Bookseller, Library and Collectors Book Inventory Programs
- Bookdealers Programs
- Library/Collector Programs
- Building Your Own Database
I wrote an article a while back on
Setting Up Your Own Internet Book Store
and in that was a list of some database software for keeping track
of book inventory. Since that time I have been asked every once in a while
about bookseller inventory programs. Sometimes they also would like
the program to include invoice and e-mail functions and other
goodies to help run a book store or keep track of the books they
have lent out. I wrote an article in July 2007 for my
page but that became out of date and I always had to remember when
I had wrtten it, so I finally decided to devote a page to it. Not
only would that make it easier on me, it might even help me keep it
updated and thus more useful in answering the question.
In addition, having a single place will allow me to add
other information dealing with the inventory programs. Specifically
I'm talking about that "roll your own" attitude a lot of people have.
That is, some people would rather have a database which is directly
under there control and use actual database programs or possibly just
a spread sheet program such as Excel. This page will evolve over
time and if there is any specific aspect you would like to see me
fumble through (and maybe shed some light),
let me know.
Before we present some of the database programs out there,
lets talk about what I consider the main difference between a
library/collector inventory management program and a book sellers
inventory management program. That difference is the automatic
marking of items as they are changed and creating an "update list".
For example, you mark a book sold, or change the price, or correct
spelling in the description, or add a new book, or whatever. When
you click on "finished updating this book" in the booksellers
program a flag is automatically set which marks that book as
changed/added/deleted and adds it to a list to be exported to a
"file" as an update record. When you "create the update file"
(by clicking on a button or whatever), this list is automatically
processed and the file is created. Without this one feature, you
will have to manually go through your records, create this list
and then prepare a "changed records" file. This can be a time
consuming job. So when I say library/collector program below,
what I mean is that it doesn't have the capability to make that
update file automatically (at least it appeared so to me when I
wrote about it).
Since I started this project, I've found that the list of
programs has become quite a bit longer than I initially thought as
well as new ones appearing and old one disappearing.
Because I think people will be interested in either a "bookdealers
program" or a "library/collectors" program, I've decided to break
the list into two parts. The third part of the list ("I don't
know what category" part) goes under the Library/Collector list.
Of course a bookdealers program can be used as a library/collector
program. Some have both versions and they will be included under
the bookdealers list, not both.
Oh, if you have or know of a program which should be
added to the list, please let me know.
And one last thing - gebnerally what I have to say about the program is
directly from their website. So, unless I make a personal comment, the 'description'
is a comment from the programs site.
Bookhound 7 Community Edition
Both a Mac and Windows version. Price: Free. BookHound is a full-featured
database application built to handle most day-to-day bookselling operations,
from entering inventory, to selling that inventory in-house or on the Internet,
to reporting on those sales.
Other features include printed catalogue creation, mail-list generation,
sales reports, and automatic ISBN data entry and much more. BookHound also manages
uploads to third-party listing sites such as Biblio, Advanced Book Exchange (ABE),
Alibris, Amazon, Tom Folio and many others, including your own website.
Last Update Oct 08, 2011
Note that we currently use Booktrakker as our
main database program and I think it is an excellent program and
extremely flexible. BookTrakker is now a monthly subscription program
with Basic ($7.50/month per computer), Pro ($15/month first computer, $5
each additional computer), and Network ($20 first computer, i.e. server,
$5 each additional computer). For Pro and Network, access to Amazon
data and Uploading to Amazon requires an Amazon Pro Merchant account.
Payments must be made through Amazon Payments for all three levels.
Excellant help files or paid support available. New users get
one free import of their data from another database or online,
during the 30 day trial. Free support during the 30 day trial and
on purchase new users will get 90 days of free operational support.
Group email list free to registered users where help is available
from other users and support is provided for unusual problems.
Last Update Jan 08, 2013
We are an affiliate of
A Free Trial is available with no obligation.
If you try BookTrakker, we would appreciate your giving our affliate number,
AC-678-YPv-148, if you are asked "how you heard about BookTrakker".
Provided for free by the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). An adequate
program for inventory purposes which we currently use for auxiliary
Transfering Homebase 2 data to BookTrakker.
When we first started in the on-line bookselling business, we used
Homebase 2.3 as our main database program and it was certainly adequate. There is a
very early version available for the Mac however I have heard that it no longer works
with the new operating systems.
Some still prefer Homebase 2.3 because they don't feel all the bugs have been
worked out of Version 3.0. I've played around with 3.0 a little and haven't run
into any problems but we still use 2.3 for our auxillary data entry.
Last Update Nov. 30, 2011
Allows you to easily manage your inventory and gives you
the ability to upload to over 18 listing services with 1-click. You can list your
books, price them, make mass changes, easily search for any book using any
criteria and more. And now with web-based tutorials!. A free library/collector version.
Inventory Program download $49. Free 30 day trial. Software bundle (Inventory Program License,
Pricing Program, Listing Synchronizer Program, and Bulk Book Loader) available for $85.
Either download the programs or buy a CD with the
programs and all of the supporting software available for $12.50 [You will need to
pay for Software Licenses to obtain full use of the products after the 30 day free
This program has come a long way since its beginnings (in 2005 I believe).
Many features have been added and, although I haven't played with it a whole lot,
I believe it now rivals BookTrakker in what it can do and what is available. I
still think it might need a little more technical savy than BookTrakker but support
seems to be very good.
NOTE: Starting sometime in 4th Quarter, 2011, Prager will be charging
a recurring annual fee of $48 USD as a license fee for the Inventory program.
Last Update Oct. 09, 2011
Mentioned around the web but gone missing (at least for me): Bookcase,
BookEase, Book Lister, BookMaster, BookMate, Bookminder, Customer Base,
and DV Book Manager. I'm sure I haven't covered all of the Library/
Collector book databases but I'm going to leave that for right now.
All My Books
$39.95. A (crippled) free trial. One of the interesting things about this software is the
"Support for user defined fields - an unlimited number of additional text and
boolean fields". Some nice features including a limited HTML page generator.
Last Update Oct. 09, 2011
Please note:: If you try to order from the site you will receive a "The online store is
closed. It is not possible to place an order." I'm leaving this up for now since it seems
possible the store may open again.
BookCAT is a fully featured book collector database program which will help you
catalog a book collection of any size. Book lovers, churches, schools, clubs
and business libraries all over the world are discovering that it is not necessary
to spend thousands of dollars to get a sophisticated inventory manager that will
keep track of a large (or small) book collection.
Library/collector program with HTML page generator and customized entry fields.
Shareware - $39.95
Last Update May 06, 2013
Catalog books, e-book files and audiobook files on your PC or Mac. Just enter
author & title or scan ISBN barcodes to automatically download book information
(publisher, publication year, genre, subjects, etc..) & cover images.
Catalog e-book and audiobook files by scanning your hard-disk. Price: $29.95
($49.95 Pro - CD and Premium Support additional). Windows or Mac.
Last Update Oct. 08, 2011
Book Organizer Delux
Simple, easy-to-use: Ready-to-use templates and the user-friendly interface let you
easily and quickly catalog, manage, and organize your private or business book
collections. Our software comes with 3 book cataloging solutions, choose the one
that meets your requirements. If you do not like our solutions you can define
yours with database Designer (included free). CDrom or download, 30 days risk free trial,
Last Update Oct 08, 2011
DV Book Manager
Very easy to use program to manage your book collection, with an intuitive interface. Choose
Between user-friendly 'tabs' or MS Access-like interface ! More than 50 (customizable) fields
are tracked including comments/summary, 3 location fields and 8 keywords for easy searches.
Shareware License $35.
Last Update Oct 08, 2009
My Book Collector
Library/collector software, Windows or Mac. Comes with MySignature Collection and
the tutorial "Book Collecting for Beginners" by Marc Slott. Both Windows & Mac.
Last Update Oct 08, 2011
More for library/collector. Windows, Mac, Linux, and
other operating systems. Free Trial. Standard Edition $40, Client/Server $90,
Enterprise Client/Server $5000. Also offers a Music and a Video inventory program
with substantial discounts if obtaining all three.
Last Update Oct 08, 2011
Please note, prices and links were when I last checked (see
the Last Update in the write up). I would appreciate it if you
notified me if there were a dead or incorrect link.
One of our readers mentioned
as a possible book collector/
library catalog progam. I haven't added it here because it is more a 'list of
your books' rather than an inventory program AND I couldn't see a way to get that
information down to my machine in what I would call a viable format for an inventory
Building Your Own Database
The first thing to cover is just what goes into a book database. In developing
this list, we will be listing quite a few fields but certainly not an exhaustive
set. Also, you may not feel you need them all. However, if you don't feel you
need them, think about which of the fields you do use which can substitute for it.
For example, the Compiler of the book is seldom used so you might not want a
special field just for the compiler. If you do need that field, you could
put them under Author with the notation (Compiler) following the name. BTW: When
building your own specification and entering data, it is always very very nice to
Since a 'professional' book inventory program can be used as a 'collectors'
book inventory program, we will lean to building the former. First is the usual
Title, Author, Year of Publication, etc. These generic book identification
features and much more are well covered in the
(Universal Information Exchange Environment) specificiations and we will be using
most of these as well as a few additions.
Two further issues before we start on the list. First, If you are building
the database for uploading to a site to display your books, there are probably
certain fields you won't want to display, i.e. private fields. For example, you
may not want to display the price paid for the book. The UIEE format indicates
which fields it considers private and we will follow their nomenclature when we
use one of their fields.
The second issue is a programmatic one. No matter which fields you decide
you want in your data base, the site you list on will determine what is acceptable.
For example Amazon does not have a Compiler field. If you want to use this field and
list on Amazon, you need to transfer the Compiler into the Author (or some other) field
with possibly a (Compiler) added. You should consider these issues before you set up
To make items easier to find, we will list these in alpha order.
Annotation: Private data field, normally contains a Date/Time stamp
but may contain text.
Appraisal Value: Private numeric data field used to store appraisal value
[called Market Value in the UIEE specifications]. Suggested format is nnnnnnn.nn
Note, although appraisal values are based on 'fair market values', those market
values can span a wide range, even for items in the same condition, etc. Because
of that, Appraisal Value can well be different than Price.
Author: Represents the author's name as it appears on the Title
page. Name imprint, suggested to be Last, First Middle (L-F-M) for alphabetizing
Binding: Simple, brief statement of binding type ("Hardbound,
" "Paperback," etc).
Catalog No/Name: Private data field. Used to store user-defined catalog
Comments: General comments identifying attributes and detractors. Use
Notes for physical description and reference information.
Compiler: The compiler's name as it appears on the Title page
Condition: Simple, brief statement of condition of the book (e.g.
"Near Fine," "Very Good." etc). For a statement of the grades of conditions, see
White Unicorn: Book Condition Definitions.
Copies/Quantity: Numeric field representing total number of copies
Date Published: Represents the date published, normally a 4-digit year.
Edition: Simple, brief statement of edition ("1st", "First",
"Revised", "Book Club", etc). Although most people are aware that there is a
difference between Edition and Printing, book collectors tend to understand that
a designation of First Edition with no other statement means First Edition and
First Printing. So, if you are going to use the Edition field, you should
also use the Printing field and make sure they are both displayed when either is
Editor: The editor's name as it appears on the Title page (L-F-M).
Fixed Handling Fee: A numeric/string containing a flat handling fee
(sometimes referred to as "Additional Shipping") that will appear as part of the
Fixed Shipping: Represents a specific method and fixed cost for
shipping the item being offered. In the UIEE format the method is separated
from the cost by an equal sign (=). Multiple entries may be entered (contents
must conform to the naming conventions used by the sales venue). Each entry
specified must contain its own Fixed Shipping token on a separate line (UIEE
Example: FP|USPS First Class = 2.50).
Forward: The author of the Foward.
Illustrator: Illustrator's name if present, or a reference to the
presence of illustrations ("Illustrated", "112 color illustrations," etc).
Image: Typically a URL containing the image, i.e.
Initially Cataloged : A time-date stamp normally in the
form of "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS" as to when the book was initially cataloged.
ISBN Code: International Standard Book Number (10- or
13-char format). If possible, there should be some way to validate the code
Jacket: Simple, brief statement of jacket presence and condition,
normally preceded or followed by the term "dj" ("Very good" "missing",
etc). For a statement of the grades of conditions, see
White Unicorn: Book Condition Definitions.
Keyword: Keywords should be kept in separate fields, not all in a
single field. There is no limit to the number of keywords, but most software
supports up to 10.
List On-line: You may have an available item you would like to list on-line
but not just yet. The field allows you to do just that. Also see Upload Flag.
Language: Identifies the originating language applicable to the item
Location: Private data field, used for inventory control, provided
for compatibility purposes.
Main Topic: Primary relational topic, for which Keywords (KE) represent
subsets. When importing, information preceded by the MT prefix is mapped directly
to the Main Topic field. When uploading, Main Topic is normally treated as a keyword.
Modified: A time-date stamp normally in the
form of "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS" as to when the book entry was modified. You
might want to have several of these to track the last several modifications.
Modified Note: A note as to the reason for the modification. If you
are tracking several modification histories, you may want/need a note for each.
Monetary Units: Defines the type of currency used for curreny fields.
This should normally be a 3-character abbreviation (Example: USD). Currency
symbols should not be used as they are not universally recognized in all ISO
Notes: Comprehensive physical description and any/all relevant information
Pages: Ususally this is just a numeric value indicating the number of
numbered pages in the book, i.e. the last numbered page is 307, so the value is 307.
If you want to do this in the 'approved' pagination style, you probably should have
another field for this. That is, that 307 page book might properly be paginated as
vi, ,307, , meaning 6 Roman numbered pages with the first 4 not marked and 307
Latin numbered pages with the first one not marked. I know of no on-line listing site
whiich will take this notation for the Pages field.
Photographer: The Photographer's name if present, or a reference to the
presence of photgraphs ("Photographs", "112 color photos", etc).
Place of Publication: Represents the location printed usually a city
("New York, "Racine," "Garden City," etc).
Price: Represents the selling price of the record. Suggested format is
nnnnnnn.nn or nnnnnnnnnn.
Printing: Simple, brief statement of printing ("1st printing", "6th
printing", etc). Although most people are aware that there is a difference between
Edition and Printing, book collectors tend to understand that a designation of
First Printing with no other statement means First Edition and First Printing.
So, if you are going to use the Printing field, you should also use the Edition
field and make sure they are both displayed when either is displayed.
Publisher: Concise publisher's name ("Grosset & Dunlap," "Dell,"
Purchase Cost: Private numeric data field used to store cost value.
Suggested format is nnnnnnn.nn
Record No Represents the unique database record number. Different than
the SKU although the two could be combined.
Sales Tax: A string/numeric representing sales tax information. If
you would be selling in multiple states, the entry should be a string. See the
UIEE format for a specific method.
Series: The item series, i.e. "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys".
Size/Type: Simple, brief statement of physical size ("8vo," "Folio,"
"16cm x 22cm," etc)
SKU: A Stock Keeping Unit. Each book should have a unique identifer.
This can be something as complicated as an SKU containing the initial list date
and the book number listed that day, i.e. something like 20090323001 for the first
book listed on Mar 23, 2009 or as simple as an indication of the number of the
book listed, e.g. 0034567 for the 34,567th unique book listed. To be fair to
other sellers, one shouldn't list more than, say three of the same book and each
of the books listed should not be identical. Use the quantity field if you
have multiple books to list (in the same condition, etc.). Different than
the Record Number although the two could be combined.
Status: Private data field representing status of a record
("Available," "On Hold," etc). Also see List On-line and Upload Flag.
Title: Represents the title of the book [b]as it appears on the title page[/b].
If the title exceeds the number of characters in the field, then an ellipse (...) should
appear at the end. The full title may optionally be included in Notes.
Translator: The translator as given on the Title page.
Upload Flag: You may have an available item you would like to list but not
upload to a listing service just yet. This field is a simple Yes/No field indicating
whether you would like to write this item to the upload file the next time you prepare
the file. Automatically changing this flag when an item has been modified in some way
is the major part of what separates a 'library/collectors' inventory database from a
'professional sellers' inventory database. It should work in conjuction with the
Status, List On-line, and Modified fields. In that sense, you may
have several of these flags, i.e. you may want to upload to one site but not another.
In one sense this could be included in the Status (as could the List On-line
field), but I think it is much more convienent to separate the three, especially if you
intend to list on multiple services.
Weight: Represents the unpackaged weight of the item being described
For a numeric-only value without any specified units of measurement, the value is
assumed to be ounces in the UIEE specification.