I Love Readerware!

Readerware has nothing to do with the Regency, but it has a great deal to do with books. So, if you have a lot of books, especially if you sometimes buy second or even third copies of books you already have, you might find you will love Readerware, too.

I have more than a thousand historical romance novels in my library, and at least twice as many research books. Not to mention my vast collection of needlework books. So many that I simply cannot keep track of them in my head. And then, last spring I found Readerware. I have never been more pleased with a software purchase.

Readerware is a software application which makes it very easy to catalog your library, of books, CDs or DVDs. It is easy to install and use, but you must have an internet connection to take advantage of its true power. There are versions available for both Mac and Windows. There is even a Linux version, if that is your operating system of choice.

Readerware works by using the bar code on the book to input the ISBN of that book. With the ISBN, it can search the internet for the cataloging information for that book, including a thumbnail of the cover. You can use nearly any bar code reader with Readerware, including the CueCat, which is very inexpensive and a snap to use. Or, you can type in the ISBN number and Readerware will use that to locate the cataloging information. Another option is to find the web page for that book at any of the supported sites and just drag and drop the URL onto the small target icon in the Readerware interface. Readerware then pulls all of the information about the book from that page and creates a record for that book. This feature is particularly handy for cataloging items which are not at hand.

Readerware allows you to choose which online book databases you want it to search to retrieve information. I prefer to use the Borders online database rather than Amazon for a couple of reasons. The cover thumbnail images which Borders uses are smaller, which helps keep down the size of my Readerware databases. I have my own rating system for my books, so I would rather not have the Amazon ratings pulled into my catalog records. Borders does have a ratings system, but it is not as heavily used as Amazon, so I get less clutter with the Borders records. But I also have the option of importing from multiple databases and merging the records, if I prefer. And Readerware allows me to choose from more than thirty different book databases from around the world.

Automatic cataloging is very convenient and saves a lot of time, but a feature of Readerware which really appeals to me is that I also have the option to enter the catalogue data for any of my books manually. I have a small collection of books from the Regency era, which needless to say, have no ISBN numbers, let alone bar codes. Though Readerware does include the British Library and the Library of Congress among the databases from which it can pull records, for some of these more rare books, I prefer to enter the cataloging information myself. I can also import just about any image for the cover. So, if there is not a image of the book cover online, I can take a picture of my actual book’s cover with a digital camera and add that to the Readerware record.

A book record in Readerware not only includes the standard bibliographic information of author, title, publisher and copyright date. There are editable fields to record the binding type, the dimensions, the book’s condition, location, its category, and if it is part of a series. There are fields for the book value, the date of valuation and its rating. There is a large comments field and check boxes to note if the book is signed, a first edition and/or if it has been read. And if one were so inclined, additional custom fields can be added.

And yet, cataloging my books is just the beginning of the useful things which Readerware can do for me. It has a menu selection which will display the statistics totals for my books. I can see at a glance how many books I have, their total value, how many first editions and signed books I have and how many I have read. I can export a list of my books as a tab-delimited file which I can import into an Excel spreadsheet or export the list as an HTML file which I can post on my web site. The spreadsheet is a convenient record of my library for insurance purposes. The HTML version on my web site makes my list readily accessible to me via my mobile when I am shopping for books. I no longer buy a book I already own. Readerware has already paid for itself with my savings in avoiding duplicate purchases.

There is also a Readerware Audio version for cataloging CDs and a Readerware Video version for cataloging DVDs and other video formats. Both have all the same useful features as the book version of Readerware. And, if you buy the three of them together on CD, you get a free CueCat bar code reader as part of the bundle. There are other bar code readers available at the Readerware site, but I have had very good results with the CueCat. The only thing to remember is that it must be plugged in to the computer before you start it up, or the machine will not be able to recognize the CueCat. If you plug it in after the computer has started up, it won’t work. Restarting the computer with the CueCat connected will solve the problem.

I am not affiliated with the Readerware company in any way, I just love this software. If you love books and have lots of them, but your collection is too big to manage, think about getting yourself a copy of Readerware, or better still, the bundle of the book, music and movie versions. I am very glad I did.


About Kathryn Kane

Historian with a particular interest the English Regency era.   An avid reader of novels set in that time, holding strong opinions on the historical accuracy to be found in said novels.
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3 Responses to I Love Readerware!

  1. Pingback: I Love Readerware! | The Beau Monde

  2. Laura says:

    Can you share the link to your online Readerware library? They don’t have a demo posted to their site!

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am sorry, but I cannot post links to my Readerware HTML book list pages. Primarily because they list the contents of my personal library, which I do not wish to make public. Secondly, those pages are hosted on a server belonging to a friend, which would get very cranky if it were to sustain more hits than the few I make each month. I have set up those pages with a robots.txt file so that not even Google, or any other search engine, can find them, in order to keep the traffic on my friend’s server to a minimum, in appreciation of his generosity to me in hosting those pages.

      However, I am not sure seeing any of those pages would be particularly helpful to you. Each is just a long list of the books in that section of my library, in my case, in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. But that is only because I have my Readerware view set to that particular sort order. If I had chosen a different sort order, then my exported HTML list would appear in that alternate sort order instead. Because I do have multiple book lists, the only change I make to an exported Readerware HTML file is to replace the default title and view name with the name of that specific section of my library.



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