Since my last Stacked-Up Book Thoughts
I've been playing around with ways to keep track of my entire
to-be-read book collection. I have explored several options, but I still
haven't found the ideal solution.
My main wishes are the following: I want to see the publisher's summary when I click on the book title. I want to be able to add my own tags. I want to be able to sort by tags, publishing month/year, and medium as well as by the usual (genre, title, author). I want to know the medium of the book at a quick glance. I want a cross-platform app.
Although LibraryThing and GoodReads both allow some of these things, neither gives me everything on my wish list. I'm especially annoyed that I have to click to different screens to see the publisher's summary--I want to see what the book is about while I'm browsing my collection.
I explored two other apps in depth, and here are my thoughts.
Collectorz Book Collector: I bought the pro edition of this collector database to keep track of my audiobooks back in the days before I started blogging. I liked how easy it was to add books, customize the fields, and write up my thoughts and reactions to the book.
I stopped using Collectorz when I began to record my reading life here on Beth Fish Reads. Recently I decided to update my Collectorz software and see if I could use it to consolidate my audiobooks, print books, and eBooks. The answer is yes and no.
- The program is still easy to use and visually pleasing (click through to the site for screen shots)
- The cloud syncing is cross-platform so my PC laptop and iOs mobile devices work together.
- When I click on a book title, I can see all the information I want.
- I love the dedicated icons that tell me at a glance whether the book is audio, eBook, hardcover, or paperback (see the scan of my trial collection; click to enlarge)
- I can customize fields, add my own tags, and sort in a number of ways.
- When I first bought Collectorz, it used a variety of databases, such as Library of Congress, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and World Cat. Now it uses only its own database. This means pretty much none of my books will scan in accurately.
- Yes, you can manually add information, but really?
- When a book cover doesn't download automatically the built-in search is just a Google images search. Jeez.
- If you want to catalog more than 100 books you have to pay for the program. If you want to use both a desktop/web and a mobile app, you have to pay for the mobile app separately. It can be costly.
Libib: I recently discovered Libib, which is available free for Web and mobile devices and is cross-platform. I haven't had a lot of time to play with this app, but here are my first impressions.
- The free version allows you to enter up to 100,000 books.
- Libib has a clean, streamlined look.
- The app accurately recognizes books based on ISBN and provides publishing data plus book covers.
- I had no problem adding books that haven't yet been published.
- I can see the publisher's summary as soon as I click on the book title (click through to the site to see screen shots; the shot here is from my phone).
- The mobile and web versions sync quickly.
- I can add my own tags to books, which I can use to indicate medium, among other things.
- Libib doesn't automatically record month of publication, which is important to me. Of course, I can add that by hand as a tag.
- There is no immediately visible icon to indicate medium, though I can tag books by medium. But see next item:
- You can sort books by tags on the Web, but I didn't see how to do that on the mobile app.
- If you care about this kind of thing, the "purchase" icon goes to Amazon, and I didn't see choices for IndieBound.
- The paid version of Libib promises "expanded searching" and more editing options. Note, however, that the app isn't a pay once and you own it, it's a monthly or yearly subscription, which is one of my pet peeves.
If you have iOS everything, you might want to look at Book Crawler. It isn't cross-platform, so I didn't give it a whirl. It's gotten decent reviews.
I would love to have all my wish list items in one easy-to-use database so I can merge my entire TBR/TBL list. Libib might be a good-enough answer for now, and I'm considering trying it out for all new acquisitions starting August 1. If I find any other decent programs/apps, I'll let you know.