Cataloging my Library

Posted May 25th, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Books, Personal, Reviews
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Librarything pageI started my first (and only) business when I was 12 years old. Along with my close childhood friends, Priyanka and Priti, I decided to start a library.  We pooled in our existing book collection (Priti “borrowed” her sister’s collection of Famous Five & Secret Seven), Priyanka’s parents generously donated an old filing cabinet (and more importantly , the permission to keep it in their main hallway) and my father paid for our most prized possession: a rubber stamp with the words “PICK-A-BOOK CIRCULATING LIBRARY”. We had extremely reasonable rates: 50 paise for a paper back & 1 Rupee for a hard-back & you could keep the books for a week.  The money we earned would go into buying more books for us to read and then ultimately back to the library.  It was a sound business plan, reality however, didn’t quite live up to that promise.

We did manage a few patrons: our school friends, mostly due to their curiosity about our venture rather than any love for books.  We bought a few books from the money we earned too but very soon begging parents for money to buy books seemed an easier alternative to running a library, keeping track of the books lent out and harassing our friends turned customers to return overdue books.   At the end of our venture, we had lost more books than we bought. Priti’s sister hasn’t still forgiven us for losing her precious Enid Blyton collection.

barcodescannerI was thinking of Pick-A-Book library as I was cataloging my current book collection.  Seejo gave me an extremely thoughtful gift for my last birthday: a bar-code scanner that could scan the ISBN code from books.  I used an online book management system, LibraryThing, to record all the books that I own. The combination of the bar-code scanner & librarything worked like a charm.  I couldn’t believe it was this easy to upload the information about my books—right down to the exact same book cover that I own.  All I had to do was scan in the  ISBN bar-code  from the book , only making sure that the mouse in the space provided to add books,  and the software would identify the book and ask me if I wanted to add it to my online library.  One click & that was done.  I could even tag my books based on genre, provide comments, assign status such as read, waiting to read etc and even indicate if books were out on loan.   I very strongly recommend the combination for anyone wanting to catalog their books! Librarything is an essentially a social networking site , revolving around books – so those that are inclined could check other book collections and check out for people who have similar tastes like you do.  Here is my book collection.

Calibre PageIn my online web research in finding the perfect library management tool, I also stumbled upon another wonderful software called Calibre. Calibre is the perfect tool to catalog all your e-books. Although I didn’t think it was as slick as Library thing ( I had to do a lot of manual editing to get the authors & books sorted out) it is very easy to use, listed & tagged all my e-books nicely and also generated a  printable catalog of all my books.  Both Calibre and LibraryThing are essentially free  (Librarything allows only 200 books if you are a free member, but you can pay what you feel like to become a paid member)

And now I have all my e-books & real books catalogues,  indexed and tagged!

One Response to “Cataloging my Library”

  1. SD says:

    Hey,

    How are you and Seejo doing?

    You can export your librarything catalog and bring it over to ibookdb. No barcode scanning yet but there is no limit to the number of books you can catalog for free.

    Siddharth