Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Reading List is free to use, has no ads and keeps your data private. If you do want to contribute to the development of the app, you can make a donation via an in-app purchase. This helps contribute to the costs of developing an iOS app (resources, test devices, Apple developer subscription, etc).

Nope! Your book data stays on your own device, and in your private iCloud account (if Backup is configured) – user book data is hidden from me and from anyone else. The app is open source, so anyone can check in the source code if they wish. The app does send crash reports and some anonymous usage statistics – how many times the various features of the app are used – via Google Firebase Analytics, to help me work out what features to prioritise. If you'd rather not have this information sent, you can opt-out in Settings > General.

Absolutely! The app is open source, and I'd welcome contributions from anyone familiar with iOS app development in Swift. A few released features have been contributed by other developers. If you have an idea for a feature you'd like to add, feel free to contact me to discuss, or raise an issue on GitHub.

Goodreads is a useful app, but there few negatives when using it as a reading journal:

  • It requires continuous internet connectivity to use. If offline (for example if on a plane or subway), it can't be used.
  • The process of logging a book's start or finish date, or moving a book between shelves, takes multiple taps, often with loading screens between each tap.
  • There are many more features than the book journal features. This means it can be quite confusing to use.
Reading List was developed out of a frustration of these kind of issues! The app is fully functional while offline, and has been developed to make the journal interaction aspects as simple and quick as possible.

I haven't developed automatic syncing functionality – yet. I am working on this though. For now, you can move your data between devices using the Export and Import functionality. In the app, navigate to Setting > Import & Export. When you tap on Export, the app will generate a CSV spreadsheet with the details about all of your books. You can then send it to your other device (via AirDrop, Email, etc). On the other device, open the file using Reading List, and the app will give you the option to import the books contained in the file. For any book with a Google Books ID, the app will attempt to download a book cover.

The online book metadata lookup is provided by Google Books. Google Books does not index every ISBN that exists for a given book, so sometimes the barcode scan functionality will not find the book. In those cases, however, another edition of the book can be found by searching for the ISBN – if this occurs, tap Yes when asked if you wish to perform a more general search. If the book cannot be found even when performing a general search, it may be that Google Books does not know about the book. In this case, the book metadata may have to be entered manually into the app.

Unfortunately not – this a current limitation. In future, you will be able to record multiple reading log entries for each book.

If you are running iOS 14 or later, you can add a widget showing your current or recently finished books to your homescreen. Make sure you have the latest version of Reading List installed, and follow the instructions Apple provides to learn how to do so.

Reading List automatically backs up your data to iCloud on a daily basis. So if you lose or replace your device, you'll be prompted to restore your data on the new device. The backup frequency can be configured at Settings > Backup & Restore.