How I organize my books in my Kindle App…

by Maryse on August 5, 2013 · 40 comments

in Editorial

I’ve been asked this question a bunch (especially each time I post a screen shot of my Kindle app), and you’d think by now, I’d have a better organizational method and answer to give. ;)

Jerri: I’m interested to know how you keep up with your books on your kindle? Do you have the kindle fire?

J: Does the app that you have on the IPAD allow you to categorize (like by author )? Also, it appears that you can move things around to organize your TBR list?

Paige: Kindle’s will let you make Collections that you name, Fire doesn’t have this option…I know it’s frustrating if you own one. You might try using Good Reads online. It’s helped me tremendously to keep the books I REALLY want to read in the forefront. Maryse just posted a screen shot of her TBR, so perhaps you can make a “shelf” type thing??

Maryse’s Book Blog: I can’t. iPad Kindle app doesn’t have many features other than the whole lot of books right there in a never ending scroll-y-screen. To move them to the top, you have to open each one up. That’s how I made that list… No wonder I’m such a reading mess. Seriously. In everything else I’m quite organized. LOL!

Yep, I answered that a while ago, and am still getting this question today so I thought I’d dedicate a post briefing you all on my disorganized book-self (and my attempts at organizing). I’m still using the same method. Not much of a method, actually. ;) Unfortunately, my app doesn’t allow me to do much. It’s a mosh-posh of Kindle books that don’t go in any order but by latest downloaded, or by the latest one that I opened.

It’s probably a big part of the reason why I struggle with my TBR lists so much, ’cause a book that I absolutely wanted to read might get pushed down (by my newest downloads) far enough that it becomes “out of site, out of mind”. *hrmph* That makes me sad. So many times people have recommended a book to me that I had HIGH on my TBR list and it just… faded away from me because of this. But the reminder has me seeking it out in my App and moving it back to the top.

So that’s pretty much it. Every once in awhile, I go through all of my books on my Kindle app, and “open” each one that I REALLY want to read. This pushes them to the top until I have the main part of the screen filled. Then I take a screenshot and follow that. :) That… along with keeping track of the books I want to read by listing them twice a week, on my Tuesday new releases post and Friday bargains post (and crossing them out as I complete them).

I know. Not very scientific, and I know there are much better ways to do it. In fact, a TON of my fellow readers have all of these intricate spreadsheets and Excel files and Goodreads lists, so that might work too, if you’re proficient at that.

I hope that helps! Until Amazon Kindle hears our plea, I guess we’ll have to wing it. ;)

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy August 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

I use the kindle app on my iPad as well and this one lacking feature DRIVES ME NUTS!! I too have to open a book so I won’t forget about it! I used to use iBooks but quit because of my lazy one-click addiction but iBooks has the kindle app beat when it comes to organization. The ability to create shelves would be HUGE!!

Maryse August 5, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Agreed!!! Ahhhh what a dream that would be.

Kelsey August 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I would love to organise my books . I’m exactly the same Maryse. Open books so I don’t forget about them , unfortunately it doesn’t always work well . Cloud/device is a bit outdated

Adele August 5, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I read on my phone via the Kindle app and keep a paper list of my TBR and books I’m waiting to be released. Nothing fancy, just a plain old Word document. I also make it a habit to “Like” authors I follow on Facebook so I’ll get their updates as a secondary reminder…

Katy August 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Looking at the kindle app reviews, we are not alone!! Looks like its been complained about by MANY, for a while too…doesn’t sound promising. Boo hoo!!

Joy August 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

I thought it was just my OCD acting up, it’s driving me crazy not to have some order to my books, I have over 1200 on there, and it takes me forever to find anything sometimes. Even more frustrating is when the kindle app has an update, it shows all my books as new again… Am I doing something wrong??

Amy August 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I use the Kindle app on my iPad, and between that and my Nook I have over 400 books waiting to be read. Add in what I have already read, and the number goes up to over 800. Yeah, I know. I’m a hoarder. Just throwing this out there, but here is what I have done to organize them. I use the Numbers app which lets you make up different pages with tabs within a document. I made up charts with columns and rows for listing by title and author name then added a couple of columns to mark if I have purchased it and if I have read it, that way I know if I have purchased the book or just want to purchase it at some point. I organized the books by genre, basic plot, etc., and then I labeled the tabs as YA, NA, PNR, post-apocalyptic/dystopian, series, etc., and then tagged each book like vampire, angels, rockstar, celebrity, bikers, friends-to-lovers and so on within those main tabs. The books I want to read the most are moved to the top of each chart/page. There is also a find option to help find by keyword. It seems like a lot of work, and it is a bit time consuming at first, but it is the ONLY way I have found to keep track of books I want to read/have read/have purchased and to keep from buying the same book twice on both the Kindle app and the Nook. Wow, this turned out to be a long post! Hope this helps someone out there. :)

Barb August 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

I have actually gone “old school” and use index cards to keep track of my downloads. I make a new card for each book I download with a short synopsis which helps me decide which one I want to read next.

Maryse August 5, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Thank you Adele Amy and Barb for posting “your way”. I have a notepad that I’ve been known to scribble my lists on too. A paper notepad with an attached pen that follows me everywhere I go, right underneath my iPad. But it’s a mess too (grocery lists, along with ideas, and suggestions I’ve found. Oh and old Book Bash notes). I like the “synopsis” idea of Barb’s.

Oh and that’s another source of contention!! I wish our Kindle apps would show us the synopsis of each book. THAT would also make my life so much easier. *sigh*

Tiffany August 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Once I read a book I delete it from my device so only the books on my device are TNT. The others stay on your app but on the cloud tab… This helps me alot

Virginia August 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Thanks Maryse! I have Collections in my Kindle for PC Program but mainly read using the Kindle app on my iPod touch. I also have hundreds of iBooks and Nook Books combined, which complicates things even more. Since we can’t use Collections on the Kindle mobile device apps, this is where I find the goodreads app to be VERY helpful. I have two prioritized TBR shelves, and if I haven’t already chosen my next read I consult my default to-read list beforehand. Depending on how one does their goodreads shelves it makes it nice for choosing what sub-genre, etc. you’re in the mood for too.

It sure WOULD be nice if Kindle Collections would become available to mobile device app users too.

Melissa August 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

They way I keep track of what I have downloaded to my TBR list is to put that I am “currently reading” those new books on Goodreads. That way I keep track of what I have bought but have yet to read. That helps me…

Bonnie August 5, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I have a notebook that is strictly for books. I made tabs for it so I have different sections. I have a section for series,authors I really like,TBR,things like that. I recently started using post-its and putting them on the cover.Right now I have one with your TBR list Maryse,listing the books on there that I haven’t read. Obsessive? Maybe,but I love having some sort of organization to my chaotic mess of books :) I’ve also never had this much to choose from (oh,what a wonderful ‘problem’ to have!) Kindle really needs to upgrade their system though.With all of the money we all spend on books,maybe that’s not to far off! :)

Jenny August 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Does anyone know if there is a way to LOCK your kindle app on the ipad so your snoppy family won’t realize you like your books on the spicy side :) ) I HATE it when anyone touches my ipad…. I live in fear my kids are going to open my kindle app…. :) ) lol

Katy August 5, 2013 at 5:26 PM

I don’t think you can lock the kindle app. You can pw protect the iPad then hide your kindle app inside a box (name something dumb like bank stmts) to disguise. I also have MY OWN amazon acct set up on my ipad so nobody can see what books i buy when they log in to amazon. I was a very sneaky kidgrowing up!
I hate when my kids or even my hubby stand behind me when I’m reading. I’m like “can I help you” as I click the iPad off.

Rachel August 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

I keep track of my TBR by using Excel. I have a worksheet for need to buy books, not yet released books, Bought/Owned But Not Read, and Read books. I also delete books once Im done reading them. Not the greatest method, but its helps me feel like Im some what organized.

Jenny August 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Very sneaky, Katy :) )). I Love it !!! I will try that for…. Sure !!!! I did have to have a very embarrassing phone call with an Amazon rep about how to get my kids (13 & 18 ) off of my Amazon account… I discovered that everything I was buying was automatically down loading to alllll…. The devices using my Amazon account…. My son, the 18′ says to me… “So, you reading more mommy porn, Mom” I thought I would DIE !!! LMAO :) needless to say not my finest mommy moment ! Now to figure out how to make my stealth box for my hidden porn :) )). Thanks !!!

Lori August 5, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Jenny, I have the same fear, and wish I could lock the kindle app. I have so many smutty books on there, I don’t want my kids even seeing some of the covers, they’re so risqué. I sleep with my iPad under my pillow and it’s always in my hand otherwise, I’m a kindle addict! Hands off kids! It helps that we have an older ipad1, and my many 1 clicks on Amazon don’t download to it. Helps to keeps their mitts off of mine.

I wish I could keep unread books on a shelf. I buy so many books each month, they get pushed down the rows. I can never remember what a books about, and why I had to have it. I’m constantly going back to amazon to read the descriptions again. I probably have 400 unread books, out of the 1500 I’ve purchased. Thanks Maryse for helping to feed my book obsession.


Barb August 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Another thing I’ve started doing to prevent so much clutter is to add a book to my Wish List. Then I check back often to wait for it to go on sale. That way I keep my “purchased but unread” books to a minimum and lots of times get a better deal. That only works when I can put off the purchase. If I’m dying for a sequel, all that goes out the window! Ha ha

Michel Reinhard August 5, 2013 at 9:26 PM

I found a way to organize my tbr list, my download list, and my reviewed list. I make a weekly document and add it to my tablet at the end of the week. I keep about 3 weeks of documents on there at a time. At the end of the month I compile a monthly document with tbr, series order, and new series. I send the books that I have read and reviewed to the cloud so that I can free up space for more books. I also keep a running list of my favorite reads for the year. I keep the newest document on my home page so that I can open it at any time. And like you I go through my books in my library and find some that I have missed. This has made it somewhat more managable for me.

Jenny August 5, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Lori, that’s so funny !!! Me… Too :) )) my mother in law grabbed it the other day and went straight to my kindle app… Thank heavens I am currently reading the Outlander series so she didn’t see the book covers list !!! I thought I was going to faint before I could get it out of her hands :) )) lol. I also can’t figure out how to block people from seeing my fb comments on my favorite sites :) ) guess they all probably know by now that I am a little out there :) )) lol.

Nicky August 5, 2013 at 11:09 PM

I try and organize in goodreads, but it is hard to keep up when I click on a lot of freebies. The crappness of the kindle app is the reason I use iBooks for the most part and only use kindle when I can’t buy in epub or only on super sale on amazon.

I need to pay some poor starving student to control my TBR. I don’t want to be wasting my reading time on organising.

Tracie August 5, 2013 at 11:28 PM

I use the priorites app on my ipad to create a waiting list page. I list the books I want to read and can check them off after I’ve read them. I can also move the items around on the list so I can put the ones at the top I want to read next. It also puts the date the item was completed to I can add that later to my paper list of all the books I’ve read this year. Priorities also links with my iPhone so when I finish a book on my kindle I can see what’s next in line on my iPhone. It really works well for me.

Mandy August 6, 2013 at 7:57 AM

This is a very frustrating subject for me. I read on my Paperwhite 95% of the time but I still wish I could manage and organize my Kindle online or via some kind of app. Recently, I made a TBR collection and it just overflowed. I keep little pieces of notebook paper with series names and order. I’m always kind of shocked that Amazon hasn’t come up with a better way to manage books and collections.

Shannon Stephens August 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

I’ve used the Notes app on my phone. I have a note for reading list and have subjects like darker series, darker singles. Things like that. It’s getting very long so I’ve started added in a quick few words about the book along with author. When I’ve read it I wrote done at the start of the name so it’s clear. It’s not perfect but it ha been working and I do it all on my mobile

Dena August 6, 2013 at 9:57 AM

I have been thinking about the many ways the kindle app could be more user friendly and my biggest complaint is that there is no organization. I wish it could have separate folders for each genre and for whether it was a novella or a novel. Also maybe an alert for when you bought the book and it has been on your app for say more than a week because you forgot. I would hope they could make it so that we could navigate it easily if or when they add more features. I hate using outside sources when it could be all in one. Another thing that kindle could learn from goodreads is that they have e synopsis for a book without clicking it. That would be a huge help. Where is amazon support when you need them to read your suggestions?

Jerri Lynn August 6, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Thanks for addressing this again. I am still struggling with it. I did start an excel worksheet with my 2013 Reads and books sorted by author. It just does not satisfy my OCD when it comes to my books. I, like so many of you, have a ton of books on my kindle and I lose track. I have looked into apps for the ipad, iphone, etc but nothing has really seemed worth trying. I dream of different sections on my kindle: Read, TBR, started and didn’t finish, etc. HA!

Erica August 7, 2013 at 7:38 AM

I have created various collections that I add books to as soon as I buy them.
I have some collections based on Mary’s star reviews and some based on GoodReads reviews. I also have a collection called “waiting on next book before I read” so I add all book to there and to the correct star collection if I don’t want to read them until all books has been released. It seems to work ok for me.
I then read my way trough the “star” collections and don’t have to worry about missing any good books.

Tanya August 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

I love good reads for organizing. You can create shelfs for everything, for example I have a “purchased but not read shelf”. It helps me keep track and still shows up in my TBR list as well. I go through and add the books on my kindle app as often as possible, its easy on the phone app as well. You can also favorite authors and automatically notifies you of blog posts. releases and other books by that author. I start with Maryse and her lists/recommendations then buy and add to GR. A little repetitive but worth it in the end.

Jen August 9, 2013 at 8:14 PM

I use Goodreads to organize since kindle stinks in that department. I use shelves “ready to read have”, “ready to read need”, and “waiting” among others. Unless I know what I want to read next, I go on to shelf “ready to read have” and sort by ratings and read the book first with the highest avg rating.

Susan August 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM

The best way I’ve found to keep my must-reads available and ignore the when-I-have-vacation-time books is to keep the later archived. I only keep my cookbooks and those novels that are must-reads on my iPad.

Maryse August 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Great idea!! Just leave them in the “Cloud” and device only the must-reads. Okay… I like that. It’s just the flip of a button on the app, after all…

Steff September 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I downloaded app locker and am able to lock kindle and other reading apps. :) then I don’t have to worry about people seeing my steemy books :)

Jenny September 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Thanks Steff !!!! :) )) getting that app ASAP !!!

Steff Jordan September 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

If that one doesn’t work try app lock this one is easier and you can use a 4 digit # if you prefer as well… :)

Donna Thompson October 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I’m frustrated with the Kindle app as well. Even if I choose “Most Recent” to sort by, it still doesn’t sort it that way. It ends up in alphabetical order, or whatever Kindle determines is alphabetical order.

One thing I’ve found helpful is Goodreads. If you are a Goodreads member, you can create as many shelves as you want there. When I purchase or download a book, I’ll immediately put it in one of my Goodreads shelves so I don’t forget about it.

I also keep track of the books I’ve read that way and even sort them by year.

Donna December 19, 2013 at 7:29 PM

I just found which is run by Amazon. I just signed up tonight so this is about all I’ve learned so far. You can import a list of all of your Kindle book purchases directly from Amazon. You can also add tags to group certain types of books together, shelf your books as “read”, “currently reading” and “plan to read. You can also write reviews, share on Facebook and/or Twitter, join groups, follow others, etc. It’s a lot like GoodReads.

Deidre January 29, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The Kindle app now also allows you to group your boss by collection. I just did this with my e books by grouping authors together, once I read all that authors books I have I move on to the next author I have. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have am ebook app :)

Gary Skjefte May 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM

I would like my books I have read come up on .I lost all my books from 2015

Matson October 24, 2016 at 3:25 AM

That’s a bummer, I thought there had to be a simple way. That was a big mistake by the creators of the app. Thanks for letting me know. God bless

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