New Book Tracker Database


#1

Are you an avid reader?!

I just posted a Book Tracker Database on Airtable Universe!

I’ve read so many books in my lifetime and wanted a way to start tracking them. Not only the books I’ve read, but the ones I want to read.

​This database includes a place for Title, Book Cover Image, Author, Read Status, Genre, Synopsis, Month and Year Read, Ratings by Star, Your Review of the book, and Own Status.

​It also includes information like Number of Pages in the book, How many times you’ve read the book, Year Published, and ISBN. If you read e-books from your local library, I’ve also included a field for Library Status. This could easily be changed to keeping track of something like where you want to buy the book.






The Tables included are:

Books
Authors
Genre
Metrics
Status

The Metrics, Status and Genre Tables are rollup fields of all your data at a glance

​Grid Views include:
All Books
Books Read This Year
Status: Currently Reading
Status: Read
Books by Genre
My Rating​

Gallery Views include:
Book Gallery
Book Gallery Read
Synopsis

Form View:
Add New Book

​Right now, I’m just gathering my information from GoodReads to input information like the number of pages, year published, and ISBN. If you are an awesome person who could connect the GoodReads API or any book API to the database, even better! (And if you can, please show me!)

​Hope this helps you keep track of your books in an organized way!

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.

  • William Styron

#2

This book tracker is head, shoulders, and several inches of pectoralis major better than the book tracker I tossed together earlier this year — so I think I’m going to export my data and import it into yours!

My initial motivation for assembling a tracker was one of mental hygiene. It’s often difficult to judge one’s own mental state from inside the mind one is trying to evaluate, but I’d discovered the number of books recently read, annualized, was a pretty effective personal barometer. For years I averaged, when happily relationshipped and satisfyingly employed, 150 – 200 books read or re-read. For a few years there, though, I was averaging 300 to 350 — which, in retrospect, was a period during which I was persistently depressed. (There was one week or so a while back I was reading at an annualized rate of 1,300 books; I don’t recall the details, but I evidently wasn’t very happy.)

These days, I check my projected annual numbers once or twice a week. If i notice them creeping upwards, I crank up my activity level, pay closer attention to my diet, sometimes disappear to the mountains for a day or two — whatever it takes to move the needle downward again. For most of this year, I’ve been reading at an annualized rate somewhere in the range of 185 to 205 — well within my sweet spot.

When I first rolled out this base, back in January, it was the barest of bones: Title, author, start date, stop date. As time has past — and especially since the canary still lives — I’ve slowly broadened the data I keep, gradually adding fields that speak more to reading as a pleasurable activity, and not simply a diagnostic tool. At the rate I’m going, somewhere around the end of the year my base should look very nearly like yours. I’ve decided to cut to the chase, though, and jump straight to the finished product.

Thanks again!


#3

Thank you!

Your ‘pectoralis major’ comment cracked me up!! haha!

My life does not lend well right now to reading more than a select few each year but this database has given me the motivation to pick up a book in those spare moments I have. Number 1, reading is relaxing to me and gives me a mental break - Number 2, I can be nerdy and track what I read along with all kinds of stats.

I’m finally able to start reading more now than I was 2 years ago when I had a newborn daughter and was completely exhausted. Oh how life changes!

Hope you get to disappear to the mountains AND hit your 200 mark this year!


#4

Oddly enough, in looking through the GoodReads API info, it appears those things can’t be done. I could see where maybe there’s a licensing issue in providing you with the ISBN, but it doesn’t appear you can get any book info (other than a list of editions) through the API. I could be wrong, but that’s how it appears at first glance.


#5

Well thanks for looking. I am not skilled in that area but was hoping there would be some sort of way to pull in information.

I’ll stick to manual for now I guess!


#6

Ah, but I’ve found a list of 53 book-related APIs out there, and I think possibly the Open Library Books API might be what is needed. Unfortunately, I’ve more experience using Zapier than any other bit of middleware — and that’s one integration tool you wouldn’t want to use for this task, because of its pricing structure.

I’ll try to kick this around some as time permits. Feel free to kick my cage if it’s been a while since I reported back.


#7

Awesome! I’ve used Zapier for other things but not sure about this one.

Would love to see some sort of easy way to get everything in. I’ll keep tabs on this!

Thanks Vann!


#8

Looks like a really useful database for me. I have a book list database that is basically just a spreadsheet of all my books. It has over 600 books in it. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but do you have any hints as to how I might export these books and then import them into your database?

Thanks,
-barry


#9

This is your best bet if you are on the “Free” plan:

Just do that one field (column) at a time - you can do the whole column at once, so it shouldn’t take too long.

Another option, if you are on the “Pro” plan, is to use the CSV Importer Block.

First, save a copy of your spreadsheet as a CSV. Then drop it on the CSV importer block - you will be able to tell it which table to put the data into, and then you will be able to match up the columns in your CSV with the fields in your base. If there are any conflicts, Airtable will catch them and let you know. It’s really a very easy process.

Hope that helps!


#10

Hey @Barry_Margolius,

Agree with Jeremy on this one. That’s how I would do it by copying and pasting your columns.

I will say that if you are on the free plan, you will hit a limit at 1,200 records. Basically, if you use this database as it is right now with Author, Category, Genre, you will go past that limit if you have 600 books (600 books, possibly 600 Authors.)

Good luck. Hope the database works for you!


#11

Thanks so much (both of you) for the quick reply. I’m quickly getting to where I need to be.

I’m on the Plus plan, but I would be willing to upgrade to Pro if that made this process significantly easier. The column approach seems only a tad tedious, but I’m concerned as to whether it would populate the auxiliary tables (like Authors, Genre, Metrics, and Status) properly. Any thoughts?

-barry


#12

You’d have to do this for each “Table” separately. First, use the CSV importer on your “Authors” table and import the “Authors” and any info you might have on them from your CSV. Then do the process again for the “Grenre” table, etc.

If the column in your CSV has a one-to-one relationship with the field you want to transfer to in Airtable, then it should not be a problem at all.

You will see an interface where Airtable will show you the Headers of all your own CSV columns and then give you a dropdown menu where you can tell Airtable which field in your Table to match that Header up with - then it will populate that field with the data from the column under that header. If you leave the dropdown blank (don’t select anything), then Airtable will skip that column in your CSV and not import any of it’s data.


#13

Thanks. I’ll try it tonight.


#14

Anybody have any ideas on this:

  1. I go to my old database and choose “Download CSV” and I save that file on my desktop PC.
  2. I go to the new Bookshelf database, and drag that file onto the CSV Importer.
  3. Airtable replies “Sorry, something is wrong. You must upload a .csv file.”

When I open the CSV file in Excel, it opens fine.

Any ideas?


#15

Sorry I don’t have that option so I wouldn’t be any help. Maybe someone else will chime in.


#16

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your bookshelves :grin: :books: !

Creating such a DB was on my list of “Data to regroup on Airtable” :wink:
As I’m new here and still discovering things, I didn’t know where to start with this one but with your bookshelves as a base (I still need to deeply explore it though :wink: ) it’s a lot clearer in my mind now :smile: !

As your base seems very complete, I might ending up to use it instead of creating a new one :wink: !


#17

Awesome! There are so many bases I continue to think of to organize. Just this morning, I created a Gardening one to keep track of all my flowers I’m planting this year.

Hope it helps!


#18

Ahah :grin: !
It’s on my list too :grin: :yum: :wink: !

Maybe one day I’ll use your “Gardening Base” too :wink:

Thank you again :grin: (Helping, this one will :wink: )