Delicious Library: kinda gamey, but overall really good

I’ve been hot for the Delicious Library application for a while. I had the chance to play with it over the last two days, and I am grateful to find that my lust was not unwarranted. (Although perhaps, unrequited.)

Truth be told, I have a lot of media. I’ve needed a library like application for a while. I considered a few other applications for the PC. I even had a (software hacked, naturally) cuecat plugged into my PC for a while. I’d look at the cuecat and think to myself, “Wow, if only someone would utilize the power of the internet so that I could keep track of my stuff.”

The cuecat got lonely and depressed from neglect. Desperate, without hope for its future, it decided to end it all by diving headlong into the great forsaken wasteland of my storage system, which is composed of boxes marked “computer hardware,” “miscellaneous miscellania,” and many other descriptive monikers.

Why do I need an application like this? I have many, many games. So many, that I have inadvertently purchased two copies of the same game. Multiple times.

Here’s the setup:

I’m out shopping. I see a game that “I have been meaning to pick up,” and it’s marked down to 50%. “Sure!” I say, “I’ll get it.”

Only to come home and find that I’ve got another copy, (unopened, naturally) in the box designated Theta-A61. Then, it’s back to the store for a return!

I can’t keep track of all of my stuff. There’s only so much storage space in here, and a lot of it is dedicated to multiple story arcs for the novel I’m writing this month and release dates for other games.

Delicious Library is, at its heart, a simple database for you to keep track of your books, movies, music, and games. However, Delicious Monster took what could have been a simple application, and added features that separate it from other library applications.

First off, the interface. I love the interface. The interface is hands down, the best part of Delicious Library. Seeing all of the box art for my DVDs, games, music and books is just great. It’s like looking at a videostore shelf, except everything on it is yours. Of course, if you don’t like the default view, you can always opt to look at your collection in a simple list.

You can also make “Shelves” which are like the playlists in iTunes. You create a shelf, name it, and then put items from your collection on that shelf. For instance, you can make one titled “Family Room” and then put the DVDs that are in your family room on that shelf. This way, you can either browse your whole collection, or just the DVDs you have located in the family room. Very straightforward.

Any product can look up box art and integrate it into their UI. What Delicious Monster has done, is graphically polish their product to a very fine sheen. It’s very slick. When you browse your collection on the “shelf,” light reflects off the “cases.”

That’s love.

Delicious Library also “syncs” to your iPod. What it does is create a text entry for each item in your collection. When you sync, it sends the text files to the notes section of your iPod. The entries are sorted into folders by media type, and arranged alphabetically. In theory, I’ll never buy two of the same item again, provided that I’ve synced my iPod with Delicious Library, and I have my iPod with me while I’m shopping.

There’s also integration with your Address Book which turns Delicious Library into a full fledged er, library application. You can drag an item onto your list of “borrowers” and it will mark that item as “out” with a little yellow flag on the top right corner. It will also add a due date, which defaults to one week from the day you checked it out. When the item is late, it will change the status to “Late!” instead of out with a red flag. When you get it back, you can check it back in.

Entering items into Delicious Library is a fairly simple affair. You can add items manually, or you can have Delicious Library look up data for you from You can search by title, or you can use the iSight to scan a barcode in for you, and then do a search based on that. Certainly saves me from doing a lot of typing, and is a handy feature. It’s a little wonky though, and I’ll get into that in my next section.

This is the first release of this application. As a result, there’s some room to grow.

First and foremost, Delicious Library could link to another database in addition to Amazon. With older games, (and I’m assuming with music) it is near impossible to scan a UPC and get a match. When I do get a match when searching for a title, it’s usually a rerelease with box art that I don’t want. I search for my box art, and replace Amazon’s with the correct box art. (I was bewildered for a bit about how to change the box art, but it’s a simple “drag and drop” affair, after you enter editing mode for the item in question.) I find that I’m doing this about 30%* of the time. On the whole, scanning a upc gets a successful “hit” about 60%* of the time. It’s certainly not the developers fault.

This hit percentage may be a result of my collection being composed mainly of interactive entertainment, or it may be indicative of Amazon’s piss poor “sometimes an ISBN is entered, sometimes it isn’t” policy for games.

Which leads me to my next issue, which is iSight scanning. I think it’s a great feature.

When it works.

The iSight is not a barcode scanner. I do not fault Delicious Monster for this. After all, I have been playing with this application for all of ONE day, and I may not have the optimal lighting conditions or “have gotten the hang of it.” I’ll put the barcode in front of the camera, line it up according to the guides, and about 60% of the time, I’ll get a successful scan. The other 30% of the time, I’m holding a DVD in front of an iSight. The other 10% is me trying to get the barcode in the viewing window. The times that it does scan, it’s accurate. The times that it does scan and get a match on Amazon, it’s like a little angel starts singing in my ear.

I assume that my eardrums would rupture from the sonic ecstasy of heavenly choirs if I got a usb barcode scanner, or the ultra sexy BlueTooth barcode scanner that they mention on their website.

Not wonky, but things I’d like:

Smart Shelves. I’d like to be able to fill a shelf based on certain criteria. Say, “All games for the PlayStation 2.” The application currently allows you to create a shelf, but then you have to populate it manually. For example, you create a shelf for all your PS2 games. You sort the list view by platform and drag all the PS2 games onto the shelf. That’s great, but if you buy a new PS2 game and scan it in, it won’t be on that shelf. It’ll be in your collection, just not on the shelf you marked “PS2 Games.”

I’d also like to be able to tweak the “boxes” a little bit. I’d like to be able to create a “box” that is scaled to match the ratio of the graphic that I’ve picked. All PC games default to the image of a CD jewel case, which squeezes the graphic in a strange fashion. Most PC games come in DVD sized boxes nowadays. I found that changing the format from “CD-Rom” to “video game” puts the box art on a DVD case, which gives the image the correct ratio. Then there’s the issue of “special edition” games that don’t follow the DVD box convention and have even larger boxes to accommodate art books, cloth maps, strategy guides and additional promotional items.

I bought the app. Because it’s great for what I want it to do. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a great sta

And it’s so pretty!

+ Finally have a place to store all those serial numbers for PC games.
+ Did I praise the UI enough?

– Wonky iSight barcode scanning.
– Amazon as the sole DB for information.

= Lawsuit issues aside, why no “Smart Shelves?”
= No “view all collections” option. What if I want to see all of my books, dvds, cds, and games all at once?
= Delicious Library does not remember the values of items you enter often.

Delicious Library: $40
From Delicious Monster
OSX only

* I say “about x%” because I’m not in a laboratory with a clipboard watching a robotic arm pick up DVDs, Games, CDs and Books. This is just a “feels like” percentage. Not that I’m opposed to a robotic arm scanning my collection in for me. Hrm.