How I Built a Book Reading Tracker in Notion (with Template)

Keep track your booklist & reading notes in 1 place

Note: This article is part of my toolkit newsletters↗️ where I share resources about building things. Join me :)

As a product builder↗️, I built micro tools to solve my own problems. For example: article tool, portfolio tracker, SaaS tracker, habit tracker, andpersonal finance tracker.

I’ve always been an avid reader and I love reading about startups, business, & mindset. I wanted to be able to track my reading list, notes, and progress. 

Today, I will share my steps on how to create your own book tracker. I’ll also include a Notion template so you can duplicate a copy.

Books I’ve done from 2017 to 2020

1. Starting point 💡

Before this, I used Goodreads to track my reading progress. I also tracked my book notes on a separate Google Doc. However, I wanted a solution that combines both.

✅ To begin, I list down parts I want to build

  • Track reading progress 

  • Record reading notes

  • Sort reading list by category

  • Include a cover image for each book entry

  • Track number of times a book read by date

👉Access my Reading Tracker here

2. Set up Notion 💻

Go to Notion and sign up for a free account.

✅ Getting started

  • Start a new workspace in Notion

  • Name your document “Book Reading Tracker”

  • Create a database by choosing the “Gallery” option

Notion will create sample data in your Gallery. You might want to delete the sample entries including property “Created” and “Tags” per card entries to start from scratch.

3. Create a book entry 📚 

Fill up the book titles in each of the “Untitled” areas. Click the “+ New” button to add a new entry. For example:

👉Access my Reading Tracker here

4. Add a book image 🖼️

Next, add a book cover image for each of these books. This will make your reading tracker visually richer in each of these card displays.

✅ Create an image property

To attach an image in your book entry, go to any card block,

  • Right-click on “Property”

  • Select a Property Type > “Files & Media”

  • Rename the property as “Image”

✅ Embed book image link

  • Google a book cover photo, copy the photo link by Image Address

  • Paste it into your “Image” using “Embed link” option

  • Click “Embed link”

✅ Show book image via Properties

By default, the embedded book image doesn’t show up in the Gallery unless you customize it. To display the book cover image:

  • Go to “…” icon near the top right “New” icon

  • Select “Properties” from the dropdown

  • Click on “Card Preview” and select “Image”

You can also edit your Card size by “Small”, “Medium” or “Large”

5. Create book category 📦 

I love to organize my book list with relevant themes. It helps me to identify a specific knowledge area I’ve studied and what books to read next. In this case, I’ve used tagging.

✅ Add a tagging property

  • Click “+ Add a Property”, right-click on “Property”

  • Select a Property Type > “Multi-Select”

  • Rename the property as “Category”

✅ Create your category tags

  • Go to “Category” field and start typing your category

  • Hit enter to save a tag, create more tags if you want

  • You can also change the color of the tags

You can also enable your Category to display on the Gallery using the Properties settings in Step 3.

6. Track reading progress 📈

I created a “Progress Code” property to track my reading progress. For example, 2019 #07 means the sixth book in the year of 2020. An entry that contains 2 progress codes means it’s been read 2 times.

You can also enable your Progress Code to display on the Gallery using the Properties settings in Step 3.

👉Access my Reading Tracker here

7. Reading date 📅 

Adding a “Done Date” can enhance searchability. For example, I can sort my reading list by the year 2019, 2018 or 2017. You can create a “Date” property to track this parameter:

👉Access my Reading Tracker here

8. Filter & sort 🔍

One way to use this book tracker is to use the filter/sort in Notion. You can search for a specific book based on the parameters we’ve set: book titles, category, progress, done date, etc.

✅ Filter reading list by category

Let’s filter a list of books that are related to the money category,

  • Go to “…” icon near the top right “New” icon

  • Select “Filter” from the dropdown

  • Set: “Category” — “Contains” — “Money”

✅ Sort reading list by category

Let’s clear the Filter and try to Sort the book list by book titles.

  • Go to “…” icon near the top right “New” icon

  • Select “Sort” from the dropdown

  • Set: “Name” — “Descending”

9. Take reading notes 📝 

I take reading notes in the forms of key lessons, framework & inspiration. In this reading tracker, I can simply type my book notes within each book I track:

👉Access my Reading Tracker here

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