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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) In the "What are you reading in October 2011?" topic

Kerry wrote: "I did something rather insane the other day and made a spreadsheet of the books I have in paper copies that I'd like to replace with ebooks instead. Quite a few are available and I just have to hav..."

I don't think you're insane - you're an avid reader! You're in good company. I spent hours making up a spreadsheet with mulitple tabs to order all my
Robert E. Howard stories. He wrote over 600 & 1/3 of them have been published multiple times, often edited & under different names. Finally, I'd had enough & just had to figure out what I had & needed.

Somehow I doubt we're the only ones. I've always wanted to put my books into a database & never gotten round to it because of the time it would take. A friend turned me on to Book Collectorz software the other day:

It's cool. You can use a bar code scanner or just type the ISBN into it & it comes up with your book. There are a lot of fields to fill in too. The weakest spot I found was importing other lists - specifically my GR export file. It would only accept a few, basic fields. I emailed tech support & they said they might fix that sometime in the future, but it wasn't a priority. Until they get around to that, I won't be buying it, although the price was very reasonable, as I recall. (Maybe if several more people asked...)

I can't imagine Kerry & I are the only folks here that keep lists of our books. Do you &, if so, what do you use? Index cards? Some sort of database software? Or is it just some project you'd like to do & have never gotten around to?

message 2: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 1235 comments I used to keep a book database. Then I discovered and moved it online. I dunno if bibliophil is still around, but I was having a lot of trouble with it which is why I migrated to goodreads :)

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I've been burned often over the years by proprietary software, both on my computer & online, so now I won't put a lot of work into any unless it is easily transportable. My bookshelves here on GR are a good example. I've spent many hours adding books, reviews & notes, but they are easy to export to a .csv file, a very common format.

message 4: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Thomas (BenjaminThomas) Many years ago I started a Microsoft Access database for my books...mostly as a way to learn that program for my job. But I really got into it and have kept up with all of the new versions of Access that have come along.

message 5: by Kathi (last edited Oct 04, 2011 08:08AM) (new)

Kathi | 1866 comments I had all the fiction books I owned in an old Appleworks database. I created the fields (title, author, copyright, genre, type--hardcover, paperback, ebook--whether it's part of a series, where it's located--loft, library, lower level or "gone" which means I've sold or given it away but I keep the title in the list so I don't buy it again!, and whether my husband and/or I have read it). That was ages ago and I input all data by hand on a laptop, sitting by my shelves. Of course, at that point I owned hundreds, not thousands, of books.

Last year, thanks to help here at Beyond Reality, I imported that data into a good old Excel spreadsheet and that's how I have the information now. Using Documents to Go, I can load it on my iPod or iPad so I have it when I'm shopping.

Like Shel, I used, but only to track the books I read each year. When's website got weird, I started using a Google Docs spreadsheet just to track the books I read each year.

Here at Goodreads, I imported my lists and also have on my shelves the books I've read since I joined Goodreads. But other than my FirstReads shelf, I do not have any books listed here that I own but have not yet read, nor do I have books that I read prior to keeping track at

OK, more than you wanted to know...

message 6: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 126 comments Several years ago, my DH sat down and catalogued all our books - everything, even the textbooks and business books. It is all still on an excel spreadsheet, my data storage of choice, but hasn't been updated in a couple of years. I know I've sent books out through pbswap and acquired many others since then - especially children's books, since my eldest learned to read, but it's one of those 'if I had the time' kind of projects. Heck, I haven't even tried to upload it into GR, because although he handled every title, he didn't put down any ISBNs, so I don't know if GR could get anything usable out of the data. Maybe someday...

message 7: by Shanshad (new)

Shanshad Whelan | 28 comments I created a list back on my Mac notebook when I was in college. . . then started one on librarything back a few years ago. That list still has the most comprehensive list of what I actually own. However, I stopped updating it about the time I really got into GR.

Occasionally I'll fall into a mood where I want to categorize things into lists. I once tried to take all my anthologies and catalog all the stories under different tags. It got too massive a project after a while, and no real consistency in the tags.

My current list mania is an urban fantasy atlas. I'm trying to list all the real-life locations where a city is featured in an urban fantasy I'd love to input the info into a map format where I could hover over a city and get a list of fantasy/sf that take place in that city, but so far I've not come across something that I could do that with, especially since I'm no kind of computer genius.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I wonder if there's an add-on to Google Earth that would let you tag places. I've seen some very cool stuff done with it. When we were looking for houses almost 5 years ago, I tagged each house we looked at with a brief description in it. I haven't played with it since then, though. It's probably come a long way.

Precious Cargo has a Google Earth thing on the author's web site. You can see the areas where the book takes place & there are lines where the boats traveled & when, if I recall correctly. I have no idea how it was done or how hard it was to do.

There's some really neat lists that people have kept. My biggest problems with any database seems to be born out here though - the huge amount of work that goes into creating the database & then the continuing effort of maintaining it. I barely manage to keep up with GR & a couple of other lists, all small subsets. What I need to buy, what I have to trade, specific authors, etc..

message 9: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyjm) | 310 comments I would like to have a list but mnot enough to take the time to create it. When I was invited to join goodreads I did and put in a few books and then thought about the size and impossibility of the task....well I decided to keep track of everything as I read it but to let the past go.

message 10: by Red (last edited Oct 05, 2011 06:31AM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 12 comments It's funny, though I'm not anymore, but for several years I was a bookseller on Amazon, because I had so very many, plus duplicates of the ones I really liked, that I started selling them off. Then I found it was a great way to compile a list, with descriptions, etc. I was not exactly surprised that when I finished, I had several thousand.

That was when I was in the US however. Now that I've moved back to Germany, I've not yet started having them shipped over. So it's a special agony for me, that besides my textbooks for university, I only have five print books at the moment. I prefer print books, but in this case, I'm very thankful for ebooks, or I would be bored without personal reading material.

message 11: by Kathi (new)

Kathi | 1866 comments Re: keeping a database/spreadsheet updated...

I don't find it particularly time-consuming. When I get new books (new to me, anyway), I add them to the spreadsheet before I shelve them, and it doesn't take long. When I finish a book, I mark it "read" in the spreadsheet at the same time that I write a review or at least rate it. If I'm keeping the book, I reshelve it. If not, I mark it "gone" and put it in a box to sell back to the used book store.

I don't have my ebooks added yet, however, mostly because I only have a few. I should add them now while I DO only have a few, right?

I keep a separate list of books I'm looking to buy, either new releases or older books that I want.

message 12: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 474 comments I don't have my ebooks added yet, however, mostly because I only have a few. I should add them now while I DO only have a few, right?

Kathi - definitely! I'm way behind with adding my ebooks and I have a LOT to add.

I use a programme called BookCAT that I've used for years. When we moved house four or five years ago, a friend helped me get the catalogue fully up to date as we packed all the books into boxes.

Unfortunately, I've let it slip a bit since then, but I am slowly working on getting it back up to date. I knew I was behind at the beginning of the year, so I also have a basic spreadsheet where I just toss in the title and author as I get new books, so that I can properly catalog them later.

I also find it good for lending books as there's a "borrower" field for each book. Having lost books in the past by not knowing who I loaned them to, so I try very hard to mark books out if I lend them. (I'm also a lot more fussy about loaning books these days. Added to that, because I buy mostly ebooks now, I actually have less to lend than I used to.)

message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1198 comments I like something simple and can be ported across systems. I started my Database back in....94 or 95. I had an Amiga back then. I used a TXT document cause I backed it up on my PC at the office. Eventually I had to dump the Amiga and move onto a windows machine and the database stuck.
I don't want to use anything proprietary just in case.
So I stick with my TXT document

message 14: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Any of you use I just joined recently, so don't know much about it, but you can catalog your books on there.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I tried LibraryThing & am still a member, but I haven't even logged on in ages. I didn't like their interface nearly was well as GR's. I gave it a good shot for several months, but don't really have time for two such sites.

message 16: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I've heard that LibraryThing's community of users is great, but as I understand it you can only add a certain number of books, and after you reach that limit there's a one-time membership fee. That's the main reason why I never joined that side - that and the fact that GR does everything I need.

When we were considering moving Beyond Reality from Yahoo to a different site we compared several options, including Shelfari, GoodReads and LibraryThing, and GR came out on top for several reasons.

message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 301 comments Had anybody found a local book database (not a web site) that can use the Goodreads API to download data from Goodreads using a book's ISBN?

I've used homemade databases for a couple of decades, but now use Bookpedia which gets data from the various Amazons and some other online databases, but none are as good as Goodreads, especially for old and OOP books.

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Precious Cargo (other topics)

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Robert E. Howard (other topics)