Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LibraryThing, GoodReads, Shelfari: Social Networking around Books

Why Social Networking? Why Books?

People love to talk about books – recommendations are important

  • Proof once again – that people love books and still read
  • Geography is not a barrier
  • Connecting with people who have the same or similar titles
  • Long tail of certain titles
  • Tagging – user generated, diverse viewpoints
  • Member reviews – honest, straight-forward
  • Connecting with authors – positive for authors as well as for readers
  • Support and discussion – author mentoring (GoodReads), topical discussion (LibraryThing)
  • Publishers can connect directly with readers

LibraryThing Basics

  • Public library thing for all users (
  • LT for Libraries (a product) -
  • 459,380 users, 29,405,040 books cataloged, 3,460,217 unique works (7.21.08)
    For everyone:
  • Free for 1st 200 books, $10 for 1 year, $25 for a lifetime
  • Started in 2005
  • Catalog books (using Amazon, Library of Congress or 690 world wide sources)
  • Tag titles, star rating, reviews
  • Profile page – basic info, blogs, interests
  • Comments – private and public
  • Tag interesting libraries, make LT friends, connect with authors in your library
  • Early Review Opportunities
  • Discussion groups
  • Suggestions and unsuggestions
  • Blog and Facebook widgets
  • International (French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian) sites

What LibraryThing for Libraries Brings to the Catalog


  • Free – no fees but there is advertising on pages
  • Started in 2006
  • Daily digest email from friends (can disable)
  • Create bookshelves – currently reading, read – and user created
  • Star rating and review screen
  • Group activity – author lead
  • More geared toward social networking – connecting with people around books
  • Graphics are refined
  • Blog and Facebook widgets

From Otis Chandler, the founder and CEO of GoodReads:

"Thank you so much for the opportunity [to share with librarians]! may want to mention that Libraries can submit their catalogue as a 'find at' link for Goodreads members to easily look up books via ISBN/title.

To submit a link, go to any book detail page, then click "more..." to the right of the 'find at' links, then click 'create a new link'.


  • Dubs itself – the premiere social networking site for books and readers.
  • Amazon has bought a stake in the company in Feb. 07 (also based in Seattle)
  • Focused on the social aspect
  • Group discussions, author pages
  • Graphics are even more refined
  • Launched in October 2006
  • Blog, Facebook and MySpace widgets

Things to consider

  • Pick one and stick with it (basically)
  • Import data using CSV from one to the other (not perfect)
  • Barcode readers can make adding to the collection even easier
  • Occasional spam
  • Makes the TBR pile even taller
  • Something else to manage
  • If using with patrons – dedicated user

Coming down the pike

  • Visual bookshelf – Facebook application
  • Amazon – discussions, tags, recommendations
  • Ning – User created groups
  • or PaperBackSwap – book trading sites with some tagging, reviews, and rating
  • – A personal lifetime list of books read
  • RevishEncourages lengthy reviews
  • WorldCat – My WorldCat
  • GoogleBooks -- create profile, add books, integration with WorldCat


Nemo said...

from what u said .. i'll go with library thing
thnx for the review

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