Organize your books with Alfa Ebooks Manager

Functional problems mar this otherwise promising book manager.

If you have a large collection of books -- either electronic or hard copies -- it makes sense to organize them so that you can easily find what you're looking for. Alfa Ebooks Manager is a comprehensive database program with plenty of features for maintaining your library. Unfortunately, some of the more-interesting features are limited to the paid version of the program, while others simply don't seem to work.

At first glance, we were impressed with Alfa Ebooks Manager; it comes with several sample books already entered into the database, and renderings of their covers were displayed on an attractive, realistic-looking bookshelf. The Library Explorer view provided options for viewing books by genre, author, tag, location, language, publisher, and a variety of other characteristics. Adding new books was a fairly easy process, but this is where we started to become a little disappointed in Alpha Ebooks Manager. We thought it was great that we could have the program search for author photos and book cover images using Google and insert them automatically into the database, but it turns out that that feature is only available in the paid version of the program. The same is true of the feature that automatically grabs book details from Amazon. What was most distressing, however, was that when we attempted to add images manually, nothing happened -- except a long, nonsensical error message popped up. We never were able to add either author or book images, which is a big drawback in a program that makes such nice use of its graphic display. Alfa Ebooks Manager has pretty thorough documentation available on its Web site, but we didn't need to consult it; it's really quite intuitive. It would be a great program if it actually worked as it was supposed to.

Alfa Ebooks Manager comes as a ZIP file. It installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly.

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