I like being able to keep track of the books I have. I have so many books, and a not-always stellar memory, that I sometimes can’t remember whether or not I already have a book I want when I go to a bookstore, or am shopping online for books. That’s where, for me, a book collecting program comes in. It makes keeping track of your books easy, so you don’t end up buying two copies of the same book, and you can see which books you want the most. I’ve tried two book collecting programs so far that I like–Book Collector (see my review here), and All My Books by Bolidesoft.
All My Books is easy to use. It’s pretty intuitive, and for the things that don’t immediately make sense, there’s a good help file. One of the first things I noticed was how pleasing it is to look at. It makes the whole experience more enjoyable, and it also feels immediately easier and more intuitive to use than Book Collector. However, Book Collector has some features that All My Books is missing, though All My Books also has a few extras that Book Collector doesn’t. More on that later.
Adding books into the program is pretty easy–you just type in the author, title, or ISBN, and let All My Books search online sources (you select the source). It’ll give you a list, and then you select the correct book from the list. However, I didn’t like that when looking up a book, you could only look it up by title OR by author OR by ISBN. Inputting the ISBN usually gets it right, but when I’m adding books in, I just want to type in the author and title (it feels easier to me) and search using both of them at once. To only search for the title OR the author, as All My Books makes you do, means you have to go through a lot more choices, and sometimes you can’t find the correct book. I also didn’t like that when you get the results from an online source, you can’t browse them to pick the one you want.
Like Book Collector, you can rate each book, specify whether you’ve read it or not, add your own comments, even add a table of contents. All My Books also allows you to specify where exactly your book is–on a specific bookshelf, in a specific room–you can create your own field, which is a bonus for people wanting to know where their books are.
All My Books also allows you to add and keep track of your ebooks. You can store the link to where your book is located on your computer, and open up the ebook directly from All My Books, which is a nice feature. Another neat feature is that you can add author or illustrator photos, if you’d like to. (I happen to think that’s cool.) You just go to directories, select the author directory, and it will list all the authors of the books in your database. Highlight an author’s name, and information on the right will appear. Double click their name in that section, and an author card will pop up, with a section for a photo (just double click it again). If you’re really into an author, you can also add their birthdate, biography, bibilography, link to their web page, and more.
It’s easy to add your own categories–just type them into the field provided, and they’ll appear. I love that, since I like to have my picture books labeled as that (not children’s books, which has a broader definition). This is the kind of feature that makes All My Books so intuitive and user friendly.
I really liked that when you double-click on a title, the editing window for that book–a book card–pops up, like a little index card. That makes it easy to use. You can print out lists of the books you have, or books you want to buy (there’s a wishlist feature), which makes it handy for going to bookstores. You can also export your list and take it with you on a mobile device. I found that the language used by All My Books made more sense to me as a book lover.
It’s super easy to search for books you already have in your collection. You can start typing in the title in a text bar on the top of the page, and it will immediately highlight that book in your collection. Or you can click on the search icon, and type in the title, author, ISBN, or other information. This search tool is robust; you can select as many fields as you want, to have it narrow down your search, or you can just search using one field, such as author, to find out how many books you have by that author.
Like Book Collector, if you have a barcode scanner, you can input your books easily by simply scanning the barcode of a book. I don’t have one, so I couldn’t test that out, but it sounds simple.
You can import books from another program, if you already have a list. I exported a list from Book Collector (by Collectorz.com), then in All My Books, I imported it. Importing was easy to use, once I figured out how to do a few things, such as tell it that semi-colons were dividing the information, and once I realized that I had to select the correct header in each section. However, I had to do this twice (I missed the author column once), and this resulted in all the books being entered twice–once without the author information, and once with. I also found that all my titles were listed under “Title” but not “Original Title”–and “Original Title” is where the search button (for online sources) is. It would have saved me a lot of time and frustration if there’d been an easy, more automatic way to update all of those books, or even delete them.
There are a few features that feel like they’re missing to me, that I’d put on a wishlist:
- the ability to preview (such as by clicking on a link, the way Book Collector does) the
book information and cover from online sources, so you can see if it’s the one you want;
- the ability to edit multiple and delete books at once (without this, it can get a bit tedious.);
- the ability to import other file formats, such as .html and .xml;
- the option to turn off the warning “Are you sure?” before you delete a book (saving an extra step).
Perhaps All My Books will include some of these features over time.
I highly prefer the look and ease of All My Books, but I strongly miss some of the features that are in Book Collector that make it easy to use in a different way–especially if you have a lot of books. I like the program, and I think I’d come to prefer it if they added some of the features that Book Collector has (such as editing multiple books at once). I think All My Books is slightly more geared toward home owners, while Book Collector is slightly more geared towards librarians. Try them both out, and see which one you prefer.
I tested All My Books v 1.3 build 1106.
All My Books costs $34.95. You can try it out free for 30 days.