Sunday, October 5, 2014

book collection inventory

This weekend, I am working on a project that is long overdue-- an inventory of my collection of quilt books. The collection grew rapidly over the last few years, and at times I found myself buying books not realizing I already had them. Fortunately, technology has improved and many tools are now available for this type of project.

After poking around online, I chose Library Pro, which offers a 15-day trial period and is compatible with Macintosh. The program is easy to use. It has more features than I would ever use, but I appreciate being able to search and capture information about the books online.

On the "Item" tab, just select "Search web for item" and fill in the search box at the bottom of the window. Any matches will pop up, and you can easily use the green arrows at the top right of the window to scroll through results, until you find the one you want.

When you find a match, just click the green plus sign button at the upper right in the window, and another window pops up with fields for information.

Fill in whatever additional information you want, click to save...and that's all there is to it! If you cannot find your book online, don't worry, you can add it manually. Same goes for photos, easily dragged and dropped in. There is also a function to allow for scanning bar codes on books, but I have not used the tool yet.

So far, I have entered 200 books. There are more to do, but not many. I will also add photos of any book covers that were not included with online information, and print out a list of the whole collection. Easy! Much easier than I expected.

The last time I tried to do an inventory, maybe ten years ago, I was typing all the information into a word document, a laughable idea today. No wonder I gave up on the project and ended up buying duplicate books. Needless to say, I don't anticipate having that problem anymore. 


  1. I need one of these systems but would prefer one with a one off cost rather than a subscription service. I would hate to put in the work and have it all disappear if the company goes under. It is on my 'to do' list.

    1. You can avoid losing your work by exporting the file to a few formats including HTML. I exported to HTML and got a folder full of files with index pages that opened up in my web browser. It was pretty neat. Five bucks a year I think I can afford, but if the collection stops growing, I can always unsubscribe. I subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud / Photoshop, so I have already come to terms with subscribing to certain services.

  2. I finally bought six more book cases - 24 shelves - when I found myself buying too many duplicates!!! Figured if I saw them all when looking at the shelves I would remember I had them. LOL But it is again time to do something. These days I am more selective in the books I keep, etc. Can you add fields? like where /shelf number the book is located?

  3. I use the Book Catalogue app for Android smartphones. Currently has 938 books in the catalog. The big advantage is that it travels with me when I go to flea markets, thrift stores, etc. And it has a bar code scanner which made the input go a lot faster. If I recall correctly it was free or very very inexpensive. It will export to Excel so I have it backed up on my computer.