14 July 2016

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 2 Apps for Book Lovers

2 Apps for Book LoversSince 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.

2 Apps for Book LoversThe Good

  • 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.
The Bad
  • 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.
Bottom Line: Collectorz Book Collector is not worth the cost or the hassle to add books. If the book isn't already in their database, you have to enter all information by hand. Even if the book is in their database, the information is only what someone else bothered to type in, and there is no guarantee of accuracy. I can't recommend Collectorz for book lovers at this time.

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.

2 Apps for Book LoversThe Good
  • 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.
The Bad
  • 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.
Bottom Line: So far Libib has the most potential of giving me my wish list. I can make my library private, which means I am spared yet another social media site to maintain. I can also import collections if they are in a csv file, which is nice, although I'd have to manually add tags for print and eBook (sigh). For the moment, I'm recommending Libib as being worthy of investigation.

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.


rhapsodyinbooks 7/14/16, 6:21 AM  

I probably mentioned to you already that Library Thing also has an app for the phone. It doesn't have quite the same good search capabilities as the non-app version, but has most other features and is very handy.

Beth F 7/14/16, 6:31 AM  

@rhapsody: the problem with LT mobile is there is NO book description. So if I click on a book, I get member tags, but if I want a description of the book, I have to hit "view on Library Thing" then click "book description," then go back to the mobile app to find another book. (or I can click "view on Amazon" and click through a couple of screens.) Also my personal tags and comments don't show up, so there would be no way of marking the book as print, eBook, or audio. Yes, I could make three separate libraries in LT, but I want all my books in one place.

Daryl 7/14/16, 7:05 AM  

you are SO organized ... me, i am a devoted ebook reader so books simply 'sit' with the notation 'new' ... i have to admit sometimes i cant remember what the book is about .... occasionally i start a book and wonder what was I thinking when i bought this ...

Sarah's Book Shelves 7/14/16, 7:33 AM  

And my real life friends laugh at me for my Excel spreadsheet....ha! They haven't even scratched the surface!

Mason Canyon 7/14/16, 9:14 AM  

Have you tried Calibre? I've used it on my laptop and liked but I don't know if there is a mobile app are not. Good luck.

Katherine P 7/14/16, 9:16 AM  

That's too bad about Collectorz as it does seem to have become less useful. Right now Goodreads is working for me but I'm curious about Libib and Bookcrawler. I'll have to check them out.

Beth F 7/14/16, 9:19 AM  

@mason: I love Calibre, but it's only for eBooks. :(

Vicki 7/14/16, 11:34 AM  

I'm also looking for a way to keep track of all my books. I have the cue cat from LT, but it doesn't help with e-books.

Gina 7/14/16, 1:40 PM  

Great post my friend and as you see/know, a dilemma shared by readers/bloggers worldwide. I use LT and GR myself... but am still on the hunt for a happy compromise. One day... One day... 😊

(Diane) bookchickdi 7/14/16, 2:40 PM  

Librib sounds intriguing, I'm going to check that out. I always find your posts so full of information, thanks for keeping us up-to-date on the latest technology.

Kailana 7/14/16, 7:19 PM  

I am off to check out Libib. :)

Jan 7/20/16, 11:56 AM  

I've tried Libib the last few days and I like it although a few obscure books don't show up! I want to have something for my physical books, e-books and audiobooks. For a long time I had a spreadsheet for my physical books, but when I started reading and buying e-books that stopped. For right now I'm using it for new books and see how that goes.

Thanks for a good post!

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