iOS: I love to read, I do. When I was a kid, I was that kid who would go to the library and — no joke — check out a huge stack of books in one sitting (mainly Choose Your Own Adventure titles, which I loved). I wish I had more time to read nowadays, but I’m confident that applying a little geekery to my literary pursuits might help.
The iOS app Bookly (Sorry, Android fans) allows you to apply an insane amount of stats-tracking to your book collection. Its free version is packed with plenty of useful features for organising your physical book collection, tracking your reading time, and receiving useful statistical information about the kinds of books you like to read and how long it takes you to get through them.
It even gives you an estimated time for when you might finish your current novel, based on your calculated pace. Heck, you can even mark when you’ve lent a book in your collection out to someone (and track who has it).
Its pro version is (annoyingly) locked behind a subscription, because everyone has to make money, but I’d almost consider splurging $US30 ($40) for the annual membership. It gets rid of Bookly’s annoying advertisements and more importantly, allows you to keep track of more than ten books at once.
Getting started with Bookly
Screenshot: David Murphy
Adding a title to your Bookly collection couldn’t be any easier. With the app’s “My Books” tab open, just tap on its plus icon in its upper-left corner. You can search online for the book you’re reading, but I found it easier to use the app to scan a book’s ISBN number — its barcode — to automatically fill up all the key details. Take a picture of the cover if the app doesn’t pull it in for you, tap “Save Book,” and start reading.
And by “start reading,” I mean that you should now tap the Start Reading button under one of your books when you begin a reading session. The app will keep track of how long you read for and, by inputting the page you got to, you’ll receive a little estimate of how long it might take you to finish the book at this rate.
You can add any thoughts that pop into your head while you’re reading the book, as well as any scintillating quotes you want to remember for later.
I found it useful to use the app to track a reading goal — how many hours you want to dedicate to the print (or digital) page over the course of a month. The app can help nudge you along just so you don’t fall short, and you can set an even more ambitious yearly goal if you know you want to get through a certain number of books. This feature, sadly, is locked behind Bookly’s pro subscription.
Otherwise, Bookly is filled with irritating advertising — its one weakness. But I’ll stomach the occasional (bordering on frequent) tiny video ads to get a better snapshot of my reading activity. Plus, this means I can stop using random clutter around my bed as a bookmark.