Goodreads Blog

Barcode Scanner in iPhone app

Posted by Ettore Pasquini on January 24, 2011
The latest version of the iPhone app (1.1.5) features a barcode scanner! We added this feature for two reasons: to scan your books and easily add them to your Goodreads account, and to quickly pop up information about a book, if for example you are in a bookstore trying to decide which book to buy.

The scanner is available in the iPhone app under My Books. After each scan you will see the book title and cover appear at the top of the screen: if you tap on that, you can quickly see reviews about the book you just scanned. Regardless, all your scans will be saved in a list that you can browse once you close the scanner. From there, you can add them to your shelves or simply read the reviews whenever you want.

Barcode scan in Goodreads iPhone appScanned books in Goodreads iPhone app




There's one known issue though: the scanner will close on its own if you leave it open for too long. This is necessary to work around a problem in the actual barcode scanning software, which is not under our control. Your scanned books won't be lost. A workaround to this issue is to force-close some of your other apps running in the background.

We hope the barcode scanner will make it even easier to add your books on Goodreads and improve your experience at your favorite bookstore!

UPDATE: I added some topics in the help section for the most common problems related to the barcode scanner (and the iPhone app in general). Please refer to those first for a possible answer to your questions.

UPDATE 2: version 1.2.1 adds the widely requested "mass-add" feature: add all your scans to the read or to-read shelves, as well as the ability to just clear your scan list.

Comments (showing 151-200 of 352) (352 new)


message 151: by Ettore, Resident iOS guy (new)

Ettore Pasquini For all the Android users out there: we hear you! I can't discuss future plans, but the interest is obviously there.


message 152: by Nyssa (new)

Nyssa Tanya wrote: "I just updated my app to 1.1.5 app; but no "Scan" button is appearing on the screen :-("

Apparently, those of us who still have 3G as opposed to the newer iPhones have been left out.


message 153: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I can hardly wait for there to be a GoodReads app for ANDROID!!


message 154: by Ettore, Resident iOS guy (new)

Ettore Pasquini iPhone 3G is compatible with iOS 4 (which you need for the scanner) though....


message 155: by Heather (new)

Heather LOVE the scanner! I just tried it out!


message 156: by Jesse (new)

Jesse Smith Sweet!


message 157: by Jaime (new)

Jaime West tried it.. awesome!!


message 158: by Igor (new)

Igor This is really great feature. Love it!


message 159: by Alexis-Morgan (new)

Alexis-Morgan Roark Thank you!


message 160: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ SWEET!!


message 161: by Kerry (last edited Jan 26, 2011 10:40PM) (new)

Kerry Worked like a charm. Thanks for adding this fantastic feature!


message 162: by Jessica (j*&p*) (new)

Jessica (j*&p*) I'd love to use this feature on an Android - any possibility of that in the near future?


message 163: by Tish (new)

Tish This sort of makes me wish I still had an iPhone except then I remember I hated iPhone and I love my Palm Pre Plus


message 164: by Larry (new)

Larry I have one of these on my android phone, its pretty cool- free too!


message 165: by Larry (new)

Larry Jessica (j*&p*) wrote: "I'd love to use this feature on an Android - any possibility of that in the near future?"

Yes you can get one now from the android market!


message 166: by kawayama (new)

kawayama Batch scan please!

It would be great if I could set up the scanner to add all scanned books to a shelf automatically.

99% of the books I own I have read, so if there was an option to "Add all to 'read' shelf" before I start scanning, that would speed things up considerably.

Or possibly a checkbox next to each book in the 'Scanned Books' list, with option at the bottom of the list "Add checked books to X shelf", or something…

Great app anyway!


message 167: by Sally (jcbsjr) (new)

Sally (jcbsjr) Tanya wrote: "I just updated my app to 1.1.5 app; but no "Scan" button is appearing on the screen :-("

Same here! help!


message 168: by Sally (jcbsjr) (new)

Sally (jcbsjr) Nyssa wrote: "Tanya wrote: "I just updated my app to 1.1.5 app; but no "Scan" button is appearing on the screen :-("

Apparently, those of us who still have 3G as opposed to the newer iPhones have been left out."


That sucks. Time for a new phone.


message 169: by [deleted user] (new)

Wouldn't it be great if eBooks had a barcode printed on one of the pages? How hard could it be for this to happen?


message 170: by taita (new)

taita Every now and then, someone comes up with an app or tool or wonderful invention I never knew I needed. Kudos! This is a wonderful enhancement. Thank you!


message 171: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kyrnin The only thing I would like to see is an automated bookshelf created (perhaps optionally?) of the books that are scanned. Then I can go to my computer and select all the newly scanned books, and add them to my bookshelves in a batch. It's a lot faster to add books from the computer than from the iPhone.

But regardless, THANKS!!!! this is a huge timesaver.


message 172: by Raquel (new)

Raquel Stacy wrote: "Ettore wrote: "Nyssa wrote: "Can not find the option to scan?? I've updated/synced the app, and went into "My Books". My choices are to "View My Profile" or choose one of my bookshelves. Nothing ab..."

I'm having the same problem. And it's updated - I've checked the settings info to double check.


message 173: by [deleted user] (new)

i alredy have the iphone 4 from verizon.i also have the barcode scanner thing!ha ha!


message 174: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I hope I get an iPad soon, since my old iPod touch doesn't have a camera to use the barcode scanner...


message 175: by [deleted user] (new)

o so u don't have the upgraded iTouch.


message 176: by Ettore, Resident iOS guy (new)

Ettore Pasquini Jennifer wrote: "I hope I get an iPad soon, since my old iPod touch doesn't have a camera to use the barcode scanner..."

Just remember that the current iPad doesn't have a camera... although every rumors website gives that as upcoming in the next iPad... ;)


message 177: by Beth (new)

Beth you need a camera?? that makes sense now, my ipod dosent have one.


message 178: by Jessica (new)

Jessica PLEASE make the Android app free like the iPhone app. I'd love to be able to use it!


message 179: by rivka, librarian moderator (new)

rivka There is not currently an official GR app for the Android. There are several unofficial ones, some of which are free and some of which are not.


message 180: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Yay! I'm updating today!


message 181: by Amy (new)

Amy i was hoping to try out this feature two days ago with books on my shelf at home, but when hitting the "scan" button, the barcode scanner would open and then immediately close without actually scanning anything. am i doing it wrong?


message 182: by Ettore, Resident iOS guy (new)

Ettore Pasquini Amy wrote: "i was hoping to try out this feature two days ago with books on my shelf at home, but when hitting the "scan" button, the barcode scanner would open and then immediately close without actually scan..."

That's unfortunately a known issue, not directly under our control. The scanner ends up using a lot memory even if it shouldn't, and because of that there's not enough free memory available.

Workaround is to force-close some of your apps running in the background.


message 183: by Ancestral (last edited Jan 27, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

Ancestral Gael Just tested it and it works, so will definitely be using this! Thanks for adding it.


message 184: by Larry (new)

Larry Jessica wrote: "PLEASE make the Android app free like the iPhone app. I'd love to be able to use it!"

I have the free one in android, it integrares itself into the Google home page nicely!


message 185: by Hailey W. (new)

Hailey W. I have this app and it is wonderful!!!


message 186: by Connor (new)

Connor Johnson would it be available for ipod touch?


message 187: by Ali (new)

Ali Whenever you get the chance, Android would be lovely. Best of luck, Ali


message 188: by Andy (new)

Andy "There needs to be an app for Android, like yesterday."

Yes! Tons of Android users out there.


message 189: by [deleted user] (new)

wow i already have most of the technology, i have the: iPod touch,ipad,ipod,i phone 4 from verizon.any questions i have so many that i can't even keep track!i am very rich!


message 190: by Amy (new)

Amy Ettore wrote: "Workaround is to force-close some of your apps running in the background."
i'll have to check that out. thank you.


message 191: by Yesianne (new)

Yesianne will you be working on a Mac app?


message 192: by Heather C (new)

Heather C What about Blackberry??!! not everyone has an iphone!!!


message 193: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie Awesome! It works for me, but it cleared my list when it shut itself down. Will have to try to fix this. Maybe when my wireless connection is more stable it'll work better. Can't wait to try it out on Saturday when I go on my shopping spree!


message 194: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Why is it always iphones?? Not all people buy into THAT hype. Android needs the app too and free.


message 195: by Larry (new)

Larry Sharon wrote: "Why is it always iphones?? Not all people buy into THAT hype. Android needs the app too and free."

Exactly but it could get worse as Apple have applied to copyright the word app and app store!


message 196: by Larry (new)

Larry Heather C wrote: "What about Blackberry??!! not everyone has an iphone!!!"

Unforrtunately RIM who own blackberry are a bit tight money wise, so if one becomes available for it it will not be free!


message 197: by rahhmat (new)

rahhmat awesome....can wait to download for free...:-D


message 198: by Mark (new)

Mark Helfrich e.c.h.a wrote: "Sorry...Is this application only for iPhone? Is iPod touch can use this application too?"

It'll only work for your ipod touch if it's the one with the camera.


message 199: by [deleted user] (new)

Ettore wrote: "iPhone 3G is compatible with iOS 4 (which you need for the scanner) though...."

You might want to consider updating the app announcement to include that little tidbit of information (that the user needs iOS4 to get the scan feature to work.) Updating and then having to scroll through hundreds of comments to figure "what's up" is a time suck :-(


message 200: by Anna (new)

Anna Whoah, that looks pretty darn awesome
now, if only I had an iPhone. . .


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