Best Book Catalogue Apps in 2024 to Organise a Home Library

A computer-generated close-up photograph of a woman using her smartphone to catalog her home library with the best book catalogue apps.

A personal library catalogue system can help you keep your bookcase organised, track what you read, and prevent duplicates. Here are three of the best book catalogue apps for effortless organisation and easy access to your literary collection.

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Are you a bibliophile with a big book collection? Creating a personalΒ catalogue can be beneficial in many ways, and an app can help anyΒ book loverΒ get organised. From tracking the books you own to preventing yourself from buying accidental duplicates, there are many advantages to setting up a home library app. To help you out, here’s an overview of three of the best book catalogue apps available now – perfect for creating personalised book databases!

What’s a Home Library App?

Book apps are designed to help book lovers, collectors, librarians, and bookstores manage their book inventory. These apps allow users to easily catalogue and sort their books and ebooks, track their reading progress, search for new titles, and share their collection with others. Shelfari was one such popular book inventory app, for example. It was acquired by Amazon and absorbed by Goodreads back in the day. 

Some apps have a scan function that allows you to easily add a book to your collection by scanning its barcode or ISBN number. They might also provide a variety of features such as rating, reviewing, and tagging books according to different bibliographic information like the author’s name, genre, publication year, and other metadata. This makes it easy to find and sort through your books when you’re looking for a specific title, author, or topic.

AI artwork created by Jenna from tidymalism.com depicting a young woman standing in her home library and using one of the best book catalogue apps on her smartphone to organize her book collection.

Other book inventory apps give you personalised reading recommendations based on your reading history and preferences, making it easy to discover new books that fit your interests. Some apps even let you create reading challenges, set reading goals, and keep track of your wish list and reading progress over time. Others yet have note-taking and journaling features, or also have the option to keep track of books loaned to your friends.

There are a lot of choices out there! After I had written my previous post about the questions to ask yourself when decluttering books, I started looking around for a free book app to track my own collection. This led me down the whole cataloguing rabbit hole, and here we are!

Why Would You Need Book Inventory Apps to Track Books?

If you’re a book lover, these apps are a great way to keep your book collection tidy, discover new titles, share your reading progress with others (if you want to), and make the most of your reading experience. Add your books, keep and share notes on titles you’ve read, manage a wishlist, and track new literature you want to read.

Having your own book database is an excellent way to keep track of what books you already have or even the number of pages you’ve read. You can easily find what you own without needing to remember or search your bookshelf. This is especially helpful when you’re out shopping for books. Because my top three favourite book apps work on both mobile and desktop, you can simply consult your database when you’re out and about to make sure you don’t buy the same title twice.

On top of that, cataloging books can also be useful when lending books to friends and family. A book database app helps you keep tabs on any books you’ve lent, and when they’re returned. And of course, if anything were to happen to your book collection, these apps are a great way to document what books you had so you can rebuild your collection once again.

The 3 Best Book Catalogue Apps: Library Thing, Libib, Goodreads

Now that we’ve seen why a book app is such a great idea, let’s take a look at some of the best cataloguing apps available right now to organise your collection. I looked at many of these apps and narrowed my choices down based on some criteria I felt were important.

My tops picks had to be:

  • User-friendly
  • Available on both iOS and Android
  • Free for personal use
  • Available on desktop

That last point might not be a dealbreaker for you. But if you’re anything like me and hate typing on your smartphone, you’ll appreciate the ability to pull up your book collection on your laptop or desktop computer instead of having to fiddle on your phone or tablet.

Library Thing

This is one of the most popular book cataloging apps. It’s been around for awhile and many folks have been using this app for years. LibraryThing is completely free and combines an excellent user experience with numerous features. It has both a desktop version and mobile app, making it possible to access your collection from the computer and your mobile device. 

As one of the best book catalogue apps, Library Thing has a built-in book scanner, which lets you scan the barcode on your books. Super convenient. Plus, LibraryThing pulls data from over 2,200 libraries, Amazon databases, and the Library of Congress to automatically identify books and provide comprehensive information such as publication date, Dewey Decimal numbers, and physical size & weight.

Library Thing is an online platform that lets you create your own virtual bookshelf by cataloging your personal book collection. It’s also possible to keep track of books read, books owned, and books wished for. The platform offers an incredible amount of book information, including book descriptions, covers, reviews, and author information.

Users are able to create their own tags and book recommendations, making it easier to connect with books and authors with similar interests. Overall, it’s a fantastic resource for avid book collectors looking to create and manage their personal libraries.

Libib

Another one of the best apps for cataloguing is Libib. Like all of my choices, it has a desktop version and mobile app, so you can access your collection from multiple devices. It’s available as a free home library app for personal use, or you can subscribe to a paid version if you’re a power user or institution.

AI artwork created by Jenna from tidymalism.com depicting a young woman standing in her home library and using an app on her smartphone to catalog her book collection.

Libib has a stronger focus on building your database, rather than socialising with other bibliophiles. Create a free account and you can track up to 5,000 books across 100 different collections. Similar to Goodreads and LibraryThing, this app includes a barcode scanner which adds books to your library along with a book thumbnail, summary, and other book data. Additionally, you can manually enter rare and antique books if the app doesn’t include the information. 

You can also add tags, notes, star ratings, and assign which group the book belongs to. This makes your collection searchable and sortable by author, title, published date, tags, and more. Set how many copies you own of specific books, list their condition, and even track how much you paid for them. Libib also connects with Goodreads through a .csv export if you ever decide to move your collection.

Colourful digital illustration of a woman with long dark hair standing in front of a massive floor to ceiling bookcase, looking down at her smartphone for the best book catalogue apps.

Goodreads

If you are looking for an app that gives you a way to organise your book collection in conjunction with social networking elements, then Goodreads might be the right choice for you. Goodreads allows you to track the books in your study and also share your reading journey with other users while joining relevant groups. And it’s free!

Additional features include a built-in book scanner with barcode scanning options. You also have the option of an in-app purchase to upgrade your account, giving access to unlimited collections, featured lists, and automatic book cover recognition.

You can use Goodreads as a book crawler to access many free books and ebooks as well. Plus, it allows you to export your data and upload it to other apps for cataloging like Bookbuddy or iBookshelf if you ever decide to switch.

Best Apps at a Glance

Feature ↓ Appβ†’LibraryThingLibibGoodreads
PlatformDesktop, MobileDesktop, MobileDesktop, Mobile
App SourcesApp Store, Google PlayiTunes, Google Play StoreGoogle, Apple
PricingFreeFree, Paid tierFree, In-app upgrade
User-FriendlinessExcellentExcellentExcellent
Book ScannerYesYesYes
Barcode ScanningYesYesYes
Data Sources2,200+ libraries, Amazon databases, Library of CongressUnspecifiedIngram
WorldCat
ISBNdb and others
Social InteractionLimitedLimitedStrong
Max. Books
(Free Version)
Unlimited or unspecified 5,000Unlimited or unspecified 
Max. Collections
(Free Version)
Unlimited or unspecified 100Unlimited or unspecified 
Custom TagsYesYesYes
Book RecommendationsYesYesYes
Export DataCSV, JSON, MARCCSVCSV
Book DetailsComprehensiveComprehensiveComprehensive

Final Thoughts on Maintaining a Personal Small Library

Overall, there are many benefits to cataloging books in your home bibliotheca. With the right app, you can quickly and easily get your personal database up and running – possibly even entry by entry via barcode scanning. So whether you have a few books or a massive collection of hundreds of books (or even thousands!), it’s a great idea to create a system of your own.

Another advantage to setting up a personal book database is the ability to access your collection anywhere, anytime. With a well-sorted database, you can quickly search books by title or author anywhere you have a connection to the Internet. Plus, many of the top library cataloging apps also sync across multiple devices, allowing you to access your collection on your phone, laptop, and more.

With all of these advantages to organising a library catalog, it’s no wonder why so many book lovers flock to them. Whether you’re a casual reader or an avid collector, having your own library catalog is a great way to stay organised and ensure you get the most out of your home library.

What do you think are the best book catalogue apps? Do you use an app to track everything in your bookcases so you always know what’s what? Apps that can help you save time searching when looking for a book, track any number of books you’ve already read, manage wishlists and create a list of books, automatically scan barcodes, and let you enter details manually are a bibliophile’s dream come true.

I’d love to hear what you’re using. Leave a reply in the comments!

AI artwork created by Jenna from tidymalism.com depicting a young woman standing in her home library and using one of the best book cataloguing apps to track her book collection.
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7 responses to “Best Book Catalogue Apps in 2024 to Organise a Home Library”

  1. Pendergast avatar
    Pendergast

    Hi. Excellent article.
    I have been using this type of applications for a while now. I am a Goodreads user, but mostly I have used many apps on the computer, such as Ebook Collectorz.
    But what I always miss in all apps is the possibility to have a utility to check bibliographies.
    For example, Brandom Sanderson writes a lot and has many sagas. It is complicated to know which books you have read and which you have not. I would like an application that would allow you to import (or build yourself) a list with all the books of an author in order to check the books you are reading and know which ones you have not yet read.

    1. Jenna avatar

      Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for a library app that allows you to track books by a specific author so you can see which ones you’ve read and which ones you haven’t, Bookshelf and Book Buddy might possibly have that sort of functionality with their categorisation and sorting features. Not sure anymore if they’re free or not, and Book Buddy was for Apple/iOS only when I checked…

  2. Kevin avatar
    Kevin

    Hi there,
    Do you know of an app that will allow you to differentiate between different editions? From a collecting standpoint it would be very helpful. For example: if I have a paperback of a certain title but would like to upgrade to a hardcover first edition at some point, I’d like to have the first edition in my wishlist and the paperback in a collection. Do you know of any that offer this capability? I’ve only tried Library Thing and it appears that it does not.
    Thanks,
    Kev

    1. Jenna avatar

      Hi Kev, it looks like this would be possible in Goodreads because there is an option for ‘Add a New Edition’ of one and the same book title. You can even do this if you have quasi the same edition of a title but with a different book jacket. For Libib, I couldn’t find any information in their FAQs on this particular use case and have written in to them. If they respond, I will follow up here, or perhaps they might chime in themselves.
      Happy reading!

      1. Jenna avatar

        Following up on this, Scott from Libib got back to me about the question of handling multiple editions of the same book title. Here’s what he says:

        “Here’s a few different scenarios that will hopefully help you make the best decision for you when running into different editions.
        ​
        ​1. Often times different editions will have different ISBNs so when you actually scan them in they’ll end up as a 2 different entries in your collection. Then it’s easy to use tags to note one as paperback and one as hardback. If you have Libib Pro you can use custom fields to add a “format” custom field to denote it that way as well.
        ​
        ​2. Sometimes they do have the same ISBN and in these cases if you scan them they will end up as 2 copies of the same book. You could expand the item and click on “copies” and there is a condition field for each copy where you can include copy specific information. So you could put the hardback/paperback info there but it’s not searchable so keep that in mind. What I would recommend here is manually entering the newest version of your item. If you manually enter the details (even if you’re just copying everything from your previous record) it’ll insert it as a unique item allowing you to tag it or use a custom field so you know it’s a hardback version.
        ​
        ​3. If you put the items in different collections like “My Books” and “Wishlist” even if the items have the same ISBN you can give each one custom details/tags.
        ​
        ​So there are multiple ways to attach this info to special editions just depends on what works best for your needs.”

        Hope that helps you further!

  3. Lyn avatar
    Lyn

    Can you tell me if there are apps that don’t store my library online? At some places I don’t have WIFI, so I prefer to access a list of my books on the phone or desktop without going online.

    1. Jenna avatar

      Hi Lyn, if you want to keep your entire list of books completely offline and out of the cloud, then I’d just use a spreadsheet or create a table in the note-taking app of your choice (see my run-down of notes apps here), on the device of your choice. Some of the academic reference software is also non-cloud based but you’d have to comb through which does what for your specific purpose. Wiki has a list here.

      If, on the other hand, you’re just concerned about connectivity issues when you’re out and about, both LibraryThing and Libib sync across devices. So if you’re somewhere without WiFi, you can still pull up your list of books and see it/search it/edit it. It will sync next time you’re online.

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