My house is filling with books. I am a lover of knowledge (and non sequitur trivia) and the annoying enabling job (for a time) of working in a bookstore. My home was losing cubic feet quickly.
So...two applications this time.
Last year I got a Kindle, Amazon's ebook reader.
Now, the Kindle has several positive aspects.
- Free Internet! Granted it's pretty much 8-bit, color-blind, 1982 version of the internet but it can prove to be useful.
- A fairly huge library of books to purchase.
- The screen is easy to read, even in glare-inducing light.
- The battery can pretty much last forever.
And several negative ones.
- DRM on the books. You can't loan a book to a friend without giving up the rest of your library at the same time.
- You can only purchase from the Amazon store. Granted, there are ways to get other books on the device but they are kind of hack-ey.
Still, I enjoy the Kindle but I have not touched it in a few months.
I got an iPad. Now the iPad does have the Apple book reader (iBook) but I only use that to read my own documents (epub and pdf's) but it also comes with a Kindle application. All the books I purchased on my Kindle, I now have on my iPad.
I like it. The iPad also supports various multimedia in the books, something that even the Kindle itself doesn't support.
The book piles are growing more slowly now and I now can take most of my new books with my when I travel.
Now, as to the book piles.
There is a program for the Mac called Delicious Library 2. On the surface, it looks like a combination of iTunes and a wood bookshelf.
It's an inventory program, designed to keep track of your books, music, tools, movies and software.
What's so special about that? I could write a program in a few minutes that lists my belongings. The hard part
is getting your data into the program and then displaying it coherently.
One word - barcode.
The program uses the built in camera. You hold your item up to the camera and Delicious Library scans your item, gets a picture of it from the Internet and voila! it shows up on the shelf. It's easy and relatively quick.
Then comes the fun. If you decide you want to sell your item, right click on it and you can sell it as used on Amazon (you still have to set up an account).
You can set up friends as well. Why? So you know where you've loaned your belongings. You can become an actual library, with expected due dates and excellent tracking of who has your stuff.
If you want to get fancy, you can publish your library as a website or send it straight to your iPad or iPhone.
These two programs are how I am dealing with my book problem. It may not be a perfect solution but at least it's getting better.