Bookish Software

One of the sites I check daily, right after my Gmail and Woot, is, which has daily deals on Mac apps. Todays deal: 47% off Librarian Pro, which tracks your book inventory. This software is available for Mac and PC, according to the listing today.

Neat, and I love the shushing icon, but do I need this? Do I need any book inventory software?

Honestly, with the number of books coming in and out of my house, it might be a good idea, but I still like the tactile experience of browsing my own shelf of to-be-reads and picking out my next read. Do I need “serenity” to return to my bookshelf?

It might not be a bad thing, honestly, but as soon as I can bend over (and see my own feet, omg) I will be attacking the organization of my office in my own style, and I’m not sure a piece of software, even for someone as digitally eager as I am, would be of any use. Neither am I interested in Shelfari, beyond asking them to stop emailing me already.

What about you? Do you digitally index your personal library? How do you organize your books? Maybe this is a bandwagon I need to waddle after before it gets too far away.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    My boyfriend got bored at work and wrote a whole program (in Python, if anyone cares) that would take the ISBN of a book, look it up in the Library of Congress, and produce a small receptacle of information about the book for you.  From there you could input comments and reviews and other things.

    Then he realized that someone else did it already.  The only difference, I think, was how the GUI (graphics) looked and that his program could use a scanner.

    We haven’t implemented either yet, but it would be a good idea . . . especially after the other 1500 books in my collection make their way from my parents’ attic to our humble abode.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Randi says:

    I use Amazon to track my books, movies, and music. It’s great because Amazon makes recommendations based on what you already own.

  4. 4
    affreca says:

    I’ve also signed up for LibraryThing, as it is the program/website for library organizing/showing off I always meant to write.  My collection is organized into four shelving areas – nonfiction, paperbacks, hardcover/trade and manga.  So far I’ve gotten the hardcovers and the paperbacks up to B into LT.

  5. 5
    Sarah Frantz says:

    I use EndNote, which is actually a bibliographic program which creates correctly formatted footnotes and bibliographies, but is a good storage place for all my books.  Not that all my books are entered, by any stretch.  Not that I can even get into my library right now, full as it is with baby things that will eventually be put in the baby’s room.  ::sigh::  But one day…..!

    But then, I’m an academic and a geek.

  6. 6
    Ellen says:

    Third the recommendation for LibraryThing. I’m addicted.

  7. 7
    Alison Kent says:

    I use the Now Reading plugin from WordPress and have started cataloging my books on my blog.  It’s highly addictive, and I’m only a fraction of the way through, but I love having the lists of what I’ve read and what I want to read and what I may have forgotten I own right there!

  8. 8
    darlynne says:

    I use HomeBase, which is available to on-line booksellers from A seller has to have some kind of database software; from a personal perspective, it helps in those “do I have this title?” moments and also is a record for insurance purposes. What it won’t do, of course, is find the darn thing, but that’s my fault.

    If your collection of books is an avalanche of ARCs and paperbacks, I’d probably say entering each in a database is too much work. If you’ve spent a fortune on books—collectible or otherwise—and intend to keep them forevah, you may need a record in the event you have to replace them. I’m not familiar with Librarian Pro, but any program that uses the ISBN to provide the title, author, etc., will minimize the amount of typing you will have to do.

    Nothing will replace the love of browsing your own bookshelves and software will not interfere with that.

  9. 9
    --E says:

    I don’t even alphabetize my books, and I’ve got several thousand of the things. I just know where they all are, generally. (That said, I at least see the value in alphabetizing one’s books. I keep meaning to do it, but it would take so long…)

    The only reason I could see to keep a digital list would be if I were selling them or running a lending library.

  10. 10
    iffygenia says:

    Here’s a comparison of LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GuruLib.  Lots of info in the comments.

    ProCite (a competitor of EndNote) can store your citations online for collaborative work.

    Then there’s Zotero, a citation collector in a Firefox browser extension.

    So many ways to obsess over our books.  And yet I still can’t come up with the 1980s Harlequin where the heroine, in a righteous rage, puts her hand through a glass window.

  11. 11
    Francois says:

    Talk about making work for yourself! I would have loved this when I was 10, but then I became a real librarian and it just seems like taking work home with you now! I suppose it would be alright if you had a barcode reader and scanned them all in that way. Maybe not much work if you have a tiny collection, or essentially useful if you have a massive collection.

    I have started keeping a record of the books I read in order to rate them to avoid clunkers and work my way through series more efficiently. Its working so far. I just note Author, Title, Date read, grade 1-5, and a note such as “good premise wasted” or “probably excellent for 1977”.

    Mostly I borrow books from my local library and even their online catalogue has gone all Amazon-esque with Wish Lists and Baskets.

  12. 12
    Rosemary says:

    My boss uses a spreadsheet to keep record of the books she’s read, just to prevent her from buying the book twice, particularly with the popularity of reprints and such.

    Do you need it?  No.  Does that mean you shouldn’t get it?  No.

    And as a librarian, I’d like to request that people STOP USING A GOD DAMNED OLD LADY IN A BUN TO REPRESENT US!!!

    That’s all.

  13. 13
    SB Sarah says:

    I don’t know Rosemary – I bet she rides a Harley. Librarians are wicked awesome.

  14. 14
    Rosemary says:

    Oh, we all bang bikers when at all possible, but we take our hair out of the bun first.

  15. 15
    Jules Jones says:

    Another LibraryThing fan here (my account for those who wish to look at my rather odd collection of writing reference material). One of the things I like about it is being able to download a copy of my LT database onto my Palm, and carry it around with me—I’ve already saved the cost of my LT account in not buying another copy of books I already had, thanks to my PalmThing.

    I am deeply unenamoured with Shelfari, as their modus operandi was to spam the address book of anyone foolish enough to give them access to an address book—and to *keep* spamming anyone who failed to take up the invitation to join. That alone would make sure I never, ever joined, but they were also only using Amazon as a source for bibliographic details, whereas LibraryThing has access to a lot of libraries.

  16. 16
    Tlönista says:

    I use Delicious Library (for the Mac)—as you add a book, it looks up the information on Amazon. If you can track down a CueCat (a barcode scanner designed to work with some now-obsolete proprietary software) and “declaw” it, so it reads all barcodes, you can scan books in very quickly.

  17. 17
    Jules Jones says:

    Oh, and LibraryThing sells Cuecat bar code scanners for $15-$20 (depending on postage requirements), which are a bit fiddly to get started with but very good for entering books by scanning the bar code.

  18. 18

    Another for LibraryThing here.

  19. 19
    Heather says:

    I also use LibraryThing as a database for all the books I own. To keep track of what I’m borrowing, rereading, or checking out from the library, I use Goodreads. As for tracking software, I don’t own enough books for that (yet). I can see everything I’ve got by glancing at the shelves.

  20. 20
    C2 says:

    I use Readerware and like it.  If you have a lot of books, a CueCat is a must for it, as well (I got mine on eBay ages ago).

  21. 21
    kc says:

    I use Readerware, which also has the Cuecat barcode reader.  I can also upload my readerware database onto my Palm.

    I have two databases: one for books I own and one for books I’ve read from the library, since I check out far more books than I buy.  Now I just have to add all my ebooks that are on my Palm to the database and I’ll be set.

  22. 22
    sara says:

    I use Goodreads. I’m nowhere close to cataloguing everything that’s on my shelves (I feel like all my online friends might flee if I put the real extent of my Nora Roberts collection up there, much like my friend Katie went pale when she was helping me unpack when I moved into this apartment), but I mostly use it to keep track of my to-reads. I like to see what other people are reading, but I don’t rely on it as much.

    Of course, this apartment is so crammed with books that my to-reads generally live in my library bag or in a lopsided stack on the living room table. What I wouldn’t give for built-in shelves.

  23. 23
    Ines says:

    OMG, I just confirmed that I must be the greatest geek ever! LOL
    Since they taught me how to program with visual basic I thought about doing sth with my books. I began a list of all my ebooks in an excel sheet, with diverse information, and the filters worked perfectly to find some book depending on author, series, genre, length and even if I thought it was a keeper. Then I put a command buton to search the excerpt of a book and show it when requested, so I would remember exactly which book was…
    Then my laptop dies and I pout for all the information lost : ebooks AND my program!
    And now I find that there are programs that do this things for you!!!!
    Congratulations to me! For always following the most difficult path!

  24. 24
    KellyMaher says:

    Sorry if this is a duplicate, but the submit button did something weird when I hit it.  I’m another loyal user of LibraryThing.  I have one of their “random books from my library” on my blog so everyone can see my broad collection of romance, knitting and cooking books ;)  Kelly’s LT library

    I’m actually spending my weekend whipping my LT account into shape and I’m way too geeked out about it ;)

  25. 25
    Teddy Pig says:

    All my PDFs are in iTunes.

  26. 26
    KellyMaher says:

    Oh, something else I saw in my feedreader right after I saw this and commented: Google Books announces My Library.

  27. 27
    Sarah Frantz says:

    FWIW, EndNote bought ProCite and no longer releases updates.  So they’re not competitors anymore.  One can get one’s ProCite entries changed to EndNote if one buys EndNote and then begs prettily to the IT help at EndNote.  Not that I have experience at that, or anything.

  28. 28
    Rosemary says:

    Oh, the shame of it all.

    I was bitching to another librarian about the old-lay-in-a-bun stereotype that will not die, she pointed out that my hair is currently in a bun.

    Shame. On. My. Face.

    I still stand by my statement of taking your hair out of a bun before banging a biker, though.  It’s too tempting of a handle for most men.

  29. 29
    saltypepper says:

    LibraryThing kicks old ladies wearing buns’ asses.  But not hard enough to break a hip or anything.

    Has any commenter already mentioned the romance groups on LT?  Because there are several.

  30. 30
    RandomRanter says:

    I also use it to try and prevent the already bought it syndrome.  I have librarything, which I can get on my phone if I have a memory block in the bookstore.  I’ve heard good things about the others to.

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