Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Collectorz Book Collector

Today's review for the TOS Homeschool Crew is for Collectorz Book Collector software. Collectorz is a software package for keeping track of your collection of books (the version we reviewed), video games, music, photos, etc.

After playing with this for a month or so, I feel like I really haven't even brushed the surface of what this software can do. Most books are already in their system, so all you have to do is enter the ISBN number (either type it in, or use a scanner, purchased separately, to scan the barcode) and it pulls the book up. I had one, older book that either didn't have an ISBN number or it couldn't find it (I don't remember which now), and in that case, I was able to search by title & author and found the book that way. You can also manually enter a book if it's not in the system at all, but I haven't had to do that yet (I'm sure it's only a matter of time considering how many old, used books I have). The books show their genre & subject, and you can edit those fields if you don't like the way they system classifies them.  There's also a filter feature that is another way of classifying them (but I haven't played with it yet).

There's also a way to enter things into a wish list to keep track of books you WANT but don't have yet. At this point, I haven't used it, but once the android app is available I'll be looking into it more, on my computer itself, I find it convenient to keep my "wishlist" on the main sites where I buy books, however if I could have a comprehensive wish list WITH ME and especially if I can add to it from my phone (don't know if that will be possible or not), that would be great!

If you're like me and often loan books to friends, you'll also appreciate the ability to keep track of loaned books with this software!

Another field that I like in theory, is the ability to enter a location for the books within your house. The reality right now is, that our books float between our various book cases, so I haven't used it. If I were to get to the point of entering the books that are stored away, this would be very useful!

This is a great product for homeschoolers. What homeschool family doesn't have TONS of books? But, isn't one used directly by the kids so much. That said, once my girls get a little better at typing, I might have them practice their typing of numbers by entering books for me LOL. And we will ALL benefit from having the books better organized . . . though given how many books we have, and how little time I have for such things, it is definitely a work in process.

I think this software would benefit all learning styles. I don't think there's any learning approach that can't benefit from a user friendly way of keeping track of their books and other materials (I'm thinking the mp3 and photo versions would also be great for us!

We received the Pro version, which retails for $49.95.  There's also a standard version for $24.95 (there's a link on the right side of this page, that compares the 2 versions). Also available is an online version called Connect, for $19.95 per year. You can try Colllectorz or Collectorz Connect free on their website to determine if it meets your needs.

One of the main improvements I would NEED for this to be something I would purchase is an Android App. And that is "in the works".  Apps for Iphone and Itouch are already available, the Android  and iPad apps are listed as coming soon. Without the ability to use this on the go, I don't see it as being a good fit for my lifestyle.  Even with that app (or if that wasn't something I wanted), I'm not sure if, for me, the extra features of this software over some of the other, less expensive or free, options for cataloging books would make it cost effective.

The price makes me hesitate to recommend this product. I think it's a great product, but that there are less expensive options that would do the basics that I see myself, as a parent/ bookaholic/ homeschooler using.  But I don't know, I haven't ever managed to get all our books entered into the other options I've tried either, so perhaps, over time I would find these less expensive or free options fell short of my needs in ways that I'm not foreseeing at this point.

But that could be just me, I'm cheap, and while I love the concept of organization, I generally fall short in the long-term execution, I think it's definitely worth considering, and trying the free trial to decide for yourself if this meets your needs!  Finding a method to catalog books is a huge time and even money saver, if you've ever purchased a book only to realize you already had it on your shelf at home (yes, I've done that, sigh . . . )

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Collectorz for books Pro in exchange for writing this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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