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pre release review
While commuting, I'm never more than a few inches away from my precious BlackBerry and a good book. After years of trains, buses and subways, I've built up quite a collection. Whether lugging around a hardcover, paperback or e-book it's hard to keep track of everything especially ones I want. For example, twelve years ago I lent someone a book and forgot all about it. So to help me remember, I picked up this brand new app in the CrackBerry app store called My Books. It keeps track of books you've read, have, lent and on your wish list. If you're a diehard booklover keep reading for more details.
Created by Vimukti Technologies, My Books is a great tool to maintain one's library from when they see it, borrow it, buy it, read it and lend it. All of which can be done from the main menu.
The application is broken down into four main categories: Books I Read, Books I Have, Books I Lent, and Wish List. Access any one of these by scrolling down and selecting. The magnifying glass accesses the search menu which lets you search your inventory for a title or add items to your wish list by searching the internet. By going into settings, users can link their Facebook and Twitter accounts to share selections with friends and followers, and import/export your library.
Adding books to this app is pretty simple and you have two options: manually key in the information or search the internet to populate. I found this quite handy while at the bookstore the other day. Rather than send myself an email or place in my calendar, I simply searched for it, added it to my list and was on my way. After entering, I can edit each title and mark as read, bought/purchased, borrowed or lent, which automatically copies them into the corresponding category. In future versions, it would be nice to see them integrate a UPC scanner.
To manually add items select any one of these categories and click on the + sign in the upper right or use the BlackBerry menu button and select Add Book. In the next screen, you can enter in all or some of the following fields: Title, Author, Category, Publisher, ISBN #, and Number of pages. Entering your entire library is time consuming if you possess a large one like me but I find this app quite helpful in organizing my collection going forward since titles are instantly keyed up to recommend or view anytime. To add cover art, click on the spiral notebook to search your device or memory card. It's not necessary to do so and only if you take the time to download the image.
This option is the fastest way to add books. Simply enter in the name of the book, click on search and the top ten matching titles are displayed for you to choose from. All you do is scroll to the one you want, select it, and click Save. When adding from the internet, cover art images are automatically downloaded and saved on your memory card.
An interesting feature is that users can manage books lent. With everything we do in our lives remembering who you gave a book to is low on the totem pole. Mimicking a library, it checks the book out of the have category into the lent category and uses your BlackBerry's contacts to assign to a specific person. Simply go to the Books I Lent category, click on the + sign, select the book and assign it. When the book is returned, edit the item and mark as returned to move back.
As an avid reader this application is a vast improvement over my prior method of using post it notes or my calendar to remind myself of what to read next or who borrowed what. While it may be cumbersome to input one's entire collection, the lending and wish list features are definitely worth it and to prevent duplicate purchases. Book lovers will enjoy its ability manage their current and future selections right through their BlackBerry. Am I crazy for reading and buying so many books? Probably, but at least with My Books I can organize the chaos.
My Books v1.0 is currently available at the CrackBerry app store for $3.99 for Touch and Non Touch BlackBerry devices running OS 4.5 and higher