So, you DNF’d a book… Now what? Goodreads discussion

When was the last time I did a discussion post? NO! Don’t look, I don’t want to know. It will only embarrass the living hell out of me lol. Safe to say – it’s been a while….. a long ass while! Let’s see if I remember how to do this….

So. Here’s a thought that’s been on my mind a lot lately. If you follow me on Twitter, I actually made a post about this. I was hoping that it would give me some clarity and guidance….. turns out that everyone is different and it only made my decision more confusing lol! Here’s the discussion question:

So, you DNF’D a book…. Now what do you do on Goodreads?

Seems like a simple question. Apparently it’s not! Before we get to the discussion portion, let me take care of 2 things:

  1. What does DNF mean? If you’re not familiar with this bookish term, let me answer that for you. DNF stands for “did not finish”. This means that you started the book and, for whatever reason, stopped reading part way through and didn’t read through to the end.
  2. Are you on Goodreads? For the purpose of this discussion, I’m talking about what you do on Goodreads when you DNF a book. If you don’t have Goodreads then you might not care about this discussion lol

You DNF’D a book – but what do you do next (well, besides choose a different book you smart ass)? Do you mark it as read? Do you give it a rating? I rarely DNF a book so when I decided to set a book aside last month I was so confused what to do! I felt that no matter what I decided to do, it didn’t really fit.

DO YOU MARK IT AS READ??

I mean, you could. That way it’s still on your shelf as read because you did read part of it. But you didn’t read the whole thing….. so does it really count??

DO YOU REMOVE IT FROM YOUR SHELVES ENTIRELY?

In a way I felt like this was a safe bet. I didn’t finish reading it so why would I mark it as read. But then, if I removed it from my shelves entirely I was removing it from view and memory. I wouldn’t see that I tried to read it and it wouldn’t be catalogued in my books. It would just be gone.

DO YOU HAVE A DNF SPECIFIC SHELF?

This is something that I really didn’t think about until the twitter post but, I know that quite a few of you do this – and it’s smart! There is a way to create a new shelf that you can name as you see fit. When you decide you want to DNF a book then it moves over to this specific shelf and all your DNF’d books will be in the same place. But do you have to mark it as read, want to read…..?? I don’t DNF enough books for me to create a whole new shelf for it, so this one doesn’t make sense for me either.

DO YOU GIVE IT A RATING?

If you ended up marking it as ‘read’ do you end up giving it a rating? Can you really rate a book when you don’t have 100% of the book to base an opinion on it? Is it fair to the book or the author to rate it if you didn’t finish it? I don’t think it’s fair (just my personal opinion) but I know a lot of people rate DNF’d books a 1 star. I can still appreciate that!!

AM I OVER THINKING THIS???

Quite likely.



For me, I do a combination of all of these actually. I mark it as read, but I don’t rate it. I don’t want to rate something when I haven’t consumed the entire content to base my opinion. Who knows – it could have gotten so much better by the end….. or it could have went down in a steaming pile of hot ass garbage….. I’m none the wiser because I didn’t finish it! LOL! I do write a review though. In that review I mark the page that I decided to stop and outline WHY I stopped and why it didn’t work for me. I still face the fact that my page count on Goodreads is off – saying that I read more than I did. So I have a sticky note in my bullet journal where I write down the pages that I need to adjust to get a true and accurate rating.

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What do you do on Goodreads when you DNF a book?? I’m really curious to know! I might record your answers and let you all know the conclusion in my weekly wrap up next Sunday. This is going to be fascinating seeing what you all do! I’m working on not forcing myself to read books i’m not enjoying. Life is too short for that shit. Too many books, too few centuries, and all that. I would rather set it aside and get to books that I actually care about!

Until next time, happy reading!

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    This is a really interesting post; thanks for sharing! This is definitely something I struggle with and it is good to know I am not alone! I agree with your comments about saying WHY you DNF the book – I think it’s really important to do this, especially if you stop reading for more personal reasons (while other readers might still enjoy it).

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  2. evelynreads1 says:

    I have a separate shelf for DNF’s on GoodReads. When you make a new shelf you can mark it as exclusive, which will mean it will be like your read or want to read shelf, you have to put it in one of them and can not put it in multiple. (I have no idea how to properly explain this haha) I think I only have like 10 books on this shelf though haha
    But in that way you can mark it as DNF and not have to put it in want to read or read! I like to still have my DNFs on a shelf, but I feel a bit weird marking it as read, since I did not fully read the book.
    I never rate a DNF, to me that feels a bit unfair to the book, since I might have loved the ending, I just never got that far.
    Also don’t worry, I think I was overthinking this last year as well when I started DNFing books haha

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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  3. Heather says:

    I have a DNF shelf on Goodreads. If I DNF’d it because I thought it was truly terrible, I give it a rating (1 or 2 stars). If I DNF’d it because it just wasn’t for me (but other people might like it), I don’t give it a rating. Or if I think it was just the wrong time for me to read it (this happens), I don’t rate it. That way, I can go back to that shelf and see if there’s something I should maybe try again. If it has a rating, then NOPE.

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  4. Amber says:

    I’m with Evelyn – I have a DNF Goodreads shelf that’s exclusive so I put them there instead of marking in a state of reading. I don’t mind if there’s only a few books on a shelf. 😊 For the longest time I only had three books there… but then I jumped on the DNF train lol. I don’t rate my DNFs, but I do leave a review stating how far I got and why I quit it. Good luck figuring out what works best for you!

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  5. I think for me it depends on how far I got into the book. If I read 600 pages of a 680 page book, I’m going to mark it as “read” but make a note that of what page I got to and that I’m only reviewing up until the point I got to. If I read 100 pages out of 680, I’m going to put it on my DNF shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a shelf in Goodreads where the books that I DNFed go, and I don’t mark them as read since I didn’t read the entire book. It’s a really good debate, though, and is real that is kind of weird and you sometime don’t know what to do with them 😅

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  7. For me it all depends on how much of the book I’ve read, and whether or not it’s a forever DNF. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book and realise I’m just not in the mood for it right now but probably will be in future, so I set it aside. If I give a book a good go, though, then I’ll mark it as read and add it to my DNF shelf. I like to put how far through the book I got before I DNF’d it, and if I have specific reasons for DNFing it I’ll rate it and write a small review. The books I DNF are rarely 1 star reads, too – often they’re 2 star reads, which is how I managed to get through almost half of a book, but ultimately if I’m not enjoying a book then I’m not going to force my way through it, and I think it’s useful for other readers to leave an honest review. I can tell more about a book from negative reviews than positive ones – e.g. if someone says they couldn’t click with a book because they thought it was too slow, I know there’s a chance I’ll enjoy it because I like a slow, immersive read. 🙂

    Ultimately, I think as long as you’re not nasty, particularly towards the author (and I genuinely don’t think the majority of readers are), then it’s okay to leave a rating and a review if you’ve read enough of the book to develop an opinion beyond ‘I don’t like this’.

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  8. jillianthebookbutterfly says:

    I usually get pretty far into a book, well over halfway, before I DNF a book. Then, I mark it as read on Goodreads but will give it a low rating, either a 1 or a 2. Sometimes, even a 3. In those cases, nothing was necessarily wrong with it; I was just too bored and the book was taking forever to get to the point.

    In other cases, if I put down a book in under 50 pages, one of two things will happen. Either I put it down because of outside forces, like a reading slump, so I save it for later. Or I know within those pages I’m not going to like a book, so I remove it from my Goodreads altogether, without marking it as read.

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  9. I tend to remove DNF’s from my bookshelf without giving it a rating. I don’t tend to keep track of pages read so that doesn’t matter to me as much 😊

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  10. I don’t do goodreads but reading the post it occurred another advantage of a virtual did not final shelf is over time you may spot pattern about what books are not you.

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  11. sophrilreads says:

    For me – I have a DNF shelf that I put them on. I have this self marked as exclusive to that it’s on the same “level” as the read shelf. I do not give a rating because I didn’t finish the book. And honestly I think it’s unfair to relate it lowly of it just wasn’t right for me. This month I have DNF’d 3 books (much more than usual). So I just moved them over to the other shelf and didn’t worry to much. I only started DNFing books a couple years ago so I stress less now then when I first started doing it.

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  12. This is such an interestingpost Shanah. 🙂

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  13. I’m pretty sure I shared what I do with you over on twitter but I’ll share it again. I give books a 1 star when I DNF them but I make sure to include in my review how much I was able to read and the reason why I DNFed it.

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  14. I definitely do NOT mark it as read! I also won’t give a DNF a rating. To me that’s not fair, since I haven’t read the whole thing and I don’t know how the end might have been, or if it got better as it went. What I’ve done (the one and only time this has been a concern) was that I gave it a review with no rating explaining why I DNFed it, then removed it from my shelves.

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  15. Birdie says:

    LOL, I see people already talked an “exlusive” shelf. That’s what I did. I created one called “abandoned” and it acts like a read, or to read, shelf. Meaning, I can put it in that shelf without having to put it in my read shelf.

    Like so: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4019599

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  16. I was literally trying to make one of these on Goodreads this weekend so this post is so timely! I want to create a DNF that finalizes a book because otherwise I just keep picking the books up again years later. And, unless I read the whole thing I don’t want it as part of my 2020 reading journey. I’m just DNFing a book about procrastination right now (its not bad, just a repeat of stuff I already know) and I will go and make that DNF shelf now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is perfect timing then! I’m really leaning towards making a DNF shelf. I’m just too lazy 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. *Flora* says:

    Hi Shanah. I created a DNF shelf – I only have 4 books on it.
    I mark them as read, rate 1 star (I didn’t like it) or 2 star (it was OK) as per Goodreads rating system and write a few short lines about why it didn’t work for me, usually including the DNF %
    I hope this discussion helps you to decide what to do with your next DNF book. x

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  18. CJR The Brit says:

    If I DNF I do mark it as read but dont star it….and then I profusely apologise in the review section as I always feel the guilt!

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  19. Excellent post. I have a separate DNF shelf I called Abandoned. First I didn’t rate or review. But that was wrong and thought I should at least give it a 1 star. But that seemed wrong and I read where you should at least review–as you state–offer your reasons why. Perhaps there were others that agree or maybe it just didn’t hit you right. So, perhaps the best, and to get it out of your count or read shelf is to abandon (or DNF) and add a review? I’d be interested to see the consensus.

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  20. Just yesterday I was about to DNF a book for the first time and… such a geek I am… one of the reasons I didn’t fully DNF was that I wasn’t sure how to record it on Goodreads!!! However, I skipped from 35% to 70% then from 75% to 95%… I left out more of the book that I actually read….
    But you know what, I put in time to read what I did. In this case, I could have read another more enjoyable one in that space. I’m marking it as read and I will rate it and leave my review because I’m also reviewing and rating my experience of the book. I never count the children’s books I read/ review so my page count will even out… kinda! 😉

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    1. You made a REALLY good point! Even though a DNF’d book isn’t read all the way, you still did put time in to read at least a portion. I feel better as marking a DNF as read now!

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      1. Lol. I’m glad. Plus sometimes it can take you as long as a book you actually enjoyed and flew through!

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  21. For a while I was just deleting the DNFs from my shelves all together (and with an average of one DNF a year, it didn’t bother me). Since I’ve DNF’d a little more since blogging, I finally created a shelf, because it soothes me to categorize things, but it feels weird to have this public area of “shame.” This public area of “THESE WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO FINISH” – which I know is subjective because I’ve seen people I respect give DNFs four stars. I’ll never mark a DNF as finished, but I, too, am wrestling with where to put them on Goodreads.

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    1. 😂 I get you completely! I wouldn’t say that DNF’ing a book makes it not good enough to finish though. We bookworms understand that there’s no shame lol.

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  22. I haven’t ‘officially’ DNF’ed a book yet, but I know I probably will have my first ‘official’ DNF at some point this year since I’m trying to be better at giving myself permission to just stop reading a book if I don’t love it. I think I’d probably create a shelf for them. I wouldn’t mark them as read. And I’d probably have some kind of separate stat for my year end stats for DNFs. (Right now what I do is just change the mark as read, then delete it, then mark is as ‘want to read’ again so it’s still in my TBR pile, technically.)

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  23. Similarly, I also mark it as ‘read’ but don’t give it a rating on GR. And I tend to give a reason as to why I DNF’ed it and the percentage through (or page number) I was when I finished it – especially if it was a review book!!

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  24. santchird says:

    Thanks for sharing, since I entered the book community I discovered many things that I thought were normal aren’t quite that usual xD for myself, I do count DNF books as a one star reads, because their story just didn’t catch my interest in reading it, and I didn’t want to continue picking them up. I did create a folder on Goodreads so I could have them in the same place, but I also mark them as read, since I did spend time reading them and don’t want to pick it later again (I’m that forgetful), but there’s no right or wrong when it comes to reading and filing the books 🙂
    I’m curious, what do you consider to be a 1 star read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve only ever rated one book a 1 star so I can’t really answer that question 😂

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  25. Hahaha! I love this post because I feel like these were my exact thoughts when I started using Goodreads. I created a DNF folder but then didn’t use it so in the end I’ve been marking it as read and giving books a 1 star rating. It doesn’t feel right though. Is it weird that now I’m overthinking how not right that feels?!

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