Having a reading list is a must for any book lover who takes this activity seriously. All avid readers know how dangerous a book hangover is and in order to spend time deciding what to read next after a great novel has “ruined” you for other books, the best workaround is to have a reading list already prepared.
And while using pen and paper may sound like the way to go, we are here to tell you that nowadays there are many other options out there.
But is the Notion reading list really that great? Well, let’s see.
What is the Notion reading list?
It’s a well known fact that Notion has made a name for itself for being one of the best productivity tools out there. But, being an open, customizable and editable tool, templates have been created for all kinds of different purposes.
One of these templates is the Notion book list, which can be used as a reading list for book enthusiasts. All readers know how important it is to keep their reading organized and to always follow the titles on a well built reading list.
How does the Notion book list template work?
First of all, you need to know that having an account at Notion is the very first step towards accessing the Notion reading list. Once you’ve set up your account, you will need to duplicate the Notion book list template. That way, the template will become available in your list of Notion boards.
Once you see it in your list of boards, you can access it. The board comes in a predefined format and is populated with a list of books, articles and podcasts to show you what it will look like once you’ve added your own titles to the list. You will need to remove all this dummy data from the dashboard before adding your own titles.
When the board is empty, you will be able to start adding book titles, articles or whatever you want to read next. All titles can be placed in different categories according to their specific characteristics, you will be able to mark their status, give them ratings and also add a bunch of other information you may find relevant.
The status of each title (to-read, in progress or finished) will need to be manually changed every time you start or finish a book.
Is the Notion reading list any good?
Well, it’s really not bad. It’s easily customizable, it gives the user complete freedom to organize their reading, but it also comes with a couple of disadvantages. Let’s see what the most important benefits and drawbacks the Notion book list comes with.
Notion book list advantages
Here’s what makes the Notion book list template a decent option for those who need a digitalized reading list.
- It does what it’s supposed to do – users can create decently organized reading lists and can manually track the status of each title on the list
- It allows users to categorize the titles – each new title added to the list can have a tag attached. That way, users can mark the specific type of reading material each title represents (novel, article, essay, journal, etc.). The tags are customizable so each user can use them as they see fit – if they want to organize the reading material by genre, for example, they can do it.
- Titles can be rated – a rating can be added to each reading material, so the user can easily track the titles according to how much they enjoyed reading them.
Notion book list disadvantages
This Notion template is far from being the perfect solution for a reading list. Here’s what makes it fall behind when compared to other alternatives.
- It needs to be manually set up – it is not a standalone solution, the template needs to be duplicated, dummy data removed and only then can it be populated
- Nothing is automated – everything needs to be done completely manual, from adding the titles, information about the books, images, etc. This takes time and needs some getting used to
- The format can get confusing once the list is populated with more titles – while the reading list looks ok and is easy to follow with 10-20 titles or less, once more books are added, the Notion reading list template starts to be a little hard on the eyes and the books may start to be a little harder to find.
All these disadvantages may put some people off, which begs the question, what Notion reading list alternative is out there and has proven to be a better option?
What is the best Notion reading list alternative?
While Notion may seem like a decent option for someone who just needs to write down a couple of titles in order to read them later, it’s important to know that there are much better options out there.
And what I am specifically referring to are reading tracking apps. These come as standalone options for all book lovers and have tons of useful features, including the option to create reading lists.
The best reading app, which also comes with the possibility to create reading lists, is Basmo.
This is a modern solution for today’s reader and is feature packed to meet even the most fastidious expectations. Not only is Basmo a much better option for reading lists than Notion, but it also comes with a bunch of other additional features which make it stand out.
How is Basmo better than the Notion reading list?
Let’s first have a quick look at the particular aspects that make Basmo a better Notion reading list alternative.
Easy to set up
As soon as you download the Basmo reading app, you will have access to a couple of predefined book collections, ready to be populated and used. There is no additional template necessary, no extra downloads, no dummy data to be removed. You can start populating your reading list seconds after opening the app for the first time
On top of the option to manually populate the reading lists, Basmo also uses an automatic process through which books are added to the “currently reading” section as soon as you start a reading session for a certain book. The same goes as soon as you finish reading a book. Once you’ve read it, it is automatically moved to the “Finished” book collection.
Easily customizable lists
You can use the predefined lists, or you can create your own separate book collections. This gives you the chance to have separate lists for pleasure reading and learning for example. Or you can have separate reading lists for each year, or simply separate the books you want to read by genre. The choice is yours, but what’s more important is that all this process is intuitive and very quick.
Books are easier to add to lists
While Notion requires each separate book to be added in the form of a note or ticket, this process is made a lot easier. You can simply search for a book using its title, author or a relevant keyword, and once you find it, you can simply add it to the desired list in just a couple of taps. No need to manually write its name, to upload the cover image or other details. Everything is already made available to you.
On top of the reading list feature, which is obviously a lot easier to use and better overall than the Notion book list template, Basmo comes with a plethora of additional features designed to make reading a more enjoyable and productive activity for book lovers of all levels.
Basmo additional features
- Goal setting: You will be able to set personal goals for your reading. You can choose to set a daily goal for the time you spend reading every day or a yearly goal for the number of books you read.
- Reading sessions: Every time you pick up a book, you can start a reading session with Basmo. That way, you will know exactly how much time you spend reading, how many pages you read every day or other interesting statistics about your reading habits.
- Daily reminders: Basmo gives you the option to set a schedule for yourself, according to your needs or desires. You can select which days of the week you want to read in and at what time you want each session to take place. You can even select different times on different days in order to take into account your daily routine. Whenever a reading session is getting close, Basmo will remind you through push notifications so you don’t miss it.
- Note taking: Sometimes reading and writing go hand in hand. Most readers like to take notes in order to remember important details, to annotate the books they’re reading or to simply write down their own thoughts about the novel. Basmo makes this incredibly easy through the note taking feature that is automatically available whenever you start a reading session. You can either write down your own thoughts in different fonts, colors or formats or you can even scan the pages of a book and extract the text you want to save.
Ready to take your reading game to the next level?
Try Basmo book tracker today!
It’s 100% free to download, so what have you got to lose?
Final thoughts about the Notion reading list template
Notion is a good productivity tool overall, but it simply doesn’t shine when it comes to its applications for reading enthusiasts. It is no match for a dedicated reading app, and it definitely can’t hold a candle to Basmo.
Basmo is easy to use, works seamlessly both on Android and iOS and is filled to the brim with features guaranteed to take your reading habits to the next level.
Try Basmo and see the benefits for yourself.