In my last post, I mentioned my book database. A couple of people emailed me about it, so here is an enthusiastic recommendation.
I use a software program called BookCat from FNProgramvare. Simply fabulous. Detailed, easy to use, features galore, fast, rock solid. What's not to like? Some highlights from their website:
- Store information about an (almost) unlimited number of books.
- Save time: Download book data from the Internet.
- Adapt the program to your own needs: Change the data field names to suit your personal preferences. Hide data fields you don't need. Specify your own categories. Split your collection into different catalogs and transfer information between them.
- Comprehensive set of data fields enabling you to catalog a wide range of information: author, title, publisher, ISBN number, publish date, number of pages, editor, original title, translator, binding, edition, type of book (fiction, non-fiction, etc.), category and sub-category, purchase date and price, current value*, condition, status (own, want, for sale), personal rating, owner, location, keywords, awards and nominations, comments, synopsis, and reviews.
- More than 30 custom data fields (in case we have missed something).
- Add personal comments .
- Store book covers , as well as pictures of authors.
- Find information quickly: Search in all fields with any combination of key words and operators (and, or, etc.). Save your most frequently used searches. Use filters to display only selected data (for example, books that are for sale).
- Use the search and replace function to search for a specific word or number and replace it with another.
- Sort data by any field with up to five sort levels.
- Keep track of books on loan. Check the program periodically to see what is still out on loan. You will always know who has what and since when.
Backup your valuable data with the backup/restore module.
The ability to record current value was one of the features that most attracted me. If you've checked the prices for used copies of your fine art photography books you'll know why. Such information can be invaluable for insurance purposes or to inform your family about the value of your books should they need such information in handling your estate. You think I joke about this, but it adds up like you can't believe. Far too many times I've seen unscrupulous used book dealers offer a pittance lump sum to some unsuspecting family member who is overly concerned about the value of dear old Dad's original artwork but ignorantly anxious to see those pounds and pounds of art books hauled away just to get rid of them. Unless you are a big time famous photographic artist, I'll guarantee that your book collection is worth more than all those prints of yours in the Light Impressions boxes in the closet.
And then there is the lending library issue. Somebody, somewhere, now long forgotten, has my first edition copy of Ansel Adams' Yosemite and the Range of Light. Think I can remember to whom I loaned this book back in the mid-1980s? Not a chance; I'm over 50. On the used market, a first edition is valued somewhere between $250 and $1200 depending on the condition. Mine was pristine, with a pristine dust jacket, so let's just say it's a $750 book for the exercise. Come to think of it, let's not. It's just too painful to think about it.
BookCat. The best $40 you'll ever spend to manage your book library. Sorry Mac folks, this one is PC only. I suppose it would work with a Windows emulation operating system on a Mac, but I can't verify that. Anyone care to recommend a similar Mac software?