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What’s Your Favorite Bookish Tracking App?

What’s Your Favorite Bookish Tracking App? post image

Just before I went to BEA, I finally got something I have been coveting — a smart phone. I ended up choosing the Samsung Captivate, an Android-powered phone that seems to do just about everything I wanted to be able to do: check e-mail; go online; post to Twitter, my blog, and Tumblr; listen to music; keep track of my calendar; and download various organizational apps.

While I have no plans to stop carrying around a paper notebook for “to do” lists and other notes — taking items off an electronic list isn’t nearly as satisfying as crossing them off in a notebook — I do want to start using my phone for other more long-term lists or lists I want to access quickly while on the go.

I’ve never had a good system for keeping track of books I want to read. I’ve tried notebooks, Google Docs, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and even my library’s new list feature, but so far I haven’t really been happy with any of them. Rather than pound my head on my desk in despair, I figured I should just source the experts — you guys!

Now, a couple of bloggers have recently posted about their favorite online book tracking systems. Florinda (The 3Rs Blog) wrote about why she loves LibraryThing, and Wallace (Unputdownables) wrote an ode to Goodreads, but neither addressed my biggest hope with a book tracking system: integration with my smart phone.

Here’s what I’d like to be able to do:

  • Add books to the list through an online application or through the phone, so I can be updating my TBR while at my desk or while on the go.
  • Easily move books between categories — To Read, Read, Owned, Whatever.
  • I’d like it to work with the Barcode Scanner app, but that’s not a deal breaker.

It’s the computer/phone issue that’s proved tricky. Goodreads is a nice online tool, but the phone app for Android is clunky to use. I tried an app called MyBookDroid, but it doesn’t have an online integration. I think I could connect it to Goodreads, but I don’t want to start messing with that because I’m not sure how it works. Another blogger recommended Book Catalogue, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

So that’s my dilemma — I need a book tracking system, and I don’t know where to start. Can you help? What apps or programs do you use to keep track of your books, and why do you like them?

Photo Credit: atomicity via Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amy June 21, 2011, 6:35 am

    Ahhh I am a 100% LT gal myself, but yes, so disappointing that there is no good app / integration yet!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:47 pm

      I really want to be on LT – I like the online interface better than Goodreads, but no app is really annoying!

  • Wendy June 21, 2011, 7:41 am

    I’m an LT person – I checked out their aps and it looks like they are working on a mobile application: http://www.librarything.com/more/sites

    So, maybe in time!!!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:47 pm

      That’s good news! I hope its sooner rather than later 🙂

  • Teresa June 21, 2011, 8:35 am

    I’m interested to see what you find out. I love my Captivate, but I agree, the Goodreads app is a bit cumbersome to manage.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:48 pm

      You know, I re-added the app after the comments here, and it’s not quite as clunky as I remember it being, so maybe they’ve made some improvements. I don’t really love the Goodreads online site though, so it’s sort of a toss up.

  • Kathleen June 21, 2011, 8:38 am

    All I can say is how much I love Goodreads, and I find the iPhone app very easy to use. Hopefully they revamp the Android app to be just as good!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Hmm… it could just be the Android version that is hard to use. Maybe with some practice it would get easier. I’m going to play around with a few to see what I like.

  • Ash June 21, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I actually use the Goodreads app and minus a couple flaws I love it. Hopefully they’ll improve it and make it even better!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:50 pm

      Agreed! Like I said to someone else, I re-added the app after so many people said they liked it, and it’s not as bad as I remember it being. The barcode scanner works pretty well, which is a big thing for me.

  • nomadreader (Carrie) June 21, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I’m a LibraryThing user myself, and while I would love an app, the site is fully functional on my Android. It’s not a stripped down mobile version, and it works perfectly for me. Obviously, your experience may vary with the phone you have. In general, my phone (HTC Evo 4G) is robust enough I tend to prefer the full websites to apps anyway. Happy hunting!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:53 pm

      My phone is ok with full websites, but not great. I played with LibraryThing on it and it’s serviceable — I could make that work until an actual app came out if I decided to go that way 🙂

  • Joy Weese Moll June 21, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I’m thinking of using Evernote for the part of this management that needs to be mobile. But at the moment, it’s nothing but lists of books I may want and incomplete at that.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:54 pm

      Hmm, that’s an interesting idea! Lots of people I know love Evernote, but I’d never thought of it as a book tracking system.

  • Florinda June 21, 2011, 3:52 pm

    OK, I’m envious to find out from your commenters that GoodReads has a decent iPhone app – but not enough to switch over from LibraryThing :-), where I do most of my cataloging (thanks for linking to my post, BTW!). Seriously, there’s a market for a robust book-tracking app – someone needs to get on that!

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:55 pm

      I loved your LT post Florinda. I was playing around with the site — I didn’t have an account, or my account info disappeared — and it’s an amazing cataloging tool. I want an app!

  • Care June 21, 2011, 6:51 pm

    I love my goodreads and just don’t even want to know or try another anything. But I don’t have a smart phone so pt is mute. Moot. Mute?

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:56 pm

      Ha 🙂 I don’t love Goodreads (hides!), but could get used to it for an app since I want one of those 🙂

  • Maphead June 21, 2011, 10:02 pm

    Started out with Shelfari and after a year or so moved on to Goodreads. So far it working rather well for me. About a year ago I played around with Library Thing but for now anyway, I’m going to stick with Goodreads.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:57 pm

      I tried Shelfari a long, long time ago and didn’t love it either. I feel like there are almost too many similar options so it’s hard to decide.

  • Jean Lewis June 22, 2011, 6:36 am

    I definitely agree that we need an easy to navigate app for keeping track of our books for android. I have been using Library Thing for several years but only from my computer. Recently, I started using Goodreads. I am not crazy about either, but I think I prefer the ease of Librarything. I have to agree with Florinda.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:57 pm

      I think I like LibraryThing a bit better too — the interface just looks cleaner to me, for some reason. If I were more social, I imagine I’d like Goodreads more, but I’m not on the site much for that sort of thing.

  • Rebecca Reid June 22, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I use both goodreads and librarything. I have been increasingly frustrated that I can’t scan books to add to my LIbrarything library. I see the goodreads app has that now, but I use that only for books I”m reading, not for books I own. The barcode scanner is essential. Librarything has said they have an android app “in the works” for almost a year, so I’m not sure we can count on that.

    Why do you think the goodreads app is clunky? I see lots of people have said that. I was just so happy to see they have one, since I’m kind of migrating there from LIbrarything (I hope LT gets the app together, though, I like how my whole library is set up and order-able by dewey decimal number…)

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:58 pm

      When I first used it, it just seemed like so much work to find books in my library and too many steps to add them in on the go. But on a recent re-try of the app, it seems better. Certainly not one step, but the barcode scanner does work pretty well which was a feature I liked.

  • Kate {The Parchment Girl} June 22, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I’m big on Goodreads, that after trying LibraryThing and Shelfari. But I’m not a smartphone user, nor do I have any desire to go mobile with my web activities any time soon, so that’s not something I’ve looked for in a book tracking system.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 4:59 pm

      I like the idea of being able to go in a bookstore, see books I like, and put them on a list to remember to look into later. i also find a lot of books I want to read while at my computer, which is why I want to be able to add to the list in both ways. I used to do that with scraps of paper, but it’s clunky, and why not put it online if I can. So… we’ll see what I find!

  • David Abrams June 22, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Cut me, I bleed LibraryThing.

    It is my first and longest love–I’ve had a passionless extramarital affair with Goodreads and a one-night stand with Shelfari, but I always come back home to LT.

    There is a LibraryThing Scanner app for the Droid (which I just downloaded and took for a limited test drive), but I mainly use LT on my phone as a way to see if I already own a book or not. With 7,000-plus books on my shelves, you can see how my memory gets a little foggy. Just yesterday, I was in a bookstore and I thought about buying Jonathan Lethem’s “Chronic City.” I pulled up the browser on my Droid, logged on to LT, did a search of my library and in less than a minute, I discovered I did not yet own “CC.”

    As for wanting to access “To-Be-Read Lists,” I would think you could make a tag for that in LT and you could then call up those titles pretty quickly.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 5:00 pm

      That’s a good idea — LibraryThing tagging is quite good, so maybe that would be a workaround for the moment. I don’t have 7,000 books quite yet, but it’s getting to the point where I might start buying duplicates, which is why I want to get all my books tracked somewhere 🙂

  • Jennifer June 22, 2011, 7:43 pm

    I have given goodreads a chance but it didn’t seem to work all that well for my needs. I tried posting my reviews on there as a way of connecting with more readers but even that didn’t seem to be all that successful so my activity on there has dwindled dramatically.

    I’m not sure if it is exactly what you are looking for but I track my books (at least my TBR books that I discover) on an app called evernote. I have it on my computer, my ipad and my iphone. I just keep lists – and sometimes I track the url of reviews that recommended the book in the first place. It has been really great way for me to keep track of books I want.

    When you do find something that you really love that works out for you, I would love to hear about it. I’m always in the market for organizational tools.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 5:01 pm

      I never remember to post Goodreads reviews… it’s just not in my blogging workflow, so I forget a lot.

      Using Evernote might be a good solution. I haven’t looked into it, but many people I know like it a lot for remembering bits of information.

  • Unruly Reader June 23, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I’m a Shelfari gal myself. I like the ease of use. I like the lack of finickiness of its search feature. I like that I can tag books as TBR really quickly/easily. And I like the way its tags work.

    I confess I’ve only used it on my Nook Color (not on a smartphone), so I can’t vouch for the mobile version’s functionality.

    • Kim June 24, 2011, 5:02 pm

      Interesting! I feel like Shelfari doesn’t get talked about much. I should look into that to see how it works and if it might be better than either partial solution I’m thinking about going with now.