Find that Book: Your bookcases’ Google

Jun 27, 2017
Productivity

Find that Book, an iPhone and iPad App set to help you index your physical bookcases without too much hassle.

Did you ever spend hours trying to find that book you loved and wished to read again or lend to a friend? It would be easy if your bookcases were sorted, which may be the case if you just moved in. But, in real life, you always end up storing your latest good read in the first slot available. At least I do! And even if your books were perfectly sorted by authors, it wouldn’t be much help if you wanted to search for a specific book that had “moon” in the title and you couldn’t remember the author’s name.

Compared to the competition, this app is not meant to completely index your bookcases, which generally looks like a tremendous task. On the contrary, it focuses on simplifying the initial process using photos, Siri dictation or character recognition keywording as much as possible; leaving the last identification process to yourself by browsing a reduce set of photos.

Once the initial keywording has been done, it is fairly easy to search for a set of keywords (author name or title). You get a list of results sorted by most relevant first, and you can further browse those results for your specific book and finally locate it. Search does not need perfect spelling, which is a good thing as neither Siri dictation nor character recognition are perfect. With the latter, you can end up with “princess” being recognized as “prmcess”, the “i” and the “n” being merged into an “m”. This is a no brainer with the provided proximity search engine. This feature is also helpful if you don’t remember the precise spelling of such and such obscure author’s name.

This app is not meant to completely index your bookcases, it rather focuses on simplifying the process using photos, Siri dictation or character recognition keywording as much as possible

The initial work is nevertheless necessary: you must first take pictures of your bookcases as a base to locate your books (with a nice straightening feature), and then take photos of your books by bundles (5 to 10 books per photo). Character recognition takes place in the background and lets you continue taking pictures. Now, to be fair, character recognition works well for books with clear text; but with older books or complicated fonts, things get tougher… Fortunately, it is also very easy to dictate auhor names and titles using Siri, which makes the whole keywording process acceptable.

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You may not be a compulsive reader, but may still find some interest in “Find that Book” if you have lots of comics, CDs or DVDs. For the latest, you will be better off using Siri dictation only, as they often have colourful quirky backs that just fail character recognition.

A little negative detail: once you’ve keyworded your bookcases, you’ll have to always put back your books to their original place. This may be a hassle for some, but then, the app can also help you do that.

Find that Book is now available for iOS, and is swifter with most recent devices. It is free to download and test until 50 book bundles, you can then unlock it through a single “unlimited” in-app purchase.

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