Bibliophil – A site for book lovers

Bibliophil: bib·li·o·phil

  1. A lover of books.
  2. A collector of books.

Welcome! You read a lot! You need BiblioPhil. It’s FREE, why not?

  • Keep track of your books in a customized library.
  • Public/Private library security available.
  • Create Buddies with trust relationships.
  • Complete Library Queries:
    sort by title, author, rating, date read, etc.
    filter by author, unrated books, unread, reviewed
    on loan, wish lists, and for sale.
  • View my authors: calculations based on ratings summarized by author.
  • Recommend books to buddies, keep track of recommendations.
  • Loan books to buddies, track loan: length, quality.
  • Track condition, estimated value of the book, for those rare editions or Books For Sale
  • Display author’s web site and title’s website.
  • Search for best Price of title.
  • Shop your wish list.
  • Full data export available via Excel (CSV).
  • PDA and Mobile access.
  • We are -not- a business!
  • Did we mention that everything is 100% free?

About Us / FAQ / Help Page

There has been much speculation as to what BiblioPhil is and what it’s for, and so I finally decided to put all of your doubts aside and write up this document which is a hybrid between an About page and an FAQ, or what I usually like to call also a RAQ – Rarely Asked Questions (you see, FAQs could be common sense questions and answers, but what about those rarely asked questions that are unique to one’s problem). Anyway, somebody sent me a link to this page where there was much discussion about BiblioPhil, and so I decided to use the questions raised on the site as topics within this document to keep all of the information in a somewhat organized matter. If there are some unanswered questions here, please send them my way!


Does anybody know anything about BiblioPhil?

Yes! You lucked out! I happen to be the one who wrote this site. – Are you familiar with this site?

Sorry, it looks like that domain is already taken by someone. Some people just like to buy random domain names and then sell them. In some cases that could be the only source income for an individual. I don’t really like those people, because they don’t really do anything with the domain, and just squat on it. appears to be registered to someone in Germany. And anyway, I wouldn’t want that domain, because .com = company, and .org = organization (usually non-profit). And that’s what I decided to use. So, remember, my site is! If you forget the name, just bookmark it.

What does ‘BiblioPhil’ mean?

It’s short for bibliophile – look it up in the dictionary. I think was already taken when I wanted to register my domain, so there you have it… See the question above about other people registering random domain names.

Who are these people? Who is Mike?

Why, that’s me! I’m just an honest tax paying citizen of the US. There is no company behind the site. So please don’t sue me (I hope that I’d never give you a reason to). On the other hand, if you wish to buy out this “product”, feel free to make me an offer – as you can see I’m not making a dime off of it unless somebody makes a donation. I’m not really an organization, since it’s not officially registered anywhere.

How did you come up with this idea?

I always used to use to keep track of my books, by simply rating them. Amazon then uses your ratings to suggest other books. But it’s very difficult to manage the books that you have rated. You can’t even sort your rated books, so it became such a pain when the list grew big. Wouldn’t it be just great to have a place where you can keep track of your entire collection? So I wrote BiblioPhil really for myself, but then again, why not just open up the site to the rest of the world by providing free accounts. So that’s how I came up with it.

This is a bit voyeuristic, isn’t it?

Yes, isn’t it fun? You can actually see what other people are reading! That’s the whole point! Of course you can mark your entire collection private, and then no one will see your library. But otherwise, if you happen to find a person who reads the same books as you, check out what else they’re rating high, and maybe you’ll discover an amazing book that even Amazon did not recommend (by the way, Amazon recommends books mostly based on sales).

Will your site ever disappear?

I hope that the answer is no. But one can’t really answer that question. What if I die tomorrow? In case of that emergency, I added a free export feature – so you should export your data occasionally just so that you wouldn’t have wasted your time inputting all of the data. Another reason for the site to disappear may be if a company buys me and closes the site. Or if the site is going to start being very expensive, due to a lot of usage, I may have to limit its usage to a particular set of people. At the end it all has to do with money, doesn’t it? See more info on pricing below.


How much does it cost me to use BiblioPhil?

It’s absolutely FREE for you! Unless you want to send me a donation! J See more info below on how you can send me money.

Then how much does it cost you to run BiblioPhil?

I am currently paying about $65 a month to my web hosting provider, which covers enough space, bandwidth, and as well as a relational database. If you know a better, cheaper, but very reliable host that is an NT platform and runs ASP as well as SQL, please let me know! I just hope that the bandwidth will not get out of hand and my host will charge me tons of money, in which case it may cost too much to run BiblioPhil on my own.

How are you making any money?

You see, I’m not. So I’m paying for your fun completely out of my pocket. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more people like me? That’s why the site is a non-profit organization. Well, OK, I’ll admit, I get some kickback from Amazon by sending you people there. But I make something like %2.25 off of every purchase you make by going through me! So please buy more! In fact, create your wish list on BiblioPhil, and then buy through me – after all I provide all of the prices and everything! Then I can make money, and maybe even come out even! Costs you nothing, right? See the question above on how much this free service to you is costing me!

How can I send you money?

Many ways! Just send it to me! I’m open 24/7! Hehe. There’s a button on the left hand side of the menu that says “Make a Donation” – feel free to send whatever you want!


I can’t seem to find the exact book, what should I do?

Try looking up a book by its ISBN number under ISBN Search.

I found the book by its ISBN number, but it has no picture. Why not?

I pull the pictures for books off of Amazon. So if Amazon doesn’t have it, neither will BiblioPhil. If you really must have a picture, just search by a keyword and use another edition of that book. Sometimes I don’t really care what the ISBN is, and I do that instead – I like pictures too J.

How can I enter an older book that doesn’t have an ISBN number?

At this time it is not possible to enter a book without an ISBN number. You see, I’m using the ISBNs as a unique key to identify the book. It’s also used to look up some information like the pictures from, and they track all of their books by ISBN as well. I’m going to have to look into this issue (you’re not the first person to ask), and see if I can somehow go around this problem. For now, maybe you can just search the entire catalog for a more modern edition of your title, and add that instead.

What about books from other countries?

Well, you see, it’s actually pretty simple. The backbone of BiblioPhil is based on Amazon’s database which they share with the world. So if it’s on Amazon, then it’s on BiblioPhil. Right now I am only linking to the Amazon’s US database. I plan to add some features to be able to search their other databases – UK, Germany, and Japan.

I already have an Excel spreadsheet with all of my books. Is there an import function?

At this time the site does not offer any functionality to import your existing lists. This is definitely another good thing to add to my list of things to do.

How should I rate my books?

Well, the rating system is not set in stone, so it’s pretty much up to you. I’d go with something like this: 5 – Absolutely Must! Every person should read this! 4 – Very Good, but not a life changing experience. 3 – A regular decent read. Not bad, not bad… 2 – Eh. Didn’t thrill me at all! 1 – What a waste of time this was! But again, you may wish to come up with your own rating system specific to your needs…


The book’s title or author is incorrect or misspelled. Can I fix that?

Yes! While viewing the book (the page which shows everyone’s reviews, etc), there is a link under the book title next to its picture where you can submit a correction for this Title or Author. Feel free to submit your corrections, especially for author’s names and even cases where it’s “First Last” name to correct it to “Last, First” to keep the books in the correct sorting order. (Example, change “Stephen King” to “King, Stephen” so that all books by that author will be grouped together)

I submitted a correction but it’s not showing up. When will it go into effect?

Your submissions are reviewed individually and then accepted or rejected – so please give me some time to go through them. I get tons a day, and it’s a manual process. But I’m not complaining, keep them coming – we’ll have a better database than Amazon when we’re done!


Is there a way to group books by Year read?

Not yet. Someone brought that up as a nice suggestion on the message board. I’d have to add that one to my to do list. Recently I added a breakdown for number of books read per year. You can see that under your Statistics.

Is there a way to sort the books by genres?

No, sorry. I don’t classify the books by any category. But see the next question.

Is there a way to categorize my library? Create my own lists?

Not at this time, but I’m working on it! You will be able to create your own lists and add any titles from your library to them. You can name them as “My favorite fiction”, or “My College Textbooks”, or “The Best Horror”. You can even create your own genres if you like. Give me some time and I promise to add this feature to the site. I’m sorry, but I’m the only guy who’s working on it!

Can I change the default sorting method in My Library?

Yes! Click on “My Profile” link, then on “My Preferences” link on the right hand side. There are a couple of options on there that you can change. And you can change your Default Sort order to Date Read – this is the best one, and you’ll always see the last read books first!

Can I change the default sorting method when viewing other people’s library?

Hmm, I didn’t think of that one. So at this time, the answer is no. This will be yet another thing for my list of things to do.


How does buddy system work?

It’s quite simple. You find a person that you like and you add them to be your buddy. They get an email with your request. After they authorize it, you can then have them as a buddy, and also recommend books to them!

How can I recommend a book to someone?

That person must be your buddy first. Then, when you’re viewing a specific book (not editing your rating, etc) – you will see a text that says “Recommend To” with a pull down list of your buddies.


There doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity on your message board. Is it broken?

Well, it used to be broken. But the guy who wrote it, Jeff, has finally fixed it. So the reason for lack of activity is you! Feel free to use the board according to your needs! Create more discussion topics if you must. You can even discuss any particular book in the entire library!

How come there are no paragraph breaks?

This version of message board does not support any HTML, just simple text. So if you enter paragraphs, the carriage returns <CR> get converted to plain spaces. I’ll see if we can enhance that.


Are my book reviews monitored or censored?

No – you can pretty much write anything you want, so please be nice. I personally love one line reviews. If your review reveals the plot of the book, please be nice and check the box at the end of your review, and it will mark your review to contain a “spoiler”. Another user can then choose if they wish to see your review or not.

How can I edit my review?

At this time you can not edit your review. I was going to let other people rate your review (sort of like on Amazon), and thus you couldn’t edit the reviews that were rated – what if you got a very good rating for a review, and then edited it to be something horrible. But I never got around to writing that piece. So I either have to write that additional functionality, or let you edit your own previous reviews. For now, you’d have to delete your review and then write it again. You can use Copy and Paste in between to save yourself the trouble of rewriting the entire thing… Sorry…

How can I export the reviews I’ve written?

At this time, there is no functionally to export your reviews. Right now, the export is just a CSV of all of the data associated with your library. I may consider appending the reviews at the end of the file, or as another column. I’ll add that to my growing to do list.


What does that link “Open Source” on the bottom of the page mean?

The main engine that drives BiblioPhil’s book database is based on Amazon’s Web Services and is written in ASP. If you’re a developer and would like to re-use some of the code to parse the XML, you can see the documentation on how to do that by following that link. The source code for the site is available for anyone’s use – it’s an open source!

If you want to try some other open-source initiatives, check out CoinWordle!

How big is your book database?

You can see exactly how many Titles we have on BiblioPhil on the main page of the site. However, that does not mean that you can’t find more titles than that. What I mean is, our database is organic – it only has as many Books as the users have in their libraries! I use Amazon’s web services to search for your books as you search for them, and then add them to BiblioPhil’s database, if you decide to add them!