Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Goodreads- My new old favorite

We have an expression around here for what happens when you try to do more than the available time allows... "My eyes were bigger than my stomach". This saying refers to a common problem at potluck dinners. You put more food on your plate than you can possibly eat at one time. This phenomenon happens to me in a lot more areas than just food. In the past, I was a pretty good multi-tasker. With four children you have to be. But now that I've officially joined the 55+ club I'm finding that I'm not so great at it anymore. In many areas of my life I have a tendency now to (to mix metaphors)  "bite off more than I can chew".  I'm not completely sure why this is happening but I attribute it to less energy, worse memory, slower processing speeds. In other words, I'm an old computer and my hard drive is getting full.

Take books for example. I love books. I became a librarian because I love books. Call it an occupational hazard but every day books come across my path that I want to read. So I put myself on the waiting list (if its a new, high-demand book not even librarians get to jump the
queue.) Inevitably, when the book finally reaches me I've completely forgotten why I reserved it in the first place! Or sometimes a book is returned that looks interesting, there are no holds on it so I check it out to myself and take it home. I'm sure you can guess what happens next. I end up with WAY more books at my house than I can possibly read in the two week checkout period. And because of my now less-than-reliable memory I'm afraid that when I turn them in I'll have forgotten about them the next time I need something to read. What's a professional book-lover to do?

The answer? Goodreads. I've had a Goodreads account for a long time but have not utilized it to its full potential. For the uninitiated, Goodreads is Facebook for readers. You can connect with friends and see what they are reading and what they think about it. You can look up new books and read reviews. You can create or join groups dedicated to a particular genre. But my new favorite feature is the lists..specifically my "to read" list. Now, instead of lugging home bags full of books I can log in to the Goodreads website or open the mobile app on my iPad and search for a title  I have found that most books already pre-exist on the Goodreads site and all I need to do is just add them to one of my "shelves. Easy-peasy. Now the books I want to read are out of my leaky brain and on to the Internet which, as we all know, NEVER forgets anything. But today while using the mobile app, I discovered a feature that made my techie heart go pitter-patter....the scan feature. I can use my device's camera to scan the bar code on the back of a book that I need return but havent' yet read (big eyes, remember?). The app then reads the bar code, looks up the book and voila! one button push and its on my to-read list!
Here's how it works:
Download the Goodreads app to your device. I'm using my iPad but any mobile device with a camera will work. Open the app and choose "Scan" from the menu.

Align the bar code on the back of the book within the the frame provided. Once the camera focuses on the bar code, the app immediately finds the title. You don't have to do a thing! Its automatic.
Click the "Done" button on the bottom left corner of the screen.

The app then takes you a screen where you can choose the list you want the title ti appear on. Or you can click the Scan button in the top right hand corner to scan another book. When your are finished scanning click the "add all to ...."
 Nifty huh?

Go check it out and while you are there "friend" me. You can find my profile here.


  1. I didn't know about the scanning feature on Goodreads -- thanks for the tip! I love goodreads because I am lazy..... my friends read great books and I just follow their lead ; } (PS. I've friended you... looking forward to more great suggestions!)

  2. Thanks Kathleen! I just friended you back. Gotta love Goodreads!


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