Aug 15 2010
I’ve purchased a new Android-based phone and I’m looking for a good book catalogue app. DA is the site I go to for book tech comparisons but I haven’t read or found anything by search here for it. Perhaps I’ve missed it.
Do any of your contributors use Android based phones or is it mostly iPhone? It’s always hard when there are so many choices out there to figure out which one is better suited for my needs. Right now I’m running all 3 to figure what I like best about them. Not sure if there are others out there like me who would need a bit of breakdown in the apps out there.
All the best,
Thanks for writing. I don’t have an Android device so I put out a call to others to see if someone would test out the book cataloguing apps. Artistkem responded to my request and provided this breakdown that I hope will be helpful for you:
Searched the Android App Market for book cataloging applications and found four:
- Book Catalogue and Booklog. Book Catalogue (by Evan Leybourn) http://wiki.github.com/eleybourn/Book-Catalogue/ has 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Booklog (by paperboy and co.) http://booklog.jp/ has 3.5 stars rating.
- MyBookDroid (zezi) http://mybookdroid.blogspot.com/ has 4.5 stars rating.
- BookWorm (Charlie Collins) http://code.google.com/p/and-bookworm/ has a 4 star rating.
All apps are free, which is great.
Downloaded and installed Book Catalogue first and started using it right away. It is very user friendly and it only occupies 492KB. You can add books manually, by barcode scanner or doing an ISBN search. The barcode scanner worked perfectly with the books I chose for the first try. Instantly after scanning, the book's information appears on screen, this includes a thumbnail of the cover, author name, book title, ISBN number, name of the series and volume number (if it applies), publisher's name, date published, number of pages, list price and a checkbox for you to select if the book is an anthology. After hitting Add Book, the next step is to select another checkbox if you have read the book, give it a rating of up to 5 stars and a box to input your notes on the book before saving it to your bookshelf.
Once the books are in the bookshelf they can be sorted by Author, Title, Series or Loaned. When you open any book's information you get four tabs. The first one "Edit Book' lets you edit the book's information (author name, title, etc.) and a long click on the thumbnail will let you delete it, rotate it or add one using the camera. The second one, "Your Comments', contains the "Have you read this book?' checkbox, star rating and notes. The third one, "Loan Book', lets you enter the name of whomever you've loaned the book to and keep track of it. The fourth one "Anthology' is shown for every book but it will apply only to, obviously, the anthologies. There is a checkbox that asks if all the stories in the book are written by the same author, if it's not checked you are given two blanks to fill: author and title; if you check it, the author one disappears and you can enter every title in the anthology. There is no need to enter them in order because the app gives you the up and down options to reorder them after entered.
I started with a couple of books and couldn't stop. I had been wanting to make a catalogue of my not-so-huge library before it became too much work. Using Book Catalogue was a breeze. The only book it didn't work so well with was a Spanish version of a Susan Sontag book, it did give me the ISBN number and author name, I had to enter the title manually and it didn't show a cover thumbnail so I added one from the camera and voilÃ !.
In the Help & Admin section there are four tabs: Help, Administration, Donate and About this App. Under the Administration tab you can Manage Bookshelves (you can create different bookshelves apart from the Default one and give it any name you want), Manage Field Visibility will let you choose the information fields to be shown for each book, Export Books/Import Books will move the data entered in the app to the SD card and vice versa, and the last one, Update Thumbnails, is self-explanatory.
Images source: http://www.androlib.com/android.application.com-eleybourn-bookcatalogue-CEnE.aspx
The Booklog app works for books, movies and music, it uses 1.06MB of storage and requires registration. The big downside to it is that even when the app is in English their website is in Japanese. I registered (you have to in order to use it) and started scanning the same books using the barcode scanner, which is the only way to add books to this app since it doesn't have a manual option unless you search for it on other user's libraries. As soon as it is scanned it shows the cover thumbnail, author name and how many users have it in their bookshelves. There is the Add button and a Reviews one that will show you if there are any user's reviews of the book or, if you want to know the Amazon reviews, there is an Amazon button that will take you to the book's page at Amazon.co.jp. The books your bookshelf shows can be narrowed by "all', "want to read', "now reading', "finished', "tsundoku' (I searched for the word and only came up with an actual Booklog user).
What I did like about it is that it has a whole community behind it. You can search through all the user's bookshelves via keyword or doing a voice search, learn the rankings other users have given to books and about new releases. Something I think is really cool about it is that being registered means you can access your bookshelf via web. I can see it here: http://booklog.jp/users/artistikem, get info on the books I have and even buy those I find in other user's libraries through Amazon.co.jp, this if I lived in Japan, of course. I believe if they make a US version of this app it would be really successful.
Image source: http://booklog.jp/android **App in the market is in English**
MyBookDroid was harder to find because it didn't come up on the market when I searched for "book cataloging', I found it by doing a Google search with the same keywords. The interface is pretty, being all drawings rather than words, very eye-catching. You can add books "creating' them, by ISBN or barcode scanner. Once entered the app shows all the book info with a big thumbnail. The book information also has the date when it was added to the bookshelf and a description of it. Directly under that you can check on the statuses that apply this book: "Have read, 'Reading now', "To read', "Favorite', "I own', "Want to Buy/Own'. A star rating up to five stars proceeds it and to finish it there is an Amazon link to search for similar books, buy it or find it on Google. Like Book Catalogue, you can add comments about the book, but the feature that got my attention was that you can add quotes too and even put the page number where you found it.
Books are filtered by "All', "Favorites', "Have Read', "Reading Now', and "To Read'. However, what makes this app different is that when you lend a book to someone from your phone's contact list it can retrieve the person's information from it. Though it didn't work on my phone it must be a neat feature, and the user comments on the market show that he answers emails about issues promptly.
Image source: http://mybookdroid.blogspot.com/
BookWorm is another pretty looking app in which you can add books by scanning, searching keywords or form entry. It shows less information about the books than the others, refraining to the title, cover thumbnail, author name, reading status, genre, publisher and date published. There is an option to add notes also. If you need to add the book manually it lets you choose a cover from the photos in your phone, retrieve one from the web or generate a generic one from the title. Just when I thought this app hadn't much to look at, I stumbled upon the data export/import options, they include moving CSV and DB data to the SD card but also send it to an email. I exported the CSV to my email and was glad to see the list of books open in Open Office's Calc. People are asking the developer to come up with syncing to web and it is being worked on, until then the documents should suffice if the phone dies.
Image source: http://code.google.com/p/and-bookworm/
All apps worked with print books. Being there no barcodes on ebooks there was no way I could enter them to Booklog because I it doesn't have the option to enter ISBNs manually and that was a big disappointment. Even when MyBookDroid lets you enter them manually, it didn't recognize any of the ebook ISBNs I entered. This is a pity for both apps, being that there are so many readers like me that juggle between print and digital books in our libraries and if we want to catalog them all, we mean all.
After trying all of them I must say every app has something to offer. I really wish Booklog was completely in English and ISBNs could be entered manually. I found BookWorm to be the simplest one and it had the least appeal for me. I loved that MyBookDroid had the quotes option because I'm the kind of reader that is jotting them down in pieces of paper and shoving them inside the book for later reference. However, Book Catalogue seems to be the most fitting for me. It goes directly to the bookshelf when I open it, which is in list form and I can access any book quickly, and it recognized all my books, print and digital ones.
If you have an iThing, you can check out my review of the iPhone book inventory apps. Special thanks again to Artistkem for the Android piece.