Video Vednesday: To-read/Amazon Wishlist hack

(on an iPhone/iPad/non-Flash-friendly device? Click here to watch on Vimeo, I think.)

In an effort to wrangle my ever-growing list of books I'd like to read, I've played with everything from hard-copy lists in pocket notebooks to Evernote, with a thousand .txt files in between.

My ideal list is:

  1. easiest to use on my computer (since I'm here most of the time)
  2. portable, so I can consult it when I find myself in an indie or used bookstore, grappling with overwhelm
  3. digital (because my handwriting sucks, and because it is easier to copy stuff digitally)
  4. updatable from multiple devices (i.e., is something I can sync between a handheld device and my computer, which is technically portable but which is such a hassle to haul around, I avoid it where I can)
  5. provides a way to sort by genre, author, etc
  6. contains a reminder of how I came to find this book (i.e., reco) and/or other context

The hack I describe in the video uses Amazon's Wishlist function and their browser add-on, the Universal Wishlist tool. It's easiest to describe how easy it is by showing it (hence, the video), but basically, you plug the title of the book you like and "Amazon" into your browser's search field, then click on the inevitable Amazon link that comes up. Instead of adding to your wishlist then and there, you click on the Universal Wishlist add-on, which brings up a little dialogue box that includes a space for comments. In this comments field, you add whatever context and/or reco reminders you like.

This is really a few steps away from my ideal book-saving tool. I'm hoping that someone makes my perfect iPhone app: one that would let me add context or other note, include a cover graphic, sort, sync and work offline. This way, I do have a list of books I can consult in the store, but it's dependent on network coverage, plus I have no access to my notes. I used text lists for a long time, but I realized at some point that I remember things visually, and text leaves out too much information to be helpful.

As always, comments are appreciated, I'm increasingly interested in refining my quickie-video skills, as evidence points to a not-small chunk of the population who, for some completely baffling-to-me reason, enjoy getting their information via video. (And this is not a fishing expedition for compliments, I know that there's something nice about getting to know the bloggers you "know" via video and audio as well as text; it's just that when it comes to learning stuff, I find myself impatient with even the best video screencasts, for the most part.)

Oh, and if my perfect book-collecting iPhone app exists already, PLEASE let me know. I'm tempted to partner with someone to build one, but I'd be a sad sack liar if I added a big project like that to my plate right now.