The Best Book Cataloging Apps to Manage Your Overflowing TBR

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I’m no stranger to meticulously curated TBR – I, in fact, have a spreadsheet of my personal library so I can know exactly what I have at all times. (That’s out of whack, but that’s another try.) Even though I keep a spreadsheet, I’m still looking for a good new book cataloging tool to help me keep track. of my batteries while being aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The good news? There are tons of book cataloging apps to help you with just that. I tried six of them to see which I liked the most and to test their abilities to handle a large stack of TBRs.

For consistency, I added the same 10 books to each application to see how they would handle adding, list management, and sorting functions. The apps I’ve tested are Book Track, Library Thing, Libib, Leto, Book Buddy, and Bookshelf, and I’ll go into detail on each below. Here are the app icons if you want to try them for yourself.

book track

Only available for iOS/Apple users.

3 screenshots of the Book Track app showing books in the catalog, home screen, and categories screen.

I was excited about the user interface of this app – it was easy to navigate and use and did a lot of the work for me. However, I couldn’t test many features. In the app store it’s free to download, but once I started adding books I got a popup with every click asking me to buy the full version for a one-time fee of $5.99 $. It’s affordable, but I didn’t know the initial download wasn’t the full app and I wish I had known that up front.

Other than that, the cataloging system itself was intuitive and easy to use, although the free version only shows a few books at a time. Scanning books was quick and easy, and the app automatically sorts books into categories for easy searching later. It was easy to sort through books to read and read and find the ones I was interested in reading next in my own personal library.

Verdict: Seems like a good tool, especially if you have books in all genres, but only being able to see a handful of things in the free version didn’t give me enough insight to know if the paid version was worth it.

library thing

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 screenshots of the Library Thing app showing a book's main catalog page, general library homepage, and shelving system.

Library Thing is probably the most well-known app on this list and has been around since 2005. Its tools seem to be the most robust, and I like that the books I’ve read and the books I haven’t can easily be separated on the shelves. It also uses user tags for additional sorting options.

The interface on this one is a little clunkier and a little less user-friendly, but after adding a few books and getting used to it, navigation was easier. And while its book details are plentiful, getting around the app isn’t the easiest, and tags have to be added manually if you’re looking for genre sorting beyond a basic catalog.

Verdict: A good tool established for years and used by tons of book lovers. Great starting point if you’re new to cataloging and aren’t sure what you’re looking for in an app.

libib

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 screenshots of the Libib application showing the main list of libraries;  the ability to choose from books, movies, music or video games;  and the main page of a book.

Libib was the easiest of all applications to start and use. It not only catalogs books, but also music, movies, and video games, so if you have a large media collection, this might be the app for you. Batch scanning was incredibly easy, so I was able to scan tons of items relatively quickly. It also has a manual add feature for additional customization options if your item is not already in the catalog.

There were several books I added that didn’t have cover images, which for a visual person like me was a bummer, but its easy navigation and clean design made it a catalog incredibly easy to use. It also allows the user to create different collections to separate the items if desired.

Verdict: There’s versatility to catalog all forms of entertainment and an incredibly simple and clean user interface. The information in each item was simple and not very detailed, but if you want a catalog to quickly note all your personal items, this is the quickest and easiest system to use.

Leto

Only available for iOS/Apple users.

2 screenshots of the Leto app showing the main library catalog page and the main book page.

Adding books to this catalog was a bit more difficult than others, as there was no batch scanning option, so it took me a bit of time to load my sample books, because I had to scan them one by one. Once in the system, the interface doesn’t give much information about each book, but you can sort your list to read by title or author. The catalog does not provide book descriptions, but users can add their own notes.

It also features a “Reading Now” tab, making it easy to use this catalog alongside your actual reading habits. Marking a book as “Reading Now” transfers it, and you can track progress until you’re done, which moves it to the “Completed” category.

Verdict: A bit difficult to add tons of books if you have a large collection at home, and not much information is listed for each book. But if you like to keep track of current readings, this app could help you do that.

book buddy

Only available for iOS/Apple users.

3 screenshots of the Book Buddy app showing the main library listing, an individual book page, and a menu option highlighting move shelf and loaner book functionality.

I immediately loved how easy it was to add books to this app – the single scan, batch scan, and online search options made it easy to access my initial lists within the app. From there, I also loved how it sorted the books into categories, and the lists were easily searchable if I was looking for a particular title in my personal catalog.

The shining star of this app was the very distinct option to catalog books lent to friends or books you borrowed. It also has the ability to mark if you borrow it from a library. It’s very easy to move books from different categories and track not only the books you have, but or exactly they are, which is extremely helpful if, like me, you’ve often lost books after being overly generous in lending them.

Verdict: A great user interface, easy addition to lists, and lending/borrowing functionality make this app a go-to in the space. For those who have lots of books and lots of friends they like to gift them to, this one will be your favorite.

Bookshelf

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 screenshots of the Bookshelf app showing the main library listing, main book page, and bookshelf page.

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for really nice design, so this book cataloging app was high on my list to check on aesthetics alone. And above all, it met my expectations. Scanning a lot of books was easy with batch scanning, and marking books as read or to be read turned out to be quite straightforward. I like that once you’ve entered your books, it’s easy to filter categories to get to the books you want to check out, and it even has a little borrow/loan feature, but not as big as Book Buddy’s.

Creating shelves was a cool feature and it’s easy to sort books by shelves or labels. Many features are available on this free app, although an enhanced version is available. I found everything I needed was available for free, which was a pleasant surprise, and the paid version is quite affordable at $1.49 per month.

Verdict: Overall, a great choice for a basic home cataloging system, and a huge bonus for anyone who likes a really nice app to use. People who like to use lots of subcategories and genres may find this the most useful, as filtering and sorting by categories stood out in this app.

Final Thoughts

Each book cataloging app had its own pros and cons, and while I had a particular favorite, every reader is different. An app may work much better for some readers and not others, so I’ve tried to highlight many features so you can figure out which app works best for your own cataloging system. However, you could go the old fashioned way and buy a library card catalog and do it by hand (which I really dream of doing one day).

If you’re done cataloging and looking for new ways to display and organize your books in your home, Rioter Mara Franzen has some tips for you!

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