Monday, April 21, 2008

Software Review: Delicious Library

Ever since I heard about this software I wanted to try it. For most of you, I regret that this requires a Mac to run and you either need a camera or a barcode scanner.

Those of you who've read the archives clear to the beginning will recall when I ran into an old college friend on an airplane. We just happened to be on the same plane and just happened to be across the aisle from each other. She first told me about this software that allows you to hold up the barcode from a book up to the computer's camera and it'll read the barcode, look up the ISBN number, download all the information on it, and build a database for all your books.

This is a huge improvement on databases I and millions of other young computer nerds have developed over the years for this class or that. They all require you to type in all the information manually. And, quite frankly, data entry sucks.

So now onto functionality. As awesome as it sounds how well does it actually work?
About half the time it works fine. It requires a bit of practice but soon you can stick the book up to the camera, the computer goes "beep", a whirly icon shows up, and it gets information about the book from one of 6 online databases. I think they're Amazon related.
About 1/4 of the time the camera has trouble seeing the barcode. You have to stand there like an idiot moving the book to different distances and angles hoping that the software will take something.
About 1/5 of the time it reads the wrong number. The software relies on the ISBN being in the barcode. Sometimes, particularly in older books, the barcode is something else. Then the lookup fails and you have to punch in the number manually.
Roughly 1 out of 10 fails completely. Wave that barcode around all you like, the camera ain't gonna see it.
I have to assume that a handheld scanner would work better.

The data recovered includes author, publisher, release dates, genre, format, number of pages, retail price, current price, UPC, summary, similar books, cover art, how many stars out of 5 that Amazon readers give it, and a lot more.

You can sell it on Amazon with a click of a button. You can add borrowers and keep track of who has borrowed what. You can setup virtual shelves so you can record where the book should be in your house. It even puts a Widget on your Dashboard for easy lookup. But if you don't have a Mac that last bit was just gibberish.

If you have a Mac I suggest you go out to and download the demo. It'll let you setup a library of 25 books without buying it. This way you can see the functionality and features for yourself.

It also does games, movies, and music.

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