I blogged a couple weeks ago about a Book Collector program that Mandy told me about. I was whining about how time consuming it was to put each book in by hand but that barcode scanners were too expensive. But I did end up getting one off ebay for $15. Even though it said it might not work exactly as I needed it to, I decided to take a chance and wheeeee! am I glad I did. This past weekend I used my new scanner to input my TBR books that are downstairs on my mini-shelf. By mini-shelf, I mean a shelf that’s actually meant to hold videos/dvds. It took me about 20 minutes to finish inputing the books with my barcode scanner (I’d started them by hand when I first got the program). The trick, I discovered, is to scan the barcode on the inside cover, not the back cover. Because sometimes it reads not the ISBN number on the back but the longer number. Don’t ask me why the two barcodes read differently, but they do.

So, I got all of my downstairs TBR books inputted(with the exception of a box I just realized Josh hid from me unintentionally, a big box of around 20 books)–I have at least 150TBR books that I’ve accumulated since the beginning of July. That doesn’t include the box I forgot about that Joshua hid and all the books I got, read and either passed on or moved upstairs to my shelves. I would estimate at least 50 more. So in 7 months, I’ve gotten roughly 200 to 220 books. Works out to around a book a day. And I am clearly not reading even close to that.

I was telling Jaci, after this realization of the books I have on my downstairs TBR shelves (I still have to input the TBR books from upstairs, on the big bookshelves) that I wondered if I would ever actually read all these books and if it was worth it to hold on to them? I own them all for a reason, either because I heard good things, they looked good to me, or because I liked previous books by the author. But I would have to take off at least 3 months to make a dent in this “pile” and that would be assuming I don’t collect any others (yeah, that will happen, I’m sure). Jaci felt my pain but didn’t offer any good advice on dealing with my problem, damn her.

But back to the Book Collector. I’ve always wanted to keep track of my books but the idea of entering all the information by hand made my head hurt. With this, all I have to do is enter the ISBN (either by hand or by scanning the barcode) and it searches the databases I tell it to–I have it set to search Amazon US and UK, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble and the Library of Congress–and not only grabs title, author, pub year, but also a blurb and the cover image. I’m going to share some screenshots (click on any of them to view in full screen size) so you can see what it looks like. This is viewing the books as thumbnails on the main screen (you can also view as a list) and a list on the left sidebar.

You can see some of the information viewable on the books

You can see a large image of the book cover

This is where you change the details of the book. In this screen, you can see that you can assign your own genres to the books and since you can create as many genres as you want, you can get fairly specific. Then, I’ll show you how it will sort the books for you based on this.

And here you can change your personal details about the book, when you bought it, the condition it’s in, if you’ve read, what you’d rate it. There’s also a screen to make notes on the book, add links (it will insert the links right to the book on whatever databases you’re searching, like Amazon, but maybe you want to add a link to your blog post about the book, or someone else’s blog post). There’s also screens for tracking contents, characters–pretty much anything you want to track for your books, this program lets you do it.

Here’s a view of the books as sorted by Genre. On the left is a list of my available genres right now, for the 150 TBR books I’ve put in. I actually added Silhouette Bombshells as a genre, because I wanted to be able to sort them and see what I had.

If you look in the upper left corner, you’ll see the drop-down menu showing other folders, so you can view your books by author, publisher, and other options, including user specified options.

The last feature of Book Collector I haven’t mentioned is the ability to “loan” books out. You can track who you’ve loaned books to and set it to remind you if they’re “due”. I have lost so many books by loaning them out over the years. While I don’t do much loaning any longer, I still think this is a cool feature.

Edited to add. I realized people would probably wonder if you could print lists of your books and the answer is yes. You can print all books, you can print them by folder, genre, author or whatever other grouping you select. You can also sort your print list by basically any setting you choose. And I do mean anything you can think of, not just author or publisher or title, but year published, characters, genres…anything. There are also other options for printing, a list method or a 40 per page method. Two screenshots below show first the 40 per page method (I used all my books) and then the list method (I used my romantic suspense folder). The difference is basically that the list method scrunches them more on the page.

This program? Can you tell it’s awesome? I didn’t really think just describing it would do it justice, so I thought the added screenshots would go further in showing just how comprehensive the program is. If you’re a book addict like me and looking for a way to track your books, I highly recommend this program and as well as a $15 barcode scanner (on ebay). It’s money well spent. I think for many readers it would earn its money back. Both by helping you track books loaned so you don’t lose track of them and also in helping prevent duplicate and triplicate purchases (yes, I’ve done this). Anyone have any questions about my new favorite program?

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