Posted by tonis (6202 posts) - - Show Bio

It started with that simple question from my younger brother six months ago and the next thing I knew, I was collecting comics again after a fifteen year hiatus. 
 
I purchased like a fiend/investor from the 70's to the mid 90's, and I had about 3500 or so issues to try to sort and appraise. Back in the day the only option at this point would have been busting out an overstreet guide and a calculator. Thankfully computers came along and make the process a lot easier these days. 
 
I searched around for what software is available and what various comic sites offer to organize and value your books. The biggest challenge was finding updated pricing information. I ended up settling on Comic Base from Human Computing  
http://www.comicbase.com     
 
This made it easy enough to enter everything I had and get weekly updates on price changes. More importaintly, as a programmer, it provides me with data I can export to use in my own apps from the phone or a broswer when I'm at a convention or a shop. The one I use from the web is located here: 
http://www.tonydumont.com/comics     
 
Here's a screen shot of the left half:

 

This is where I can quickly narrow in on the volumes worth pursuing and list what I need to complete it. 
 
I'm interested to see how other collecters go about this and if any have found reliable solutions. 
 
Tony
#1 Posted by Tintallin (197 posts) - - Show Bio

That's awesome!  Love it!

#2 Edited by jamesewelch (616 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been looking for a web service that can provide price information, even if it's a paid subscription to that web service.  I haven't found that yet...
 
I'm storing my comics using Comicster ( comicster.net) and I'm currently developing an Android version of the inventory app. That app uses XML to store it's information and web services to the comicster server to download issue data. In the next version of Comicster, Matt ( mabster) talked about using the ComicVine API to get the issue data. And the next version will be a bit easier to write plug-ins and add-ons. Right now, I'm just storing the value from ComicsPriceGuide.com in a "location" field, we can't add custom fields in current version. 
 
In the future, I'd like to write a page scraper that parses ComicsPriceGuide.com pages (after logging into that site) and loop through and updates my XML data. I haven't started on that, since I've been busy with other projects. I'd also need to read the ToS for CPG to make sure I won't get into trouble. I really wished they'd just put out the same data via XML or Web Services that you can access via login. I'd even pay a few bucks a month for that access.
 
I did start off using ComicBase to manage my collection, but I didn't like it and started looking elsewhere. One of the things that I liked about Comicster was the next version. Just need to push Matt a little to get it rolling again... Once the next version comes out and it's put into a source code repository and we can start to build plug-ins, etc. , then I'll be able to use Comicster as a foundation and build my plug-ins around it.  Plus, Comicster is free and doesn't have any issue limits.

#3 Posted by tonis (6202 posts) - - Show Bio

Comicster looks cool, definitely gonna have to check it out. Does it let you import data from a DB or text file to add a collection? 
 
I was looking for the same kind of web service as well, and wasn't too impressed with the selections, monthly prices, and especially lack of versatility in exporting and using the data after you enter everything in. With Comic Base it ended up a one time cost of like $129 for a year subscription. What I liked was that when I export my collection it contains the past four years of prices for each issue which is useful for gauging profit trends. 
 
Truth be told, other than using it to catalog and pull in the updated prices to export I don't care much for the views or tools. I prefer rolling my own app up that shows things the way I want to see them as a collector. like color coded value indicators, missing counts, etc. Comic Vine is a great complimentary database and research tool afterwards to make sure everything is accurate.  

#4 Edited by jamesewelch (616 posts) - - Show Bio
@tonis said:

" Comicster looks cool, definitely gonna have to check it out. Does it let you import data from a DB or text file to add a collection?  I was looking for the same kind of web service as well, and wasn't too impressed with the selections, monthly prices, and especially lack of versatility in exporting and using the data after you enter everything in. With Comic Base it ended up a one time cost of like $129 for a year subscription. What I liked was that when I export my collection it contains the past four years of prices for each issue which is useful for gauging profit trends.  Truth be told, other than using it to catalog and pull in the updated prices to export I don't care much for the views or tools. I prefer rolling my own app up that shows things the way I want to see them as a collector. like color coded value indicators, missing counts, etc. Comic Vine is a great complimentary database and research tool afterwards to make sure everything is accurate.   "

 
I also don't care much for "out of the box" solutions. My logic was about the same as what you said, but I didn't want to spend the money on ComicBase. Those are some of the reasons why I went with Comicster. The biggest reason I choose Comicster was "potential". Eventually, Matt will put up the source code for the new version on CodePlex or some source code sharing site. Then we (as developers) will be able to write our own plug-ins for our own views and tools.
 
The data format for Comicster is just XML (a GZIP .NET DataSet in XML format). So you could build your own tool to convert to that XML format (or use XSLTs), etc. Just rename your data.cmz to data.zip, unzip it, rename the file to .xml and edit. Then reverse that to get it back. The new data format for next release should be similiar, but I'm betting it'll be a little bit different.  
 
Matt is currently working on his new Twitter client project.... Hopefully, he'll get back working on his Comicster project soon. Once he's finished with the initial new release and gets it into CodePlex, then other devs can jump on board and help get it going and finish off any other tasks.