If you haven’t already heard of it, BitLit is an app/service where you take a “shelfie”, and it catalogs your books, and then whatever books are offered by their partners, you can get a free or deeply discounted digital copy. You MUST be willing to write your name in your book in order to be eligible for this digital copy. It is a really cool premise, and the owner (or at least the public face guy) is incredibly nice. I am not quite finished with my cataloging, as I have an embarrassing number of books. But here are some things to think about when you are taking your shelfie. Learn from my mistakes.
1. If you have a ton of books hidden in dressers and in boxes in closets rather than actually on shelves, you will have a hard time.
2. If you have you shelves willed double and triple up, you will have a hard time.
3. If your shelves are deep and the books are pushed back into them, you will have a hard time.
4. If the lighting in the room is not great, you may have a hard time.
5. If you have intention tremors, you will have a hard time.
6. If you get impatient, you will have a hard time.
7. If you are not wearing pants while working on this, you may have a hard time because if anyone sees you, they (ie my husband) will probably mock you. (That may not apply to everyone)
How NOT to have a hard time?
1. Be as organized as possible and plan to do this in stages. And have distinct staging areas so you can easily transfer the books from one spot to the next, and maintain a modicum of organization.
2. & 3. Neaten and straighten your shelves, bringing the books you are taking “shelfies” of to the very front of the shelf so all the spines are flush. If you have hundreds of books, you are probably like me and they are not all on shelves. They will have to be at least temporarily shelved to make this process work.
4. Add extra light if needed. As a side note, your phone or tablet must have a flash camera for this to work.
5. Take breaks between the photo shooting, as I said, plan to take this in stages.
6. After taking shelfies of all the books you currently have set, up, WAIT. Don’t mess with the app, don’t tell it to re-categorize. Don’t do anything. Give it plenty of time to sort things. When it tells you it is done, REFRESH the app. maybe even do that a couple of times. Then, go through and verify that all the books are labeled correctly, and that they are in fact labeled at all. Give it time to update those.
7. Transfer all labeled books to the next area and stage the next batch of books. Pants or not, if someone is watching, you will probably be mocked for this part. Repeat the process as needed until all books are cataloged.
So far I have 455 books labeled and cataloged. I did it messy, so now I have to take my list and reconcile it and catch the books that I have missed. For my library at least, I seem to be running at around 10% digital discounted availability, which is pretty good. Most of them are 7.99 or 6.99 books available for 1.99. How many I’ll actually purchase is anyone’s guess, especially since books that I have kept are favorites and I am fairly sure I have already purchased some of them digitally. In any event, I am all for novel ways of combating pirating, and for me personally, reading paper is is no longer practical.