Best Book Cataloging Apps to Manage Your Overflowing TBR

I’m no stranger to the meticulously organized TBR; in fact, I have a spreadsheet from my home library so I know exactly what I have at all times. (It’s out of control, but that’s another rehearsal.) Even though I keep a spreadsheet, I’m always looking for a new book cataloging tool that will help me keep track of my stacks while being aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The good news? There are tons of book cataloging apps out there to help with exactly that. I tried six of them to see which one I liked best and to test their abilities to manage a large TBR stack.

For consistency, I added the same 10 books to each app to see how they would handle adding, keeping lists, and sorting. The apps I’ve tried are Book Track, Library Thing, Libib, Leto, Book Buddy, and Bookshelf, and I’ll go into the details of each below. Here are the app icons if you’re interested in trying them out for yourself.

A screenshot of a phone showing 6 app icons.  The apps are Book Track, Library Thing, Libib, Leto, Book Buddy, and Bookshelf.

reserve track

Available only for iOS/Apple users.

3 screenshots of the Book Track app showing books in the catalog, home screen, and category screen.

The user interface of this app blew me away: it was easy to navigate and use and did a lot of the work for me. However, I couldn’t test many features. in the app store, is free to download, but once I started adding books, I got a popup with every click asking me to buy the full version for a one-time fee of $5.99. This is an affordable price, but I didn’t know that the initial download wasn’t the full app and I wish I had known that in advance.

Other than that, the cataloging system itself was intuitive and easy to use, although the free version only shows a few books at a time. Scanning books was quick and easy, and the app automatically sorts books into categories for easy searching later. It was easy to classify the books I had read and unread and look for the ones I was interested in reading next in my own home library.

Verdict: It seems like a good tool, especially if you have books of all genres, but just being able to see a handful of things in the free version didn’t give me enough insight to know if the paid version would be worth it.

library thing

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 Library Thing app screenshots showing a book's catalog home page, general library home page, and shelving system.

Library Thing is probably the most known application on this list and has been around since 2005. Their tools seem to be the most robust, and I like that the books I’ve read and the books I haven’t read can be easily separated on the shelves. It also employs user labels for additional sorting options.

The interface on this one is a little clunkier and a little less user-friendly, but after adding a few books and getting the hang of it, it was easier to navigate. And while its details on books are plentiful, getting around the app isn’t the easiest, and tags need to be added manually if you’re looking for a genre classification beyond a basic catalog.

Verdict: A good tool established for years and used by tons of book lovers. Great place to start if you’re new to cataloging and not sure what you’re looking for in an app.

libib

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 Libib app screenshots showing the main library list;  the ability to select between books, movies, music, or video games;  and the front page of a book.

Libib was the easiest of all the apps to get started and use. Not only book catalogs, but music, movies and video games too, so if you have a large media collection, this may be the app for you. Batch scanning was incredibly easy, so I was able to scan tons of items relatively quickly. It also has a manual add feature for additional customization options if your item is not in the catalog yet.

There were several books I added that didn’t have cover images, which, for a visual person like me, was a bummer, but its easy navigation and clean design made this catalog incredibly easy to use. It also allows the user to create different collections to separate items if desired.

Verdict: There’s versatility to catalog all forms of entertainment and an incredibly simple and clean user interface. The information on each item was simple and not too detailed, but if you want a catalog to quickly list all your personal items, this is the fastest and easiest system to use.

Leto

Available only for iOS/Apple users.

2 Leto app screenshots showing the library catalog home page and a book home page.

add books to this catalog it was a bit more difficult than others as there was no batch scan option so it took me a bit of time to upload my sample books as I had to scan them one by one. Once logged in, the interface doesn’t provide much information about each book, but you can sort your list of books to read by title or author. The catalog does not provide book descriptions, but users can add their own notes.

This also has a “Reading Now” tab, which makes it very easy to use this catalog in conjunction with your actual reading habits. Marking a book as “reading now” transfers it and you can track progress until it’s finished, which moves it to the “Done” category.

Verdict: It’s a bit difficult to add tons of books if you have a large collection at home, and not much information is included for each book. But if you like to keep track of the progress of current readings, this app could help you do that.

book companion

Available only for iOS/Apple users.

3 screenshots of the Book Buddy app showing the main library list, a book's individual page, and a menu option highlighting the move shelf and book checkout features.

I immediately loved how easy it was add books to this app — Single scan, batch scan, and online search options made my initial lists easy to get into the app. From there, I also loved the way it arranged the books into categories, and the lists were easily searchable if I was looking for a particular title in my home catalog.

The shining star of this app was the very different option to catalog books borrowed from friends or books you were borrowing. You also have the option to check if you are borrowing it from a library. It is very easy to move books from different categories and keep track of not only the books you have, but where exactly they are, which is extremely helpful if, like me, you’ve frequently lost books after being overly generous in lending them.

Verdict: Great UI, easy adding to lists, and checkout/loan feature make this app stand out in the space. For those who have many books and many friends who like to give them to, this will be their favorite.

Bookshelf

Available for iOS/Apple and Android users.

3 screenshots of the Bookshelf app showing the main library list, a book's main page, and the shelf page.

I must admit I’m a sucker for really pretty designs, so this book cataloging app was at the top of my list to just check the aesthetics. And it mostly lived up to my expectations. Scanning lots of books was easy with batch scanning, and marking books as read or to read was pretty simple. I like that once your books are in, it’s easy to filter categories to get to the books you want to see, and it even has a little loan/borrow feature, though not as prominent as Book Buddy’s.

Shelving was a great feature, and it’s easy to sort books by shelves or tags. There are many features available in this free app, although an upgraded version is available. I found that everything I needed was freely available, which was a nice surprise, and the paid version is quite affordable at $1.49 per month.

Verdict: Overall, it’s a great choice for a basic home cataloging system, and a big plus for those who like to use a really pretty app. People who like to use a lot of subcategories and genres may find this more useful as filtering and sorting by categories was highlighted in this app.

final thoughts

Each book cataloging app had its pros and cons, and while I had a particular favorite, every reader is different. An app may work much better for some readers and not for others, so I’ve tried to highlight many of the features so you can determine which app may work best for your own cataloging system. Although, you could go old fashioned and buy a library card catalog and do it by hand (which I definitely dream of doing one day).

If you’re done cataloging and looking for new ways to display and organize your books in your home, Rioter Mara Franzen has some advice for you!

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