With inspiration from Oliver and Don and Olle, I’ve dumped my personal library into LibraryThing, a web-based library, um, thing from our sister state of Maine.

To save hours of typing ISBNs, I used Oliver’s copy of Delicious Library along with the iSight camera on his Mac to quickly scan the bar codes of the books scattered around our house. I then exported from Delicious Library into a plain ASCII text file, edited the text file to remove everything by the ISBN, and then imported this into LibraryThing using its “Universal Importer.” Five minutes later and there were my 106 books in LibraryThing.

One of the things I learned by going through this process is that my library is almost completely made up of books about travel, medicine or design. I wasn’t completely aware that my tastes were so limited (you will note, as well, that there are no works of fiction in my library, reflecting my longstanding suspicion of the genre).

LibraryThing is free for up to 200 books, and cheap to join after that. I welcome you to sign up and befriend me: just visit can click “Add to Friends” in the top-right.


Clark's picture
Clark on April 13, 2009 - 23:35

I recently went through the same process with Anobii ( I find it an interesting to have some data on my reading much like gives me some data on what I am listening to.

Al's picture
Al on April 14, 2009 - 00:09

I just got a copy of Delicious Library 2 as part of MacHeist. I like this idea of getting ISBNs from just waving the book in front o the camera using existing software rather than wrangling with the dubious-looking code libraries I’ve found in Google searches. The cataloguers will either love it or complain that LTs results are missing a comma somewhere.

Don's picture
Don on April 15, 2009 - 11:53

Hi Peter: How successful was the iSight at capturing the barcodes? Books for MacOSX [… ], an open-source book cataloging application, allows you to use your iSight to capture barcodes, but it hasn’t worked for me yet.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on April 15, 2009 - 20:24

Delicious Library’s iSight integration works very well: I was able to scan my 100 book library in about 15 minutes. I’ve tried much of the open source Mac and S60 barcode scanning software and nothing yet has come close.

Josh Biggley's picture
Josh Biggley on April 16, 2009 - 13:32

As a self-professed book junkie (I think I moved more boxes of books from Ontario than I did any other item) I’m especially intrigued by the ability to get FREE books with the requirement that I provide a 25+ word review. What an outstanding business model — I wonder if it is profitable!?!…

Nancy Barnes's picture
Nancy Barnes on April 18, 2009 - 17:31

Suspicious of fiction?!?!?! Oh dear. Fiction is my life.

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