As someone who loves to read I have long been looking for a decent book catalog program that can keep track of the information I want to keep track of.  I have downloaded dozens of programs and they have all fallen short in my criteria.  There are also several web sites that do are good for cataloging of books, but they two are not as flexible as I want.

  • For one I wanted a program where could easily catalog hardcover/softcover books, books from Project Gutenberg that I have listened to by converting them to speech, Audio books from Librivox, and novels that are podcasted.
  • A wish list function where I could track books I would like to read and be able to able to export a list of them.
  • Flexible enough that I could track information such  as what books I have reviewed.
  • Record the date I finished a book.
  • Keep series information such as for example the order of a book in a trilogy.

I had even at one point wrote a program in C#  that handled most of the functions I wanted and maintained them in a database.  But to really develop it to the point I wanted would take a considerable amount of time.

Today though I found the program that performs all the criteria I wished for.  Bookpedia by Bruji is a Mac OSX program that is quite beautiful in its functionality.

The interface is very similar to iTunes and is fairly intuitive. It is quite easy to add books and you can do it is several ways.  You can type in a title and then have it search locations such as Amazon to get all of the metadata and cover art for the book.  You of course can enter a book in manually if it is nowhere to be found  A real cool feature is that I could use the built in iSight camera in my iMac to read the barcode from a book.  Once it successfully reads the bar code it looks up the book and enters all of the information.  Since I already had a database of books I have read over the last couple of years it was important that I could import that data.  Bookpedia will read the export format of several popular programs and has a variety of import templates.  I was able to convert my database to CSV and then have it import all of my old records.

The Collections pane contains your main library, but you can also add special collections, smart lists, and a borrowed and wish list collection.  The smart list lets you define data critera from any field with a number of options and is very flexible  I was able to quickly put together a collection of all the books I read last year and this year and was able to find out that I read 160 books last year.  When you import a collection it creates a new collection so you can massage your data if necessary before adding it to your main library.  You can also export your data in a number of ways to text, html, ftp, and to an iPod.  The iPod export functionality works quite well. In the program I wrote I would export a report of wish list items and then manually copy it to my iPod.  This way when I was at a bookstore or used bookstore it was quite convenient to refer to the iPod notes to lookup books I wanted.

The metadata for each book entry is extensive and also allows for you to define custom fields for other information you might want to track.  There is also a tab for selling information  and another that allows you to store links for the specific book or to contain other images.  The searching feature works well and includes spotlight information. This works quite well so I can type a name in Spotlight and then select it and have it open the program and display the entry for that book.  There is also a full screen mode where you can navigate the covers and select them for more information along with another screen that shows a bunch of statistics along with charts.

This is just a very impressive program and at a price of only $18 is quite a deal.  As someone who writes software for a living I was quite happy with the flexibility of this program and how you are able to setup the views just as you want.  With most programs there is pretty much always a feature missing that the only thing in Bookpedia that I would want is the ability to import a Amazon wish list.  This is just a great Mac program.

I have only been using a Mac since October, but when my Windows machine died last week it didn’t upset me too much even thought the machine was only about 15 months old.  I now do everything on my iMac including ironically Windows software development with Visual Studio 2008 via VMWare Fusion which offers great virtualization and I can run XP and Vista at pretty much native speeds on my iMac.