Book Collecting Apps 2016 Review



Time once again to check in with the slew of book collecting and categorizing apps out there. Some of the oldies, but goodies showed up rather prominently—still going strong, while other newer (& promising) apps are trying to make their marks.

Oldies but goodies


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Book Crawler by Jaime Stokes

Cost: Free for trial/limited version; $2.99 for unlimited entries
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

This one is only available for iOS (iPhone & iPad), and now there is a desktop version (available for mac only: $14.99).

Developer website: http://www.chiisai.com/j25/

People who continue to use this app appear to be quite happy with it, and in fact, I liked it quite a lot while I had an iPhone. The price has gone up since then, but is still quite reasonable given the features.


Features:

  • Uses device’s camera to scan ISBN & add title automatically
  • Batch scanning support (with separate scanner)
  • Integration with: Google Books, Drop Box, iBooks, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
  • Ability to sort entries by title, author, copyright, date, decimal, genre, collection, rating, if read/when, ownership status, media format, series information, loan status, price, or customizable fields
  • Can create customized categories (i.e. Science Fiction books read in 2016)
  • Can manually add items



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CLZ Books by Collectorz

Cost: Free for trial/limited version; $14.99 for unlimited version 
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website: http://www.clz.com/books

Collectorz started out as a desktop application but with the onset of smart phones has moved rather robustly into the app world.  Initially their phone apps were offered to enhance the desktop version (and as such weren’t as fleshed out as they are now). Now the apps are stand-alone products. The hardest thing to overcome will be the price tag, especially in a world where perfectly decent Free and nearly free cataloging apps are available. But CLZ Books is a solid product and I’ve only ever had one issue with it in the 4+ years that I’ve owned it (and that was when I switched from iPhone to Android, prior to cloud storage being offered. I lost and had to rescan my library data, something that shouldn’t be an issue now).

Features:

  • Uses device’s camera to scan ISBN & add title automatically (Collectorz also sells a batch scanner app)
  • Batch scanning available
  • Manually search for and add items
  • Back up to the Cloud for free
  • Can order your list by author, title, or year published
  • Create your own tags / subcategories
  • Sync data between devices / Collectorz desktop app (additional cost)


Up and comers


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Shelfie by BitLit

Cost: Free. In app purchases for eBooks and Audiobooks available.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website: https://explore.shelfie.com

Shelfie is an interesting addition to the book cataloging app library. Rather than scanning your books’ barcodes, you can take a snap shot of the books on your shelf and the app software will read the book spines or book covers to automatically grab information from Google Books and then upload it into your library. Reviews seem to claim that this function works pretty well. For those titles that can’t be automatically input, there is a manual function.

The highlight of this app, however, is the fact that they claim to offer free eBooks and/or audio books for the titles you own. Of course, to prove that you own the book, they ask that you write your name on the copyright page—which is an absolute deal breaker for collectors. A secondary option is to affix a bookplate with your name on it—again on the copyright page—which is equally ridiculous to collectors. Still, that photo function is pretty cool.

Features:

  • Add books by taking pictures of your bookshelf (the software will automatically scan the book spines and add the titles)
  • Manually add ISBNs for books that aren’t recognized
  • Search Google Books for titles and descriptions
  • Built-in Social Networking element
  • Goodreads integration
  • Offers free eBooks / Audio books (although the titles are rather limited)



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Libib by Libib Inc.

Cost: Free
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website: http://www.libib.com

Reviews claim that the scanning/capture mechanism is fast (unlike other apps), but it can load incorrect information into the library. This seems to happen a lot when retired ISBN numbers are re-used by publishers. Some apps have found a way to either return all possible options or default to the most recently published title. It appears that Libib hasn’t worked out that kink yet.

Reviewers like that you have more control over categorization, in that you can create up to 100 different libraries and subcategories—so you can group all of your Neil Gaiman graphic novels in one library without having to sort through other titles that might share the “graphic novel,” “Neil Gaiman,” or “fantasy” tags.

Features:

  • Works in conjunction with the Libib.com website (free subscription option available)
  • Scan books via smartphone camera to automatically add title and cover information
  • Batch editing capabilities
  • Can have up to 100 different libraries / subcategories
  • Can have up to 100,000 titles
  • Cloud backup
  • Import / Export libraries via CSV
  • Built-in Social Networking element
  • Categorize your titles via tag-system
  • Create and publish reviews

Previous Posts:

Book Collector Apps (2011)
Book Collecting Apps: 2012
Attack of the Book Collecting Apps, 2013


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