Why are there so many more people on GoodReads? Part II
This is a continuation of the topic Why are there so many more people on GoodReads?.
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Err, I haven't even read ALL/MOST/ANY? threads before. But time to move on.
thanks library thing im now read the magzine young world of dawn newspaper and saw this mail address.
I might flag this if I knew what the heck it was actually talking about...
you're welcome collection you ever write the atlas creepy through weeks almanac to get these web pages!
I'd guess English isn't the mother tongue, based on the user name...
What? Sahito said that he/she read the Young World of Dawn magazine/newspaper and saw something about LibraryThing so came and joined. Seems perfectly clear to me (and a heck of a lot better than I could do in - Japanese?).
Welcome, Sahito - enter some books so we know a little more about you, and you'll get fewer snarky comments. I hope you enjoy LibraryThing. Stop by the Welcome to Librarything! group if you have questions about how it works here - or anything else.
My apologies sahito! Your interpretation looks right on, jj.
The completely empty account combined with the (to me) impenetrable syntax threw me, as well as appealing to my appetite for surreal reply composition.
I did enjoy your surreal comment. I just hope we haven't scared sahito off completely. I couldn't understand any part of the message, but the overall gist seemed pretty clear...
I know many serious readers who use GR, and hadn't even heard of the LT until I asked them to check it out. After checking it out, they still decided to stick with GoodReads, so, I specially signed in today to start this thread, when saw this thread popping up.
Most of the things I wanted to write have been already discussed and there is general consensus about them that they are because of different demographics both site are aiming at, so I am just going to ignore them for now.
There is one more thing though, LibraryThing usually don't show up on search engines when searching for books, while GoodReads is usually among first few results. Here is an example (I am searching for a less popular book on purpose, to reduce non-related links, but this is true for most books I have searched lately):
On Google GoodReads is the 5th link, and on DDG, it's 2nd, while there is no LT link that I can find - I checked till page 3 for Google. (Google often shows different results based on your web/search history and different factors, so your results may vary a bit, but DDG one should be same)
I am not sure if this is because GoodReads is better optimized for search engines or just because they have more users, so they generate more external links to GR, so it ranks higher in search engine, which results in them getting more users, who then link to site even more...
Huh. I was going to say that I see LT links for most books I search, which I do - but for this one (which, admittedly, I'd never heard of), you're absolutely right. Same sort of thing as the original post (on the first thread of this sequence) was talking about - GR has 1376 ratings, LT has 318 members cataloging the book and very few reviews. You may be right about the vicious circle (virtuous circle?) of more members=more links (and pages mentioning all kinds of books)=higher search rankings=more members...
Well certainly if there is more Facebook style users using GR then I would expect far more incoming links as people link to their GR book on FB.
Also, regarding the links. I do believe that these days GR is getting a boatload of links back to their site because of their FirstReads program. I've seen many, many, many links around the web pointing simply to a giveaway, with no mention of anything else GR does, just that author's (or favorite author's) giveaway. So, I think that probably helps them with the linkback part of search engines algorithms.
Something else I wanted to offer as consideration:
On LT, you need to have the book in your library to review it.
On GR, you don't. Anyone can review any book.
We have a more controlled environment here, so there are less review wars. Some people don't want that type of control on their book lives.
But in LT the book just needs to be in your catalog, not a particular collection. Many of us can and do have Read But Not Owned collections specifically in order to review books that we don't (currently) own.
>14, 15 Yikes, if I had to own all the books that I've read, or have reviewed (or plan to read/review). Even second hand, bit of a chunk of change.
I do find most of the forums here a bit more... civilized is too strong a word, but... I do like LT's forums much more than GRs on the whole. (Although there are some good GR forums)
Who said anything about owning? I think the whole point is that you *don't* need to own the book in order to catalog it on LT.
I didn't say you had to own it. I said it had to be in your library.
In other words, you can't go to a book's page and write a review on it. You need to log in to access the forums to start a thread regarding it. It's not an open free for all.
GR allows you to review the book without any connection to it. (Or it did when I last checked it years ago.)
>18 -- I'm not sure about that. Reviewing a book on GR, even just clicking a star rating, requires that you be logged in and automatically adds the book to your My Books library (analogous to LT's Your Books library). Removing the book from your My Books library will delete your review or rating for it as well.
This seems to have been the set-up since I joined GR in 2008, but perhaps the GR system was different originally.
But surely that's the difference? On LT, you first has to add the book (which, for reasons much discussed elsewhere, is less than entirely straightforward), the write the review - on GR you just start writing the review and the book is added to your books automatically.
>20 That's not entirely true. On GR you can rate a book not in your library, you can recommend it to your friends, but you can't review it unless you add it first.
The question of whether or not Goodreads has more members than Library Thing is a bit dubious as well. Both sites use the number of people who joined, which is free in both instances, even if they never visited the site again. Neither Tim nor Otis at GR is going to tell you how many active members there are, and I'm not sure how you would define active anyway.
I think the membership on both sites is overstated and I suspect GR has more active members than LT but I don't know. Ultimately, I don't think it matters much. I use both sites, I like LT better, but this is not a Pepsi vs. Coke, mustard vs. ketchup or bubbler vs water fountain sort of issue for me. I'll frequently check out a book that looks interesting on both sites. I entered my library on a different site and subsequently dumped it into both GR and LT, and both sites have issues with the ease of adding books.
I think GR has a slightly more social aspect to it than LT, but I don't know if that accounts for more members or not. I think a person who spends a significant amount of time on one before discovering the other may be daunted by the unfamiliarity of the new (to them) site, but I don't think that's a one way street. I'll continue to use both and I'm glad they are different.
#21 by tottman> That's not entirely true. On GR you can rate a book not in your library, you can recommend it to your friends, but you can't review it unless you add it first.
I think AndreasJ has a good point, though. "Adding a book" doesn't really mean the same on GR as it does on LT. On LT, it's a fairly cumbersome process; on GR, it's closer trivial the vast majority of the time.
The question of whether or not Goodreads has more members than Library Thing is a bit dubious as well. Both sites use the number of people who joined, which is free in both instances, even if they never visited the site again. Neither Tim nor Otis at GR is going to tell you how many active members there are, and I'm not sure how you would define active anyway.
Nah, see my post in the other thread. From that data, I think it's safe to say that GR has between 30-50 times the users than LT. You can argue about frequency of use, breadth of libraries, age distribution, etc. and that's all well and good. But when 800 people write a review for the most popular book on LT and 26,000 write a review for that same book on GR... well, that's a much better gauge than any membership numbers stated by either company.
>22 I think it's safe to say that GR has between 30-50 times the users than LT.
That's completely unsupportable speculation. It just relies on too many assumptions and the only people who know aren't talking. It assumes that people who join both sites use them for the same things and do various activities on both sites at the same frequency, such as write reviews. There is nothing to support that. You can make the statement that GR has more reviews, but you can't generalize beyond that to more members. As I said, it's likely that GR has more members, but to what degree is speculation.
I'm not sure you can read across the numbers that easily. I would grant that GR has many times more, but you can't say that because there are 40 times more reviews there are 40 times more users with any accuracy. People use LT differently to GR. That difference may mean that a GR user reviews more often than a LT user. Quite a number of people (like me for example) do not use LT as a repository for reviews of all the books we read. In fact I very rarely review. I care far more about the catalogue than the reviews.
> 22 people write a review for the most popular book ... well, that's a much better gauge
I'm not so sure; "people on" (per thread title) is a hard thing to measure.
I was a very active cataloging member on LT for a long while before I got into writing reviews. And then my review rate limped along until I hit my stride and committed to reviewing every book I read.
The very title "GoodReads" to me suggests more of an emphasis on sharing opinions and thus reviewing, whereas the name "LibraryThing" seems to leave the reviewing as a more peripheral function.
Read the message I linked to. It's not just reviews, it's members cataloging and ratings as well. That's sharing opinions as well as cataloging. I also didn't say 40 times. I said 30-50 times, indicating the uncertainty within the numbers. I will revise that to 20-50 times, though (mistyped).
I also said you can make plenty of arguments over types of libraries, etc. etc. ad nauseam. And there's plenty of arguments over what it really MEANS to have way more users, even if it means the average users catalogs 1 book versus 100. And plenty on whether people are sharing opinions or cataloging, etc.
But I think you really have to be burying your head in the sand to not realize GR has an order of magnitude more users than LT.
The question is, what percentage of those users are spammers? :D
LT typically reports somewhere between 200 and 300 members currently online. Right now it's about 250.
I just checked GoodReads and they list 66 pages of 50 members each currently online. That's about 3300.
Unless there is a really good financial reason to have more people, I am happy with the number we have. I can't keep up with the conversations and number of groups we have. If there were 10 times as many people on line, just think what these conversations would be like.
According to GoodReads (in About us) they have more than 9,200,000 members who have added more than 330,000,000 books to their shelves. At this moment LT has 1,547,028 members and 73,492,702 books. So they have 6 times more members and 4,5 times more books.
As Tim has said before, both sides are giving inaccurate and PR spun numbers.
Anyway, though I still think an order of magnitude is a difference is probably even conservative, I never implied that GR having more members is a good thing. In fact, since GR is on the VC model, it can be a terrible thing. As near as we can tell, Tim has done a great job of "living within his means". He's not under any pressure to make a buck off his users, beyond the membership fee that is actually more about "buy in" than about revenue.
GR on the other hand is in a different boat. Not only do they need to pack in as many users as possible, they need to figure out a way to squeeze some cash out of them. They can't even do what Tim did and put up a nominal membership fee (which on LT is fairly trivial when divided by the number of years) because they got all these users already. It would be an incredibly dicey thing to ask those people who have invested their time to start ponying up the money.
Lower user numbers would really only be a terrible thing for LT if it was going the VC route.
(Which is a more interlectchel way of saying 'me too'.)
Oh, and a small addendum to the above. Another reason why it's better for LT to have lower numbers of users who might give "higher quality" reviews (please don't read that in an elitist/snobbish sort of way - I'm not really that big on reviews anyway) - they sell those reviews to libraries as part of their big LTFL moneymaker. And they actually go through those reviews manually (after sifting out some more obvious crap ones using software). Can you imagine if instead of 800 reviews for Catching Fire, they had to sit down and read 47 THOUSAND!
Thought I'd throw in my two cents. I have used both LT and GR for years (LT a bit longer) and find that I use them for different things. LT is for the reading challenges and a bit of social interaction. GR is used because it's much easier to look up a book I'm interested in and mark it as to be read. Since they have an app, my book collection is with me wherever I go. If I'm in a bookstore I can easily access my wish list. I find both to be useful but just in different ways.
What would really be fascinating is to know:
* What % of active GR users are also active LT users
* What % of active LT users are also active GR users
* What % of users that use both consider LT/GR their "primary" site?
For some definition of "active", of course ;)
Active LT user, non-active GR member here. I have a GR account (as I think I said above), but I visit it maybe once every six months to a year - when my sister or another GR friend pokes me. I don't think I've missed visiting LT for more than 3-4 days in a row since I started cataloging, in March 2007...
"Number of reviews" may also be a contentious way of counting. Many people on LT, particularly those in the 50, 75 and 100 books and in Club Read, review books in their threads but for a variety of reasons do not post them. I've mostly stopped posting mine because I often refer in them to things talked about on my thread, and I don't want to have to edit them for posting.
I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of GR - is there a way of posting a review other than just posting a review?
#36 by lyzard> "Number of reviews" may also be a contentious way of counting.
Just want to point out again that I didn't only count number of reviews. I counted that, number of ratings and number of users cataloging. And henkl added number of users on at one time. I'm not sure what's left - number of users posting to Talk?
They'll never be an actual official answer you can trust as both sides will spin it. But at this point, all the evidence we can dig up is pointing in one direction. I'd love to hear one solid piece of data that points in the other. Reminder: the plural of "anecdote" is not "data". ;)
#30 It would be an incredibly dicey thing to ask those people who have invested their time to start ponying up the money.
Indeed - I know of people who chose GR because they didn't have to pay anything but for LT you did.
Reminder: the plural of "anecdote" is not "data". ;)
Isn't it though? I see the smiley and it's a cute saying and all, but if you had 100 carefully recorded anecdotes, wouldn't that be data?
Carefulness of recording is somewhat besides the point. The problem with anecdotal data tends to be there's no way of knowing if it's representative of anything. If I collect 100 anecdotes about people getting killed by their seatbelts, that may be data of a sort, but it doesn't tell us anything useful about the dangerousness of seatbelts.
Careful recording would include collecting anecdotes on those accidents where people weren't killed by their seatbelts, but I get your point.
I've been following this discussion and think it interesting. The issue is really whether the numbers of people on GR being obviously so many more than on LT are of importance or not. Tim says no because LT is a business with a steady income stream from LTFL.
I'm not sure because I have found it very hard in the past to lure people into LT as opposed to GR - even a librarian who said to me, "All of my friends are on Goodreads!". As GR grows, it seems that LT is becoming more obscure.
I guess the idea is that each maintains its own niche and we readers pick what of each is important to us individually. Tim picks substance and depth over popularity. I personally, like the LT folks I've met on groups and in real life and am devoted to LT. I have also liked the opportunity to learn about and integrate the wiki here on LT into my reading experience and that of others. I think that was the real "hook" that made me stay.
I haven't seen this thread until now. The answer in my case is plain and simple: Goodreads doesn't place a limit on the number of books I can list for free. I still come here, but I keep my list down so they don't charge me.
Actually, one can pay whatever one can afford for membership on LT. However, that fact is not widely advertised. It is generally known among LT members, though.
Beside that, the one-time fee of $25 I plunked down a few years ago for my lifetime membership has amply rewarded me over the years*. So much so, that I've purchased lifetime memberships for others in thanks for what this site has given me. Just sayin'.
I also have to add that I like the one-time fee. That completely eliminates advertising from this website. It's an attempt to keepout riff-raff and spammers. It precludes me from ever getting a bill for services from LT. In addition, it supports a website that I now deem my favorite.
You do have a point. However, it costs *nothing* to learn about LT and list up to 200 books (which does take a while!).
I guess I'm different from many people in one respect. I search for things by price and quality. Most people, I know, go for price first.
I would add popularity as an "attractant" characteristic as well. I think for this reason, as GR gained popularity, LT has been finding it harder (MHO only) to attract new members. Maybe I'm wrong in this thinking, though.
#47 by SqueakyChu> Oh, I agree with you. But if I'm going to decide on one service to list my books on, I'm probably not going to start on one where I think I know I'll have to pay $25 dollars to go past 200.
You know, all these things probably narrow down the pool of people who eventually use LT in interesting ways. :D
The problem with GR is that sooner or later they have to recoup all money spent on development and servers, and then you never know how the users might be screwed. I prefer to be the customer rather than the product.
#50 by anglemark> Yeah, that's what I was alluding to earlier when I said having that gigantic userbase is a problem. The more users they have, the more money they suck up.
I prefer to be the customer rather than the product.
To be fair, you're both on LT. Reviews by LT members are a big part of what they sell as LTFL.
But I agree with your overall point.
On LT we have the option. In the beginning I said I didn't want my reviews used, but as I became more and more active I loosened it in stages because I wanted to support LT.
#53 by MarthaJeanne> Oh, I understand that. I'm quite willingly a part of LT's product. But product nonetheless.
I should also point out that CK information like Series, Awards, Tags and other CK and information derived from editions is also used in LTFL. I don't think you can really opt out of any of those.
>54 Yes, but, there's no reason that every user has to contribute to the CK (personally it drives me crazy when I know that an author is a guy or gal and it doesn't say that on my male/female list, so, I just have the urge to change it, but then again, I straighten out the books on a shelf when I'm in a book store, so... little crazy... :))
I straighten out the books on a shelf when I'm in a book store
Are there any bookminded people who don't?
My wife throws away dustjackets.
We're going to start counseling ...as soon as I can find a marriage counselor shopping at Half Price Books.
55, 56, I had to move not only several books back into alpha order in a swap library, and even a few back into the thrillers section this afternoon. There obviously are people who don't get the idea of books in order, even people who read books.
Oh, well. As long as noone else in the group figures out that the person who keeps putting the books back into order also gets to go through the new books before they are on the ordered shelves. :)
I am a very active LT user, but increasingly I use GR too. LT is where I catalogue my own library, upload cover art, contribute to common knowledge (all of these primarily because, let's face it, I personally benefit from these things) and also where I post (occasionally) on chat boards (because the topics here interest me - groups like Folio Society Devotees, for example, are only likely to spring up on a site where the edition of your book actually matters).
But GR is a better place to mark books I'm interested in reading. It really is FAR easier to add books to a list there. I remember when it used to be that easy here too - we used to have a button called "add this book" that actually added the book with a single click - but this was changed to a multi-step search mechanism that more often then not throws up zero results for me because a lot of the books I want to add to a wishlist after browsing someone else's catalogue don't have isbns (fine press, or pre 1960s books, for example). I vaguely recall some reason being posted about this at the time (to stop bad data being replicated maybe?), but quite frankly losing that simple function is probably why I moved my wishlist elsewhere.
GR lists are great features too when looking for other books I might like. (I contributed to the beta lists function here a while ago, but don't know what happened to it - I can't even find the lists now.)
A few people on here have commented on the money issue, and I thought long about that when deciding where to catalogue my books too, so it may well be a deal breaker when others are looking for where to set up shop. Even some of the active commenters on boards I read hve said that's the reason they haven't entered any books, despite being members for years. Have the LT powers-that-be ever considered a free account type that allowed a unlimited number of books to be entered, but somehow otherwise limited the functionality for free users? (GR has pretty limited functionality IMHO.) To encourage more members to jump the hurdle of joining? Surely once here they'd be won over by just how fabulous the site is!
And I really want to be sure GR doesn't threaten the far better LT experience - history has shown that better does not often beat popular.
Ps sorry - this post got rather long!
we used to have a button called "add this book" that actually added the book with a single click
Doesn't brightcopy have a Greasemonkey script that copies the data from someone else's book page and prepopulates the manual entry form with it?
>59 My experience is very similar. I started with LT and my focus was on cataloging my books - for me this is LT's great strength - the hidden librarian in me can be satisfied that my books are cataloged correctly. Then I discovered groups, especially Folio Society Devotees, so now I visit LT at least daily.
I then heard about GR on this group particularly how many more members it had than LT. I now use GR regularly as well, mainly to check on reviews of books I might like to read - there are so many more reviews and ratings on GR. I have cataloged my books there as well but not so precisely as on LT.
Now again, this group has given me a thought about how i can use GR more! I don't like the way LT treats the books in my extensive wishlist as if i own them, even though I have excluded the list from My Library. So I plan to shift my wishlist over to GR!
I've looked at GR (joined a couple of days ago) and recommendations is easier and more fun there. And I might very well use it for a wishlist. But I will never move over my book catalogue. That's the reason I'm here.
#43 by SqueakyChu >
Same thing happened to me when introducing people to LT, they said all their contacts are on GR and created an account there. Even I created a GR account to follow review/rating and reading lists of my friends, though I was too lazy to enter all my books there again or look for a way to import my books there, not to mention I quite like LT, so never got a chance log in there again.
'Substance and depth' is nice, but I think if any site offers social connections (which to be honest, is a need for most sites these day), it should also be 'attractive' enough to appeal to most people, so that I can get my contacts on it.
The reason I took part in this discussion is because it kind of make me think of Nokia - http://pandodaily.com/2012/06/16/rip-nokia-1965-2014/ - how it was almost a market leader and now it may die in couple of years, the comparison may not be exact, but it seems to be going that way, for some reason it seems LT isn't keeping up with the changes and lagging behind.
Ofcourse there are lots of variables, and each site has their own vision of things. So if the main concern of LT is not it's userbase (but the work on LTFL or other such services for example), than this whole discussion is meaningless.
As for everyone here saying that they prefer LT, I think that doesn't actually shows the opinion of general population, as this conversation is on LT and if you are here, looking at groups, engaging in conversation, it is quite obvious that you already like LT :)
In the end, when all is said and done, I think it really is so simple that LibraryThing mainly attracts those of us who love books, the physical objects, and want to have a quality catalogue of them, and that GoodReads appeals mainly to the people who are mostly interested in reading and discussing what they have read and don't care so much about the physical objects, editions etc.
That doesn't mean that there aren't questions to face for Tim et al, like "is the booklover crowd big enough to sustain LT?", "does the momentum of social critical mass mean that GR will out-compete LT?", etc.
I wanted an exhaustive and accurate catalog of my books, so I signed up for LT.
Then I also wanted to see what all my friends were reading and show them what I was reading, so I signed up for GR.
#50: I prefer to be the customer rather than the product.
You are the product on LibraryThing. Ultimately speaking, I doubt what I have paid LibraryThing over the years--two lifetime subscriptions--has covered server and network costs, much less staffing costs. The money that supports my LT use comes from what LT can sell to other organizations; in my case, 30,000 tags and 3000 CK entries.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I find it so much easier on GR to find the correct edition, so your whole argument of noone caring what edition on GR they catalog doesn't hold water for me. Yes it takes you to the first on their list but then you click on editions and find the correct edition and click switch to this edition, and looky there it shows the narrators and everything in the title of that audiobook. It is on LT where I don't have the correct editions of my books on GR I can search through editions and find the exact edition I'm looking for.
Also just because there are ads doesn't mean you have to click on them, I have because it seems they know me pretty well and the books I see in ads look interesting. I am also a paid member here on LT and the thing I like the best on LT is Tags & CK.
I have met some great people on LT but then again I have met some that will talk down to and scare off new members faster than they can catalog their 200 books and become a paid member!
Yes I do...Like I said I have found great people here too but it just seems less snarky over there.
Doesn't that depend on which groups you follow? I'm sure you get a whole different experience reading Pro and Con vs. Book Talk.
I've found very nice people on both LT and GR, but the occasional snarky one on both sites as well. The snarkiest towards me was actually here where a person ripped me apart for a comment I made that was not addressed to her or about her, was misinterpreted, and was IMHO totally off-base. But that can happen anywhere.
On GR, I ran across a group that has a little gang of bullies that verbally beat up on anyone who disagrees with them and act self-congratulatory.
Again, that can happen anywhere. Much worse on many sites than on either LT or GR; things are relatively calm here.
My mother, 86 and loves her computer but not very technically inclined, is a fan of GR. I knew about GR before I learned about LT, and helped her set up a GR account. She is curious about LT but I admit that I have steered her away from it. She mostly likes to read and write reviews and follow her GR friends, and I think that LT would be harder for her to navigate, beginning with how to add a book to her library. I think LT would just frustrate her.
Given that, I think both sites serve a purpose. I was slow to add books to LT, adding them only as I finished reading them and stretching out my 200 book limit, and once I got a lifetime membership (a great value, worth much more to me than I paid), I never went back and added most of the others. Someday maybe.
I use both sites and my favorite group here is the 75 book challenge it is the friendliest.
>#72- I don't ever go to pro & con but have seen a whole lot of snark in book talk too.
I find GR less useful, more visually cluttered, and harder to navigate.
It annoys me that GR won't provide recommendations unless you rate books. I like that I don't have to do that here. LT's recommendation system is scads better because of that.
I've also noticed that GR's giveaway program has tons more garbage than LT's.
And, of course, their use of "likes" is irritating as all get-out.
>#75- I like that I can pick a shelf on GR to get recommendations from not just willy nilly like here on LT I've rarely found good ones here because .. it's here's 20 more from an author in your library. On GR I can specify a certain shelf or a certain genre much better recommendations.
The best recs I've gotten here are from other people in the 75 book challenge group.
On LT, you can filter by genre using tags. It's NOT obvious, though. Go to your recommendations page at:
You can either click on "Filter by other member's tags" or "Books with your tags". For example, click the first one, then click "science fiction" to narrow the recommendations down to just science fiction.
You could possibly hack your way into recommendations per-shelf in a similar way by using tags. You'd tag all the items in each shelf with a unique tag and filter on that. But I certainly agree that that could be done much better.
I like that I can pick a shelf on GR to get recommendations from not just willy nilly like here on LT
1. You can determine which of your LT collections will be used for recommendations.
2. That still doesn't answer my problem, which is that GR requires you to use star ratings in order to get recommendations. LT doesn't. A huge + for LT.
#78 by lilithcat> I don't think susiesharp wanted to set which collections are used for recommendations. Not exactly. She wants to say "give me some recommendations based on this shelf. Hmmm, how about some based on that shelf? Well, what about this one?" Kind of a different approach. You COULD do it in LT, by constantly going in and editing your collections, toggling switches. (Of course, that's assuming LT doesn't cache stuff involved very long.) But it'd be tedious and not really suited to the task.
It's funny because it's much like your point #2. You don't like using star ratings. So you love that LT has recommendations that don't depend on them. This is because of how you approach recommendations. But susiesharp finds LT lacking because of how she approaches them (by genre, by shelf, etc.)
>lilithcat I don't know where you get your info on GR but that's not right at all, I don't have to have rated a book to get a recommendation because I can go to my TBR shelf or my wishlist and get recs based on those books.
>thanks for that info brightcopy but I'm a one click girl ;) I don't want to have to dig to get what I'm looking for.
#81 by brightcopy> #80 by susiesharp> Oh, I completely understand about the one-click. I think you have some very good points about places in LT where the recommendations are too buried. That's a general problem with LT in general, of course.
But LT has the functionality, so what they really should do is put a link on the tag page so you can just click on the tag and see the recommendations. In fact, when you brought this up I was had to check that first because it seemed fairly surprising that they wouldn't already have it there! I mean, c'mon, they have the "Google Books Ngram Viewer" and yet no recommendations. Kinda odd.
And thanks for the heads up about the rating/recommendation behavior or GR. I think there's a lot of accidental misinformation on both sides due to people not being regular users of both.
I get my info on GR from GR: "We're sorry, but we don't have any book recommendations for you yet. Goodreads learns about your personal tastes from your ratings, then generates recommendations unique to you. You need to rate at least 20 books to get Goodreads Recommendations. You've rated 0 books so far. Try rating more books, or finding books on these popular lists."
Well I guess as an actual user of both sites my personal preference is I like the way recommendations work over there better then here.
I use both sites, also. And I might like their recommendations - I just can't get any because I don't use star ratings.
And that would be your personal preference lilithcat.
But why can't you go to specific shelves and see your recs? Because I can see recs for books I haven't rated.
She can't get any recommendations because the recs are grounded in the ratings that she hasn't made. Your recs are similarly grounded in your ratings -- not for the books being recommended, but for whatever books you have rated.
ETA: The Amazon and Netflix recommendation engines are similarly structured around ratings. They will push recs anyway even if there are no user ratings to leverage, but they really want you to rate books/movies so that their thing will work as designed.
Susie, I don't think you need to have rated a specific book to get recommendations on that book. But you do need to have rated at least 20 books overall.
Ahh I see.. I guess I rate my books so I get very good recs over there.
I like LT over GR. One is socially oriented with books acting as a proxy for connecting and talking to others; the other is technologically oriented primarily dealing in facts and numbers and reveling in detailed complexity. I'm an engineer type and obviously prefer one over the other, and am not surprised that the majority of book readers who use online social media gravitated to GR. I hope LT can keep enough revenue to keep the owners interested in maintaining the site.
That's the nice thing about LT - it's not a standard startup, with the aim being to make lots of money (by getting members, or by selling out to someone, or with VC cash...). It's Tim's pet project. As long as he's making enough to cover costs (including salaries, including his salary) - that is, as long as it's not actually a drain on him - it's definitely going to stay around. And with the LT For Libraries side, he's got a steady income stream besides memberships.
How many of those hits are to the give away pages?? My guess is a ton of 'em. Sometimes over there people join just to enter the give aways.
I like LT over GR, too. It is visually easier for me to understand. I like being able to look at my books (page after page of book covers) every once in a while. That's something I've yet to figure out on GR.
LT has the culture of Every Book Matters, whereas GR is Any Book Matters, so it is way more weighted with what's new, rather than what's ridiculously & enjoyably obscure, at least that's my observation.
> 91 re: Tim's pet project
Well we know there are at least 3 owners of LibraryThing: Tim (and other other private investors like family and friend). Amazon owns 40% (via ABE Books). And CIG has a minority stake. There may also be creditors with liens if any bank loans etc. Probably a board of directors too.
True. FYI, LT has dropped in Alexa ratings over time. I've also demonstrated that although LT is still growing in total, the growth rate is slowing year on year since 2008 or so (by monitoring Zeitgeist stats). One might say this is natural but then look at the competition. Not saying LT is dieing, but something to keep an eye on. I hope LT stays around forever because it's a big part of my book discovery and learning process. I'd happily pay a monthly fee to keep it alive, if it came to it. But not the commercialism of GR.
#94 by Stbalbach> Nope, nope and nope. :D Tim has stated time and time again he personally owns over 50% of the shares. Therefore, there is really only one "owner" and other investors. Can't speak to the creditors, of course (none of us can). And I also highly doubt there's any board of directors, given the lack of financial laws requiring them for such a low number of shareholders. Heck, there'd be more directors than there'd be shareholders!
I think much of LT's problem is form, not function. That is, it's possible to do a /ton/ here, and most (though not all) of the stuff you can do is awesome and well thought out.
But all this stuff is buried behind poor navigation, web design that reads several years, if not decades, old, and sometimes a complete lack of links /anywhere/. It's really, really hard to figure out how to do much of the things that LT actually does well.
Ah, yes. Why do people prefer good looks and poor performance over plain and brilliant? The eternal question in software development and love both.
Not to mention this on the front page:
Are you an author or a publisher?
Gain access to a massive audience of more than 9 million book lovers. Goodreads is a great place to promote your books.
I'll stick to LT, thank you.
GR is a more user friendly site. I know when I have tried to add books on LT, it seems to support Amazon EBooks and I purchased a B&N Nook and there is way more steps to add a book cover.
I'm not just talking about Good Reads being flashy and pretty (though it is). I'm talking about LT being actually hard to use because of its web design in /addition/ to not being as pretty. The UI is not very intuitive and many features are buried.
For the UI, I've been on LT since the beginning and so it seems very natural to me, so I'm not a good judge. For the appearance I think LT is much nicer. GR is ugly. Flashy and distracting and no actual content or information, just decoration.
I agree with SqueakyChu. I paid the one-time member fee many years ago for the lifetime membership and I love it! I tried the free account until I was sure it was something I wanted to use. I love the fact that I don't have to worry about ads on LT.
I have an LT and a GR account. I initially started using GR as a backup to catalog my personal library many years ago when LT was going through some issues of downtime. I then started using GR primarily for the bookswap feature; which they dropped without much warning to the dismay of many members. I've seen this happen with other features on GR over the years. Many people viewed this lack of customer service as, "Well, I can't complain since it's a free site." However, I view it as a bad thing across the board. When I had a free account with LT and after I paid for a lifetime membership, the response to any questions/problems I had were always professionally answered.
Right now I am trying to update my personal library and with boxes and stacks of books all around me, GR is down, but LT is going strong as ever.
I also agree with SqueakyChu on this point: "I search for things by price and quality. Most people, I know, go for price first." and "Being smaller but better is not necessarily bad!"
Many of you have already pointed out that GR seems to be more for those who want to socialize or share what they are reading and see what their friends are reading. I am under 40, but I am of the mindset that does not feel the need to share every detail of my life with the world - be they real or "virtual" friends. If I want to talk to a friend about what they are reading or recommend a book to them, I would rather do it in person, a phone call, or the very least, a personal email.
Having said all this, I hope LT can stick it out for the long haul. I will make a more conscious effort to sing its praises to my fellow suffers of bibliomania from now on!
Paid LT user since 2007
GR user since 2010
I think the big problem here will be that any change will be shouted down. Even quite small changes which do not affect the underlying philosophy of the site.
I feel that great improvements could be made with the UI AND we could keep the focus on data, and the clean textual interface (for those that want it - like me). However I feel we are doomed to be frozen in aspic unless most people accept that change has to happen. Change doesn't mean we go to flashy and distracting.
>104 Yeah, I agree. Or more precisely, Tim will let any changes be shouted down, because it's easier to cancel a change entirely than to figure out which small tweaks would make people happier.
Well I don't think that there are any changes which would make everyone happy. What might please me, might horrify some others and vice versa. Tim needs to learn to ignore that. Just put a new UI in without consultation. As long as the ethos of the site remains people will get used to it.
Interesting conversation. I started with LT back in 2005 and joined GR in 2010, and I'm active in both (but much more on GR). Like many have said before me, I use them for different purposes: LT is the best in cataloguing my library and display it etc. (though GR is not that bad: I care for accuracy, I would't have joined it it had bad data): I almost never use the Talk/Group section here. GR on the other hand is much more fun and interaction with other readers: better group functions and layout, and quite recently they have launched a good recommendation engine. Also, I'm Italian and the Italian community here has never been really active (maybe things are starting to change now), while we have created a large Italian group on GR.
Again, I don't see the need to choose between them because they both suit me perfectly for different things.
Lots of GoodReads drama lately, which seems like it might be a good opportunity for LibraryThing....
There was apparently a GR panel at the RWA conference yesterday afternoon - Sarah Wendell of smartbitchestrashybooks.com live tweeted it. From what I could pick up, there were veiled allusions to how crappy LT is because our reviews aren't sent to USAToday &c. ...
But now GR can hide reviews for any reason (although they claim that it's only if it's a negative review of the author and not the book?) - it made me kind of glad of Tim's position of not hiding reviews for spoilers and the like, even if we grouch about wishing the blue flags would hide things. (The red ones send them to the back of the pile, but don't hide them outright, correct?)
Without being nasty, to what kind of drama are you referring? I don't want to go there to personally check it out.
From what I could pick up, there were veiled allusions to how crappy LT is because our reviews aren't sent to USAToday
LT is my number one choice for book reviews. They are less in number, certainly, but, to me anyway, they are more meaty and thoughtful.
I actually don't like to read newspaper book reviews because those articles more often than not tell me too much of the story. Why read a book if I already have a summary of everything that is going to happen?
LT and GR are incomparable for those who read books mainly in languages other than English. Great, even though somewhat underestimated potential of LT is its different language interfaces. LT makes it possible to be part of the global, English-speaking community, and yet not to be run over by it.
>110 If you Google "Stop the GR Bullies", there are various articles about it.
I saw at least one person saying they were fed up with GR, but wouldn't use LT because they couldn't catalogue unlimited books without paying. It's amazing how many people just hate the thought of paying in principle, even when it's a small amount and, I think, increases the commitment of members to their catalogues.
I agree about the potential. It's a pity there aren't any competitive non-Anglo sites, though.
Isn't there a "you can pay as much as you like" option?
It amazes me, as well, the amount of people who always expect something for free, and never consider the value of what they're getting. Of course, this applies to many other aspects of our society as well.
Isn't there a "you can pay as much as you like" option?
There is. Generally, though, people never take the time to fully explore LT so they never find out about that option.
I think both of these facts (that you have to pay and if you stick around long enough, you find out you can pay as much as you like) shapes the LT userbase in a good way.
Isn't there a "you can pay as much as you like" option?
It doesn't go to zero. I'm not sure, having paid up long before it was introduced, what the floor is.
Oh, yes, I have a question about that. I signed up on the Italian site just to check out some things and from what I saw, the payment choices for lifetime only go down to 19 euro. It seems you can't pay less than that.
I feel awkward about opening a discussion on payment (considering I think my money well spent on LT, four times over), but it looks like some things need to be clarified, or wrong info is getting spread.
Is there or isn't there a minimum to pay for lifetime memberships, and is it the same (conversion of currency assumed) for all LT sites?
If no one here knows, I suppose it ought to be asked in a new thread...
For value delivered, the lifetime membership is staggeringly cheap. And the free trial membership gives access to all the functionality for people to come to that realization.
The whole thing with some people on GR being upset with reviews that are about authors and not about books being hidden can give some insight to what so far has been considered a "review" over there... That is, pretty much everything is counted as a review (from "I can't wait for this book to come out next year! ((animated gifs))" to "Review to come next month..."). Going from practically no guidelines to having some (yet to be announced) will meet some resistance.
Well, to be fair, anything is counted as a review on LT. "But wait, what about the 'not a review' flag?" Well, what does that really do, though? It puts it at the end of the list of reviews. But it's still in the list of reviews. And if there are, say, two or three reviews for the books, it's still right up there. And if you click on someone's profile, it will say "X reviews" without regard to whether they are "not a review" reviews or otherwise. So sure, LT has the flag, but the penalty is rather inconsequential.
(And it hides it in the LTFL product. But plenty of "legit" reviews are hidden in it as well so I don't really see this as a penalty.)
The reviews at Goodreads aren't any more or less substantial than the ones here. If you look at reviews for WAR AND PEACE on LT and then on GR, both sites have some that are excellent, and some that are "this book haz tooo many pages, mkay?"
I REALLY think the GR issue of hiding reviews is more about the tags vs. shelves thing. On LT, you can tag a book as "author is a jerk-face" all day long. If more people don't tag it that way, your tag probably won't show up in the tag cloud, or at least not large. On GR, if popular reviewers use the "author is a jerk-face" shelf, the algorithm moves them to the top of the review page and everyone can see it. If other users "like" the 'review,' it moves even higher. If GR provided tags in the same way LT does, this wouldn't be an issue.
Then again, I do think their hiding a user's shelf from other users is a weird, quiet form of censoring reviewers in order to make the site more attractive to potential author-ad-promo dollars.
Is it just that there are a few popular and vocal reviewers over at GR that draw attention to every time that they consider that an author "behaves badly" (true or not)?
I'm almost entirely an LT user, and all I know is that the Groups that I hang out in most heavily here -- FantasyFans, Girlybooks, Read YA Lit, and Virago Modern Classics -- are generally both wa-a-a-ay more active and wa-a-a-ay more intelligent that any corresponding groups at GR. Also, I get (and give) an awful lot more of my recommendations from these and other LT Groups than I do in formal reviews.
123- I think that's absolutely true. I have been on GR since I think 2009, and never once encountered any criticism from an author. But, not that all those shenanigans are affecting the rest of the users, I felt like I needed to renew my acquaintance with LT. It just sort of feels like a grown-ups version of GR (with better cataloguing functionality).
Amazon owns 40% via its purchase of ABE Books. Not sure why you are saying "nope", this is a matter of public record. Tim may own > 50% of the shares but obviously not much more since there are at least three owners (Tim, ABE and CIG). I would extremely surprised, indeed shocked, if LT did not have a board of directors. BoD's are a valuable and important part of running a business, not having one would be poor business practice and not bode well for LT's future. I know you like to think of LT as a "pet project", and Tim may even project a folksy down home image of things, but it's a full blown legitimate business with ownership by a Fortune 500 company, millions of customers, global reach, many full time employees AND a serious potential market cap (10s of millions of dollars roughly guessing) should some big competitor ever make an offer to buy it down the road.
126> Tim has declared, many times, that he's not interested in selling. It is his "pet project", in that it's a company that lets him do what he enjoys doing while making a good living. He's not interested in millions of dollars and watching LT get twisted into a mess (as the vast majority of bought-out companies are). It doesn't, to the best of my knowledge, have a board of directors; it has Tim and the other employees considering what's best for LT and what can be done with and for it. It certainly doesn't have board members, who aren't interested in the specifics of the company but only in how much money can be made out of it, directing the structure or choices of LT.
Sorry, Tim, I don't mean to speak for you - this is my understanding, based on a lot of online contact over the years. But thinking of LT as a standard corporation is such an unpleasant wrench, I had to speak up.
#126 by Stbalbach> I'm saying "nope" to your line of questioning thought on all the people who many "own" LT. And whether or not it has a BoD or any other advisors doesn't really matter. What power do you think a BoD actually has over someone who the majority of the voting stock? And you're still at it again, with lines like "it's a full blown legitimate business with ownership by a Fortune 500 company". Again, it just doesn't matter. Leaving aside the fact that Amazon never actually bought the shares but just wound up with them because it bought one of its competitors (ABE), there's the fact that Tim still has over 50%. It still doesn't matter if Amazon holds the other shares or if Tim's cousin Jim holds them.
And I'm saying "nope" to just your whole line of theorizing. From my time on here, it just doesn't fit. Sure, you can come up with these scenarios and say, "But you don't really KNOW!" and that's true. I don't know that Tim won't be committed to an insane asylum and the whole site will be sold to the Columbian mafia (you know, he HAS been rather absent around here lately). But it seems pretty far-fetched.
> He's not interested in millions of dollars..
Maybe that is true.
> ..watching LT get twisted into a mess
This is certainly true, but it doesn't necessitate the former, indeed getting lots of support can actually improve and make it better if there is a vision to do so.
I presented the facts and you created a story Tim would veto any attempt to sell the company, however that is only one of many possible scenarios, there are other stories one could create. For example, Tim doesn't have an adversarial relationship with his co-owners, they work together for what is best for all the owners and customers needs in compromise and rational discussion arrived at jointly.
#129 by Stbalbach> First off, fix your post reference numbers.
Second, I love the "I presented the facts and you created a story". Hah! You created a story of your own and I countered it. :P
I just don't see the point in spinning worst case scenario yarns, especially when they bring in other factors (like who owns the minority shares) that are just a red herring.
Is what Tim has said in these forums considered fact? If so, then it's clear that Amazon doesn't tell Tim what to do. In fact it seems that they hardly know that LT exists much less that they own part of it. They certainly don't give Tim any favors when it comes to what he can do with the (public) data he gets from them (in reference to the trouble building a phone app).
You seem to believe that because Tim has > 50% he can do whatever he wants and the other investors or co-owners are simply blind passengers without any say or influence. That's not necessarily the case. My experience in making business investments, with small private companies, I negotiate things to protect myself. That's what good lawyers are for. Since there are so many ways to do it, it's impossible to speculate the nature of the deal, but the specifics don't matter, we can almost certainly assume that ABE books wasn't dumb and just hand over tons of money to Tim in exchange for stock and no other rights or protections! Or maybe Tim was that good a negotiator. My point is, the other investors do matter to some degree that we don't know. Nobody is going to FORCE Tim into anything, for a number of reasons, but business is more complex and nuanced than that. These co-owners are out there, they made deals the nature of which we don't know, and that could influence LT in the future in an industry that is rapidly changing. These are not worse case scenarios, they are just facts of how business typically works, and in the end it could be improvements.
http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=42516 for the discussion when Amazon bought ABE.
#132 by Stbalbach> I'm sorry, I really am growing weary of this conversation. I think you really have a misunderstanding of what it means to own the majority of voting shares in a company. You're creating complexity and nuance out of thin air.
While I do not wish you any ill will, I'm bowing out. Take care.
I want to use the "author-is-a-jerkface" tag (as mentioned in post 122) but I'm not sure where. Suggestions?
I would suggest that one prolific author spammer that set up all the sock puppets, but I wouldn't want to actually elevate his status with such a tag.
Tim said (in #133):
"Abebooks holds a minority of the shares, with certain notable but limited rights. "
> You're creating complexity and nuance out of thin air.
No, shareholder rights are at the core of the discussion.
135- Well, I've heard some pretty gnarly things about Hemingway...
A recent comparison of the two sites.
Apparently GR shows stats about your reading broken down by year. Sigh.
Other interesting comments from a first skimming:
The first sentence: The biggest difference here is that LibraryThing assumes you own the books you are adding.
On recommendations: Winner: This really depends on your preference. Goodreads is more likely to expand your horizons, while LibraryThing is more likely to give you a sure thing.
I thought it was a fine article and look forward to the next part.
At first, I read the bit Zoe posted about ownership and thought "that's not true!" But then there's the "Read But Unowned" and "Wishlist" collections. So while LT doesn't explicitly claim cataloging=ownership, it semi-implies it in some places.
141- Right, and it's the opposite on GR. You have to jump through hoops to mark a book as "owned" over there. And you can add books on LT so they go straight to the right collection, but on GR you can't fix it so adding books make it to the "owned" list. It's one of the most frustrating things about GR.
You may already have this on your agenda for the next article, but it'd be nice to get some sense of the overall buginess and half-finished features in both. You just posted a good example of buginess affecting functionality in LT. In THEORY, you can add books on LT so they go straight to the right collection. But there's a long-standing bug that causes it to sometimes ignore it. And that's in addition to it being a bit counter intuitive (You must first click the collection, then click Search then the book result. Any other order ignores the checked collection.)
143 - brightcopy > (You must first click the collection, then click Search then the book result. Any other order ignores the checked collection.)
Ah, that's a bug! I have been doing that for so long, I had completely forgotten about it. My mind now thinks that it is the 'proper' way of doing things, and if I don't do it that way, it's my mistake :)
Nah, that's just a quirk. The actual bug is that sometimes (especially common when you click the "Add to wishlist" button on a work) LT will ignore the collection checked, even though it's checked before you click Search (or it auto-searches in the case of the "Add to wishlist" button) and click to Add the book.
If we are talking about bugs and such, it annoys me that over on Goodreads it's very easy for the original publication date to get messed up when combining/editing editions... (if I set only 2012, it sometimes switches over to January 1st 2012, etc).
Or for a librarian to change an edition's cover and at the same time change the cover that shows up for your books (even if maybe both covers were used with the same ISBN).
Over here, I know that my book's info (that isn't common knowledge) depends on what I filled out on the edit page and won't get modified...
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