Collect ALL The Things With Delicious Library 3 for Mac OS X

James Bruce 03-07-2013

delicious libraryThere’s a pretty good chance that you have things. Many kinds of things in fact, from gadgets to toys, books to power tools and piles of DVDs. You have things, right? What if there was a way to organize them all? To catalog them digitally in some way, get stats on your collection, show it all off somehow and manage that vast network of friends that you keep lending aforementioned things to? Say hello to Delicious Library 3 ($25).


The project began life as a beautifully simple digital library app; you could add books, and use it to manage lending. With unparalleled beauty and a simple finesse, the developers found there were clearly onto something. If you’re struggling to keep track of a vast physical library of stuff, it may be exactly what you need.

Read on to find out why or for the digitally minded, here’s how to start an eBook collection on your iPad A Beginner's Guide to Setting Up an Ebook Library on iPads The recently announced iPad mini, along with similar digital tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 make for nearly perfect e-reading devices. From the near paper-like reading to the easy download and archiving of... Read More .

Delicious Library 3

Now in its third iteration, Delicious Library has grown into a magnificent beast that catalogs anything with a barcode automatically, though manual entries are of course possible. Paired with the accompanying free iPhone scanner app you can have your things cataloged for digital perusal in record time; it is also compatible with your webcam, as well as USB or BlueTooth handheld scanners. Pairing the apps is almost too easy; just click the “pair iPhone” button in the bottom right of the desktop, and scan the barcode that pops up on screen with the accompanying iPhone app. It’s these clever little touches that really make the app a joy to use.

delicious library

Using the mobile app has another advantage though – you needn’t be tethered your desktop, as it works over wifi to sync barcodes. Take it to your living room or real world library and scan at your leisure.


The recognition speed of the scanner app is incredible; if you’ve ever used a barcode scanner app before, you’ll know how tedious it is to line them up, make sure it’s got good enough light in the room, do a little dance between one hand holding the box and the other holding the phone. With Delicious Library app, it took less than 3 seconds total to pick up each item, and have it fully scanned.


Out of 10 board games I scanned, one was mislabelled, though it was by the same company so it’s possible the company is now re-using older barcodes.

Video games didn’t fair nearly as well the first time I tried; apparently EU Xbox 360 games use a completely different code to their US counterparts. Changing the desktop settings to use the UK store fixed this, and 9/10 of the games were recognized correctly.

Books, around 25 of them that I tried (I prefer eBooks, frankly) worked perfectly – the data scraping is done from the Amazon API, so I would expect nothing less.


Graphically Gorgeous

Zoom out from a single book cover to your entire library, complete with floor reflections. Utilizing native OpenGL hardware acceleration in OS X, the app runs smoothly, resizing and rearranging items on the fly. Hover over an item and it’ll tilt slightly, following your mouse with a pretty lighting effect.

delicious library mac


To show off your library, you can either publish to a website or local folder. Sadly, I was unable to upload a website, which resulted consistently in a crash. However, publishing to a folder results in an identical version, so I was able to simply upload this via FTP, and you can see the results containing my board game collection at

delicious library mac



The statistics screen is pretty interesting, but not particularly useful. It shows a breakdown of the types of things you’ve added to the catalog, the average values, total or used values for replacements. Interesting fact: of the 41 items I’ve currently added, 7.1% are produced by Rio Grande Games – I’m such a mainstream board gamer.

delicious library mac

You can also click on a creator’s name to bring up the Amazon engine and find more items by that creator.


Finally, a separate recommendation tab uses your own collection and rankings to find more things you might enjoy. After ranking all my board games, the suggestions were pretty good, finding a number of expansions I didn’t already know about and a standard collection of gamers favourites that I just didn’t own yet.


A built-in wishlist feature means I’ll probably be buying a lot more. On the downside, the view item button only connects to the US store, and there doesn’t appear to be an option to change to a UK store by default.

Real World Uses

I’ve started attending a “board games in the pub” meet up here in my local area; each week, members will post a list of games they have and ask for requests. After scanning my board game library, I just posted a link to the page. If I can convince more members to get the app – the free licence works for up to 25 items – we could produce a collaborative collection.

Unfortunately, a few features are lacking which prevent Delicious Library from being used to run an actual community library. The barcode scanner can only be used to add new items; you can’t scan something to indicate it’s going to be lent out or is being checked in. On a personal level though, it’s certainly a competent way of tracking what you’ve lent to a small group of friends. Just drag an item to the friends name; when an item is “out”, a yellow banner appears in the top right and the artwork greys out slightly.

delicious library mac os x

I hope I never have to use the insurance feature, but if you need to, it’s easy to produce a list of your possessions and how much it would cost to replace them. Or you can simply print a quick reference for your own needs.

For organising and locating your own content, “smart shelves” are fantastic. I made an example shelf that checks the synopsis, description or title for the words “farm” or “gardening”.

delicious library mac os x

You can even search your collection by colour of the cover image; though there is a voice search feature, I found it would failed on over half the queries I spoke, so that could definitely use some improvement.

delicious library

If you really want, you can enable the iTunes shelf, though I found that quite annoying. Presumably it’s used so you can compare physical music to digital collections, but I’m fairly certain you would have copied all your CDs into iTunes by now anyway. This feature is disabled by default.

Worth it?

At $25, Delicious Library is a bargain. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to catalog almost anything, and the collaborative and publishing features are really nice. It lacks a few features I would have liked though that ultimately limit it’s real world usage, but perhaps that’s something the developers can address in future versions. An iPad app to browse your collection might be really nice (hint hint).

Download: Delicious Library 3 ($25)

Are you using Delicious Library, or do you have a community library project built on something else? Whats your favourite feature?

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  1. Pam
    August 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    How does Pocketpedia and Bookpedia manage to sync between Mac and iOS?

  2. Ellen O
    July 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    This sounds interesting but I have some questions. Are you locked into the iPhone scanner or can you scan barcodes with an Android phone? Can you add your own keywords, such as a book series name and number, and then sort based on that? So, for example, if you have the Lord of the Rings, can you tell Delicious that they are books 1, 2, and 3 of the LotR series and then when you want to read them, find them in series order? Also, is there any way to export your collections list to an excel file or pdf or something - so you can put your book list on a phone or tablet and take it with you to the bookstore to (hopefully) avoid purchasing something you already own?

    I started cataloging my book collection decades ago and originally used dBase 3+ (yeah, that long ago). I eventually ported the files over to MS Access and that is what I use now.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

      There's no Android app, but you can use handheld scanners, not just iPhone. You can export lists, yes.

      There is no separate tagging, though the search feature is fine and would no doubt find that particular use case. It doesn't return results in any particular order though.

  3. Lawrence Coleman
    July 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    The lack of portability is a problem for me. I have a large library and it would help to prevent duplication if there was an App for iPad or phone.

    • Diziet
      July 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      This is sadly, iirc, a licensing issue. The data behind the app comes from Amazon and their license does not permit using this data on mobile devices.

      So you are very unlikely to see a suitable app in the marketplace for iPhone or iPad; unless Amazon change their T&Cs or the data is acquired elsewhere.

      • thumperaccuracy
        July 18, 2013 at 1:11 am

        I would think that after several years in this business DL would have developed their own database and we would not be subject to the whims of Amazon. I upgraded from DL 1 to DL 2 in hopes that this issue would be resolved. Nope. I'm not going to upgrade again until I can keep a portable copy of my library.

  4. masukomi
    July 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Did you noticed that your published list of games is in a random order. Try this with a list of hundreds of items and its impossible for your friends to do much of anything useful with published lists. No sorting, non-alphabetical....

    Same problem it Delicious 2. Can't believe they haven't fixed it.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 16, 2013 at 7:56 am

      You're right. I can see how that would be annoying with lots of items. Have you posted to their forums about that?

  5. kathy
    July 15, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I have DL2. If I install DL3 will it incorporate all of my DL2 automatically? Not interested if I have to re-enter all my books.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 16, 2013 at 7:55 am

      There is an import feature for old libraries, yes. I don't think it's automatic as such, but it will import.

  6. Steve H
    July 14, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    As I have a lot of paperbacks (many hard to find and/or out of print) I found the previous Delicious Library a disappointment, as paperback barcodes didn't scan properly. Does this newest release address that problem? I'd be reluctant to pay for an upgrade from something that doesn't work to something else that doesn't work.

    • David Z
      July 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

      I think the problem lies with the "hard to find/out of print" issue, unless you are referring to the actual scanning process which could be attributed to the condition of the books, barcode visibility, etc. I also have many paperbacks that are ancient, and they won't come up either, but I think that's not the fault of DL, or perhaps even Amazon. I can't really expect for them to maintain lists of out-of-print books. Oddly enough I have found covers for some of them, but it may be the case of just having to input them manually. Been using DL2 for years, not sure what this version has over the previous.

    • Maria V
      July 15, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I have Delicious Library 2, and own several hundreds of paperbacks. I have not had any trouble scanning their bar codes. The hit/miss ratio is around 50/1 for paperbacks and hardcovers alike.
      Have you checked your scanner? perhaps the problem is not in DL2, but in the device you are using

      • Steve H
        July 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

        Actually, I'm using Delicious Library's own scanner. Wondering if maybe DL3 comes with a software/firmware update for that as well. This wasn't just old paperbacks I was having trouble with; when I contacted DL about the problem they said "Oh you can't scan the bar code on the book's cover, you have to scan the one INSIDE the book." Apparently the outer one is enough for the bookstore but DL was much more picky than it should be.

        • kingshearte
          July 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

          Having worked in a bookstore, I can tell you that that's actually not true in many cases. Although more mass market paperbacks are putting the ISBN/EAN barcode on the back these days, there definitely still are many that put those only on the inside, and we had to use the inside ones too (at least with our inventory system - I didn't work cash, so I don't know what the deal was up there).

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 16, 2013 at 7:59 am

      I had no problems with any of my paperbacks, using an iPhone 4 as a scanner. They have made significant improvements to the scanning technology, but it does depend on the hardware you're using - I can't vouch for handheld scanners, but iPhone and the Mac camera should be fine.

      It also depends on the books of course - as others have mentioned, out of date items or cases where the barcode has been re-used are simply not possible - the barcode only holds a number to check an online reference, no actual meta like title is stored in the barcode itself.

  7. Bobbi Dunn
    July 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I use Delicious Library to catalog the book collection for insurance purposes. You never know.

  8. Donal Hickey
    July 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Have been using DL2 for many years. In the first two days it justified its costs. I tracked down at least 15 books I had loaned to colleagues and students.
    If DL3 is an improvement its a steal at $25.00.


  9. Eduardo
    July 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Great. Can the app maker promise us that the NSA/FBI/CIA isn't slurping their users book, movie, game, etc lists?

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 12, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Doubtful, since they steal that from underwater cables.