Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
When we think about the intersection of technology and books, at least right now, the knee-jerk reaction is to wonder how digitization is affecting print books versus ebooks, or how technology is enhancing, changing, or shaping text. And while many bibliophiles are running, arms wide open, into the world of digital, there are others who are more reticent about how technology is transforming the reading experience. Although there is seldom a boring moment in the publishing world lately, I felt like taking a break from all of that today.
Instead, I felt like exploring a few apps that are not changing how we read, but rather, how we organize what we read.
With so many books out there to keep track of, some readers resort to Excel spreadsheets, composition notebooks, library kits, or sites like GoodReads to keep track of what they’ve read, what they’ve lent to friends, and what they want to read next. My mother, for example, has stacks of memo pads where she tracks books she read, including information such as the author, date started, date completed, and a rating based on a five-star system.
But for those who are not inclined to keep running lists with pad and paper, there are a few pretty useful apps out there. (Full disclosure—I am absolutely obsessed with productivity and organization apps. I don’t remember what my life was like without YummySoup, a godsend, in my opinion, for storing and organizing recipes.)
Anyway, the first app I came across on Apple’s App Store is called BookTracker by Wicked Simple Software. The app costs $9.99 and has an iTunes-like interface that allows you to customize categories and fields to help you organize all of your favorite books. You can filter as you’d like, and pull information from the web. I particularly love the little designations where you can check if you’v read the book, and also, if you own it.
A second, more expensive option for organizing your reads is called Bookpedia by Bruji. This app costs $18.99 on the Mac App Store. Here is a blurb from the website:
To retrieve information about your books, Bookpedia gives you access to numerous international search sites as well as the Library of Congress and the Pedias’ very own online database, Doghouse. In addition, Bookpedia also lets you access libraries attached to the z39.50 server system. Search for your books using keywords—for example by title, author, publisher, ISBN or a combination of them all—or if you have a scanner or a webcam, scan the UPC and let Bookpedia do the rest.
Bookpedia also has a statistics feature that can give you instant feedback about your collection of books and reading habits.
Although some of this may be a bit too much for the average reader, I can see apps like these as great organizers for heavy duty readers that have books crawling out of every crevice and out from underneath the bed Rory Gilmore style.
I’m sure there must be some book-friendly apps for Android devices out there, too.
What do you use to organize your books, if anything? Could you see yourself using an app like BookTracker or Bookpedia?