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Other book cataloguing sites (just looking!)?

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Feb 19, 2007, 11:48am Top

Besides the proprietary sites such as collectorz.com, has anyone looked at other online book cataloguing sites? I would NEVER leave LT but I read an article about shelfari (Tim commented in it) and wondered if anyone will critique it vis a vis LT or any other such sites.

My first instinct when I saw shelfari was to scream "copycat!". So much on there reflects/copies LT and I'm not sure that's strictly kosher. The owners are from RealNetworks and they invested $50,000 in starting their site.

Feb 19, 2007, 12:12pm Top

I want "credit" for being so open! Seriously, we're amped-up now on development time, so if you see something you like, we can add it.

My main comment is that almost all use Amazon alone. Most don't allow editing of book data. Most don't have groups, Talk, tag pages, author pages, languages, wiki-ed up anything, edition disambiguation. They have Amazon, and they have "friends." But there are some interesting featurures here and there. My favorite competitor is Anobii.

Straight up competitors (some do other media too, but books are central)

Multimedia with less focus on books:

Swap sites that also catalog:
Bookswap.ws (catalog and swap)
PaperbackSwap (including catalog ap.)

Foreign competitors (LT is already in more than a dozen languages, so
these are real competitors; we even compete against the Swedish one)

That's 34. There are other edge cases, like Zestr.com, Stuffspace and
Colib (very similar, but not public yet).

Feb 19, 2007, 12:16pm Top

I urge you strongly to try the following. Post about competitors on one of the competitors, and see what happens ;)

Feb 19, 2007, 12:34pm Top

Seriously, we're amped-up now on development time, so if you see something you like, we can add it.

That's an exciting statement! I'm now going to scour all the competitors and find new features that LT needs :)

But can you start by switching the default sort order for dates, since you mentioned in another thread that the majority seems to want recent first?

Edited: Feb 19, 2007, 12:53pm Top

Okay, I like AllConsuming's concept of letting users create lists for others to look at and check off what they've read.

And anobii has a wishlist feature....

Feb 19, 2007, 12:56pm Top

I wouldn't call it a competitor - but there's also http://ibookdb.net/ which some seem to like for goodness knows what reason. Caution - site colour scheme may induce seizures.

Feb 19, 2007, 1:03pm Top

I just tried ibookdb and clicked on Galpagos. It took about 10 - 15 secs to open the book page - and they only have just over 60K books in the system.

Feb 19, 2007, 1:23pm Top

Oh yes I joined Anobii the same week I joined this I set up the recommend site improvements group there in imitation of the group here. within two days someone had posted a suggestion that they do something like librarything. and the next day the post was gone so I walked.

Feb 19, 2007, 2:45pm Top

I just read about a feature Anobii added at the end of last year: Margin Notes. Sounds interesting, could be another feature we could use on LT ( http://www.anobii.com/blog/2006/12/new-margin-notes.html ). With my programming books - it'd be useful to mark particular pages, we could even have a zeitgeist entry "most popular pages" ;)

Feb 19, 2007, 3:22pm Top

Oh, that is on the way, believe me. I thought of it first, actually. To tell the truth, when I started LibraryThing I thought it would ONLY do margin notes. Then I realized I needed a cataloging back-end, and the back-end became the ap. Believe me, that's high on our list of priorities...

Feb 19, 2007, 3:41pm Top

I'm not really sure it's a competitor, but I like www.listsofbests.com It's connected to allconsuming.

Feb 19, 2007, 3:44pm Top

Since I'm "new" at LT...

I have started putting notes in my comments about pages that I want to reference. Example in World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves..., I have marked page 137 because it refers to Nisse ...

I plan on using the comments portion to mark pages that I wish to refer to, such as quotes from that book, poems that I wish to reference, etcetera.

But if there's a plan for Margin Notes, YIPPEE!!

Whatever works!

Feb 19, 2007, 3:50pm Top

What is the difference between margin notes and comments?

Edited: Feb 19, 2007, 4:19pm Top

Sounds good Tim :)

SqueakyChu - basically not a lot, except you can reference a particular page number and place a note alongside it, instead of having to clump it all into comments. The Anobii blog post has a nice screenshot of their interface.

Feb 19, 2007, 6:45pm Top

Tim, you're encouraging us to scope out the competition? And here I felt guilty for even asking about shelfari. If I didn't have to pay the mortgage, I would check out all 34 sites you listed but alas . . . .

On the other hand, if LT can encompass all the good things on other sites, then LT will be perfect. So where is the wishlist?

Feb 19, 2007, 7:34pm Top

I just peeked at Shelfari and honestly if I hadn't known about librarything I still wouldn't have signed up there. The feel of it feels off somehow. All it shows is bookcovers?! It takes forever for a dang page to load, I'm on slow dial-up and I can promise I would dump it the first day I tried it. Everything is just to big. The book covers are huge! I am blind as a bat (I wear tri-focals) but that is even a bit much for me. I am staying right where I'm at. Thank you very much!

Edited: Feb 19, 2007, 7:56pm Top

I just think we're a much more informed group of book nuts here on LT. I don't like all the graphics and color on shelfari. I much prefer the clean simple lines of LT.

Feb 25, 2007, 5:02pm Top

Apparently Amazon is funding Shelfari for $1m. Check out the TechCrunch story. Non-tech people I know are afraid for LT, but the tech people aren't. Money* keeps losing in social networks. Passion—ours and yours—is the killer ap. By their own admission, the founders of Shelfari had no special interest in books per se, but merely saw an opening where there wasn't a "big" site. The honest is a change; their first press release claimed they were the first social network for books!

*Not that $1m is all that much in these things. I hope

Feb 25, 2007, 5:32pm Top

I love this quote from the Shelfari interview: "Shelfari also helps with some things that are difficult to do offline, like choosing which book to read next...." I would never have included that in my list of things that are difficult to do offline (if I had such a list).

But the main thing that stood out about the interview was his grating use of "that" instead of "who".

Feb 25, 2007, 6:29pm Top

Having had a quick look at Anobii, I can understand my Tim says it's his 'favourite' competitor. Margin Notes is a great tool (good to know it's coming to LT), it also has the ability to hide single titles from general view, and a wishlist. Not that it matches up to LT in any other area.

Feb 25, 2007, 7:24pm Top

Anobii has a pulse. It's got certain things wrong. (We do too, but, at least from my perspective, they have some critical things wrong.) But they also have some things very right. I look to them for interesting new ideas. With so many competitors, it's amazing how few new ideas there are. Gurulib has some occasionally, but I'm not as taken by them—cataloging Word docs. isn't on the top of my list of features to add. Maybe an all-purpose attach feature, but meh.

Feb 25, 2007, 9:12pm Top

I looked at three of the places on the list (anobii, shelfari, and ibookdb) and thought that LT is still definitely better for a number of reasons:

1) Well LT is just more bookish (the website look and feel); people who are collecting books probably aren't attracted to the bubbly style that the others have, while some people may like the bookish one of LT.

2) We have more books and members. While this could be a disadvantage (it makes the site a little harder to control), the passion (notice I said "we" its probably not just me: here the user feel like s/he is part of the "team") invested in this site is more than enough to compensate.

Amazon may have invested 1 mil into shelfari but that money will probably disappear quickly with five people on pay role.

Anymore talk and I will begin to ramble.

Edited: Feb 25, 2007, 9:26pm Top

Okay, I scoped out the other book cataloguing sites. I found some features that would be nice (but not mandatory) for us here. Some of these ideas I got from other sites. Some were my own.

1. A wishlist
2. The top ten books being currently read by members - Our own bestseller list!
3. Chat -
a. An open chatroom
b. A Moderated discussion biweekly at a set day and time
c. A guest author once a month - needn't be a well-known author
4. Current news about authors/books/reading.
5. Additional information for each book
a. A place to put private notes
b. A Place to put quotes
c. A place to put "Borrowed from" and "Lent to"
d. Origin of book (where purchased or from whom you received it)

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sticking with you guys. It was fun to visit the other sites, but nicer to be back here.

Feb 25, 2007, 9:55pm Top

one more SqueakyChu: price or monetary value of book

Feb 25, 2007, 10:07pm Top

I agree with all.

A priority list:

1. A wishlist
2. The top ten books being currently read by members - Our own bestseller list!
3. Chat
c. A place to put "Borrowed from" and "Lent to"
a. An open chatroom
b. A Place to put quotes
a. A place to put private notes
d. Origin of book (where purchased or from whom you received it)
b. A Moderated discussion biweekly at a set day and time
c. A guest author once a month - needn't be a well-known author

Now, I'm rambling, or ranting. I can't STAND sites that try to get your contacts list. Shelfari presents as a FEATURE asking for your email password so it can go in get every email contact you have off GMail, AOL, etc. Jesus, and people worry about their books being visible to others?!

Feb 25, 2007, 10:21pm Top

Where will the data for top 10 books currently being read come from? The obvious place would be books that have "date started" but no "date finished" data, except that might just produce a list of books not finished by members. I'd really like it if it were possible to do more with the date fields, though--there could be lists of top books finished in January, in a given year, etc., as well as most common unfinished books, books read in the shortest average time, and so on.

Does the AllConsuming feature of marking books as read (and then seeing what percentage of given lists you've completed) fit anywhere in the priority list?

Feb 25, 2007, 10:54pm Top

I think most people want to note whether they're reading something, and maybe whether they've read it, but not fiddle with numbers every time they do so. I think they should basically be check boxes.

Feb 25, 2007, 10:58pm Top

--> 24

Actually, I don't like a price or monetary value of a book because that fluctuates daily. Who makes that determination anyway? The same book is priced differently by different people. I know that others may want this, though.

Feb 25, 2007, 11:08pm Top

--> 26

Where will the data for top 10 books currently being read come from? The obvious place would be books that have "date started" but no "date finished" data, except that might just produce a list of books not finished by members. I

My idea would be to suggest that people simply remove the start date for books they quit reading until they decide to begin reading it anew. In that way, most of the started books that haven't been finished would be, in fact, current reads.

Another possible way to tap into the current reads is to have everyone tag each book they are currently reading as "current read". I do that already! :-)

Feb 25, 2007, 11:10pm Top

I can see a place for the list price. Everything else is Heraclitan.

Feb 25, 2007, 11:09pm Top

--> 27

A check box for current reads is simple and effective!

Feb 25, 2007, 11:14pm Top

Ooooh! Can't wait to see how fast these things happen! ;-)

Feb 25, 2007, 11:26pm Top

I don't know...I post what I have read and what I am reading in the 50 book challenge group, and sometimes in some of the "what are you reading now?" topics in other groups. I can't imagine going through my library every few days to check off what books I've finished and started. I just wouldn't do it, unless it did some really interesting things other than just be a checkmark in a box.

And, of course, there are the books I'm reading that aren't in my library, because I don't own them; they're borrowed from friends or family or the public library. How would those figure in, or would they not matter since they're not in my library?

Feb 25, 2007, 11:51pm Top

> 25

I would prioritize those items that relate to book-cataloguing.

1. Editor/illustrator/translator, etc. fields!!
2. Where purchased (or otherwise obtained).
3. Price paid (or current value)
4. A place for private notes
5. A place for quotations

Then the social stuff.

Feb 25, 2007, 11:52pm Top

A checkbox for read and currently reading would be good. I'd still like there to be some more fun things to do with the dates, though--more people might use them if they could generate interesting information.

I think there should also be a way to mark books that have been read but aren't owned. The temporary solution is to add them to your catalogue and mark them as not owned, but that isn't really sustainable because in the course of years all the data would get really distorted.

Feb 26, 2007, 12:33am Top

The author issue is certainly prioritized. It's been chugging away behind the scene for a while as a parallel process. When I'm convinced it's stable enough, I'll make it the only one.

The where field is so alien to me. Use a tag! But I guess if others feel differently, there's only so much I should be boggled. Different strokes.

Feb 26, 2007, 12:44am Top

I would prioritize the addition of more columns in catalogue view over the addition of any new fields. It's nice to add more and more information, but it's already inconvenient enough to look at the data that I currently have.

Edited: Feb 26, 2007, 6:17pm Top

> we're amped-up now on development time


> 1. A wishlist
can also be used for 'read not owned'
> a. A place to put private notes
and tags

Yes, please :-)

Also some other of the features that have been said to be on the drawing board:
- more author fields, including search on them
- a series field
- what happened to special characters? should they be working correctly now?

Others that get frequently asked for:
- subsort your own titles by a second (and third?) column
- make a part of your own books private

Missing in my eyes:
- tag search that
a) gives the same results if done from the search page or done from your list view
b) combined tag search on all books, not just your own
- search on more specific fields, for example publisher?

Feb 26, 2007, 7:00am Top

Personally, I'd like to see some work on the speed of the website including touchstones and searches before you do development which will slow things down even further.

Feb 26, 2007, 8:43am Top

>Touchstones and searching.

It's a separate system, so development won't slow it down further. But it is a problem we need to solve.


Would people want—for now—a simple subsort by title when you sort by author? So, sorting by author is always author then title?

Feb 26, 2007, 8:48am Top

Well I'd like some form of subsiduary sort after author, the current random? order is odd. Ideally I'd like to see series in order, but I appreciate that is diifcult to do automatically, which is why I use tags. I now solely sort by tags, which means I've had to add lots of author tags.

Feb 26, 2007, 9:03am Top

37 & 38> Also like more columns in the library view. ALso like a series field - I notice that there is a series field in the exported excel product. Am I missing something on the book and/or work page where I can actually use that series field that is found when I export my library?

40> Sorting: An additional layer of sorting - sorting of the titles of the specific author, would be a nice addition (1st sort: by author, second sort: by title (or by date)), though I realize that I can do that if I go to the author page and then to the "your books" page. I guess what I would like to see is more sorting layers for my entire library (instead of going to specific author pages) - multiple sorts like in Excel (sort column A, then B, then C, etc. and able to set each separate sort as ascending or descending (of multiple sort)). Sorry, probably overly complicated response (part of the complication is that we can do much of the above now, but I'm suggesting doing all of the above in one result - After the program has run, Authors are sorted, Titles are sorted, date is sorted, etc. - each sorted by descending or ascending as selected; again, I'm probably complicating matters by not being able to talk clearly - multiple sort like can be done in Excel).

Edited: Feb 26, 2007, 9:57am Top

> ... for now — a simple subsort by title when you sort by author?

I guess that would cover a big part of the requests, yes. It certainly would be more helpful and more easy to understand than how it's handled at the moment - and it would look nicer.

topic=885, 2810, 3664

Another frequent one is 'sort books that form a series together' - if this can be achieved within a more general 'series' feature / field, all the better :-)

Personally, I'd quite much like a 'sort alphabetically' on the result lists of author searches and tag searches (and later maybe 'sort by year descending') - but I seem to be the only one ;-)

Feb 26, 2007, 9:32am Top

40> In the short term, if the sort wouldn't change the order of fields that have the same value, then you could sort by title and then sort by author and get the same result.

Feb 26, 2007, 11:31am Top

Subsorting by title within the author sort would be a good temporary solution.

Edited: Feb 26, 2007, 3:49pm Top

Looking closer: I really dislike the look of Shelfari. Please do not turn LibraryThing into Shelfari. Like Amazon itself, it appears to be cluttered with stuff I don't want to see when I look at a book/work page (like amazon reviews - if I want to see amazon reviews, I would go to Amazon.com; though the reviews are on a separate "Opinions" page). And where are tags on Shelfari? Why would I want a book site without tags (there is a section called "popular tags" but I do not see the tags attached to any books, maybe I need to register to see tags, bad website, I prefer to see what I'm getting before I sign up; that's annoying, so I go to popular tags, click on a tag, see a list of books, click on a book and . . . where are the tags? what other tags does that book have)? As it is, I like how there is a summary/synopsis of the book(s), but where is the information about what genre the book falls into? I'm sure it is in there somewhere, but how am I to find books that are similar, that I might like to examine without knowing a books genre without digging deep (if it is there). Oddly enough, with it's setup, it looks more like something geared to sell books, not record the books in your library (that prominent display of the "Shopping" section). Though, I'm probably overlooking something or overreacting.

Again, please do not turn LibraryThing into Shelfari. Very cluttered, very annoying to try to find something. Rather like the way LibraryThing is currently set up, so again, please do not go overboard with adding new features and turn it into something annoying and cluttered like Shelfari. The new features added so far have been great additions, though, so maybe other new features will not overwhelm the website.

I suppose this is in reaction to the "changing front page" note and the like found in other threads that might imply that LibraryThing's look will radically change

Feb 26, 2007, 4:18pm Top

Shelfari's apperance is very time saving - one look at those shelves and I had left the site again :-)

Feb 26, 2007, 5:21pm Top

A few thoughts after reading most of the above.

Glad that author improvements are still a priority.

I like the simplicity of LT. I find a lot of web sites (including the few competitors I looked at ) cluttered and confusing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Top 10: I probably wouldn't take the time to indicate what books I'm reading, but a checkbox would be the simplest way and might eventually lure me in.

Chat: I probably wouldn't chat. I have no objection to it, but I worry that it would detract from the groups, which I love.

Places for quotes and private notes: great, but not a priority for me.

Secondary sorting, ditto.

Feb 26, 2007, 8:27pm Top

Don't worry, we're not going to turn into Shelfari!

Feb 26, 2007, 8:42pm Top


51kawika First Message
Feb 26, 2007, 8:49pm Top

I've also got an account on listal. Now, why would I have accounts both there and here? Partially because I'm a geek like that. Hell, I've also got an account with dvdprofiler and OrangeCD (does not host a collection site, it's just the best CD cataloging program I've found so far).

Anyhoo...here's what I like about listal:

- Being able to track music, dvds, video games, and books all on one site.

- Being able to designate between read, reading, and unread by clicking on that particular designation in each book entry. I also suggested adding an "unfinished" category for those books that you just had to put down because yes, they WERE that bad. This would dilineate the difference between actively reading and choosing to stop reading a book. On here, I just don't have ratings for those books I haven't read yet, but it would be nice to be able to call up those designated as unread (though I know it could be done through tags, as well, so it's prolly not a big priority) when deciding what's next.

- It's flashy, I know, but I do like the lists of books last added, favorite authors, actors, directors, etc.

Those things being said, I actually do prefer this site due to the activity of the groups and the ability of the ap to ignore articles such as "A" and "the" in the titles. That's one of my big annoyances with listal.

once somebody figures out a widget that'll work for LJ, I'll be an extremely happy camper.

52jimkurring First Message
Feb 27, 2007, 10:41am Top

There's no doubt - LT is the tops for bibliophiles. I'm obsessive about other stuff too and I've started playing around with Stashmatic.com. I'll go check out listal and some others. I'd put Stashmatic in that "Multimedia with less focus on books" listing.

What makes it different from the others on that list is that, like LT, it's a *shared* database of collectible stuff. You don't necessarily have to type in your entire collection; someone may have already put an item in the database. ... Anyway it's good for other obsessions (sigh, okay, Buffy ... I want to get a few David Foster Wallace collectibles in there ... some old radios ... what else is around here ...)

Feb 27, 2007, 10:55am Top

re 49> That's great to hear!

Feb 27, 2007, 1:48pm Top

If you like Stashmatic, I recommend Squirl.info instead. Personal preference. Also, John is half of Squirl. It's a two-fer.

Check out Thingology. I made a social network for people who make social cataloging websites!

Mar 1, 2007, 12:53pm Top

>34 lilithcat:,36

A "where" field could be put to some interesting uses:
*Top on-line book sources.
*Top bookstore sources.
*Google maps to store locations

If someone was looking for a specific book, perhaps a rare edition that another user has, having sources listed would give him a good place to start.

Not a priority item for me - just something that could be interesting.

Mar 1, 2007, 11:34pm Top

Thanks for the list Tim, I will have a look at some. It would be pretty hard to be better than here.

Mar 1, 2007, 11:41pm Top

The one Tim suggested didn't seem too bad. It has an option to import LT catalogue, so we will see how that goes.

AllConsuming = 100% useless. Click on 'how to catalogue books' and returns to the same page, so that one is out.

Mar 1, 2007, 11:51pm Top

Reasons not to use Shelfari:

1. Far fewer features. See covers, but not list books. No bibliographic editing. Tag pages. Disambiguations, etc. etc.

1. They claim to be the "first social media site for books."
2. Their terms and conditions read as follows:

"You acknowledge and agree that any materials, including but not limited to questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, plans, notes, drawings, original or creative materials or other information, provided by you in the form of email or other submissions to Company, or any postings on the Site, are non-confidential and shall become the sole property of Company. Company shall own exclusive rights, including all intellectual property rights, and shall be entitled to the unrestricted use and dissemination of these materials for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or compensation to you."

That is, if you submit a review to them, you have signed over copyright. Nobody but nobody—not LT, not Amazon, not anyone—does that. Indeed, signing over copyright is made intentionally hard in law, and I'm not sure this satisfies it. What would it be classed as, work-for-hire?

Mar 1, 2007, 11:53pm Top

We're not going to do it, but one could argue that LibraryThing must delete all reviews, tags and books for users who put their data on Shelfari. After all, their continued appearance on LibraryThing would be a violation of Shelfari's copyright.

Mar 1, 2007, 11:54pm Top

#58: That's pretty frightening.

Mar 2, 2007, 12:02am Top

Sounds pretty unlikely to hold up to me, click on licence type thing, no signature, no contract?

Good luck to them trying to get that to hold up in Australia, I would think.

If I have one on my blog already, and then put it there, can I sue them for breaching my own copyright? :)

Mar 2, 2007, 12:14am Top

Shelfari = slow, too, still no email or anything from them.

Listal seems to be about making small lists of things. I added one book, but seems a lot more cumbersome than here, for that sort of thing. Did have an owned/want/read classifier for people's interest. People who like the autoload books from files function aren't going to be a fan, that is for sure.

Mar 2, 2007, 12:53am Top

Guess they were down, the Shelfari, it finally came through, but logging in didn't work.

Booktribes was similarly slow, but worked, and seems to be like listal for adding things, and cluttered with photos of people like myspace and google ads, etc. Annoying to look at, but more keen on books.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:00am Top

Goodreads seems to be a bit more LT like, and has a manual entry. One nifty thing is rating the book to add it. A few problems with the photo/profile update it seems.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:05am Top

Interesting there's been no Oceanic entires so far. The closest geographically is, I think, BookJetty (Singapore).

Mar 2, 2007, 1:10am Top

Maybe there isn't enough of us to spit out a crazy book loving (or hoping to build good network) type who is also a programming guru?

Also, to have it hosted locally etc. would likely cost too much I guess, with our banana republic bandwidth and all that being a factor.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:11am Top

Reader2 signup was painless, but it is a bit ugly, and has some google ads in the middle. Adding a book lets you review/rate and categorise it a few ways (including as an ebook) when you add them. No list add that I could see.

Definitely not google/LibraryThing clean looking, anyway.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:15am Top

Socialogue has one of those nice .aspx default we ain't working now errors at the moment.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:29am Top

BooksWellRead similar to Reader2, painless and a bit ugly. Makes me think I am staying in a country motel circal 1975 or something. Again you can categorise/review and rate as you add them. Not sure if you can pull off the rate trick as well as tagging, Tim, on the book add page? I definitely like that feature of a couple of these.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:37am Top

Shelfari finally decided to work. It seems it is the third site with an 'import list' function, and says it can handle LibraryThing lists. So 3 choices so far for 'big list' people.

Manually adding a book had a few browser quirks, at least in my version of firefox, but seemed to work ok, but no book info added at the same time by the user.

Mar 2, 2007, 1:54am Top

Douban.net (.com is Chinese, and looks like they have settled for this one perhaps, at least for me, anyway) works ok, a few translation problems, and the email took a while, but all works, has tags, classification of read, want to read again etc., and ratings. Not sure what it would look like with a few thousand books.

Mar 2, 2007, 2:13am Top

Lib.rario.us, apart from the annoying URL, the signup is ok, but boy is it ugly. Green and Orange at the top, dark grey with white text for the main part. Was wondering when the warez popups would happen.

The page jumps a bit as it loads new stuff for you to search for, and you can add dvds and music, and put some info in about them at the same time reviews/ratings etc.

Mar 2, 2007, 2:26am Top

Gurulib.com was ok, the add stuff screen seems to be a different style, but it apparently has a list import, and manual add, as well as the ability to look up in some 'public libraries'. The one book add worked ok, if a bit slow.

Mar 2, 2007, 2:44am Top

Bibliophil.org is not too bad either, the default adding feature of adding the current year as when you read the book if you don't check don't know is pretty annoying though.

It seems to pull some price info from amazon I guess, and there are loan/tag other info fields, as well.

Mar 2, 2007, 3:07am Top

BooksWeLike was easy to join, seems to be set up to be basically lists of your favorite stuff, and that is about it. Has a 'check your local library function' that you can use it seems.

Mar 2, 2007, 3:16am Top

Fetchbook appears to be basically a frontend to a booksearch with intent to buy engine.

Mar 2, 2007, 3:29am Top

ConnectViaBooks is a pain in the arse long registration, and seems to be what it says it is, some sort of meat market.

Mar 2, 2007, 3:33am Top

ChainReading is really slow at the moment, so hard to say for that.

Mar 2, 2007, 3:37am Top

BookandReader.com appears to be some sort of out of date forum/site, where some links don't work.

Mar 2, 2007, 4:02am Top

TagABook was easy to sign up, but seems a bit undirected. Has tagging, of course. Don't really see what use it would be.

Anyway, LibraryThing is still clearly the best.

As far as marking what I am reading, I guess that is generally pretty pointless if I am finished it an hour or two later. Maybe useful for the anthology in the dunny. :) I have done that once or twice with tags (minus the dunny bit).

Mar 2, 2007, 9:13am Top

> 74

I tried Bibliophil a couple of years ago, but quit early on as I could not enter books without ISBNs. Has that changed?

Mar 2, 2007, 10:03am Top

It looks to be an amazon lookup, I think, when I was checking it out lc. So probably only if they are in there. For something esoteric probably no.

I checked The Red Chief by Ion L. Idriess for example. A pre-ISBN title, it added that, with some sort of placeholder alphanumeric thing in the ISBN field that didn't look like one to me.

Mar 3, 2007, 2:06am Top

Shelfari import file didn't seem to work, neither did gurulib. Anobii doesn't seem to want to log in.

Mar 3, 2007, 2:15am Top

Hmm odd, I just managed to login to Anobii.

Mar 3, 2007, 2:22am Top

Yeah, just worked now by the looks. Seems the import has worked too, a subset anyway, so likely books with ISBN only.

Mar 3, 2007, 2:26am Top

Seems stalled/pretty slow though.

Mar 3, 2007, 7:45am Top

Have tried this multiple times today (Anobii), not sure if it is just slow from Australia, but to look up a page it is more like click it, go do something else and come back in half an hour.

Does it work ok for anyone else?

Mar 3, 2007, 8:29am Top

Just tried Anobii and it seems to working ok from the UK. It has a number of shortcomings but also has a few nice features - wishlist, hide individual title, and margin notes.

Mar 3, 2007, 5:45pm Top

re 87: aNobii (or however it is capitalized) is very slow, at least I have found it to be here in the US of A.

Mar 3, 2007, 7:26pm Top

Yeah, looking at it today it still seems glacial.

Mar 3, 2007, 7:32pm Top

bluetyson, I'm in New Zealand - and it's not loading at all here at the moment.

Mar 3, 2007, 7:36pm Top

Thanks guys, pretty much what I am getting here, too.

The other note is that importing from librarything seems to have imported tags, I saw that when a page managed to load last night, and it appears it gives you a checklist of your tags to use. For lilithcat or someone like that, might break their computer that list. :)

Mar 7, 2007, 5:13pm Top

Suggested addition from aNobii: Tag box:

I would recommend adding a tag box like on aNobii (their caps), as long as that isn't somehow copyrighted/patented/trademarked/etc.

Tag box:

"Remembers" your tags, and gives you the option of adding "new" tags.

Something like it, or similar, would be nice. Not sure how to add it to LT - especially as I, at least, would also like to have access to the "box" in both power edit, and work edit.

To add to the box: Two rows - one for adding new tags, the other to work as a "search engine" to capture tags - say you wanted to add certain tags, you would use the "search engine" row to write your tags, as the tags are written, they are "checked" in the box (can also check them manually) - something not tagged? use the new tag row to put it there (while also double checking the box to see if "you" have used a different word/tag in the past for the same "thing"/"idea", and to double-check spelling). Or just one row, and a confirmation screen to make sure not accidently creating new tags due to "memory-lapse" or spelling mistakes.

Forgive double posting this in two threads, wrote and posted in one thread, then remembered that there was this thread that specifically asked if there was anything from the "other" sites that we liked.

Oh, and if this tag box is the cause of aNobii's snail/turtle server pace, then don't add this recommendation to LT. :)

Edited: Mar 13, 2007, 12:02am Top

I'm not too very fond of music, dvds, games, and books on the same site. I consider them to be very different media types in much the same way as those who read Homer in his original Greek are very different from those who read him translated.

Additionally, I just use tags for my unfinished and reading books. I don't enter unread books, so anything that isn't tagged unfinished or reading is read by default.

The tag box is interesting, although I get along just fine doing tags by hand.

My biggest wish for LT is, well, a wishlist. I currently have one on Amazon, which works fine, but having one on LT that isn't immediately connected to my library would be awesome. I can't sort my Amazon wishlist without a lot of headache, and it would be nice to have one with tagging and an option to sort automatically via how badly I want that book.

Personally, I really don't like the idea of a chat room. I just see them as rather cheap and, in most cases, filled with people I'd really like to avoid under most circumstances. I've been in one that actually had a decent conversation going, but the rest are just filled with chat speak and people talking to themselves.
Granted, I understand that it is my choice to go to the chat or not. If it gets implemented I have no problem ignoring it and going my merry way...just wanted to throw in my two cents. Although I am getting the feeling that the crowd here may make Intelligent Conversation in a Chat Room #2 a very real possibility.

((I can edit messages! I did not realize this before. Much happiness.))

Edited: Jun 18, 2007, 8:11am Top

--> 95

Although I am getting the feeling that the crowd here may make Intelligent Conversation in a Chat Room #2 a very real possibility.

A moderated intelligent discussion about books would be delightful in a chat room.

Or maybe institute a monthly book club and have a moderated discussion about that particular book?

I know. I replied to my own message! :-)

Mar 13, 2007, 7:41am Top

I used tag boxes on collectorz.com but they were too limited for me. I ended up adding my own tags almost every time. I don't really need a tag box. Granted, I sometimes make a new tag when an old one is what I want but I can go through my tag list and correct those later.

Mar 24, 2007, 9:54am Top

Again, I suggest a "Enhancements List" for easy reference. I really love this tool but I just don't have time to read all these suggestions in the current format. Certainly you know the list of enhancements that have been suggested - can't you publish (and maintain) these in a readable format. (You could also note the ones schedule for development.)

Mar 24, 2007, 10:10am Top

> 97 : LoveLifeinMD : This has been asked many times since LT started. The answer has always been a consistent 'No'. Tim will not publish his development list - partly because it isn't a fixed list but varies as LT develops; partly because promises are easy to make and hard to keep when so much is changing. Wish lists are a good example of this - they have been 'near to delivery' on two occasions but due to changes of staff or other distractions have never yet made it into production.

In thinking about this remember that LT is a three (maybe 4) person company with only one coder besides Tim and just keeping up with growth takes a fair amount of available energy.

That said, Tim, John & Abby do listen hard and when they can will respond to suggestions pretty quickly.

Mar 24, 2007, 10:52am Top

> I just don't have time to read all these suggestions

Then don't. Easy ;-)

Mar 29, 2007, 9:52am Top

I like GoodReads Currently What I am reading feature. It would be great for Library thing to have something like this as well.

Mar 29, 2007, 12:35pm Top

Finally got around to checking all these competitors out. The majority of them are lacking, for various reasons.

I like the way shelfari displays books, but overall it's messy and distracting.

However, I really like bookswellread. The look and feel is nice, but is still simple. And I love that you can mark books as favorite, read, reading, to read, etc.

I wouldn't call it a competitor to LT, though. While LT is a library, bookswellread seems more of a reading journal.

Edited: Apr 24, 2007, 12:53pm Top

I was directed to gurulib while searching another website and an attribute I really liked there is the one that lists your local libraries that have whatever book you have sought information about. It must run off members' zipcodes. The libraries can be linked to right from the book info page.

Some of the other things gurulib has that look like relatively simple things our LT guys can copy (and I say this from a technically ignorant position) are the many-mentioned Wishlist sublibrary and the ability to create separate library shelves for music, video, and other media collections. I didn't see any tagging other than by genre.

May 1, 2007, 7:48am Top

I've only checked out a couple of these sites (Anobii and Shelfari), and both seemed quite cluttered compared to LT.

I use Squirl to organise my CDs, and someday I'll be adding my DVDs as well. I prefer having my books listed here though because it's neat to see how many people have the same books, and it's cool to see what books of yours are unique as well. ^_^

May 2, 2007, 2:27pm Top

an attribute I really liked there is the one that lists your local libraries that have whatever book you have sought information about. It must run off members' zipcodes. The libraries can be linked to right from the book info page.

LibraryThing already has this feature, sort of. On each book page you can choose in the upper left "Find in a library" which takes you to the OCLC website, which will tell you (by zipcode) where the nearest libraries that hold your book are. It generally works pretty well.

May 2, 2007, 2:37pm Top

>102 kageeh:

On the social information page, you can add links to your local library if it is listed on the page of additional resources. If it isn't there, it's not terribly difficult to figure out the search syntax and add it to the list.

May 2, 2007, 3:52pm Top

Message 104: nperrin -- Thanks! I learned something new about LT today.

107AJRyan6of7 First Message
May 3, 2007, 9:56am Top

I have a friend that was raving about GoodReads.com recently. She said that she had tried LT, but that it was "too confusing" for her, and that she found GoodReads.com to be much easier to use for a non-technical person.

So, I signed up at GR just to see. While I had to agree that GR was simpler, there were many features that LT has that GR didn't, and I found that frustrating. I'm not too crazy about the "Amazon Only" database there.

One thing that I did find helpful...and it's one of the features my friend said she liked better...was the "friends" feature. Basically, you put people on a friends list, and those people can suggest books that you might want to read. Her opinion was that "my friends know better than strangers would what books I might like." To which I had to agree.

I'm not sure if LT has this same feature or one similar. I confess I haven't really researched it that well, but LT has so many features, I may have just missed this?? It would be handy. As for simplification of the interface...I don't know. I thought LT was pretty easy to use. But, I'm not a computer novice. In any case, I'm sticking with LT. But, it's never a bad thing to be aware of other options out there. Knowing what the competition is doing will only help to make LT better.

May 3, 2007, 5:32pm Top


There is no friends list on LT, and there is no set way of having a user recommend books to you other than profile comments or Talk messages.

Basically, you put people on a friends list, and those people can suggest books that you might want to read. Her opinion was that "my friends know better than strangers would what books I might like." To which I had to agree.

This may be true, but I actually find it very ineffective. I've seen several of these sites where the recommendations can only come from someone actually choosing to recommend you something. What happens if you don't have any friends on the site, and no one feels like making a specific effort to recommend things to you? (Plus, my friends, both on- and offline, would recommend me books without needing a function like that.)

May 4, 2007, 4:12am Top

Though there is a watchlist where you can add usernames of those you are interested in - It doesn't at the moment appear to do anything else but remember the name for you.

May 4, 2007, 11:11am Top

>107 AJRyan6of7: Unless you and your friends share very similar interests, I don't think this is useful. If you take a handful of my friends and ask them to recommend a nonfiction work in history and science, most will gravitate towards the same few popular works that they may have heard of, like Guns, Germs and Steel. They may not see undercurrents in my reading such as books on Einstein or books on modern physics. Similarly, I would not feel confident in recommending science fiction works to friends who are far better read in the area than I am.

The advantage of LibraryThing in getting recommendations is the fact you can find other people who are well-read in your favorite subject areas. They can direct you to books that the uninitiated have never heard of and that may be some of the best works on a subject.

May 4, 2007, 2:35pm Top

Message 110: ExVivre -- I agree. GR doesn't seem to be anything like LT at all. Besides, none of my friends reads the kinds of books I do, nor do they read as much, nor are they the least bit interetsed in recommending books to me or to anyone else for that matter.

One of the greatest things about LT is the plethora of extremely well-read members and LT's ability to find books I might like based on books I already own. My friends have no idea what's in my library.

May 4, 2007, 2:55pm Top

Only a couple of my non-imaginary friends have libraries/tastes similar to my own, the rest are both different from me and diverse as a bunch. Friendships don't always form according to common interests; you can like people who don't resemble you in any way.

So when it comes to taste in reading, specialised interests etc., nothing beats online groups for tips.

Speaking of LT, I actually prefer browsing people's libraries or thread discussions to the Suggester.

May 4, 2007, 9:07pm Top

Yeah. What kageeh said. :)

May 6, 2007, 12:48pm Top

Message 112: LolaWalser -- Are you suggesting that if I re-activate my imaginary friends, I will have someone to discuss my books with? I haven't talked to Brenda in so many years . . . .

May 6, 2007, 11:06pm Top

That would be a cool site. Put all your childhood imaginary friends in. It would be an excellent way to catch Sixth-Sense ghosts, when two people discover they had the same imaginary friend.

Edited: May 7, 2007, 3:28am Top

> 115 ...when two people discover they had the same imaginary friend

or that they were each other's imaginary friends.

(has anyone else read Peter Ibbetson?)

May 7, 2007, 11:13am Top

Kageeh, I bet you can't imagine what Brenda's got to offer by way of book advice... :)

>(has anyone else read Peter Ibbetson?)

I did! Long time ago, though--wasn't it a sad challenged-love story? I think I even saw the movie, but maybe I'm mixing it up with something else...

May 7, 2007, 9:49pm Top

>34 lilithcat:

Yes! Translator fields would be excellent. I've put them under "additional author" but not often because they vary by edition. Also ways to link books in ancient language with their modern equivalents without listing them as the same work.


Alphabetical sorting on those pages sounds rather excellent to me too.


And/or a tag recommendation thing a la del.icio.us? I don't use them so much, but that is kind of nice that it will pull up popular tags & your tags beginning with the letters you type.

May 8, 2007, 10:43am Top

#118, When we get multiple "author" fields, one of them will be for translator. And I'm using the additional author field for them too.

May 8, 2007, 6:22pm Top

I've had a look at Buchpfade.de. Apparently they're going to merge with lovelybooks.de soon. One function I really liked was a timeline (err , I've made a screenshot, how can post pic's in here?).

What I also liked were the buttons they had to mark books as 'not yet read', 'reading' and 'read'. All in all it looks quite like Listal, actually.

Oh yeah, and they have lists - not just a wishlist, but lists for whatever you like.

May 9, 2007, 2:15am Top

In addition to librarything, I am active on the French site Agoradeslivres.

What I do not like about it is the fact that is everything in French, and thus not very attractive for an international/multilingual target group.

But there are some features that I really like (besides the wishlist)
- a status for read, reading, to be read, visible in three different colours
- a status for at home, lent, borrowed, released (BC), available...
- by default, the books are listed in the order you have read them, which gets you a nice reading list (which you can also put on your BC bookshelf
- and what I like above all that all new reviews automatically show up in a forum, where other members are invited to comment them...

May 9, 2007, 2:17am Top

Interesting. First time I've seen that one.

I've thought about the forum idea. I worry that users will not want to be subjected to that scruitiny.

May 9, 2007, 1:28pm Top

I think there's a big difference between reviews people write for themselves and for others and people certainly aren't going to want their private reviews put up for public scrutiny. If there was a way for people to specify that their review wasn't for public consumption then a lot of the review clutter could be cleared up.

May 10, 2007, 3:02pm Top

On the social ideas category:

Do more with the watchlist.
* For instance, it would be great to be able to see a combined catalog (with assorted data) of folks in your watchlist. Like Groups; basically a watchlist would creates an on-the-fly group.
* To be able to see recent books added to your WATCHLIST folks

On Groups:
* It would be helpful if you could see "recent messages" from "groups you started" -- that would facilitate group-gardening.

May 10, 2007, 3:04pm Top

regarding #121 / 122 - about having reviews automatically show up in a forum.

That could easily be a preference that someone could set: They could default to having reviews show up, or not; and then add a checkbox on the review page itself to show the default and give an opportunity to change it.

If it's really a concern the systemwide default can be OFF.

May 10, 2007, 3:27pm Top

Yeah, I'm going to work on the watchlist.

May 13, 2007, 5:28am Top

Some suggestions from other programmes. Netvibes has a list of enhancements posted when you look for new modules. So you can see what goodies are coming up. As they get implemented they are struck through but dont disappear immediately. Its a bit like a todo list.

Diigo (a bookmarking program I use) has a pretty cool highlighting and sticky notes implementation. But it would only be useful if you were reading the book on line. I dont see how margin notes is useful in practice. You read the book in bed, you pencil in the notes on the page (I hate people who do that) and then you transfer the notes to the computer? I dont think so. But Im not going to get out of bed, open the computer and write margin notes. Perhaps I should not read books that need margin note in bed.

May 13, 2007, 8:01am Top

Oh, I think some people will get into margin notes. I have a Filemaker database with some of mine—in fact transfered from the actual margins.

May 13, 2007, 9:19am Top

I just got an anobii account specifically for the margin notes (and for the reading status feature) It's great! The only drawback on that site is that it is harder to catalogue books without an isbn number, so when I imported my library from LT, it only registered 200 out of 300 books. Also, Anobii has a serious focus on international users and has many, many, foreign language options (many more than here), including Chinese.

Edited: May 13, 2007, 10:21am Top

#124 (lquilter):
* to see recent books added to your WATCHLIST folks
* see "recent messages" from "groups you started"

You can do this already through rss feeds, you also could play with my examples of yahoo pipes (#8) that merge them. And I was thinking my pipes were rather dull.

#121-#126 (watch list / review forum):
review/new-book watch lists on tags, subjects, authors and works might be nice too.

May 13, 2007, 11:30am Top

Not a book cataloguing site, but there are several things I like about BookCrossing (a book tracking site) which gave me an idea for LT.

I was initially attracted to BookCrossing by their "Hot Topics" on the right side of the main page and the "Recently Released" and "Recently Found" listing on the left hand side of that page. The "Hot Topics" bascially has an LT equivalent in that the newest posts jump to the top. However, I think a feed for the newest reviews might be fun. You could either do that on Zeitgeist or even with a one-word link (within a sentence, of course) on the home page.

May 13, 2007, 12:23pm Top

>131 SqueakyChu:
Like you have those who read all topics and ignore some groups, versus those who read "your groups" and follow some groups, you will also have people who want all reviews but, and those who want just a certain selection of reviews.
Personally I would be happy with an extension of the feeds as suggested at the bottom of #130, but may be for others the pipes are a plumbers nightmare. Though the pipes were invented for the non programmers.

May 13, 2007, 6:54pm Top

Has anyone tried talking about LibraryThing on these sites?

For my part, the only references I've seen on, say, Shelfari, are period requests for information about how to get your books onto Shelfari. Certainly I've never seen the opposite or, for that matter complaints that Shelfari's export doesn't include such critical material as the *author* of the book.

I rather wish someone could try it, and test whether it's possible. Start an "Alternatives to Shelfari" group and see how far it goes...

May 13, 2007, 7:06pm Top

Edited: May 13, 2007, 7:08pm Top

That's hilarious. If I had a shelfari account I would definitely join your group.

edit: On second thought, I'm tempted to create an account just for that purpose....

May 13, 2007, 7:08pm Top

Ok, started the group, but can't figure out how to do anything with it. I hate that site.

May 13, 2007, 7:12pm Top

Zoe, you should definately join. Right now I'm just talking to myself.

May 13, 2007, 7:14pm Top

Okay, done! :D

May 14, 2007, 12:43am Top

I joined too, at first I couldn't figure out how on earth to change my display name there - and it's sooooo sluggish and glitzy graphics in your face everywhere.

Edited: May 14, 2007, 6:49am Top

Let's be sure this doesn't backfire and encourage shelfari to improve its site! That would be very bad :).

May 14, 2007, 9:44am Top

I'm not too worried ;)

May 22, 2007, 11:09am Top

I actually quite like the 'Reading history' on anobii... wouldn't that be relatively easy to change?

May 24, 2007, 12:22am Top

lol I saw this and immediately thought "but there is no reason for other book cataloguing sites, LT is the best!" I've browsed a few of them awhile ago (unfortunately I can't remember which now), and I guess I'd already gotten too comfortable here, 'cause they just don't compare.

144levitas First Message
Jun 5, 2007, 7:55am Top

Any plans for entering Hebrew titles, authors, etc. sometime soon? If not, do you know who has such facility?

Jun 5, 2007, 9:49am Top

I had a bunch of spam recently purporting to be anobii bookgroup emails, for Italian groups, no less.

Jun 5, 2007, 9:58am Top


I've had two of those so far. I cheked them out, and they're legit groups (I mean, I see them on anobii, I don't read Italian though). Apparently, you can send out group invites there, and those Italian groups weren't too picky about where they sent invites.

Edited: Jun 18, 2007, 8:22am Top

I saw Anobii recommended by someone at BookCrossing so I stopped by to take a second look at it.

What I liked there (though I'm staying here) were the happy colors and screens of the groups. I only looked at the one for BookCrossing but loved the little icons.

They have an option on the home page where you can immediately look up a review of a book. They way it is arranged is a good "hook" and a very attractive and eye-catching feature.

As soon as you sign up, you are asked your language preference and also the language preferences for your books...very simply and in an eay-to-use screen.

You can change the color scheme! Very cool!

It has an option to let others know whether or not a book is tradable. It seems to me that ANobii-ites are not as reluctant to let go of their books as LTers. That's just my first impression.

Books can be marked not started, finished, reading, unfinished, or reference.

What CREEPS me out --> an option to import from my LibraryThing Account! :-(

QuesterofTruth (# 22) has it right by saying that ANobii is "bubbly" while LT is "bookish". I can see how different personalities would be attracted by LT and repelled by Anobii and vice versa.

Edited: Jun 18, 2007, 8:23am Top

--> 26

Those dates can be tricky.

Some books I actively am reading. I'd call those "reading".

Some I got tired of midway and stopped reading. I might pick them up again or not. I may dip in and out of them. I do hope to finish them some day. Those I call "on hold".

Others I dip in and out of but will never give away. Those I call "reference".

The top 10 books should then come from "reading"! :-)

Jun 18, 2007, 8:00am Top

--> 33

And, of course, there are the books I'm reading that aren't in my library, because I don't own them; they're borrowed from friends or family or the public library. How would those figure in, or would they not matter since they're not in my library?

I add them to my collection and tag them with such tags as "on loan" or "library book". I'll delete them from my collection when I'm finished reading them, and they are no longer in my possession.

Since I'm an active Bookcrosser, I have books moving in and out of my LT library at all times. It's not a big deal to me.

Jun 26, 2007, 5:06pm Top

Another one to add to the list of competitors that just aren't quite as good as LT - Collectorz.com

It does have some stuff that LT doesn't, eg a series field, but it has no tagging at all, its a download software package for you pc, and the last forum post was on saturday!

Jun 26, 2007, 7:04pm Top

Oh, if we're going to do offline competitors, the list is endless. They're one of the bigger ones, of course.

Edited: Jul 1, 2007, 7:55pm Top

Here's a nice bit about openness. Or maybe it's about "secrecy is the highest form of flattery."

Shelfari has banned my home IP. I have never done anything tricky there, but I do have an account (with all my LT books), occasionally look around to see if they're doing anything cool, and have kept track of their growth (around 10% of LibraryThing, and not gaining), but clearly they consider it a problem that I look at their site. I might find the manilla envelope marked "Secret plans to beat LibraryThing."

Anyway, it's all "Service Unavailable" for me. Hitting the same page from one of the LibraryThing servers works fine. And a LibraryThing member—we shall call her "butterfly"—became a corporate spy and confirmed that it was just me. She also found the manilla envelope. (It reads "copy them like mad.")

We one banned a competitor when they were scraping our pages at 3/second to get customer data, but banning web browsing?! I'd never do that. What kind of paranoids do?

Edited: Jul 1, 2007, 8:27pm Top

OH! You touched a nerve! I suspect paranoia is to blame.

I'd go look, but I don't want to taint myself with any copycat.

"And a LibraryThing member—we shall call her "butterfly"—became a corporate spy..."

Bwaahaahaa! I won't say a word, but I think I know who she is.

(Edited to fix typo.)

Jul 1, 2007, 8:35pm Top

There is no spoon.

Jul 2, 2007, 12:16am Top

And now I'm back up. I can't believe they read it. Maybe they were excluding batches of IPs for some reason. Odd.


Jul 2, 2007, 8:03am Top

#155 - Or maybe they have their own extensive spy network.

Jul 2, 2007, 9:31am Top

I think Abby is a sleeper agent.

Jul 2, 2007, 11:35am Top

Uhoh. This is just like season one of 24.

If you catch her typing code into her hair clip, you'll know LT is in deep doodoo.

Jul 2, 2007, 12:48pm Top

Last night I was getting a "service unavailable" on Shelfari as well. I asked my guy to check at his place, and he had the same problem.

Jul 3, 2007, 12:23am Top

#158- I totally laughed at that. Never seen 24, but now I'm curious enough to. Sounds interesting!

As for the original topic... been to a few (including Shelfari), looked around, came back here. That's about the jist of my experience with other cataloguing sites. lol

Jul 3, 2007, 12:56am Top

Tried a catalogue import again at Shelfari, didn't work. Asked a question why, no answer again it appears.

So that is no answer twice, over four months.

Jul 3, 2007, 7:50am Top

#160 - Oh no! Don't watch it based just on my comment. It wasn't actually a hair clip, anyway. I was trying to avoid spoilers. :o)

The best season of 24 are 2, 4 and 5, in my opinion. ;o)

Edited: Jul 3, 2007, 1:11pm Top

I checked out Shelfari, Bookswellread, and Anobii. My biggest impression is that they all require a whole lotta navigating. Things that you'd search on the site – books, groups, users, e.g. – take up a lot of on-screen real estate for each one, so you can only see a few at any one time. I hate that; you end up spending more time opening next pages than you do looking at them. Maybe it's different once you sign up, but I'm not providing my email address just to find that out.

Anobii's terms of service say one user per account and one account per user. I can't imagine what the reasons for that are.

Shelfari's Terms of Service paragraphs 9 and 10 are pretty interesting. Para. 9 says that anything you add to the site, explicitly including postings, "shall become the sole property of Company." But then in Para. 10, they say they bear no liability for postings. I'm no lawyer, so I don't see how you can own something but not be liable for it.

I wonder, given that Amazon seems to be pretty hard-@$$ about using their data, who would own what once someone adds book data from Amazon?

Also, in Shelfari's February '07 presser about the Amazon funding, they call themselves "the leading social media site for people who love to read." I know that's just PR self-promotion, but it's a good example of one of the reasons I can't respect PR people: when they're not telling actual lies, they're just makin' shit up. They also say they provide "tens of thousands of bibliophiles" with a social networking site. There's nothing like LT's zeitgeist, so who knows how many users have signed up; but then, the site is open to everyone, so I guess technically they do provide the site/service to "tens of thousands of bibliophiles," whether or not said bibliophiles avail themselves of it.

Then, in the interview, the Shelfari guy says that part of the mission is "to leverage a community of readers." Then I see that the company behind Shelfari is called Tastemakers, and then there's their in with Amazon.

Ugh. The whole thing just seems so smarmy.

I've been mooching off of LT for a while now, reluctant to pay up because I'm cheap and LT's imperfect and I have Reference Manager at home; but seeing the alternatives made me turn legit.

Edited to correct misspellings.

Jul 4, 2007, 12:15am Top

> shall become the sole property of Company.
I think they softened that. It was a blanket grant of copyright. Yes, you now own copyright on my tags and reviews. Can I give you my blood?

>Shelfari's size and etc.
Yeah. Simply making stuff up. Their initial press release claimed they were the first. But LIBRARYTHING wasn't even the first, and we're 18 months older than them!

As for "tens of thousands of bibliophiles," the statistical sampling we do of Shelfari—necessary since they publish no numbers—indicates that they have "tens of thousands" of members the way I have "tens" of fingers.

Jul 10, 2007, 6:12am Top

Here's one thing that Shelfari has that I would like in LT: a group shelf view. It's actually quite attractive, I think.

Jul 10, 2007, 10:29am Top

The Green Dragon has a 'group shelf' we tag books 'Green Dragon'

Jul 10, 2007, 11:25am Top


Considering the size of some of the groups in terms of members and the amount of works each member has that is probably the best solution. For example The Green Dragon has are over 360,000 books between its members and it isn't the biggest group. Even relatively niche groups like Maps & Atlases has nearly 70,000 books.

The size is what kills you - a shared shelf of a few thousand works is manageable. What do you do with a shared shelf of a few hundred thousand or even a few million?

Also most people have a number of interests. All my SF probably isn't of much interest to the Cricket group, or the Maps & Atlases group (I am a member of all three groups).

Jul 10, 2007, 11:30am Top

Well, I think you can show their shelf, but group books together. I'm actually working on a "what you share" page—for groups of any sort (friends, top shared libraries, actual "groups"). The latter works in theory, but I'm not sure how it will work under "load"—when everyone hits it at the same time. Experimenting...

169pwinn First Message
Jul 11, 2007, 3:57pm Top

--> 23, 34, etc

The "Where" field makes no sense to me. It seems like the sort of limited-use field that's perfect for tags, and would be largely unpopulated and "clutter" if made a formal field.

Tags are powerful things. :-)

Jul 11, 2007, 8:57pm Top

Okay, this is lame. Anobii says you should be able to enter books as titles if you don't have the ISBN, but "Jurassic Park" is returning no results and their Help page is useless. I'm not thinking of switching, I was just looking to see if maybe I could use another site as a place to keep track of things I've read but don't necessarily own.

Jul 27, 2007, 4:54am Top

I checked out lovelybooks (.de) recently, and I found two concepts (or rather: terms!) I really liked. One was the idea of having 'neighbours' - for people with whom you share books.
The other was the word 'dogs-ears' ('Eselsohren' in German). Lovelybooks uses that term for points, similar to those at Listal. I wonder whether we couldn't figure out something much more appropriate (and useful!) for that term...

Jul 27, 2007, 9:36am Top

OK, what do points mean at Listal? To dog-ear a page is to turn down the corner to mark the place in the book, so to me it sounds nearly the same as a bookmark.

Jul 27, 2007, 1:05pm Top

Check out the comment made by user spaceMonkey on the Shelfari blog. It's the first comment after the last (July 12th) blog post.


I won't post it here, because they own the copyright to everything on their site, including comments I guess. But if they delete it, so that it's no longer on their site. I guess then I could post it.

Jul 27, 2007, 1:16pm Top

I found the comment funny, especially related to the new blog post.

I also detected a bit of a slam at our beloved LT in that blog, though THEY claim they don't go down because they have lots of server power, but it's also cause they have a fraction of the user base and use.

Jul 27, 2007, 1:23pm Top

I've found Shelfari to be very slow in the past. Maybe they increased the speed of their website.

Jul 27, 2007, 3:07pm Top

My friend who originally pointed out to LibraryThing got invited to Shelfari. She accepted the invitation so she could take a look. Not only did they scrape her entire address book and spam everyone on it, they then sent "reminders" to anyone who didn't respond. Because of this, my friend, who is a published writer, is having to change her email address because people have blocked her addy because of the spam from Shelfari.


Jul 27, 2007, 3:10pm Top

Wow. I'm really glad I haven't joined Shelfari just to explore it like I've done with some of the other ones.

Jul 27, 2007, 3:13pm Top

Oh, and the emails seem to come from her email address, not from Shelfari.

Jul 27, 2007, 3:18pm Top

A few weeks ago I started getting random Shelfari group invites.....in Italian. I haven't used the site in months, and certainly didn't plaster my email around for all to see!

Aug 20, 2007, 6:41am Top

Has anyone checked out the "Collections" feature on Amazon.com?

The screen looks and feels a lot like Librarything, though they don't do it quite as nicely. (Only draw to it, they have CD and DVDs...)

Sep 18, 2007, 1:23pm Top

I know this thread is old but I wanted to post this (several months old) quote from the Shelfari blog: "We're quite mindful of performance issues especially since our friends at the handy book cataloging service LibraryThing had their site down for the better part of five days last month. "

Sep 18, 2007, 3:33pm Top

What does it mean that Shelfari hasn't updated their blog since mid-July? I also noticed that their facebook app (mentioned in that same blog post) isn't very successful.

Sep 18, 2007, 4:09pm Top

Yeah, I liked their little jab at us. We caught them doing something pretty sleazy a couple months back but never did anything with it, because we're classy like that...

They're still getting a lot of traffic (more than us, according to Alexa), and they've done some improvements to their groups feature recently, so they're still alive and kicking. It is odd they haven't been blogging, but that may just be a corporate culture thing.

Sep 18, 2007, 4:56pm Top

Yeah, the Alexa numbers are wrong. According to Alexa, we're getting less traffic than a year ago. Someone tell our servers. Alexa measures buzz among the sort of people who have the Alexa toolbar installed, and those sorts of people aren't our kind of people. We should, however, make a Korean version. Koreans are the only group that's really taken to the Alexa toolbar. We could suddenly jump ten times in traffic!

Sep 18, 2007, 4:57pm Top

>It is odd they haven't been blogging, but that may just be a corporate culture thing.

They haven't hired any marketing people recently.

Edited: Sep 18, 2007, 8:06pm Top

I've just found The Open Library Project... sounds a lot like Library Thing? Or rather a combination of LT and Project Gutenberg? Only thing is it doesn't sound like individuals could create their own library like we can here.

It says:
First, the library must be on the Internet. No physical space could be as big or as universally accessible as a public web site. The site would be like Wikipedia—a public resource that anyone in any country could access and that others could rework into different formats.

Second, it must be grandly comprehensive. Even when the full text of a book wasn't available, it would take catalog entries from every library and publisher and random Internet user who is willing to donate them. It would link to places where each book could be bought, borrowed, or downloaded. It would collect reviews and references and discussions and every other piece of data about the book it could get its hands on.

Sep 18, 2007, 8:24pm Top

I adore the Open Library! It's one of the most amazing library projects I've seen in years, but I've never thought of it as an LT competitor or even really comparable. OL is all about getting as close as possible to the grand and crazy dream of cataloging everything in one big catalog (and making it findable and usable in a way that online catalogs very often aren't). LT is much more about the connections of all the little catalogs -- mine, yours, Tim's, Thomas Jefferson's... -- as their own separate and interesting entities.

I hope (and suspect) that when OL really takes off we'll be able to use it here as a metadata source and a way to access full texts, but it won't fill the same niche.

Sep 19, 2007, 12:03pm Top

Yes, Alexa numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as should similar services like Quantcast (which doesn't require a toolbar and shows us kicking Shelfari's ass). But they do show that some people - be it Koreans who install browser toolbars or whoever - are going to the site. (Conspiracy theorists should note that Alexa is owned by Amazon, the same people who own a big chunk of Shelfari).

Tim and I have both been involved in the Open Library project. We like them.

Edited: Sep 19, 2007, 11:26pm Top

Just took a look at Shelfari and see some things I like there. No, I won't defect! :-)

It has a place where an individual book can be marked as private.

It has places where you can signify the book's condition and purchase price. That's a nice thing to record. (I'd like to record where I purchased a book. I do that now in LT's Notes section.)

It has a checkbox to indicate if a book is signed.

It has a very nice loan status area in which one can indicate if a book is on loan by you or lent to someone else. It includes a place to put a due date. Very nice for library books!

All of the above information is private.

Sep 19, 2007, 10:38pm Top

They still don't answer email though!

Edited: Sep 19, 2007, 11:25pm Top

--> 192

I won't email them! :-)

Sep 19, 2007, 11:39pm Top

Yes, I think perhaps if you point out their shortcomings in public they ignore you. :)

Sep 20, 2007, 1:08am Top


What do they do with this data? Do they email you a reminder when your book is going to be due? Is there anything you can you do with the "signed" checkbox that you couldn't do in LT by tagging the item "signed"? Can you get a total value of your collection from the purchase price fields?

Sep 20, 2007, 3:34am Top

On Wednesday, Shelfari was mentioned in USA Today (in article entitled Facebook, MySpace get rivals):

"Also on the learning front is Shelfari, a site for teachers and students to exchange ideas."


Sep 20, 2007, 4:01am Top

#196 LOL. Perhaps they want to rebrand themselves because they are not successful with books ;)

Sep 20, 2007, 4:09am Top


As for signed I prefer using a tag. I record in the comments who it was signed by (I've got some signed by author and artist, or multiple contributors to an anthology).

I'm not at all concerned about most things being private or public.

I'm not sure what use the purchase price of books would be. The only thing I can think of is working out how much you have spent this year. Maybe for insurance purposes but it wouldn't necessarily be accurate. The value of books tend to drop dramatically as soon as you have bought them (apart from a few which become quite valuable quite quickly).

Sep 20, 2007, 10:22am Top

--> 195

What do they do with this data?

I don't know what they do with this data because I don't use Shelfari. I was just looking.

Do they email you a reminder when your book is going to be due?

*My library* send me the email reminder as to when to return my books! :-)

Is there anything you can you do with the "signed" checkbox that you couldn't do in LT by tagging the item "signed"?

No. I do use the tag "signed".

Can you get a total value of your collection from the purchase price fields?

I don't know because I haven't tried. I think probably not.

Edited: Sep 20, 2007, 10:24am Top

--> 196

A teacher could certainly use an LT group in that way (as long as the students are 13+ years of age).

Sep 20, 2007, 10:23am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Sep 20, 2007, 10:30am Top

--> 198

It could be a record of where to buy the least expensive books in the best condition. (...although, for myself, I already know).

It could also be a place to record the amount of money we spend on this hobby. (...although it does not take into account the amount of money I spend on shipping books to others. I'd love a place to record that!)

Price is certainly not a necessary feature but it could be a fun one. It could be used by each individual for whatever purpose he or she would want. No appraiser would pay much attention to the "LT value" of a book anyway! :-)

Edited: Nov 25, 2007, 10:07am Top

I signed up for Shelfari some time ago, and got disappointed with the lack of hits with some titles that i owned.

aNobii looks pretty nice, and it's easy to use. So I've uploaded my catalog there as well.

But, I think LibraryThing will be my main catalog (i've just recently upgraded to Lifetime) because of LT's advantages:

1) The people. The LT community's show of passion is staggering.

2) The sources: LT goes beyond Amazon! More titles, more authors.

3) Constant communication between LT developers and LTers!

4) There are authors and actual libraries who LibraryThing. Woot!

5) Various covers from Amazon are automatically offered, with an option for members to upload new covers. On Shelfari and aNobii, I have books that don't have cover art, and I have to upload each one!

Some features that I'd like on LT:
(I tried reading everything in this thread, so I'm probably repeating some of the wishes already posted)

1) Multiple editing feature for Started, Not Started, Finished, etc -- in place of the Date Started/Finished feature.

2) Or, just a multiple-book tagging feature. The tagging feature in itself is very flexible and can fill in a lot of feature wishes!

Nov 25, 2007, 10:42am Top


Power-edit will let you tag (or untag) multiple books.

Edited: Nov 25, 2007, 10:59am Top


Ohoho! I never noticed that little icon. My bad! Thank you! Well then... no more wishes for now.


Nov 26, 2007, 11:50am Top

I didn't see any mention in this thread of Google Books - My Library feature. It isn't very good because, other than reviews, it doesn't seem to have any social features. It is really in early development, I think, and has very few organizing features other than tags. The advantage is that it is hooked into the Google books system so for the books that they catalogue you can actually look at pages and excerpts. For me, the best thing about it was it caused me to get hooked on the catalogue idea and drove me to find LT.

Edited: Nov 26, 2007, 1:13pm Top

206> Google Books is definitely noticed, a few months ago LT released a small application which users could run to "crawl" GB search, matching up either their own books, or books from the whole community with records on Google Books. It was so popular we ended up catching the attention of Google because of all the hits.

The application was suspended and Tim was in discussion with Google about a way to share GBS data more easily. If I recall, the GBS data is available as a column if you edit your display style in "your library".

Blog posts:
Feature released
Suspension of the application

Nov 26, 2007, 1:48pm Top

Thanks for the information. I suppose I could have found it it I would have looked a little harder. I am pretty new to LT and a bit overwhelmed. I found the GBS data field but it doesn't seem to do anything. I assume the suspended bookmarklet is required to populate the field is that correct?

Dec 10, 2007, 7:38pm Top

Here's another one to add to the list - looks quite new and very "Web 2.0-ish": http://www.booktagger.com

Edited: Dec 10, 2007, 11:34pm Top

I recently encouraged another person to sign up for an LT account. I was disappointed when that person ended up liking Shelfari better - the reasons being that LT is not as "aesthetically pleasing" and is "a bit more confusing". :-(


Edited: Dec 10, 2007, 10:58pm Top

Oh well. We need to work hard on everything. I know some people feel that way. Some people like bad music too. And even bad music can learn from bad sometimes. We aren't as shiny, and that's only half defensive to say.

Booktagger is so frustrating to me. What the hell is up with this? It's just not any better than any of the 40 other ones. It's got a few bells and whistles, but lacks all sorts of basic features and with 500 users (my userid) and about 500 books it's slow? What the hell.

Look, there are two or three sites that are a threat to LT. And then there are 30+ that are just absolutely pointless repetition—a site that allows you to add books from Amazon into a list and have a profile picture. Get another idea already!

Dec 11, 2007, 12:09am Top

211> Lol, just thought I'd add it to the list, even though I have a piddly library it's the community and ideas behind LT that keep me hooked! I really wish there was something comparable for DVDs - I started out using Listal but have grown to hate it!

Listal has some shine, but I think it's trying to be too many things to too many people, and as a result I find it clumsy and frustrating to use when I just want to list my DVDs and pull various information on them.

But, back to LT - we're getting shiny! I love the new work details and edit pages, looking sharp. :)

Dec 11, 2007, 12:51am Top

I want to find a good collection of tags on DVDs and CDs, to add to our LibraryThing for Libraries product. Listal has some, maybe enough. I wonder where else I should look.

Dec 11, 2007, 12:51am Top

I want to find a good collection of tags on DVDs and CDs, to add to our LibraryThing for Libraries product. Listal has some, maybe enough. I wonder where else I should look.

Dec 11, 2007, 1:38am Top

212- yes, we're getting shiny! *loves LT's shinyness*

213/214: Repeating yourself there Tim? :P

Dec 11, 2007, 9:24pm Top

#212: "even though I have a piddly library it's the community and ideas behind LT that keep me hooked! "

i agree! i signed up in shelfari and anobii just to see what they could offer. and shelfari's "shelf" display was a little too tacky for me. anobii was really shiny. gotta love that web 2.0 goodness.

but after getting my titles encoded in my catalog (shelfari couldn't even locate and encode more than 20 of my titles), i sat there looking at the sites and said -- ok, now what?

so i go back to LT and browse the very engaging Talk section where there be lots of readers and real librarians, from whom i've discovered new authors and works to read.

and yeah, the network of LT is muy impressive. all those libraries!


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