I’ve always wanted an easy way to have a digital library of what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I want to read. A Kindle or iBooks library is helpful in having reference on what to read and what has already been read.
However, I haven’t found a good way to handle the recording of physical books I’ve read or books that I’ve read online in another format. I’ve been searching for an easy, cloud-based digital “shelf” for my reading life.
How silly of me to not look farther than Google for my answer. I am reliant on Google in my daily life for email, documents, RSS feeds, and of course, search. I’ve used Google Books only a couple of times to find something like an excerpt from a public domain book. It was not until today that I saw the “My Library” feature of Google Books. Lo and behold it was exactly what I was looking for…
In Google Books you can manage your reading life by digital bookshelves. “Favorites,” “Reading Now,” “To Read,” “Have Read,” and “Reviewed” are bookshelves you can add to. You can add as many custom bookshelves as you want. You don’t have to have read the book on Google Books to add it to your library. Simply search for the book you want in your browser and click “Add to My Library.”
On the iPhone, the GBScanner app allows you to add physical books to your Google Books account for reference. The app is quite simple. It allows you to add a book’s ISBN by either scanning the bar code or manually imputing the ISBN.
I tried the scanning feature on several books and it worked pretty well. There were a couple times when the scanner couldn’t recognize the ISBN number, so I had to manually input it. Once the book is recognized you can add the book to whichever bookshelf you want. The app is fluid and fast. There is multitasking support as well.
Overall, I give it a rating of: ★★★☆☆
Pick it up in the App Store for $0.99.
What do you think? I’m curious as to how many people use, or would use Google Books this way.