07 February 2007

So many books, so little time...

Hi, I'm Mary and I'm a bookoholic.

I have accomplices in this, including some of the nicest people in AFCA, AFU, and rec.org.sca, not to mention the bloggers. Some of my accomplices are authors (the horror, the horror); not only do I like their books, but I trust their recommendations.

I'm not alone in this depraved addiction. I, like my fellow addicts, have fallen into the clutches of the evil bibliopushers. Amazon.com, overstock.com, amazon.com.uk, abebooks.com, alibris.com, and all the rest have mercilessly tempted us with books. They send us e-mail catering to our interests, their links appear all over the WWW, they're ubiquitous.

Now we bookoholics have internet gathering places where we can display the dreaded symptoms of our hopeless addictions and confess our powerlessness. My forum of choice is LibraryThing, where I use the name shafer. There are others, some more powerful, but this is the first one I found and I like it best. I don't have a lot of DVDs or CDs to catalog, though, so I don't care that LibraryThing doesn't handle them.

It turns out that cataloging the books is almost as addictive as are the books themselves. I bought a CueCat barcode scanner to read in the ISBNs and I find myself carrying multiple stacks of books out to my computer, scanning them in, and lugging them back to the shelves. I'm getting a lot of exercise doing this. Of course, some of my books were printed before barcodes were invented. I haven't yet found one from before the invention of ISBNs, but I'm sure I have some. I've also imported my amazon.com purchases, as well as adding the books from overstock.com.

I've spent more time playing with LibraryThing this week than I've spent reading, I think. Selecting descriptive tags, for example. I hesitate to lead any readers further astray, but I just can't help it. Try one of the library cataloging sites if, like me, you have more than about two dozen books. I think you'll enjoy it.

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