Since I temporarily live in China and can’t access Facebook (where I used livingsocial, an app that kept a list of books that I’ve read, currently reading, and want to read – which I found after I started this post…), I wanted to find a place where I could catalogue my book collection. I googled what I wanted and found some sites that might work. The thing was I not only wanted to keep up my list of “regular” books, but also my ever growing manga collection.
What I was looking for:
*Navigation: an easy to navigate site since I don’t want to spend forever trying to find the one button or section that I need.
*Ease: I would like it to be fairly easy to type in the title or author and be able to find the book with no problem.
*Updated/Is it in the database: when I look for my manga I would like to find it, and not have it three volumes behind or that I have to add it.
*Extra features: I like the feature of ‘want to read, reading now, and already read’ information. The star rating is nice when I’m browsing for books/manga to read.
*Community: a community isn’t necessary (forums, reviews etc), but it does seem to help out when I want to know what someone else thought of a particular book. I would also like to be able to compare and share books and manga with friends.
What I used to test each one:
I am currently reading Geist: A book of the Order by Philippa Ballantine (thanks sailorsamus!) and Skip Beat! as it now has 24 volumes out – but I’ve only read up to volume 22, so I want to read numbers 23 and 24. And as an after-thought, the 1995 comic book series featuring Rogue: http://www.comicvine.com/rogue/49-7193/
Here is what I found:
*Navigation: It seemed to be pretty easy to find your way around.
*Ease: really easy to find books.
*Updated/Is it in the database: yes, it had Skip Beat! volume 24 listed but the cover was not pictured.
*Extra Features: star rating, don’t know about the reading status as I didn’t register for it. They also have a tagging system that I liked, so if I wanted to find something else in that genre or had the same theme, I could click on the word and find others like it.
*Community: seems like a really active community that writes reviews and articles.
It seemed like a cool site, but I didn’t register for it because after 200 books, there was a fee you had to pay. Granted the fee’s ($10 a year) seemed okay – especially the $25 for life, but I’m stingy with my money (and I would rather buy manga or food with that money) and in a year I might forget about the site and what I was doing.
*Navigation: very well organized and I can find what I want quickly.
*Ease: really easy to find books, though I had to skip around trying to find each volume of Skip Beat! as it wasn’t in numerical order. Finding the old Rogue comic books tended to be a bit harder, but I was able to find them.
*Updated/Is it in the database: yes, but no…the only one that I could not find was Rogue #3.
*Extra Features: lots of extras! star rating, reading status, it had the tagging system and you could add tags that weren’t listed, you could even put a date of when you read the book, list a book as a favorite, wish list, ownership – if you own the book, want it, or lent it to a friend, linked with Amazon, share books, reading goal…
*Community: seems like a fairly big community that writes reviews and blogs and it also featured groups that you could join and discuss books in the groups, think book clubs. Friends can be invited by a click of a button and friends can interact with each other and others in the community easily.
Overall, I am enjoying this site. I like all the fun extras, like the book covers on the “shelves” and that I can set a reading goal. Despite all the extras, I like how the site is still easy to navigate and you can pretty much find what you want with little to no problems. The only thing that might get some is the “shelves” as that is the only way you can see the collection of books, and not a simple list.
*Navigation: a bit odd to me, it has different tabbed sections for each category of books, games, software, etc. It seemed like I was building a website or something, not keeping track of my collections. It took me some time to figure out where things were located so that I could use them.
*Ease: not easy, I started with Geist: A Book of the Order and typed the title into the search bar and hit enter, but nothing came up. So I tried using the author to search for the book…still nothing. Then I saw a button that read “Add Item” and realized that I might have to click on that first, which I felt I should have been able to search for it first. When it brought me to the next page, which was a bit different from the main pages, I was able to easily find the book and add it. I also found that apparently I have to add a shelf before I start adding books otherwise what I add will be put under the “Borrowed List,” which was fine with the fantasy book as I did indeed borrow it, but not for my Skip Beat! Once I did make a shelf, manga, it was a simple click and drag to the appropriate shelf.
*Updated/Is it in the database: no, when I searched Skip Beat! only volumes 21 and 22 were shown. Yes, I could help update the list, but I don’t want to waste my precious time typing in data for 22 other books for one series.
*Extra Features: star rating, wish list, I think there might have been some other features, but I didn’t feel like searching for them.
*Community: yes, a small one, few reviews, blogs, and a whole lot of spam, but not a whole lot of interaction.
Overall, the site is okay. It was hard at first to figure things out because it is so different than other sites that I use on a regular basis. I will admit as I tried to navigate my way around the site, it became easier as I figured out what I needed to look for, so it does take some getting used to. It was nice that I could not only keep my book collection, but also music, movies, games, and software collections. This site seemed like it was mainly set up to only keep track of what was in a collection as it is a very basic site. At first I really did not like Gurulib, but as I kept using it, it did grow on me.
*Navigation: easy, you can find what you need and the search bar is easily found.
*Ease: no problems finding books, though when I was adding Skip Beat! I had to jump around because the volumes are not in numerical order.
*Updated/Is it in the database: yes…and extra listings. When I was searching for Rogue #2 there were three entries, I went with the one with the cover picture.
*Extra Features: star ratings, wish lists, reading status, recommendations, linked with Amazon, ownership – you can list if you own, want, don’t want, or borrowed the book.
*Community: yes, a pretty large and active one.
I used this place when I was able to get on Facebook, so I was already somewhat familiar with the layout. I happened to try to see if it was its own site and not an app for facebook, and it was. Livingsocial also has other collections such as music, movies, games, tv shows, restaurants, and to my amusement beer.
Other sites that I saw and wanted to give a look:
It says ‘comics’ in the web address, I knew that this site wasn’t what I was looking for, but I had to check it out anyway. I found that stashmycomics was behind on volumes of manga, which doesn’t really surprise me as it is mainly for comic books. The site seems pretty up-to-date with comics though. I was able to navigate and browse through the comics easily and when I went to add something, it had all kinds of extras such as the exact issue number – if it was a special edition or not, price I paid for it and in what currency, and the condition of the comic. The site itself had all kinds of features and a big community as well. If I had more comic books to keep track of and to discuss, I might use this site.
This is not an on-line site, but a program to keep a list of your collection – music, movie, book, comic, game, MP3, and photo. Each program is listed separately so no ‘crossovers’ (no keeping track of your comics with the books list). You can try each program for free, but it looks like you do have to eventually pay for it. There are two: standard which costs $29.95 and pro which costs $49.95. If you would like it on CD it’s an additional $4.95. They really push buying the scanner – which is extra of course – so you don’t have to manually type in each product. I don’t know about you, but I think I would rather stick to an on-line site where I don’t have to pay and that I can access anywhere.
Now that I have tried out the different sites, which one am I going to stick with? It’s a tough decision between shelfari and livingsocial (I actually think I might have gone with librarything if it was totally free…the whole fee thing discourages me). I liked the design of shelfari and all the extra features that I might or might not use, I really like the idea of a reading goal that I don’t have to personally keep track of. However, I do like the simpler layout of livingsocial and all the extra collection tabs that I could use, not to mention that I’m already somewhat familiar with the navigation and so don’t have to familiarize myself to another site. Right now, I think I will go with shelfari so I can explore it more to see if I will keep it around (and I can wait when I go back to the States to link the livingsocial site with my Facebook so I don’t have to add all my books again).