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Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Collectorz.com Book Collector Pro 7.0

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From oversized picture books to a set of encyclopedias to cheap paperbacks, we have thousands of books in our home. What homeschool doesn't? In fact, we are setting up a library of sorts. But organizing it all is a bit daunting…I admit that I’ve found more than one copy of more than one book while in the process of unpacking, and sometimes even on the same shelf.

How many many times have I gotten an idea for a great unit study, scoured the local library’s shelves looking for resources, only to find the perfect book “shelved” behind the sofa? Or in the toy bin? How many times have I racked my brain trying to think of that history book I was saving for 6th grade…and trying to find it amongst those double-shelved shelves?

And lest you think this is simply a lack of personal organization (and I admit, some of it is), my shelving of books in my home library is not alphabetical or Dewy Decimal for a very good reason: lack of space and aestheticism. A library has the luxury of shelving books of the same subject or author, regardless of the physical size and appearance of the books, but a bibliophile simply has to keep trade paperbacks together, over-sized books together, and so on…unless I’m going to add free-standing stacks to the middle of my library. Not going to happen.

I need a system to organize our books that doesn’t require physically organizing them beyond making the most of my available space. Book Collector Pro from Collectorz is just the thing.

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Adding your books into Book Collector is easy peasy. If you have a scanner, like the cuecat (I don’t), you can scan barcodes, but if not, typing in a 10- or 13-digit isbn for each book is not at all taxing with a numberpad. I was able to enter stacks of books in no time at all. Just type in the isbn, click search, and Book Collector will search its online database for your book, pulling up all the relevant info, including a cover image. Don’t have an isbn? Books and magazines can be entered with an LC (Library of Congress) number, by title and by author. Your search will bring back a list of “likely suspects” to choose from. In the event that your book cannot be found, titles and info can be added manually. Cover image wrong? You can search for the correct cover for your edition or even upload your own image! This feature is super cool for me…I’m pretty visual, so knowing what a book looks like helps me tremendously when locating it or even when trying to remember what it’s about.

And this is what really sets Book Collector apart from other book database programs I have seen: it is so customizable! Each book has its very own profile where you can categorize it by subject and genre, choose it’s format (paperback, comb-binding, e-book, etc.), add notes as to its actual physical location (whether it’s a bathroom book or a bedroom book), give it an owner (create different owner designations for each family member), keep track of it if you loan it out, and more. You can even input books you don’t own one your “wishlist.”

Being able to categorize the books by their binding, or lack thereof (I’m thinking of the myriads of e-books I’ve got stashed on my hard-drive and various flash-drives, ahem), is a definite plus. Being able to note each book’s location, perfect! I’m seriously considering numbering each of my bookshelves and giving it a designation in Book Collector. It would make it so much easier to locate wayward books. Plus, for every e-book, I can note which flash-drive or hard-drive it is on, what folder, etc. I’m really pleased with this. Maybe this will push me to finally organize all my stuff.

You can add your own genres and subjects, too. And since all your books can be sorted by subject or genre (or title, or author, or…), it’s quite easy to create your own categories to “browse” when you are looking for the perfect resource. I could for instance, categorize books as homeschool books, 1st grade math, science unit study, whatever floats my boat…and makes it work for me.

If you are prone to double-buying books, ahem, there’s also an iPod app available to export your book list from Book Collector Pro to your iPhone or iPod Touch for $9.99.

Can you tell I like it?

Download the free trial of Book Collector and give it a try (you can input up to 100 books with the free trial).

Book Collector Standard is available for $29.95.

Book Collector Pro is available for $49.95.

What’s the dif? The Pro version allows you to use the iPod app, keep track of book loans, create customized lists, adds extra user defined fields (even rename fields if you like), and more. Check the site for a comparison.

Available for Windows and for Mac OS X.

Disclosure: This is a TOS Homeschool Crew review. I received a free license for this software for review purposes. I received no other compensation.

2 comments:

  1. I couldda bet you'd love this one~what's NOT to love?? Thanks for a great review!

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  2. Thanks for reminding me about cataloging e-books this way. I had not thought about adding them.

    ReplyDelete

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