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I like books as much as the next person, but this is ridiculous

August 29, 2007

On my Facebook page, I have links to three book library/social networking applications. Two I found on Facebook, Books iRead and Visual Bookshelf. I believe they are both unique applications to the Facebook platform. The third is Good Reads, and I joined that as a separate website and found a plug in that made it a widget on my Facebook page. Then, here on “Confessions”, I have a link to Library Thing. Help! Am I really expected to keep up posting the meager few books I read in my oh-so-precious free time on 4 sites? Something has to give. Here’s what I have determined so far, but remember, I am in the preliminary stages of this social experiment:

1. Visual Bookself presents itself best on the Facebook page. It’s easy to add books here, and I like the feature that recommends another book that you might be interested in, based on the one that you select to go on your bookshelf. On the negative side, it doesn’t prompt you for a review or rating, so it’s easy to forget to put that in. Also, it’s search function is based on’s database.

2. Books iRead also makes it pretty simple to add books to your shelf. It prompts you to review each book, and has a neat feature that allows you to select books you want to read, and then compare them against the shelves of your friends to see if anyone has the book so you can borrow it. I’m a book hound, and the more books I can borrow, either from friends or the library, the better. You should see my house. Regardless….this site also allows you to “chuck a book” at a friend, which from a book marketer’s point of view, is a very cool promotion possibility. They seem to have more going for them in terms of functionality, so I’m going to play around a bit more and see if I can create groups that are appropriate for some of my products.

3. Good Reads is a social networking site for book lovers. I haven’t gone into much depth here, but there seem to be a good amount of options available to users. I’d like to spend a little more time here, because I think they have a lot to offer readers as well as book marketers. I also like that the work here can be widgeted onto my Facebook page. Besides, CLM is featured in every single email I get from the site, so it’s got to be quality.

4. Library Thing – on the whole, I am really not impressed with this site. The feel of it is very clinical, and the interface does not come naturally to me. I’m not able to network within it as effectively as I can on GoodReads. Plus, I cannot upload my books to my website (WordPress is not supporting Library Thing) or Facebook so the site is pretty useless to me overall. Library Thing – not a keeper for me at this rate.

I’d be interested to see what others think of any of these applications, either from experience using them, exploring the interface, or look and feel alone.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2007 6:05 pm

    I think you have to turn off the email updates or it would waste too much time. When you go to the homepage you can eyeball what your friends are reading easily. About 6 years ago, one of my Betsy-Tacy friends persuaded me to keep a list of all the books I was reading, which I then began using Excel. I only kept track of title/author/genre and date, and now regret not having assigned grades. It is nice to be able to go back to see when one read something, and seeing other people’s commentary (especially if they are real friends whose opinions you trust) helps prioritize one’s reading list. You might also keep track of when you read something to one child, and be able to judge when best to read it to the younger one.

  2. caroline the librarian permalink
    August 30, 2007 1:01 am

    I actually like LibraryThing, mostly because it has the word library in the name (hee hee). Until my CSU Information Literacy group started a Facebook page and asked me to join, I really didn’t see the point of social networking sites. Still don’t. 🙂 I prefer face to face, phone or direct e-mail contact. Don’t see the point of blogs either, so I’d better sign off now. 🙂

    — cranky librarian on the last stretch of a 13 hour day.

  3. August 31, 2007 1:59 am

    Count me in as another LibraryThing fan, but it’s because of my blog, not Facebook. In fact, I’m still playing around a bit on Facebook and need to experiment more before drawing any conclusions, but for a blog, LibraryThing is hard to beat. It’s surprising to hear that LibraryThing’s widget won’t work on WordPress. I made the mistake of using Typepad and I thought it was the least common denominator in widget functionality. The rule of thumb seems to be “if it works on Typepad it’s probably been working everywhere else for years.” I guess you’ve proven this rule wrong!

  4. Harlan permalink
    September 28, 2007 5:51 pm

    You may not have noticed, but there’s now a My LibraryThing widget for Facebook. It’s not very functional yet, as far as social networking, but it’s a start, and at least lets you link to tags like “currently reading” or “unread” or “favorites”…

  5. September 28, 2007 6:19 pm

    I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

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