keeping track of your books (software)

so… it’s been a long time since my last post, and i apologize – it’s not that i have not been reading anything, in fact i’ve been reading quite a bit – for classes. and spending a lot of time grading undergraduate work, etc etc. but, here is a new post, i hope you enjoy.

a friend asked me if i wanted to help her organize her book collection — knowing that i love books — and of course i said yes. we thought about different ways of doing this. making a simple list would only be practical for a small collection, and we are talking several hundred books here, so that one was out. i thought about making an excel sheet, but am no fan of excel. a database would be nice. 

my friend came across LibraryThing: http://www.librarything.com/ – an online home for your books. we both liked the general idea of it: you can enter any or all of your books, rate them, comment on them, see who else has read the same books and possibly what they though of them. find out about new books or books new to you. all in all, a great tool. i would recommend it for people like myself, because you’re bound to come across odd and peculiar things just as much as you are to find bestseller list candidates or rejects. 🙂 you can enter up to 200 books for free, and more for a small fee (25 dollars for a lifetime account – not much).

however, my friend largely wanted the information for her own use, to keep track of her books, and didn’t feel quite as comfortable making it all public. fair enough. if you are a serious collector you may not want everyone and their dog to know exactly how much your bookshelves are worth. and even if your shelves are of modest value, there is still a thing to be said for privacy – after all, you can still go share anything you want to share on places like LibraryThing. this is when she stumbled across collectorz: http://www.collectorz.com/book/book_collection.php 

we agreed this is the software she wants, and so now i am familiarizing myself with their BookCollector software, which handily enough is available for mac as well as pc. it’s nifty – i like how sleek and non-gimmicky it looks. i have now set up my own little database for my friend’s books.

you can enter books manually or automatically, automatically meaning you search by author & title or by ISBN or such. the software then does an online search of various other databases to find matches, often with a photo of the cover of the book, and with details such as publisher, year, number of pages, which is vital if you are trying to keep track of several editions of the same book. very helpful, and when there are no matches, it is fairly easy to add a book manually by entering the information piece by piece via a pretty self-explanatory interface.

you can assign genres and key terms to organize what you’ve got. you can also add extra criteria, so when i was trying this out i added options for “signed” and “sleeve missing” and such things, which would be interesting for a collector. can you tell i was really getting into this last night?! 🙂

in keeping with recent developments, the book collector software also has categories for e-books, audio-books and dvds. in theory, you could do an inventory of everything on your shelf, except the collector’s plates and the bookends…

anyway. i shall get back to the shelves, there are a quite a few books calling my name.
if you’ve used this or other book software, why not comment and share your experience. is there another software that you would recommend? or one that you’d like to warn about? 🙂

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About annette.c.boehm

words escape me.

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