10 Signs To DNF Your Book (How To DNF + Next Steps To Take)

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Have you ever wanted to DNF a novel but then got caught up with feelings of shame and guilt? Know that you are not alone.

If you’ve been wanting to understand DNF meaning when it comes to books, how to DNF a book and what to do next, this blog post will help you with that.

how to dnf book

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What Does DNF Mean In Reading?

DNF means “do not finish”. In reading, this means to not finish reading a book. These are the books we did not finish reading because they weren’t engaging enough for us. It’s okay to DNF a book and readers should feel less guilty about it.

When To DNF a Book? 10 Signs It’s Time to Ditch Your Current Read.

1. Reading Starts to Feel Like a Chore

If reading is your hobby, it’s supposed to be a joyful thing to do. The moment you dread reading your current read, it is a huge indicator that you should DNF your book. 

You don’t have to complicate things by overthinking if you should set the book aside or not. If you start “hating” reading, DNF that book now!

2. You Start Feeling Like You’re Heading Into a Reading Slump

Reading slumps are annoying because they hinder your reading progress. When you start feeling like you’re going into a reading slump, it’s time to reevaluate if sticking to your current read is worth it. I would say, DNF it!

3. You Realize You’re Easily Irritated

Suddenly, every little thing starts bothering you. Before you try reading your book and after you put your book down, you feel grumpy and annoyed for no reason. 

This could be a big sign that it’s time DNF the book you’re reading because it’s simply putting you in a bad mood.

4. You Start Questioning, “How Do People Even Like This Book?”

You start feeling like something is wrong with you. Everybody seems to like this book except you!

Be kind to yourself. Know that there is something called “personal preference”, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

DNF that book now and stop doubting yourself. Read whatever you want but make sure it’s because you enjoy it and not because it’s “popular” or “trendy”.

5. You Try Finding Reasons To Continue Reading The Book

how to dnf book

“But I’ve already spent so much time reading this book!” Sounds familiar?

This is called sunk cost fallacy (i’ve explained in detail here). I studied it in behavioural economics class and let me tell you, it does apply to reading.

The “sunk cost” here is time. We have already invested so much time into it, which is one reason some readers do not want to give up on a book. It makes us feel guilty.

So what do we end up doing? We waste more time trying to finish the book because we’ve already “invested” time that we cannot get back.

This was me when reading The Spanish Love Deception, I did not enjoy it but made it till the end anyway because i’ve spent so much time getting through the first half of the book.

6. You Read Book Reviews to Convince Yourself To Keep Reading

If you’re scrolling on booktok, bookstagram or searching reviews on book blogs to give you a reason to keep reading your book, this is a big sign that you should just DNF your book.

You’re trying to convince yourself that this is a book you will enjoy based on the opinions of others.

7. You Have No Motivation To Create Content Around The Book

If you’re a book influencer on platforms such as booktok, bookstagram or have your own book blog and dread the idea of writing a review or creating any type of content around the book, it is clear that you do not enjoy the book.

If you did enjoy reading the book, you would not want to keep it to yourself. Instead, you’d share your thoughts on it online.

This is also because it’s easier to talk about things you like vs things you don’t enjoy. 

8. You’re Halfway Through The Book But You’re Dreading The Other Half

Most readers will be thrilled that there’s 50% left of the book they’re enjoying because they cant wait to finish it.

Even if they’re not thrill, it’ll be because they do not want to finish it because they don’t want their amazing read to end.

If you’re not feeling either of these once you’ve crossed the half-way mark when reading a book, re-evaluate if you should DNF the book. 

9. You Feel Guilty About Reading Multiple Books at Once 

Want to pick up another book but then feel like you’re cheating on your current read? It could be because you know that you never pick it up again if you pick up another book.

10. You Have No desire To Check Out Other Books From The Same Author.

If your current read is also your first read from a specific author you were excited to try reading but then suddenly you lose that excitement for all his/her other books, then it’s obvious that you should DNF your book.

Now, decide if it’s time to DNF that book!

So, now that you’ve decided to DNF your book, congrats! That’s very brave of you.

It’s a hard thing to do, lots of negative emotions are associated with the experience of dnf-ing a book or even a whole series that you were once invested in. 

If after reading those 10 signs and you still decide to continue reading your current read here are some tips on how to get through a book you do not want to DNF.

Now let’s look into the next steps to take so you can finally “close this chapter.”

Do You Count DNF Books As Read? 

You can count DNF books as read. Some readers especially do this when they’ve read more than 50% of the book. At the end of the day, it’s a decision made on personal preference.

Should I Mark A Book As Finished On Goodreads If It’s DNF? 

Yes, you can. If you consider a book you have DNF-ed a book that’s still read, you can mark it as finished and shelf it under “read”. Note that this will count towards your goodreads yearly reading challenge.

Can You DNF a book on Goodreads?

Yes, you can. Just create a new shelf and label it “DNF” or “Did Not Finished” or whatever you prefer. Add that book to your DNF shelf!

How To DNF A Book On Goodreads.

Step 1: Create a shelf called DNF/did not finish and be sure to make it “exclusive”.

how to dnf book

This will allow you to assign a book to this shelf, instead of having to pick between the default “read”, “currently reading”, and “to read” shelves.

Step 2: Update your book as “DNF”.

This is a great way to keep track of all the books you did not finish.

Note: An alternate way is to not make the DNF shelf exclusive. Which means you can shelf the book you did not finish as “read” and also “DNF” if you believe DNF books are also read books and should count towards your reading goal.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which book tracking way works best for you!

Wrap Up: How To DNF Book

I hope this article has helped you decide if you should DNF your book or not. If you need more understanding of the Pros and Cons of DNF-ing your book, read this post.

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  1. For years and years, I refused to DNF books. The idea of giving up on something that could become wonderful really bothered me – and I’d even force myself through entire series I hated just to see if they’d improve (*cough*acotar*cough*). No longer is this something that plagues me haha. If I don’t enjoy something, I stop right then and there. Life is too short to force myself to read books I don’t like. Plus, I don’t buy books I haven’t read, so I haven’t wasted any money. And thankfully, StoryGraph gives me a DNF option for my tracker and even allows me to input how far into it I was and my reason for stopping. It’s great!

    1. I love that for you. I’ve recently come to terms with DNF-ing. I have too much non-bookish things to do like work and maintain a household, I don’t have time to cling to a book I don’t even like! StoryGraph sounds like a great alternative to goodreads 🙂

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