How to Scan Books for Your Personal Library (and Why You’d Want to)

ISBN for the APA Manual, 5th editionUndoubtedly, one of the major themes of the 2011-2012 academic year for me has been books. Through a series of circumstances, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to read more widely than ever before. And this means the books are stacking up at my home office, my campus office, and everywhere in between.

Because I’m more used to keeping up with journal articles than I am books, I began looking for some kind of program that I could use to easily itemize my growing library. I already use Goodreads to keep track of what I read, so I was pleased to find that they already have iOS and Android apps available for adding books to your account. Up until recently I was adding only books that I was in the process of reading, but then I realized I could use Goodreads to keep track of all of my books.

Adding a book to your library is incredibly simple – it’s as easy as opening the app, choosing a virtual shelf on which to place your book, and pointing your device’s camera towards the ISBN code. And I appreciate that the app notes if you have already scanned the book before, or if you are scanning the UPC code instead of the ISBN. It even suggests that you look for the ISBN inside the front cover in the latter case.

So far I can see many benefits to scanning in my books to my Goodreads account. I can make a special virtual shelf for books I’ve lent out, and separate shelves for books at home versus those that permanently reside in my office.

Of course, Goodreads isn’t the only online library with a barcode scanner. What other programs have you found helpful? Let us know in the comments. 

[Image Creative Commons licensed / Flickr user vanderhehaage]


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