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Book Track Review: A Modern, iOS-Friendly Library Manager

The App Store contains millions of apps, yet for some app categories there can be a real scarcity of quality options. Book tracking, for example, features a few solid choices that are still actively developed, but largely this category receives less developer attention than I’d hope. One new option that debuted recently is Book Track, an app designed to provide key library management features in a clean and simple interface. When it comes to utilities like book trackers, I prefer that apps keep complication to a minimum while still providing the key functionality I need. Book Track, with a few exceptions, largely succeeds at that.

Book Track is divided into two main sections: Library and Wish List. I typically save “wish list” books inside Apple Books’ Want to Read section, so I haven’t used the Wish List feature in Book Track much. However, it’s a very simple place to save titles you want to own and/or read some day. Library displays your books in a grid featuring the book title and author, cover art, an icon indicating that the book’s in your Library,1 and any tags you may have assigned. Tags are the standout feature that has made Book Track work for me.

Keeping track of your personal book library can be difficult in our present day, because you might have books living in all sorts of siloed platforms. For example, I own books in Apple Books, Kindle, Audible, a platform called Logos, and of course, physical books are a thing too. When I’m looking for a particular book, or just checking to see if I own something already, I have to check all of these separate places. Book Track solves that problem for me with its tagging system. You can assign any number of tags to a book, then easily filter to see only books with one or more of your selected tags. I’m currently using tags not only to indicate where a book lives (e.g. Apple Books, Kindle, etc.) but also to track when I read a title. Book Track includes a feature to mark a book as read, but it doesn’t keep track of completion dates, so I’ve found tagging a valuable option for tracking my reading over the years. Each tag you create be assigned a different color, though the color options are currently pretty limited so I hope that changes in the future.

Book Track follows your device's system appearance setting.

Book Track follows your device’s system appearance setting.

Being a new app gives Book Track some advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, the app recognizes the importance of being multi-platform so it exists on iPhone, iPad, and the Mac. iCloud sync ensures your database is effortlessly kept up-to-date wherever you are. Like every modern iPad app should, Book Track supports Split View and Slide Over multitasking. iOS 13’s system dark mode is employed well, as are context menus, which let you long-press a book to see a few convenient options for adding that title to either the Library or Wish List, removing it from there, or marking a book as read.

Book Track’s novelty can also be a negative, as it’s currently lacking several features I would hope to see in every book tracker. For example, there’s currently no way to perform bulk actions on books, so if you wanted to tag several books in your Library, you’ll have to tag each book individually. Sorting options are also too limited – currently you can only sort by insertion date, book title, or author’s (first) name. There’s no series functionality, so you can’t tell the app that books belong in a series together and should thus be grouped together. Artwork on a book’s detail view is too low-quality currently. Finally, getting into Book Track for the first time can be a major pain as there’s no way to import titles from another source, so you’ll have to add books individually, either through the Google-powered search option, by scanning a bar code, or through manual insertion.

Complaints aside, I think Book Track has a solid foundation to build upon in the coming months and hopefully years. The app’s simplicity, modernity, and attractive design make it an appealing option in a scarce marketplace, but it’s the tagging feature that really puts it over the top for me. Being able to search for books in one place and see which platform I own them on is extremely valuable to me. I also love being able to track book completions via tags, so I can see at a glance when I read something and filter that year’s books in a single view.

If you need an app to manage your book library, Book Track is an exciting new entry that I hope will grow more and more valuable over time.

  1. I find it very odd that every single book you save into Library or Wish List has the corresponding icon for those locations next to it, meaning that in my Library tab, I’m currently looking at 12 books on my iPad, so I also see 12 repetitions of the orange Library icon. It’s a nice icon, but do I really need to see that when it’s already evident that I’m viewing my Library? ↩︎

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