The Most Common Reasons Why We Don’t Stick To Our TBRs!

So if you are a bookstagrammer, book blogger or booktuber, at the beginning of every month you will see an INFLUX of posts appearing on your feeds all about what people are planning on reading that month. You may even be one of them; I know I am. 

Yet, you may also see people’s monthly reading wrap-up posts where they discuss the books they read AND the books they didn’t end up reading. After seeing this done by SO MANY people I follow nearly every month since joining the bookstagram community, I thought I’d set up a poll on my stories to find out the reasons that stop us from sticking to our TBRs and here are my findings:

New Books

OK, this may not be a surprise to the book addicts reading this, but the most common reason people gave for not sticking to their TBRs was…you guessed it…the love of new books.

Whether that be new books we buy, seeing new books being posted about on social media, or books gifted to us, 35% of the people asked said it was new books catching our eyes and distracting us that ultimately stops us from sticking to our TBRs.

Let’s be serious, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Especially with book stores FINALLY being back open. You can’t beat a cheeky book shopping trip.


The second most common reason, which I found EXTREMELY interesting was…mood reading.

26 people out of the 67 asked, said that they choose what books they read based on what mood they are in. So at the start of the month, they may be in the mood for ticking some of their fantasy books off their TBR list, yet throughout the month, they can’t find the motivation or the desire to read fantasy and instead, end up reading something COMPLETELY different. 

It was interesting that the people who answered with mood reading stated how badly they felt about not being in the mood for the books they originally picked for the start of the month. I could probably write a whole other blog post about the guilt we feel when we don’t complete our TBRs or we don’t read the books we promised ourselves we’d read, but I’m just going to say this now…NEVER FEEL GUILTY FOR READING WHAT YOU WANT TO READ. Reading is supposed to be our hobby; our escape from daily life, so hun, you read whatever the f*ck you want to read and don’t ever feel guilty about it.


Moving on, the third most popular reason for people not sticking to their TBRs was…time.

24% of the people asked stated that it was time that was their biggest issue. This includes simply running out of time; books taking longer than expected to finish and life/work/school commitments getting in the way of our precious reading time. 

I think one thing I’ve learnt over my initial months of being a book blogger and bookstagrammer is some days you’ll get the chance to read as much as you want and other days, you just won’t find the time. Don’t get me wrong, on those days there’s nothing you want more than to sit down with your book for half an hour and chill. Then on the days where you have the opportunity to read for as long as you like, you feel bad for just sitting on your sofa. 

Time will always be something that stops us from doing/achieving the things we want, but it’s all about making the most of the short time we have on this planet. If you can fit in five minutes here and there then BUZZING! If you can’t, no big deal!


And then the remaining 11% was a mixture of other reasons.

This includes TBRs being too ambitious, book club commitments, book hangovers and reading ARCs in time for their publication dates or in time for the blog tour. 

I can relate to each and every one of these reasons, as I’m sure you can too. We’ve all been there, especially with book club and ARC commitments and I have to admit there have been MULTIPLE times where I’ve not realised the discussion date/blog tour date is so soon and had to rush through a book to make it on time.

So it looks like there is a whole array of reasons why we don’t stick or complete our TBRs and it begs the question of whether setting monthly TBRs is even worth it. But personally, I like the idea of planning what I’m reading. Even if I don’t get to read all the ones I set out to read or I read completely different ones, monthly TBRs for me, work as a great way of keeping myself on track and to not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of books sitting on my shelves. 

I guess there’s one last thing to ask and that is…

What do TBRs offer YOU?

16 thoughts on “The Most Common Reasons Why We Don’t Stick To Our TBRs!”

  1. I raise my hand at mood because that’s what dictates my reading. I need to be in the right mood to read and I never, never, never stick to TBRs. I first started doing TBRs because everyone was doing them and because bookstagram was all about it, but I never would stick to them >0< I learned to just go with the flow and enjoy different books whenever I felt like 🙂


    1. Yes I 100% agree! I feel like when you first join bookstagram, you want to join in on everything haha! I still do TBRs but they usually consist of my just book club reads so I have more chance of completing them 😂


  2. I’m the worst kind of mood reader. If I make tbrs I can often already say which books I’ll read and which I will ignore. There are always books that I hope I will read but if they are not on the very top of my must read list, I’ll often ignore them for other books. And I think that’s why my tbrs are rarely successful.

    ~ Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm


    1. Yes I get what you mean! I will hope to read these books during the month and then when it gets to it I’m like hmmm ok not really feeling them anymore 🤦🏼‍♀️ totally agree with you!


  3. I like having a tbr because it enables me to focus my reading – I have so many books! But mood, new books and commitments – blog tours all affect me sticking to mine. And being to ambitious with how many books I’ll read!


    1. Yes that’s exactly why I like them! I feel like if I just had went to my bookshelf and had a to pick a book out right I would feel so overwhelmed! At least with a TBR you’re only picking from a select few? And yeah making sure you’re not too ambitious is KEY!


  4. Sometimes I HAVE To have TBRs because otherwise my mood is one of – undecisiveness. I wish I could just mood read, to be honest, but then I get into this ‘idunno’ moods and then don’t read. The TBR helps me plan so I can at least have that if I’m in the overwhelmed mood. There are too many books on my TBR and I get overwhelmed about what to choose. I’ve started to do “TBR Possibility Piles” instead of just straight TBR, so I can plan and mood read if I want to and not feel like I’m not doing something I promised.


  5. My problem is a little bit of a mix between time and new books – I have literally 34 books out from the library right now, so I’m both racing against the calendar to finish them all before their due date arrives and getting thrown off of course when I get in New library books (and newly Bought books lol)


      1. It really can – especially if everything is something I’m genuinely excited about getting to read. Otherwise I have to remind myself I have myself to blame, and I can always return books I can’t read yet and get them again later


      1. I only set myself a TBR (knowing that I won’t do it) for readathons, any other time I just go with my mood. Life’s to short to read a book and not love it because I’m not in the mood for it


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