on SG do not have access to your tags like followers on GR would have access to browse your shelves.

Reading Challenges: You can set reading challenges on GR and SG. Although in SG, you also have the option of setting page goals which some readers prefer.

Reading Community: GR has a robust and active reading community you can join and I have joined several groups. SG has a buddy read option that looks fun! For either app, you need to cultivate friends and followers to fill your feed.

The App: I have found that to do certain things on Goodreads, I need to be in the website version (and not the app). I keep both icons side by side on my ipad for this purpose. As far as I can tell, I can do everything I want to do on the SG app without having to go to a website.

Making Notes: Even though it’s been explained to me, I cannot figure out how to make notes on a book I’m reading while using GR. Because I use the highlighting feature on my kindle for actual notes, I’ve given up using this feature on GR … but the SG notes/journal option is much easier to find!

Graphs: Here’s where SG SHINES! With the click of a button, you can generate graphs that represent your reading. Here are some examples from my 2021 End of Year Report.

Support: I have had good luck receiving prompt and helpful support from GR on the very few occasions I have contacted them. On SG, I like that the support option is right there at the bottom of every page so that you won’t have to wonder how to contact support or look for contact information. I have never contacted SG, but I’ve heard they are responsive.

Switching Over to Story Graph: Getting set up with SG was straightforward and I was able to import my GR data into SG with the click of a button. (shelves came over as “tagged”).

Interface: GR app opens to your “feed” (community page) and from there you can navigate to your books page (currently reading, read, shelves, etc). The SG app has all your reading data on your home page. From there you can visit your “community” page. For me, SG seems a bit more intuitive and easier to maneuver compared with GR (where I often need to use the actual website to use certain settings). Goodreads (when you consider the website options) seems a bit more sophisticated in its settings. In both GR and RG, readers can DNF books and become “librarians.”

Friends and Followers: Because GR opens in the “news feed” section, you have the ability to interact with other readers immediately by liking their reviews or commenting. I gain friends and followers on GR without exerting any effort. In 6 years on GR, I have 663 friends/followers. On SG after 1 1/2 years, I have 6 friends. My experience is that GR is more social than SG.  I’m here at Goodreads and you can find me on SG @ reading_ladies_blog.

Reviews: On both GR and SG you have the option of star ratings. However, SG offers .5, .25, and.75 star options whereas GR has only a full star rating system. Many readers feel this one feature is a significant benefit for switching to SG. After you enter a star rating on GR you have the opportunity to leave a written review and/or to select a shelf or shelves for your book. When you write a review on goodreads, the only place to put Trigger Warnings is into the text of your review….. there is a “spoiler” option that will hide your review if it contains spoilers. When you want to review a book on SG, you are presented with many options (checkboxes) such as mood/tone, pace, plot/character notes, and star rating. There is also a pull-down menu for trigger or content warnings. Finally, you are given the option of formulating an actual written review. When you are searching for a book on SG, the Content Warnings are hidden until you choose to see them. This is an advantage over GR where the content warning can appear in the text of a review and may contain spoilers.

Name Recognition: Goodreads is more commonly used and recognized. Story Graph is growing in popularity. However, when readers think about tracking apps, Goodreads is most likely the first name that comes to mind. Readers who have switched over to the Story Graph app seem to have done so primarily because they reject Amazon (who owns Goodreads).

Verdict

Well…..after one year of using both, I couldn’t decide to use one over the other, so I’m still using both. I will likely continue using both for the foreseeable future. One thing to note is that SG is always making improvements, so if you haven’t used it for a while, you might want to check it out again! How about you? Have you tried one or the other…or both?



QOTD:

Do you track your reading?
What method do you use for tracking reading?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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51 comments

  1. I use an Excel spreadsheet primarily and also Goodreads – keeping the two in synch is often an issue. I suppose that would be the same issue if you use both Goodreads and Story Graph.

    When I first started blogging I used LibraryThing. You get a better quality of discussion in the community groups than I’ve found (with some exceptions) on GR but it’s not as intuitive to use LibraryThing.

    • Yes…keeping them in sync is a challenge! I update my spreadsheet at months end. But GR and SG I try to do with each completed book. Still….for some reason I’m 2 off on my total count so I need to go through it and see where I glitched. #bookproblems
      It makes my nerdy heart happy though!
      It seems to me I’ve heard of LibraryThing but I haven’t checked it out. I did try Litsy for a while.

  2. I only use GR Carol. I tried Story Graph ages ago which was okay, but didn’t have as many books as GR when I tried it so I haven’t gone back to it. Also I’m a librarian on Goodreads which I love but I couldn’t see anything similar to that on SG.

    • SG has improved its data base some…but I still have to add a book from time to time. I think you can volunteer with SG, too. But I don’t know the process. I think it’s received more traction than other GR competitors.

    • Hi, I’m a volunteer librarian for TSG 🙂 The easiest way to become a librarian is to send a dm via instagram, tell them your email address, and then you’ll receive all the information for the application process (which is pretty straightforward if you read the directions thoroughly). You can also contact the team via the support button.
      I hope you’ll give TSG another chance, I joined when it was still in beta almost 2 years ago, and it’s really astonishing how much they have improved since then!

  3. I’m a highly active GR user and am a librarian so I’ve used most of the technology tools available. My shelf protocols work extremely well for me so my needs are being met. However, you’ve intrigued me enough to explore Storygraph and I just joined. I’ve imported by Goodreads books so I’ll wait until it’s populated in my profile.

    Thanks for your insightful post, Carol💜

    • Maybe you can walk me through how to add notes for a book in GR! Have fun with SG! The charts are awesome 🙌

      • If you’ve purchased the book on Amazon (Kindle version), anything you highlight and/or add notes to in the book will automatically show on GR. If you’ve added it to your Kindle as document from another source, it won’t show.

      • Yes…I know that part…but where I’m stuck is adding a note of my own, like who recommended the book to me, etc.

      • Oh, that’s easy! On the book page, there’s a notes section under My Activity where you can write all that stuff. It’s private so only you can see it. Edit that section and it will open up. I use it for every book. And, there’s a “Who recommended it to me?” area where you can type the name of the person. If they are a GR friend, it will appear in the drop down menu and hyperlink to that friend. They’ll receive a notification, too.

        PM me if you get confused.

      • Gah!! Why can’t I do this? I have “See all your activity on this book” ….then I click that but there’s no where to write notes….if I click edit on top right it takes me to a place to write my review. Can you send me a screenshot? Readingladies1@gmail.com

      • I doubt you can do this in the app. Use your browser. The app is useless for most of the good tech stuff. You also need to click on “more details” once you’re in the edit mode. All that stuff then appears.

    • Interesting! I’ve been wondering if I used both long enough that I would gravitate to one more than the other! Now I’m in limbo between them so I’ll give it more time! Thanks for sharing!

      • I’ve found it really easy to add in book details for less popular books, as I’m already looking that stuff up when I write the book reviews. So I just do it all at once. I also prefer the stats on Storygraph.

  4. I’ve tried StoryGraph but… I don’t really care much for it. I like the GR shelves (and how I can make my own), I can’t DNF a book on SG, only delete it. It just isn’t for me.

    • Actually, you can DNF books on TSG. Just go on any book page, click on the drop down menu that says “currently reading”, “read” or “to read” and select “did not finish”. You can even give an explanation as to why you DNF’d it and the pages you’ve read will still count towards your pages goal if you have one 😉

    • Well…know you know! If this was early on, you might try again because I know they’ve made a lot of improvements.

  5. In the past, I’ve used GoodReads to track my reading. Toward the end of last year, had a post about this subject, and I looked into StoryApp. In the comments, someone provided a link to a spreadsheet template by Kal at Reader Voracious Blog. In 2022, I’m using all three!

    GoodReads is the clear winner for me for all the reasons you mentioned in the post. In addition, I get notified when a book on my wishlist becomes available. It also has a lot of reviews for each book. I should also mention that I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking to review arcs. There are publishers that pay attention to reviews!

    I do like StoryGraph’s stats, but I wish I had more control over how books are categorized in the stats. What drives me insane is that I usually have to add audiobook versions for a book (and it never works with the isbn number). It is also cumbersome to navigate around.

    Spreadsheet by Reader Voracious Blog. What I like about this is I can easily see a list of books that I’ve read. It also tracks the source of the “referral” and the publisher type (indie, self-pub, Big 5, etc). If you get a lot of arcs (which I don’t), it seems to have an impressive tracking system.

    I plan to continue all three until the end of the year, but I suspect I’ll drop StoryGraph in 2023.

    • I’ll have to try that spreadsheet template. I have my own unsophisticated excel spreadsheet! Sounds like we’re in the same boat using 3 tracking systems! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is an extremely helpful and informative post Carol. I have not ventured into Storygraph, but you have definitely intrigued me with your comparisons. I will check it out, but as I am so comfortable with Goodreads, I will continue to use it for now. I do all my reviews, blog posts etc. on my laptop, so an app is not something that would call me at all.

    • Thanks Carla! Happy you found it helpful! As much as I appreciate Story Graph I can’t give up Goodreads! Looks like you might have your new keyboard?!

      • Not yet, but my old laptop is not flickering as much, so I am able to use it right now. Of course, as I type this response, it is starting to blink at me, so almost time to let it sleep for a bit.

  7. I uploaded all my GR info to StoryGraph a couple of years ago, but I didn’t keep it up and now they’re woefully out of sync again. It looks like there’s no way to upload again without messing everything up, so I’ll probably never end up using StoryGraph. I do love all the graphs, though! Would be nice to use that aspect. Maybe I’ll try to start fresh in 2023 and update at least from there. Right now, I use a random spreadsheet to track and for graphs, so using Storygraph might be able to replace that.

    • I try to update SG every time I write a review on GR, but it’s tricky! I check my # of books read frequently and if I’m off by one or two It drives me crazy until I’m in sync again! I just can’t decide between the two but I know I can’t keep up with both forever. #bookproblems

  8. I don’t use the GR app – I use the website. I found the app too frustrating. After Goodreads got rid of Most Read Authors (thanks GR!) I started my own spreadsheets & make pie charts from them. I add a little more detail each year! 🙂

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