Featured photo taken by John Branch at the MiniCon 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. This post is part one of a two-part explanation about Branch’s method of acquiring and cataloging signed pieces from his comic book collection. Check out part two right here.
Whether you have been doing it for years or are just starting, there are new ways of cataloging that make it so much simpler. Years ago, I would have to hand-write a list of each comic, listing the volume, the issue number, the artist, the writers and so on. Then, I would have to manually update that list over the years, each time I added a new comic to my collection. It was painful and tedious.
Then came Microsoft Excel, a godsend at the time. It allowed me to keep my books in order and arrange them how I needed to, on the fly. Fast forward to the year 2014, I got hip to using my iPhone more for these task. At first, I was just simply using it to view and edit my spreadsheet that was created in Excel. It was great, since I didn’t have to lug around a huge 3 ring binder with all of my info, nor pages and pages of spreadsheets (like some of the older guys you see digging in the boxes).
Knowing there had to be a better way to catalog my collection, I went to this trusty site called Google (maybe you have heard of it). I wanted to see what options were out there for comic book inventorying (similar to ones I use for my retro games). I came across a few options, some for PC, some for Mac, some for Android and some for iOS.
Without getting into the entire app review process, I decided to try out CLZ Books. They had a Mac version too, but since I needed this more while I was at conventions, I opted for the mobile version. The mobile version was still $14.99, which seemed pricey at the time (looking back, it is worth even more). This app has a handy barcode feature, that allows you to scan the books in bulk (I do this before I even leave the comic book store). The reason I chose this app over the rest, was due to being able to search by content contributor.
Something that is very important when preparing for conventions and shows, is due to the time it saves. What used to take me days to prepare, now takes me less than an hour. Before, when using the spreadsheet, I had to cross reference the artist attending list, with my inventory list.
Now, I just go into my app, search the artist/writer name, and it will instantly show what I have in my collection from that artist/writer. At that point, I start compiling a stack of books I potentially would like to get signed. CLZ Books certainly isn’t the only app out there for comic book collectors. So if you’re looking for a streamlined and portable method for cataloging your comic book collection, there are plenty of viable options to choose from.