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Goodreads Hacks: Get a DNF Shelf, Mark Rereads, and More

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Ashley Holstrom

Staff Writer

Ashley Holstrom helps make books at Sourcebooks. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color. Newsletter: Crooked Reads. Twitter: @alholstrom.

Goodreads is the very best book app, if you ask me. It’s where I catalog all my books, find new books to read, spy on what my friends are reading, and check out what complete strangers think of books. Fun! But the site can be a little overwhelming, with so many features, so here are some Goodreads hacks to make the most of your book nerd experience online.

Goodreads Hacks for Shelves

Create a DNF Shelf

This is the most popular question people have on Goodreads! To create a DNF (did not finish) shelf, where the book is not counted in your read count, you must make it an exclusive shelf. Here’s how to set that up:

Goodreads Hacks - Create a DNF Shelf

Go to My Books and click edit next to bookshelves in the top left corner. That will bring you to a list of all your shelves. You can rename them, delete them, or change their settings.

Goodreads Hacks - DNF shelf

Create your shelf, then select the checkbox under exclusive. This makes it so that a book can only been on one of the exclusive shelves in your account. The default exclusive shelves are readcurrently-reading, and to-read. A book can only be on one of those shelves at a time.

See Multiple Shelves

This feature is one of my favorites, especially when it comes to recommending books. You can select multiple shelves and see only the books that are on each of the shelves you select!

Goodreads Hacks - See Multiple Shelves

To get there, select one of your shelves and scroll down to the bottom of your list and hit select multiple. The page will refresh with little plus and minus signs next to each shelf. Select what other shelf (or shelves) you’d like to see together, and it’ll refresh again with your new list.

Goodreads Hacks - See Multiple

Here are my 2019 and nonfiction shelves, so I can easily see (and recommend!) every nonfiction book I’ve read in 2019, instead of looking through ALL of the nonfiction.

You can also pare your lists down to be very precise, depending on how precise your shelving is. Check out this guide for ways to shelve your books on Goodreads.

Mark Rereads

Marking rereads is a relatively new feature on Goodreads! And what a relief. When you’re rereading a book, on your edit review page, scroll down to dates read:

Voila. You can add as many start and finish dates as you need! Each time a finish date is added, the book is marked as having been read that many times.

Goodreads Hacks for Experts

Deals and Giveaways

Did you know Goodreads hosts tons of giveaways? Now you do. We dove headfirst into the giveaways, and bring you this delightful FAQ on Goodreads giveaways, for a more detailed look at whether they’re worth your time. (Free books are always worth it, if you ask me)

Reading Stats

You can dive deep into your own reading stats, viewing how many books or pages you’ve read per year, along with relatively new charts showing how many books you’ve read over time.

My favorite reading stat is by publication year, although I wish we could narrow it down and remove the outliers:

Those little dots near the bottom are The Odyssey and The Aeneid and stuff. Hi, English major reads!

Library Extension

Magical library fairies came up with Library Extension, which runs in the background and tells you if books are in your library’s circulation. Input your library information, go to Goodreads, and see a new box pop up telling you if the book you’re viewing is in your library’s circulation! See this post for more details and screenshots. And let it change your life.

Please, if there are more hacks that we need to know about, let us know!

If you need more tips for how to navigate this marvelous site, check out these posts: Getting started with Goodreadsa reader’s guide to Goodreads groups, and a Goodreads wish list.