Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Little Help, Book Chase Readers?

Only 23 days to go.  I officially go on permanent vacation at the stroke of midnight on December 31, and I think I've finally figured out what I want to concentrate on in between all the catch-up chores I need to do around the house.  No one will be surprised to learn that it involves books - or that I'm hoping to get some help from you guys.

First question:  do any of you know of a good book database kind of app that works on the iPad?  I'm hoping to finally catalog everything I own, including duplicates, so that I can visit used-book stores with all the data in my hand.  Preferably, the database would include fields for cover images and "comments" that I might want to make regarding different printings or editions of the same book.

I downloaded a trial version of iBookshelf this morning, and I've entered a couple books just to get the feel for it.  It does seem to do most of what I'm looking for in a book app, but I don't want to miss out on something better if I decide to upgrade to the paid version.

Second question:  I'm looking for suggestions on used-book stores in the immediate Houston area, say within 100 miles, or so, of the city.  In particular, I'm looking for stores that specialize in Modern First Editions (1940-to present, in my case) and has both a decent selection and a steady inventory turnover.  As you can imagine, I'm hoping to find stores with a little personality owned by real book-lovers willing to deal with people like me.  Over the last 30 years, I've accumulated quite a view duplicates - most of which have been largely untouched since I purchased them - and I'm hoping to trade them for store credits or sell them outright, where possible.

I keep most of my books in a climate-controlled storage facility and I need to reassess my need for the unit.  At this point, I might need more space - or less - depending, on how things work out over the next few months.  The good news is that the books look as good as they did on the day I put them away - and many of them were purchased brand new because I had a hunch about that they would be worth putting aside for a decade or two.

I just wish I had had more cash back then, because unloading some of them is going to be an interesting, if long, process.  And I can't imagine a better way to ease into what some people insist on calling "retirement."


  1. I can't wait to read your posts about discovering new bookstores around Houston. There have to be some good ones.

    Have you tried the LibraryThing Readar app for iOS? It's a bookstore locator tied to LT reviews, users, etc. I've used it a few times with pretty good success. Same for Yelp reviews as well.

    I used to use an iOS app for cataloging books, but was burned when the developer decided to quit and stopped supporting the app. So it died with the next iOS update. I stick with LT these days, but that doesn't help much with in-store browsing "what have I already got at home" questions, if you have an offline iPad.

    Please share the app you do settle on though! I'm always curious to see what works for people

  2. Thanks for all the input, Trav. I'm familiar with LT and have been a user of their website for several years now, but I'm looking for an app that keeps the database where I can use it on my iPad while offline. I opted for the WiFi-only version of iPad this time around, so I won't always be able to get online when going from bookstore to bookstore.

    I'll let you know what I find. I did upgrade to the paid version of the app I described in this post, and I'm already frustrated with it because I'm finding it impossible to import the database I created in its "lite" version into the paid version. It's only two bucks for the app, but it is still irritating as all heck.

    I hate the thought that I wasted some of Sunday afternoon and that I'll have to start from scrach...has to be a solution.

  3. Hey Sam, I found myself in need of a local app this weekend and I came back to Book Chase to see if you had found a good solution to this yet? I'm still not satisfied with what I've dug up.

  4. Haven't found anything I really like yet, Trav. It has been frustrating...the perfect bookstore, book database app has to be out there somewhere.