Recommended Tool: ReaderWare Book, Music, and Video Cataloging

Recently Harold Taylor, a Canadian time management expert ( mentioned in his newsletter that he has over a thousand books in his home library.  I, too, have over a thousand books at home and over the years have tried many ways of keeping track of them.  Years ago I found a great tool for cataloging books: the very reasonably priced (USD $75.00) ReaderWare (  Using the “CueCat” wired bar code scanner that comes with the software, I simply scan the bar code on newer books and/or type in the ISBN number or US Library of Congress (LCC#) and ReaderWare automatically scans the internet for all information pertaining to that edition, including cover photos, then it pulls it all into a single extensive catalog entry for each book.  Any books it can’t find, or older books with no ISBN, can be entered manually very quickly. I’ve been using ReaderWare for close to ten years and have cataloged both a small library at work (we scanned and cataloged 200 academic books in less than two hours) and my library here at home, which I’m still working on as time permits.

Each book’s entry has a huge number of fields, all of which are optional.  This includes Location information and a way to notate if a book is sold, loaned out, given away, etc.  There’s also room for recording edition/printing information (ReaderWare lets you know if your book may be a First Edition) and even for recording a narrative description of cover details if the one you have doesn’t match the photo ReaderWare came up with.  Or you can locate your cover’s photo on the web and copy and paste it into ReaderWare, or upload your own photo of the cover.

One interesting feature is the capability to know the pricing history of a book.  I tend to keep price stickers on my books and so was able to enter what I’d actually paid for the book.  ReaderWare often provided the original selling price and what the book is currently worth.  Sometimes it was thrilling to see that the book I bought secondhand for $1.00 was actually a first edition.  Other times it was disconcerting to see that a book I’d paid $19.95 for was now valued at $0.25!

Search capabilities enable quick searches by Topic, Keyword, Title, Author, or other entries for any book in your collection and allow you to know where to find it on your shelves without using stickers that might damage the cover and reduce the value of the book.  There’s even plenty of room for your reading notes as well.   And there’s more, too many features to list here.  Go to the Home page of the website above, click the Features link, then scroll down on the new page to see all this software does.

Not only is the price reasonable for a book cataloging program, but the $75.00 is actually the 3-program bundle price that includes similar software to catalog your Video and Music collections as well as your books.

I whole heartedly recommend ReaderWare and the CueCat offer.  For those who might want to go wireless or already own a barcode scanner, I recommend reading the information under the OrderàBar Code Readers section of the website above.

If you purchase it, I’d be interested in hearing how you’ve put it to work and what you think about it.