I think at this point, pretty much every reader out there has some sort of relationship with Goodreads, regardless of how active they are. What exactly is Goodreads? Well it’s essentially social networking for book lovers! Woo-hoo!! The app allows users to access all of the same functions that the website does (i.e. Adding and tracking your own books, reading and commenting on reviews, write your own reviews accessing lists, receive recommendations based on your reading history, and so much more!) but in the convenient form of an app. What’s extra cool, is there’s actually a “Scan” option that allows you to scan the barcode of pretty much any title and the app will take you directly to that title for more information or add it to your “Want to Read” shelf.
I have to say that out of all of these apps, Goodreads is the one I access the most, particularly when I’m on the fence in choosing a book not only for myself but for the library collection as well. Since it’s a site run by the masses, it helps to read reviews from the public rather than solely relying on the opinions of professionals. Additionally, I’ve also discovered that the more time you spend on the site the more likely you are to find reviewers you trust based on similar reading tastes.
Miss Tracy’s blog post!
Developed by the fantastic people of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the Teen Book Finder app provides reading suggestions to users based on YALSA’s awards and lists. YA fans (like myself) can search for books by title, author, genre, award or list. Each entry provides a brief summary along with any awards the book may have received or lists that it appears on. Additionally, users can also create reading lists with the “Favorites” button, share what they’re reading on Facebook and Twitter, find a copy of the book in your local library, and if readers aren’t quite sure where to start, YALSA provides three “Hot Picks,” or featured titles, on the homepage each day.
I love this app because not only is it completely dedicated to all things YA, but the interface is pretty basic and incredibly easy to navigate. It doesn’t get caught up with bells and whistles and really makes this about the books themselves. My only gripe? The ability to find titles at local libraries isn’t very reliable and not every entry has a picture of the book cover. Beyond that, this is still a great app for every teen and YA reader out there who are eager to find their next read.
In addition to sustaining the YA collection here at the library, I also have the daunting task of maintaining another vast collection …. My home library. Like any reasonable librarian, my personal collection is, ummmm, pretty extensive and pretty unorganized. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve bought multiple copies of books because I forgot I owned a copy or I started collecting a series but found myself at the book store and couldn’t remember which volume I was missing. The Libib app solves all of that by allowing users to catalog your home library of books, movies, and/or video games!
You can scan, search, or enter an ISBN/UPC and Libib automatically retrieves that item's cover art and all pertinent information and adds it your catalog. In addition to this, it also has social media capabilities by allowing users to share and discuss thoughts on books, music, moves and video games with friends and other Libib users. Extra bonus? You can give items half stars in your reviews! (I don’t know why, but this feature is super important to me!). And the best, most important element of this app: If something terrible happens to your book collection (I shudder at the thought), through a quick export of your library, Libib provides you with complete list of every item you owned – PHEW!!
It actually took me a minute to get on the OverDrive train. Much of this goes back to my fear of technology. But once I got on board, I’m so glad I did because I found that there is so much more to this app than just downloading e-books, audiobooks, and other digital content. Along with providing access to the library’s digital collection, OverDrive offers some great features for readers. In “My Account,” OverDrive users can get a list of recommendations, based on the titles they have checked out. Users can also keep track of what they have read using the “Rating” feature and can keep a wish list of books for future reading. All of these are perfect reader’s advisory opportunities and OverDrive does an excellent job of creating recommendation lists that not only speak to the reader’s tastes but are diverse enough that if you wanted to try something new, readers would have an excellent selection to choose from.
As a reader and one who owns both print books and a Kindle (I know, I know – who woulda thought?), both of these apps have become necessary. The Kindle app is great from a reading standpoint because it loads the books you’ve bought with your Amazon.com account, lets you read and annotate them, and will even sync changes across your devices. You can also access the Kindle store which allows you to read reviews, peruse recommendations based on your past Kindle purchases AND you can check out library e-books and have them sent directly to your Kindle (thank you OverDrive!)
While I like the Kindle app, I actually use the Amazon app a bit more. Surprisingly, I use it less for actually purchasing books and more for staying in the loop of upcoming releases and reading reviews. I love Amazon because in addition to finding reviews from the public, they also include reviews from professional review journals like School Library Journal, Booklist, and VOYA. Additionally, I can also create “Wishlists” for new and/or upcoming releases. This helps me when I’m not only purchasing books for myself but the library as well (it’s always good to be ahead of the game). The app also has a few pretty cool features when searching for titles. You can use the microphone feature, where you simply say what you’re look for or even use broader search terms like “Bestselling Teen Books” and you’ll be redirected right to that list. You can also take pictures of a book’s cover (or any item really) and it will give you all of the information pertaining to that item on Amazon’s site.
As a librarian and past Borders Books employee, my support for Amazon may be surprising. But I really do think this app is an excellent reader’s advisory tool and a great resource when it comes to locating and tracking those new and upcoming releases as well as get both sides of the review spectrum – the public and the professional.