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What are the Best Apps for Book Inventory on the Droid?

Dear Jane:

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,

L

Dear L:

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:

  1. Book Catalogue and Booklog. Book Catalogue (by Evan Leybourn) http://wiki.github.com/eleybourn/Book-Catalogue/ has 4.5 stars out of 5.
  2. Booklog (by paperboy and co.) http://booklog.jp/ has 3.5 stars rating.
  3. MyBookDroid (zezi) http://mybookdroid.blogspot.com/ has 4.5 stars rating.
  4. 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 voilà!.

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.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

20 Comments

  1. Maria Zannini
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 05:41:31

    Thank you so much for this!

    Is there a reading app you recommend for the Droid?

    I am so new to these phones and so overwhelmed.

    ReplyReply

  2. Teresa Kusant
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 06:59:37

    Awesome post. Very informative. Now if only I had a Droid phone.

    ReplyReply

  3. theo
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 08:52:50

    Awesome! I just downloaded barcodescanner and bookcatalog and they’re perfect together! My EVO is complete ;o)

    thanks, Jane

    ReplyReply

  4. Brian
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 11:57:05

    @Maria Zannini:

    Take a look at Aldiko for a reader for ePub (without DRM). The Kindle App works pretty well too (and you can add your own Mobi files to it as well as ones you get from Amazon). The Nook app works OK, but is very large size wise and I found page turning pretty slow. I wouldn’t bother with the Kobo app at all.

    Overdrive is supposed to be doing an app that will read DRM’d ePub (also for iPad/Phone and others), but I haven’t heard anything since they did the press release saying they were coming soon months ago.

    ReplyReply

  5. Brian
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 11:59:59

    I should add that one of the things I like to do is use Dropbox to store my ePubs and then using the Dropbox app I can access my folders and easily download a book to my phone and have it automatically added to Aldiko’s library when I’m on the go.

    ReplyReply

  6. Maria Zannini
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 12:45:42

    @Brian

    Thank you, Brian. That was most helpful.

    ReplyReply

  7. L
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 18:37:07

    This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you to both Jane and Artistkem for the article. Out of the three apps that I had been trying MyBookDroid had become a favorite.

    I had been focusing only on my paper book collections and hadn’t even thought that this could be an app for ebooks. I’ll look again at Book Catalogue because of this information.

    Booklog is a new app to me. I’ve downloaded it to explore. Can’t wait.

    This was a great breakdown. Thanks again!

    ReplyReply

  8. JenM
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 21:55:18

    Thank you so much!!!

    I’m so excited to add another app to my new phone!

    ReplyReply

  9. What are the Best Apps for Book Inventory on the Droid? | Dear Author « Mike Cane's xBlog
    Sep 10, 2010 @ 07:34:52

    [...] What are the Best Apps for Book Inventory on the Droid? | Dear Author What are the Best Apps for Book Inventory on the Droid? | Dear Author [...]

  10. Reading with Android 101, a reading app guide | Dear Author
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 04:02:04

    [...] MyBookDroid, Bookworm, Book Mobile and Book Free. This type of app was cover earlier by Artistkem HERE That about does it. I hope this give you an idea of what's out there and points you in the right [...]

  11. Jason Harmon
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 07:53:17

    If you’re into using paperbackswap.com, BookSwapDroid is pretty cool for managing your Book Shelf, Wish List, etc. Not only can you keep inventory, but you can trade books with people!
    http://bookswapdroid.com
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bookswapdroid
    market://search?q=pname:com.bookswapdroid

    ReplyReply

  12. Mark Lenox
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 08:40:50

    Great article, thank you. My one question is this: is Booklog the only app that synchronizes to the internet? I have two android devices and need an app that will maintain my database online so I can access it from both devices and any PC.

    ReplyReply

  13. Darrell
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 00:42:42

    @Mark Lenox
    I know this reply comes a few months late, but here it is:
    booklog is not the only app that syncs online. MyBookDroid does too. it was the first app like this I used (though I think i might be leaning towards bookcatalogue now). It syncs with GoodReads if you have an account with them, which i think is an excellent setup. I just with MyBookDroid had an option to sort by genre. perhaps i missed that?

    ReplyReply

  14. Justine
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 02:51:48

    Thanks so much for posting this, it’s just the info I was looking for. I’ve found myself duplicate purchasing print and ebooks. This post was very informative, helpful and well written. Since you’ve saved me doing all the research I now have Book Catalogue downloading. Thanks!

    ReplyReply

  15. JaMarcus Lancelot
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 00:36:12

    “Fanfiction” – Awesome tool for Reading Stories on iOS
    Fanfiction is a diversified app covered with thousands of different stories in many different languages. Through this you can read the subject of your own interest.
    iTunes Link:
    http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/fanfiction/id457484628?mt=8

    ReplyReply

  16. Bob J
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 08:42:18

    While reading your comments on the Booklog app, curiosity got the better of me and I had to take time to google “tranlate tsundoku”. One of those concepts there is no English language equivalant for, it is “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books” (this definition from the fanfiction.net website). And since Booklog offers a separate “want to read” category, this appears to be a unique category for books that you want to own but have no intention of ever reading!
    I am getting ready to try Book Catalog or Bookworm. Your review didn’t really cover this issue, but much of my collection is -OLD- books, pre-ISBN, and I am hoping that at least one of these apps will let me manually enter them.

    ReplyReply

  17. Darrell
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 06:43:57

    I’ve been using BookCatalogue for quite some time now, and I’ve used it to record my collection of just about 200 books, plus my fiancee’s collection of the same size. BookCatalogue lets you do pretty much everything, including manually enter books without isbn. You can have entirely different libraries within the app, so you could have your default library, a “want to own” category, and a “want to own but will never read” category…whatever you want! HIGHLY recommended. They’re actively developing it too, so it won’t get stagnant with no updates.

    ReplyReply

  18. Tarryn Zank
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 04:21:51

    Thanks for the info! I have over 2000 books in my personal library, but have up until now had to rely on paper lists. I obtained a second-hand barcode scanner, but can’t seem to get it to work with my pc, so i am looking into using my smartphone. The only problem is, I am in South Africa, and data costs are high on cellphones, so it might end up too expensive to do my books that way. Do any of these android apps allow you to scan and save the isbn info, without going online? I could then upload isbn info on my work pc which has free internet. It also appears that BookWorm is abandoned?

    ReplyReply

  19. Barbara
    May 14, 2013 @ 21:31:26

    I, like Tarryn need a way to scan ISBNs without Internet and retrieve them later. I know ways to type the number in but have way too many books so really need to scan (also do not have a barcode scanner so perhaps I should say take picture if ISBN number. Thank you.

    ReplyReply

  20. Ola Olsen
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 13:08:56

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