If you're ready to catalog your book collection, you should know what to look for in a good book program. And it goes without saying, you need to know what qualities are usually found in a bad book program. Though not every program with these qualities is bad, when compared to a book program, they appear bad for organizing books. Save those for your stamp collection or your miniature RC cars. For books, choose a book program dedicated to the printed word.
Let me take that back. Don't just choose a program dedicated to the printed word. Of course, it has to allow you add books that are printed, of course! But if it only works with printed books, where will you list your audiobooks? Some on cassette tape, some on DVD, right? Where would those fit into a book program for only printed books? And what about ebooks? Those are books, too!
You could add the book normally and put a note somewhere that it's on tape or CD (or MP3). If the program lets you add notes. If it doesn't, it probably falls into the bad category anyway, so why are you bothering with it? Choose a program that's as customizable as it can be. It's your program after all. It should reflect the things you like, and the way you think. If you can't make it do that-mark another in the bad column.
And how about customizing right down to how you sort the books? Do you want to sort by publisher, author, title, subject, or some other fact? Fine! But what if you want to sort your books by your favorites, or the ones you liked the least? How will the book program know to do that?
Because, if it's a good book program it will let you add those labels to the books. You should be able to add anything you want. Or nothing. Label a book "snorflehagden" if the mood strikes, and no one or nothing in the book program should pop up and say, "Sorry! Can't do that."
Label your favorites as such, and sort. Label the books that you feel are just one step above firestarters, and sort. You'll never have to worry about forgetting that you read one and accidentally have to slog through that horrible story again!
What about images? Does the book program add the cover for you? It should. Can you add your own images? With the right software you can. Can you turn your book catalog into HTML so it can be uploaded to the Internet? No, that's not science fiction! A good book program does this for you, no fuss, no muss.
What about your mobile devices? You carry everything else on your cell phone or PDA, why not carry your book catalog, too? You'll never be stuck in a bookstore and unable to make sure you don't have that new novel.
A good book program should become your book program, and do just what you want it to.