More Library Software: Delicious Library


Delicious Library screenshot in "woodgrained shelving" mode
After writing about Booxter, several people wrote to me to tell me about Delicious Library from Delicious Monster (no connection to Del.icio.us). When multiple people respond to a post about a product, its a good sign that they are passionate about it, so I downloaded Delicious Library and gave it a try.

First, like Booxter, Delicious Library can use an iSight camera to scan bar codes and looks up information online to fill in the blanks. Here are some differences I noted:

  • Delicious has a nicely designed, iTunes-like GUI. The Booxter UI is fine, but I I liked the Delicious UI a better. I have to say, however, I didn't like the woodgrain shelving. Fortunately, you can just view books in a list, which for more than a few dozen is preferable anyway.
  • The iSight scanning on Delicious seemed a little quicker. Maybe I'm just getting better at holding books up in front of the camera?
  • Delicious understands DVDs and CDs. I tried this on Booxter yesterday and it didn't know what to do with a DVD. I probably loan out DVDs more often than I loan out books, so this was a disappointment to me yesterday when Booxter wouldn't do it.
  • Delicious has so ties to Amazon it made me wonder if Delicious had their associates number embedded in the program. There's a one-click "sell this book on Amazon" that would be handy for anyone who sells books through Amazon. I didn't test this, so I can't comment on how well it works.
  • Delicious will sync with your iPod. So will Booxter. I haven't figured out yet why I'd want to do that.
  • Both let you keep track of multiple collections if you need to.
  • Delicious will import Booxter files, butI couldn't find an import feature on Booxter.
  • Right clicking on items didn't bring up any kind of contextual menu. You have to use the finder-like "gear wheel" to select an action. This can be awkward since you have to select the item and then move the mouse to select the action.
  • Like Booxter, delicious keeps track of items in your collection you've loaned out. The borrowers section is integrated with the Os X Address application, which is nice. Dragging an item to a borrower checks it out and the UI does a good job of helping you keep track of which borrowers have what and the due date with a nicely designed "check-out card." Unfortunately, dragging the item to the borrower seems to be the only way to check an item out. Seems like a natural item to add to the "Item" menu.
  • Like iTunes, you can select multiple items and update information about all of them (like location or owner) all at once.
  • Booxter does a better job of turning free-form input into pull down menus for consistency of input.
  • Booxter looks in lots of places for information on books, whereas Delicious appears to only look at Amazon.
  • Finally, when I close the two products, Booxter asks if I want to save the changes whereas Delicious just saves them as you enter them. The latter behavior is what I was expecting. I I enter an item, add my own information and then move onto another item, I expect its saved. I was annoyed that Booxter kept asking me if I wanted to save the changes.

Either of these programs will do a nice job with a home collection. Neither would scale to a lending operation that goes beyond dozens of borrowers. The biggest downside of Delicious is the price: $40. Booxter was just $15. Turns out that after doing some research that Delicious does have their Amazon associates number embedded in Library! Its alittle gauling to pay $40 for a simple app that they're making money from other ways. Still, if you like a good UI or you need to keep track of DVDs of CDs, then Delicious is probably the right choice. The good news is that they both have demo versions that let you enter a few dozen items before you buy. This is plenty to see which you like, so try them both out and decide for yourself.

Update: Filip de Waard has a brief review of Delicious Library on his blog that you might find interesting.