The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Database Conversion: Homebase to Bookhound

I'm working on a massive book cull in prep for a Sunday stoop sale, so not a whole lot of time to blog/twitter etc. But here's a quick bullet list I compiled while converting from Homebase to Bookhound.

Both programs are free book databases provided by bookselling venues: Homebase from ABE, Bookhound from Biblio. I stuck with the clunky Homebase for way too long (it was the program I trained on and I had conversion anxiety) so when a version of the well-regarded Bookhound was recently made free through Biblio, I took the leap. Here's what I found:

Bookhound Advantages
  • File conversion was quick and painless (requires a file upload to Biblio).
  • Bookhound can generate an Amazon ProMerchant upload file with one click, meaning I no longer have to maintain a second Excel db (which was prone to deviation).
  • One click Image URL creation (if you host your own photos) and automatic picture insertion on Amazon.
  • Automatic (and free: Hombase requires a monthly ABE subscription) ISBN lookup, recognition of ASINs and generation of ISBN13s.
  • Allows for exclusion of single book records from different versions of file uploads (so you can withhold disallowed formats from particular venues. Ex: No ARCs on Amazon).
  • The ability to create temporary and saved titles lists for group editing, exporting and print catalogs
  • Built in button to add special characters ("√©" for instance)
  • Allows you to drag already typed info from one field to another.
Disadvantages/Differences
  • Bookhound only allows a book to be included in a single user-created catalog. Homebase allows two (though only ABE recognizes a book's association with multiple catalogs so it wasn't terribly useful)
  • Homebase marks a record for your next upload if you make ANY change to the book data, Bookhound only does so if you change the quantity. You need to move to another tab and click "resend this item" if you make a change not related to quantity and you want to re-upload the data (ex: a price change). This might be an advantage actually (if you're making changes that should be invisible invisible to the buyer), but it does require an extra step.
And here are a few quirks I discovered while making the conversion:
  • Use capital "X" in isbn DB entry (where an X is the 10th character) or Amazon will spit it out. Find them by using "*********x" in the Bookhound search form ISBN field.
  • You can't use "foul" language in the Amazon description field. "Bitch" is disallowed and so are some word that contain dirty words, "Lipshit" for instance.
I'm still discovering features of Bookhound but these are the things that helped or hurt me immediately. Short answer: If you want a robust featured free bookselling DB go with Bookhound, and don't be afraid of making a switch.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Thanks for posting this. I was waiting for a Bookhound review before giving it a go. Keep us posted.
Sue
http://booksaroundtheclock.wordpress.com/