The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024: Rules & Sign-up

December 9, 2023 Challenges 24

Is your TBR list a mile long?

Are your unread books filling your shelves and piling up on the floor?

Then The Backlist Reader Challenge is for you!

If you’re like me, you’ve got a TBR list a mile long, and a lot of the books on it have been on there for years.

That’s why I started The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader): to encourage myself to actually read those older books that have been piling up on my TBR pile/list for years.

“Backlist” is what publishers call an author’s older books — the titles that have been on sale for more than a year. For The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024, “older” means any books that were published before 2023. (In other words, books published in 2022 or earlier.)

The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024 runs from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024. It ends at midnight in whatever timezone you’re in. You can still post and link reviews until January 5, 2025 — but you have to finish reading the books by 11:59 pm on December 31, 2024.

The Rules

Rule #1: To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2023 AND they must already be on your TBR list or pile. 

You don’t have to own the book. If it was on your want-to-read list when you signed up for the challenge, and it came out in 2022 or earlier, it counts. You can count a book in any format, from any source — as long as it was on your TBR list before you signed up for the challenge.

What does”TBR list” or “to-read” list” mean, exactly? It means wherever you keep track of the books you want to read. Goodreads, a spreadsheet, a handwritten list in a notebook, a Word document, or any other digital or written list — any list counts as long as it’s actually recorded somewhere. A mental list doesn’t count.

If you have multiple TBR lists, that’s OK. I have both a “to-read” shelf and a “someday” shelf on Goodreads. I count both of them as TBR lists.

Do I have to list every unread book in a series on my TBR list, or can I just list the series?

Technically, you should list each book by title. So if there’s a series you want to start or continue in 2024, make sure you add all the books to your TBR list before you sign up for the challenge. (I’m not going to quibble if you miss one when you’re adding them. If most of the books in a series are on your list, it’s pretty clear that you plan to read the series.)

Do rereads count?

I love rereading familiar books. But... the goal of this challenge is to encourage yourself to read books you have gotten around to yet, even though you want to read them. So here’s the compromise: you can only count a book you have read before IF (a) you haven’t read the book in the past 10 years, AND (b) you can’t remember much about it. The idea is that it should be basically like reading a book you haven’t read before.

Rule #2: Create a goals or sign-up post on your blog

…or wherever you usually post your reviews or your thoughts about a book (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) Please link back to this post! Then link your sign-up post below, where you see the “Add your link” button. (Please link your actual goals/sign-up post, not your home page, profile, or account.)  

Set your own goal — as many or as few books as you want. You can list the specific books you want to read this year, or leave it completely up to your mood. 

You can sign up any time before December 1, 2024; after that, the sign-up link will be closed.

Rule #3 (optional): Review the books in the linky here. (You can also get to it through the top menu bar.) The linky will go live on January 5, 2024.

*About reviews: Technically, you don’t have to write reviews to participate in the challenge. But if you want to be entered in the year-end giveaway, you need to write an link your reviews; those are your entries in the giveaway. A review doesn’t have to be long; a few sentences is just fine.

Where you can post reviews: If you don’t have a blog, you can post your reviews on Goodreads, LibraryThing, StoryGraph, or even on your Facebook or Instagram. Please link reviews to your review itself (not to your blog’s main page, your profile, or the book’s main Goodreads or LibraryThing page.) If you’re not sure how to find that link, email me and I’ll walk you through it.

Note: The review linky will not go live until Jan. 5, 2024, because InLinkz restricts the linky to one year, and I need to give you time in January 2025 to post your last-minute reviews. ETA: I had some difficulty with the review link page, but it is now live.

Rule #4: Before January 5, 2025, create and link a wrap-up post 

At the end of the year, let us know how you did! In January 2025, I’ll create a link-up post like this one to link your the wrap-up posts, so you can share your achievement with others who are participating.

Show your support for other participants

Please support other members of The Backlist Reader Challenge by reading and commenting on their reviews, found in the review linky. This isn’t a rule, and you don’t have to check out every review on the list, but please try to visit a few every time you post a review of your own. Your fellow readers will appreciate it!

What else you do you need to know?

There will be at least one giveaway: a $15 Amazon gift certificate (US.) If the winner is outside the US, I will try to figure out a way to get you an Amazon gift certificate for your country/region, or something equivalent. (Alas, Book Depository closed in 2023, so that isn’t an option anymore.) The winner will be chosen from the review links at the end of the year, using a random number generator.

Social media: Please use #BacklistReader on Twitter, Facebook, Threads, and anywhere else hashtags are used!

Go find those older titles you still haven’t gotten around to, and make 2024 the year you finally read them!

Grab the Button!

Copy and paste the code below into your post and/or sidebar:

<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank"><img border="0" src=""</a></div>

Sign-Up Post Links

How to fill out the linky:

  1. For “Your Link”, put the URL of your sign-up post/announcement. If you’re not sure how to find that, email me at bookwyrmlark AT gmail DOT com. (close up the spaces and substitute symbols for the capitalized words in my email address.)
  2. For “Caption,” put your blog name, or your personal name or online nickname if you don’t have a blog.

For sign-up links only! Please don’t post review links here. Use the review linky instead.

NOTE: I will be traveling when this post goes live, so if the linky doesn’t work, please check back in a few days. I’m not able to test the widget ahead of time.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

24 Responses to “The Backlist Reader Challenge 2024: Rules & Sign-up”


    I’m looking forward to this challenge. I have stacks of books I haven’t read yet. I’m still compiling my Goodreads list. This could take awhile.

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