Discussion: Digital book catalogs

I asked on my Twitter account the other day whether people keep a digital catalog of their books, and if so what method/tool they use. LOTS of people said they use Goodreads – but that it’s pretty out of date.

I don’t keep a digital record of which books I own, but I’m thinking about starting. I have a LOT of books, but I’ve recently weeded out an SUV-load of them (and Half-Price Books paid me $185 for the load, so that should tell you how very many books I got rid of!) Now that the books in my house are all books I’ve made a conscious decision to keep, I feel kind of like I should have a digital catalog of them. I kind of started tracking on LibraryThing but I really don’t like the look and feel of their site. I also don’t love the “owned” box you can check on Goodreads.

What I decided to do is create a few “owned” shelves on Goodreads (since that’s the main place I track what I’m reading and have read, as well as posting reviews there) and keep track that way. I created 5 shelves:

  • Owned-arc-digital
  • Owned-arc-physical
  • Owned-digital
  • Owned-physical
  • Owned-signed-copy

I went through and added everything I’m currently reading to the appropriate tags (yes, I said EVERYTHING I’m currently reading, which right now is 8 books). I also added the books I brought to (and bought at) KissCon to be signed last weekend, as well as adding some of my more recent Amazon ebook purchases. I’m not sure how to go about tackling the several hundred physical books on my shelves in my home to add them to the list… I also have 1,083 ebooks tied to my Kindle account that really need to be weeded and then filed away in these Owned shelves as well, so I’ll need to figure out an approach to do that… At least I can weed as I add!

Do you keep a digital file or record of the books you own? What website or app or method do you use? Why do you keep a record (or why don’t you)? Let me know in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Discussion: Digital book catalogs

  1. Erica Watkins

    This is amazing. I primarily use Goodreads. However, I really want to use something else. I this thing with book snobs and reading mean reviews. I digress…Your idea is wonderful! I, too, have a host of books on my Kindle. Now, I have created collections which are like ‘virtual bookshelves’. These keep let me know what’s up next to read. (Not that I follow it…sometimes a book just calls me or feels right to read at the moment.)


    1. I’ve tried making some collections on Kindle, especially to make TBRs for readathons where I’m going to be heavily using my Kindle. It’s so convenient to be able to navigate to the collection for that readathon and have all the books for it in one spot!


  2. I actually love LibraryThing! I’ve used it since…I think 2010. A really long time. I use GR for my TBR and to keep track of all the “other” stuff, DNFs, etc. I’m curious what people said was out of date on GR, as far as using it for keeping a digital catalog.

    Oh, I also keep lists of books I’m collecting…as in series, first or special editions, etc. I have an analog list for those…yes, EXTREMELy old fashioned, but it’s so very satisfying to check off. Haha.


    1. I think it’s just that LibraryThing hasn’t updated their look since, like, 2010 – that’s all. I’m used to Goodreads so that’s what I’m going with for now, but I DO LOVE that LibraryThing has that adorable cat-shaped barcode scanner you can buy… LOL


      1. Haha! That’s very true, I don’t think it’s changed at all! I used to have the cat-scanner thingy…lost it in a move. So sad. I guess I could just buy another one but I keep hoping it’ll turn up in a forgotten box or something…haha.


  3. I use Goodreads to keep track of books I want to read, but I don’t actually keep any record of the books I own, which I probably should do because I can never remember what I have! It’s my Kindle books that are the main problem though, as I buy loads when they’re on sale, and then I completely forget what I have. I should probably go through them and make some kind of record of what I have!
    Great post! πŸ™‚


  4. I use Goodreads to keep track for me. When I first started keeping track of the books I owned I only had about 200, so it was a bit of an easier process. Now I update as soon as I get a new book. I also don’t keep track of my ebooks since I’m always able to check if I have them, and I don’t tend to buy very many regardless. They’re usually library book, which I don’t mark down on Goodreads. Good luck with your cataloging!


  5. I use Libib to keep track of my physical books. It’s a free app that you can download to your phone or iPad. The barcode works great, so I just scan and all the information on the book is their. You can put your books into category’s, by author, or how every you want to organizes them. Now if I have an ARC then I have to manly put it in, because that barcode doesn’t work. They also have a website https://www.libib.com so you can also do it online. Now when I say free it is until you get over 5,000 items. But I’ll never hit that. I love the app. It’s great. I also use Goodreads, but Libib is my main book organizer to keep track of my physicals.


  6. I’ve been trying to update Goodreads with all of the books I own. I don’t keep track of which are ARCs, but I do have a Goodreads shelf for each of my physical bookcases so I can try to keep track of where to find the books if I want to! (Of course, keeping it updated is another things completely–but it’s relatively accurate right now.) I love the idea of an app that works with a barcode scanner, though, and I’m sort of wishing I’d known about that before I started (though I do have a lot of ARCs, so it wouldn’t be as useful for that).


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