How I use Trello to track book series I am reading

Header graphic - How I use Trello to track book series I’ve recently rediscovered Trello. I’ve had an account for a few years, but other than using it to organize our moves when my husband was on deployment, it’s barely been used. I don’t know why I never thought to use it to organize my blog. I’ve recently started using it for a ton of stuff and it’s helping my organization so much.

You might already be aware that I hate tracking what series I am reading. It should not be as hard as it is. Goodreads really needs to get on it. In the meantime, I am left searching for a way to keep track. Spreadsheets haven’t worked, Evernote based bulletpoint lists have been worse. I even tried putting each series on a piece of paper in a mini binder and sorting it by series name. It was a mess and nothing has worked. With all my use of Trello lately, I decided to try using it to sort them.

Screenshot - Trello series tracker board Trello organizes with three primary ways. First, you create a board, this is similar to getting a binder. On the board, you create lists, this is like the dividers in your binder. Finally, you make cards on the lists, this is similar to a print-out of information that you place in the dividers. It allows for great organization.

So what I’ve done, is made a board for the series I read. Inside the board, I made lists for each series and inside the list is a card for each of the books in numerical order. I’m debating on adding the actual number to the card, but currently, I don’t have them actually numbered.

Screenshot - Trello card edit page I can then edit each card. Inside, I have attached a link to the Goodreads page and placed the publishing date as the “due date”. Anything that doesn’t have a numerical date within the month attached, I’ve just placed as the 1st. I go looking for the proper date for my actual review. I don’t think that information is important here since I won’t get the date from Trello for a review. I’ve also added a checklist so that I can track if the book has been read and reviewed.

I also figured out I could attach an image! How cool is that! I can attach the book covers! I haven’t done this on all of the cards yet. I’m not sure if I like it. On the one hand, it’s awesome. I’m a very visual person, so seeing the book cover really helps me remember exactly what the book is at a glance. On the other hand, it takes up so much space and I worry about how it will affect load times. I’ve set up a few series for now so I can test it out. I’m just not sure how I feel about the covers. Maybe I will only do the cover for the first book in the series. That might work.

Screenshot - Two Trello lists to show two series - One with bookcovers uploaded and one without I love how the due date makes it easy to see the publishing date. The checklist is perfection also because it gets boxed and green when it’s been completed. I can see at a glance where I am in the series because of it. I’ve been using a card that says “UNKNOWN” to mark a series that is still on-going but the next book hasn’t been announced yet. The card can later be renamed to the book title once one is announced. Then, once a series is completed, I can archive the list. For now, I’m not doing that, I’ve just been moving the lists to the end, but that won’t work for long. I’m going to have to start archiving them soon.

The system isn’t perfect. There is no way to automatically sort your lists by title that I can find and doing it manually takes more time than you want to spend. Speaking of time, setting it up takes quite an investment, especially if you’ve been reading a lot of series. Even more so if you’ve kept poor track of them. I’ve been shelving the books I read on Goodreads with “Series” and “Stand-Alone” shelves to help, so I was able to just look at the series shelf and sort by author. Even with that to help me, it still took a few hours to set up. Once you’ve got it all set though, it becomes fairly easy to maintain. The UNKNOWN cards help me to see which series are actively publishing so I can check for new additions to Goodreads from time to time. The checklist allows me to see at a glance what I’ve read and reviewed so I know what I have to do. And if I really wanted, I could move the cards to my Posts board as I am reading them and add a second checklist, or a longer checklist for when it comes to reviewing them for posting. I won’t be doing that (my brain won’t agree with it) but I could do it if I wished, and then just move the card back once it’s been scheduled so I can see where I am in the series.

How do you keep track of your series? Will you be giving Trello a try to see if it’s a better system?


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