Yeah, so wordpress is not a content management system that requires no coding after all, at least using free plugins.
Gravity forms and types & views look to give wordpress CMS functionality, but this is available in Drupal for free.
I realized that to make something as simple as a database of Books, where users can add a Book, browse all books by author, date, year, etc, is not possible with wordpress--at least not out of the box. I'm sure that it's easy as pie for real developers, but in case anyone cares, for a newbie--
You can make a Book custom post type.
You can add custom fields (author, year, publisher).
You can add custom fields to the Book custom post type, but you can't get rid of the Titlte and Content Editor elements. So it's just odd.
Then it's not apparent, at all, how to let users browse the books by each field (something that the $49 types & views probably allows).
I do realize that you can do all that I say if you are willing to muck around with the PHP code, which is all fine and dandy.
But to know what you're doing, you've got to read the background of what the wordpress API does, etc. You have to learn what the hooks are, what the templating system is, etc. Again, all fine and dandy, but I submit that such an incredibly common, simple, and standard CMS feature should not require manual PHP coding. It could very well be the case that I have missed complete tutorials that are on the net that tell you how to build a Books database using WordPress 3.3.1 from scratch. They might tell you how to build a Book custom post type, but after that, then what? Every single tutorial that I've seen so far is missing a few key steps or are geared towards those who already know the innards of WordPress. People get lost at different places, and what is obvious to some is not at all obvious to others, and the only way to solve this problem when writing a tutorial is to include all the steps, or at least include a sample project.
Maybe I expected too much, but I'm shocked that such a large project has no good resources on how to accomplish such a common use case. Maybe Drupal is no better, but we'll see. I might be back.