GuruLib Not Hitting on All Cylinders


GuruLib Screenshot
GuruLib Screenshot
(click to enlarge)

I don't often put things on my blog that people send me unsolicited, but occasionally it's relevant--or just catches my interest. Not long ago, I got a note about something called GuruLib, an online system for keeping track of your books. A while back I reviewed Delicious Library, an OS X app that I use to manage my library.

As you can see from this public library from the creators, GuruLib uses the same "wood grain paneling" mode as Delicious Library, but don't hold that against it--that can be turned off in both. The feature set seems to be sufficient--the tie into Amazon and public libraries making it very convenient for uploading books.

I like that it's online and that it's pretty easy to use. I like being able to leave comments and ratings on books I upload. I like the list view, but wish the thumbnail image of the cover were displayed instead of a generic book icon. In the thumbnail view, book details are shown on mouseover which is a nice way to get more information about a book.

At first I thought that there was no way to create private bookshelves. But it turns out that you can create bookshelves that are private. You can also set other shelf properties (this is where you select wood grain, if that sort of thing appeals to you).

I didn't like that it required my birthday or zipcode to sign up. The queries aren't RESTful, so I can't link to specific searches. Mostly I didn't like that I can't enter my Amazon Associate ID, so when someone buys a book from the service, GuruLib gets the love.

I don't mind that they get something for their efforts, but it seems to me that they could share the wealth a little and not only be more fair to the people helping to build their service, but also give people an incentive to share their library. For example, let me enter my Amazon Associates ID and then give me every other referral. Maybe even give people with over a certain number of books 2 out of 3, or whatever. Incent people to use the service and get a little smaller piece of a much bigger pie.

Without some incentive, I'm unlikely to type in 1000 ISBN numbers (I've got at least that many books). Delicious Library, as an application that runs on my Mac takes advantage of the iSight camera to scan the bar code. Even as easy as that is, I only add things when I need to (usually when someone is borrowing them and I need to keep track of it) In any event, take a look at my test library.