. Celestina Carmen: Keep Track of Your Books With Your iPhone

Monday, May 3, 2010

Keep Track of Your Books With Your iPhone

Are you an avid reader? Do you own many books? Do you loan books out? I've been on the search for an iPhone app to help me organize my books and to keep track of the books I borrow as well as loan out.

I've tested out 3 book apps. Here are my thoughts (All images are from iTunes) ....

MyBooks - This was the first app I used. $1.99

Pros :
  • Really nice interface. Looks like a bookshelf with book covers displayed. 3 different themes - wood, charcoal, metal.
  • You can make 2 lists - one for inventory and one for wish list.
  • Can enter books online (Amazon) or manually.
  • Can sort books by title, genre, rating, purchase date.
  • Lets you track who you loan your books out to (through phone's contact list).
Cons :
  • When entering a book, it takes awhile to search a book through Amazon.
  • Each book must be entered one at a time. This is tedious when you have many to enter.
  • Cannot sync. If this app gets deleted (which my has), all the hard work of entering all your books is lost.
  • There are some glitches that need to be worked out : 1. When you double tap a book, it's a shortcut to lend out. Unfortunately, it doesn't save the book as "out" when you lend with the shortcut. 2. Some crashes. Not as much as before, but I have experienced some crashing here and there. 3. When searching for a book to add, some books don't show up. When I know I've seen them on Amazon.
  • Cannot group collections/series.
  • Last update was almost a year ago. Their are to many glitches for the company to stop updating.
Conclusion = I gave up. I really like the interface but it needs more work. I was willing to stick it out, but with no more updates, I'm done.

iBookshelf - next app I tried. $1.99

Pros :
  • There's a free lite version to try. You can only add 5 books, but that's enough to play around and get a feel for this app.
  • When entering data I look the look. It looks like your entering it on a notepad.
  • You can enter your Read progress. Whether you've read it, or not, or currently in the process.
  • There is a section to make comments on the book.
  • Can view a bigger image of the cover.
  • Landscape view - lets you flip through your book covers.
  • View books by title, author, genre, status.
  • Can keep track of wish list and loaned books as well.
Cons :
  • Interface is bad. It's kind of a turn off. Nothing special, very boring list view.
  • Graphics are pixelated, looking cheap.
  • Out of the 3 apps I've tried, this one took the most effort and longest time importing a book.
Conclusion = I didn't like this the moment I downloaded it. I don't like the look, or set up.

My Bookshelf - Last app I tried. By far the better of the 3. This is the app I'm going to be using to keep track of my books. $2.99

Pros :
  • Nice, sleek graphics and interface.
  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to enter multiple books.
  • Sort by title, author, collections, ratings.
  • I'm digging the collections. Another way to organize your books. You can group what ever you want here. You create the collection.
  • Wish list view. You can organize your wish list by priority.
  • Searches books with Google.
  • Not from the US? You can change the currency or Google search to your location.
  • Keep track of the books you loan out as well as the books you borrow. 2 different views : 1. books listed or 2. friends view and the books they borrowed.
  • Set a warning to let you know when your library books are due.
  • There is a help page! You rarely see this in any apps.
  • Suggest books (through email) from this app.
  • Keep track of what you are currently reading. You can also take notes.
  • Cannot back up data yet, but this is schedule to be released with the next update. This alone is awesome!
Cons :
  • A little pricey for a book app.
  • When searching for a book, you hit title or manual. It takes you to the search screen. Then you have to hit the search bar and type. It should take you directly to the search bar automatically. It's that extra step when entering books that is a little annoying.
  • Cannot view by genre.
  • You can keep track of books you borrow from your friends/library. But, once you return them, the books stay in you library. You don't own the books, they should automatically delete from your library.
  • Books added to wish list cannot be used in collections.
  • Books listed in your wish list have editing limits. It would be nice to be able to have the same editing capabilities as if the book were listed in your library.
Conclusion = This is the one I'm sticking with. As you can see, this app does a lot more than the previous 2. The pros far out way any cons I have.

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