Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
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LibraryThing is now free to all.

Talk about LibraryThing

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Edited: Mar 18, 3:01pm Top

See our blog post at https://blog.librarything.com/main/2020/03/librarything-goes-free/

As we explain in the post, we were going to go free soon anyway. But now everyone's trapped at home, with time on their hands. And everyone is worried about money. So it's the right time to do it.

Will this affect the site in other ways? No. Membership money hasn't paid for LibraryThing directly for some time. LibraryThing.com is our passion, a significant part of our library products and the absolute underpinning of TinyCat. So we aren't going to do less. But we're killing off one barrier to people joining the site, which may prove good for the community. We've often heard that members can't get their friends to join a "paid" site.

As I write in the blog post, thank you to everyone who paid for a membership in the past. You made it possible for us to exist. And, now, to make ourselves free to everyone.

Mar 18, 2:41pm Top

This is great. and absolutely the right step to take. Well done, LT.

Mar 18, 2:45pm Top

Well done!
(And I'm very proud to have been able to contribute my pittance when you needed it all those years ago.)

Mar 18, 2:48pm Top


Mar 18, 2:48pm Top


Mar 18, 2:49pm Top

Long live LibraryThing!

Mar 18, 2:49pm Top

Thank you!
Ten years ago LT was my companion during those days alone in my office during the sanitary contingence... I love this meassure...
Big thanks!

Mar 18, 2:51pm Top

I paid over 14 years ago, and it's been worth every penny many times over.

I'm glad you're able to take this step now!

Mar 18, 2:53pm Top

What a lovely thing for you to do!

Mar 18, 3:03pm Top

>8 tardis: it's been worth every penny many times over. I'm glad you're able to take this step now!

I couldn't express it any better.

Edited: Mar 18, 3:10pm Top

Great idea- I paid when I joined. I have read a great many books that I wouldn't have known about by joining LT

Mar 18, 3:12pm Top

Very nice! I consider this the best value for my $25 that I've ever experienced! I hope it expands your user base many times.

Mar 18, 3:13pm Top

A growing user community only adds to the value of my long-ago lifetime membership.

Mar 18, 3:15pm Top

>13 paradoxosalpha:

The network effect, so to speak. And very true.

Mar 18, 3:17pm Top

I've been a member since 2007. I paid when I reached 100 titles in my catalog and I realized what a terrific resource this is.
Congratulations for attaining this point where you can offer membership for free. It is so refreshing that you aren't using the fees to give yourself new office chairs or raises but encouraging more people to join up.

Mar 18, 3:18pm Top

Thank you. One of many reasons this is the best place on the internet!

Mar 18, 3:19pm Top

Sweet! You all are awesome!

>12 Karlstar: I consider this the best value for my $25 that I've ever experienced!

I absolutely agree.

Now I want to catalog something. (Never mind that I'm currently at my literal job at a literal library working on a literal cataloging project.)

Edited: Mar 18, 3:20pm Top

Free of fees, and free of ads! It's a miracle.

Mar 18, 3:33pm Top

Nice, an early lifetime member.

Mar 18, 3:46pm Top

>18 paradoxosalpha: Amen, amen!

Thank you Tim. Best place on the internet, in my opinion.

Mar 18, 3:46pm Top

How generous, Tim... I'm sure many will thank you! I'll always be glad I joined with a lifetime membership, it was money well spent.

Mar 18, 3:48pm Top

If I recall the membership was sort of suggested, there wasn't much to be gained, but it was little enough it seemed reasonable to pay it as a sort of donation. Or maybe I never did...

Mar 18, 4:08pm Top

Outstanding! And I too am proud to have contributed during the leaner years. Onward, ever stronger!!

Mar 18, 4:19pm Top

>8 tardis: and >10 johnthefireman: I agree 1000%

Signed the Electronic Luddite!

Mar 18, 4:42pm Top

Wonderful - great to spread the goodness further. I'd love to say my membership was worth it in the money I saved by avoiding buying any more unintended duplicates, however, all the extra books that I've found out about probably outweigh that. :D Still the best site I've joined - I'm happy to have paid for membership when I did, and happy that you can spread the goodness further by going free now.

Mar 18, 4:44pm Top

I paid when I joined so many years ago and it has been worth every cent. Glad you can make this change now. I have never seen an add (which is great). But when you have a contest, you must come up with another prize other than lifetime membership upgrade.

Mar 18, 4:47pm Top

I joined 5/6/2008 when I had 2 kids in school and wanted to log their books, my books and our movie collection. I had to convince my husband that $25 was a great investment for a lifetime membership! Now, both kids are college graduates and we’re empty nesters, but I still enjoy logging my books!
Thank you for being so caring during the time of this global pandemic.

Mar 18, 4:48pm Top

Does this mean LT2 is close? (I know it's still two weeks away ;-) )

Glad you could do this, hope it doesn't attract a new round of spammers!

Mar 18, 4:49pm Top

Going free is a great! Being without ads is stupendous! Now, since we're all at home thanks to COVID-19, do a hunt. I don't even care if there are any prizes, I want something fun to do!

Mar 18, 5:01pm Top

Added this to my FB post. This is my favorite online place to be and it was the best $25 I ever spent. Hope more people join!

Mar 18, 5:14pm Top

Thanks. I can't remember ever paying for this, but if I did, it was worth every penny.

I love the product more and more.

Mar 18, 5:17pm Top

>22 RickHarsch:

Not much to be gained? The difference between 200 books and the 5600+ I now have catalogued ain't peanuts!

Edited: Mar 18, 5:19pm Top

Oooohhh yes please, how about a health care or spring or Women's History or Deaf History themed hunt?

Mar 18, 5:36pm Top

Just spotted this news a short while ago. Well done to the LibraryThing team. This is a great move. I hope many people take advantage of it.

Mar 18, 5:37pm Top

>33 lovelytoreadyou: Healthcare would be *very* appropriate right now, and I would LOVE a new hunt, but I'm sure LT staff have their hands full.

Mar 18, 5:49pm Top

This is great news! Happy to hear it!

Edited: Mar 18, 6:40pm Top

Pandemic book hunt could be awesome.
(Though perhaps in poor taste?)

Mar 18, 6:09pm Top

This is truly the best site on the internet, it has filled my life with so many good things. I am very pleased that you can now offer it to everyone for free.

Mar 18, 6:37pm Top


Mar 18, 6:53pm Top

I'd forgotten about paying my membership fee. Yes, it was worth every penny, nickel, dime, etcetera.

LT helps me with my ATDS (Attention To Detail Syndrome) too.

Thanks, Tim, and all.

Mar 18, 6:55pm Top

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- probably the best $25 investment I ever made. I've even paid the $25 twice more over the years from sheer gratitude. I'm here everyday. I'm going to spread the word on other sites.

Mar 18, 6:59pm Top

As a graduate of an Executive MBA program, I have to say there MUST be something that will change. If a fee was required before, there must have been a reason. I applaud the move, but I am skeptical that nothing will change.

All that said, I have friends who will join now that it's free.

Mar 18, 7:02pm Top

There is a bug when you exceed 200. You can go over 200, but the moment you log out and back in, and try to search to add books, you get the error saying only paying members can add books beyond 200. As long as you are in the same session, it lets you go over. At 247, I would hate for my workaround to be delete 48 books, add 49 to add a book. Each time that gets one higher!

Edited: Mar 18, 7:04pm Top

>42 Norinski:

The free accounts were limited to 200 books.
Tim had said before - they are making more money from TinyCat and Syndetics Unbound(the library products) -- the development of which had possible at least partially because of the member fees here. Now things had shifted and they are sustaining the site.

PS: More members, more data, better library services. You "pay" with your contributions to the site. :)

Mar 18, 7:03pm Top

You are wonderful! And have been ever since I joined

Mar 18, 7:03pm Top

Thank you, Tim. This is a lovely gesture, and I hope the site gains new members because of it.

This is the only website I visit daily, and I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the site over the years.

Thanks again.

Mar 18, 7:03pm Top

>43 ChessFanatic:

You could not add but you could always import more than 200 - it was a known... "feature/bug". :)

Mar 18, 7:04pm Top

As someone who paid my $25 many years ago, I am thrilled with the value I have gotten and pleased that more people will be able to enjoy this site for free. It has be a life saver on more than one occasion. What to read. What I have already read. The best site ever!
Thank you, >1 timspalding:

Mar 18, 7:10pm Top

>43 ChessFanatic:

Thanks. I'll get right on it.

Mar 18, 7:13pm Top

I have no idea what importing is. Well, in LibraryThing that is! :-)

Mar 18, 7:14pm Top

Years ago there was a discussion thread in which someone said something like, "Purchases can't make you happy." I, having just paid for a lifetime membership, said, "Not true, I just got an LT membership and went 'Whoo-hoo!'"

Mar 18, 7:15pm Top

So technically, LibraryThing is now a... free-for-all?

Mar 18, 7:17pm Top

>43 ChessFanatic:

There is a bug when you exceed 200. You can go over 200, but the moment you log out and back in, and try to search to add books, you get the error saying only paying members can add books beyond 200. As long as you are in the same session, it lets you go over. At 247, I would hate for my workaround to be delete 48 books, add 49 to add a book. Each time that gets one higher!

Can you paste me a bit of the message? I can't find or recreate the problem, and I'm not quite sure where you're seeing it.

Mar 18, 7:19pm Top

>50 ChessFanatic: https://www.librarything.com/more/import

Allows you to add books faster if you already have a list somewhere (or an account in a few different sites).

Mar 18, 7:19pm Top

>52 Carnophile:

The first version of my blog post had that implication.

Edited: Mar 18, 7:21pm Top

In response to 53:

If you click on "Add books" at the top, and search, instead of getting results, right above your recently searched books list is the following:

Free memberships are limited to 200 books. Upgrade to a paid membership and catalog as many books as you like. A yearly membership costs only \$10.

Then that link takes you to the page saying it's free, which has a link to this page. That's actually how I got here!

Mar 18, 7:26pm Top


I also sent you an email with the image. Again, that page comes from clicking on "Add books" at the top.

Mar 18, 7:29pm Top

What happened was I was at 182 (would add about 50 at a time, and then fill in the rating for past books I read - I was only recording recently read and upcoming prior when I had the limit).

I did 65 straight, went to go rate them, came back, and got the error at 247.

Edited: Mar 18, 7:40pm Top

Okay, I think we're good. Try now? I'll going to keep looking.

Mar 18, 8:03pm Top

As of 8:03pm Eastern, same defect. Tried logging out and back in.

Mar 18, 8:23pm Top

Okay, if it's still true, I'm crazy.

Mar 18, 8:31pm Top

I have been here for nearly 13 years - what else could I get for $2 per annum that could provide so much enjoyment and entertainment coupled with a remarkable utility not to mention the blessed absence of advertising. Thanks, Tim and all your associates. Roll on 200 million books!

Mar 18, 8:50pm Top

I'm crushed. Now all that riff-Raff from Goodreads is going to show up and pull the site down....LOL!!!

Mar 18, 8:56pm Top

Mar 18, 9:04pm Top

Solidarity forever!
Thanks, Tim.

Mar 18, 9:14pm Top

Amazing news!

Mar 18, 9:29pm Top

>61 timspalding: Sorry about the delay - was eating dinner.

As of 9:28pm EDT, it appears to be fixed. Thanks for the help.

Mar 18, 10:04pm Top


I'm planning to use this time to finally finish inventory, so I'll be here!

Mar 18, 11:39pm Top

How nice! I paid for my life membership many years ago, and have loved so many things about LT. Thank you for all you do!

Mar 19, 12:31am Top

I just paid my lifetime membership a few weeks ago but that's okay because Library Thing is a wonderful resource for us all! Connie

Mar 19, 1:03am Top

Nicely done. Bravo.

Mar 19, 3:33am Top

I thought the fee was $10, not $25? Maybe there was a discount or something when I signed up. Either way, money well spent.

So here's to an influx of impecunious but bookish new users!

(And yes, I'm only too aware that bookishness can cause impecuniousness.)

Edited: Mar 19, 3:53am Top

>72 AndreasJ: As I remember, one could negotiate. But yes, best use for US$ 25 in many years.

Mar 19, 4:21am Top

Well done! Congratulations! Thanks, Tim and all your associates.

Mar 19, 5:09am Top

fantastico! hope this will attract many who felt $25 was too much of a burden
well done, indeed, this is a very sympathetic site IMO

Mar 19, 5:20am Top

Nice gesture. I have been a lifetime member since 2005, and obviously LT has repaid the money since then. I use both Goodreads and LT: Goodreads is more "fun", I use it for groups and talking (groups here never really worked for me, probably because Italian members on LT are few and/or not really active), but LT is much more powerful for cataloguing, and I like that they both serve their different purposes for me.

Thank you LT!

Mar 19, 5:34am Top

I am here for the long run. Well done

Mar 19, 5:43am Top

Wonderful! My $25 paid more than 16 years ago has been the best investment I ever made. I would pay again today if needed. Well done LT.

Mar 19, 5:49am Top

Joined ( and paid) in 2007 and even though money was tight then for me I have never regretted it. Great gesture and sure to attract more members.

Mar 19, 7:58am Top

Great. Many thanks for the many years of enjoyment already provided and here’s to many years to come with even greater user generated content.

Mar 19, 8:17am Top

Excellent move, Tim et al. I paid my $25 for a lifetime membership years ago and consider it money extremely well spent, and I'm glad to see you're able to do this now. Especially in these weird fractured days when everyone's looking for more connection (and hopefully getting a bit of extra reading in), this is a good place to gather.

Mar 19, 8:27am Top


Mar 19, 9:27am Top

Wow, wonderful news! I hope readers everywhere take notice. LT has been (and will be) a great source of information for me as well as a fun site all about books.

Mar 19, 9:37am Top

>72 AndreasJ:

There was a very early $10 discounted price.

Mar 19, 9:58am Top

Thank you. Great team at LT and I appreciate all the hard work.
I am also a member of Goodreads and I like both sites and check each one daily.

Mar 19, 10:10am Top

lisapeet (#81):

hopefully getting a bit of extra reading in)

I think that phrase right there is indicative of the divide between people with school-aged kids, who are finding themselves trying to both do a full-time job and be a homeschool teacher and a child therapist for kids devastated by the loss of their routine and of interactions with their friends, and those without who suddenly find that their evenings can only be occupied by at-home activities. I think I've read a total of maybe ten pages since Saturday.

Mar 19, 10:26am Top

What a wonderful decision! I don't know what I'd do without LT and I don't regret paying my Lifetime fee several years ago at all :)

Edited: Mar 19, 11:45am Top

>86 lorax: Yeah, understood. I think there are a lot of us who fall into the "less time than ever" category for one reason or another. But hope springs eternal for everyone to steal reading time when they can, and I know there are folks who are dealing with too much time on their hands too (whatever that is).

Mar 19, 11:30am Top

Mar 19, 11:38am Top

Fantastic move! Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.

Mar 19, 12:55pm Top

I've only clicked on a pop-up ad once in my life - Saturday, April 8,2007 - and I've never regretted it. LT is the best! It's a great thing you've done, Tim.

Mar 19, 1:51pm Top

Yay! I've actually genuinely felt a little guilty for years over how much value I've gotten out of my lifetime membership vs. how ridiculously little I paid for it. I will regard this development as reason to let go of my guilt. :)

Mar 19, 2:09pm Top

Years ago I paid to be part of the Library, and now I'm personally proud and happy to read such extremely interesting news. Well done my friends!!!!!

Mar 19, 2:13pm Top

I think this is great. Hopefully free overcomes the complexity and the old design.

Mar 19, 2:15pm Top

>1 timspalding: Tim, does it make sense to translate the blog post in other languages? (maybe it's already translated - I prefer to stick to the English interface). If so, I can provide the Italian version.

Mar 19, 2:17pm Top

This may be the most comforting and wonderful thing I've heard since this whole virus mess started. I'm not around LT as much anymore but it brought me over a decade of joy and excitement (as well as a wonderful community-feeling!). I actually remember my mom buying me a lifetime membership for my birthday only a few months after I joined, and the excited frenzy to catalog more and more of my books was pretty much the best birthday present ever.

It's amazing to think LT and it's connected ventures have come so far since then that LT itself is able to actually be free now... I almost can't wrap my head around it. It's exciting.

Mar 19, 2:49pm Top

Like others here, I too forgot that I had paid... I use the app all the time to recommend books to others, I'm pleased teh business is doing well, and that you can make this move to open the doors of the virtual library to many more..

Mar 19, 2:51pm Top

You guys are amazing and I hope you’re staying healthy.

My membership and my daughter are heading into teenage years this year and I’d pay for LT many times over for the pleasure it’s brought me, the people I’ve met and the books I’ve enjoyed.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Mar 19, 3:16pm Top

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo! You are nice people! Glad I had a Lifetime membership these past few years. I look forward to the flood of new members this change will permit. Thanks for all you have done!

Mar 19, 3:19pm Top

>96 Heather19: And I will never forget that you, Heather19, gifted me with a lifetime membership back in December 2008. I had joined LT in 2005 but as a non-traditional college student I couldn't justify spending even the small amount for a membership, and you gave out of the generosity of your heart to a total stranger, simply because our paths crossed in the BookMooch group in Talk. Every time I see your username, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling all over again. So one more time, thank you so much!

Mar 19, 3:23pm Top


Mar 19, 3:51pm Top

>96 Heather19: My membership was a birthday present from my Mom, too. One of the best I ever got.

Mar 19, 4:24pm Top

Thank you very much ,TIM

I remember buying a Lifetime membership, but paying a little bit more than $25. I looked for an amount that was a PRIME NUMBER above 2500 (pennies of course)
Sorry I am not Bill Gates :-(

Hum, why? Cos I like prime numbers...:-)


Mar 19, 4:35pm Top

Great! It's wonderful news. Thank you

Mar 19, 4:38pm Top

guido47 (#103):

I looked for an amount that was a PRIME NUMBER above 2500 (pennies of course)

So, you went all the way up to $25.03? Big spender!

Edited: Mar 20, 11:44pm Top

>13 paradoxosalpha: "A growing user community only adds to the value of my long-ago lifetime membership."
Too true. In particular, I am finding that, as I go back to review my books and especially movies, items that had no covers when I entered them often now have a wide selection available. Special thanks to all the members who take the time to upload their covers!

Mar 19, 4:43pm Top

I am very happy with this decision, because I understand that the amount paid was really little for the real cost of all this, and I'm glad you have found a way to finance LT


Edited: Mar 20, 11:43pm Top

>25 Peace2: - "I'd love to say my membership was worth it in the money I saved by avoiding buying any more unintended duplicates, however, all the extra books that I've found out about probably outweigh that."
Verily so. I still find myself buying books I already had, but had not yet entered into LT, but the number of duplicates is decreasing. Now I just have to find time to read the first copy....

Mar 19, 4:46pm Top

Love and kudos to LT for this decision.

Mar 19, 5:11pm Top

I was happy to pay my lifetime membership, and am thrilled that you all are now offering it for free - especially during these uncertain times with COVID-19. I posted it to my personal FB page today, and thanked you all!
Be safe and be well,

Mar 19, 6:28pm Top

>72 AndreasJ: It used to be that you could get a "yearly" membership for $10, or a "lifetime" membership for $25. I have no idea when it changed, because I was happy to pay the #25 (and long ago converted my other account to lifetime, with $50, because why not?).

LibraryThing is one of my very favorite places.

Mar 19, 6:53pm Top

I started with the free account and paid a "life membership " a few years back. At the time I was surprised there was a fee, but money to a good cause. Read on!

Mar 19, 6:57pm Top

What wonderful news! Good timing, too - so glad more people will get access to all the features of a fantastic site. As others have said - worth every penny and then some.

Mar 19, 7:11pm Top

This is good news! May it grow your user base and may you never regret this decision!

Mar 19, 7:17pm Top

Is the LT revamp right around the corner?

Mar 19, 8:20pm Top

I joined in 2007 and couldn't believe that I got a lifetime membership for $25.00! What a deal!
And nowyou are free - how wonderful.

Mar 19, 10:02pm Top

>95 .mau.:

Thanks. Honestly, if you're willing to do it, I'll take it, and we'll owe you one. We'll will send you a t-shirt when the madness calms down. (We're going to put up a message that we're not sending out t-shirts. It would involve employees leaving isolation.) We are going to be rolling out the message across the other domains soon, so indeed it would be helpful.

Mar 19, 10:54pm Top

>95 .mau.: I can do the German translation if that helps.

Mar 19, 10:59pm Top

>117 timspalding:

I will be more that happy to give you a Bulgarian version if you want it. I probably also need to go back to translations. :)

Why don’t you add it into the translation system? That should make it easier and more visible if someone wants to translate it.

Mar 19, 11:49pm Top

>95 .mau.: Good thinking. I hadn't even considered how that might be helpful.

>117 timspalding: I could provide one in Dutch

Mar 20, 12:32am Top

Let me think on it tomorrow. It might work to write a much shorter one.

I am in any case revamping the way Google indexes the non-US site. Which should be helpful.

Mar 20, 1:15am Top

I joined in February 2007, and paid for a lifetime membership shortly after As others have said, that was the best $25 I ever spent, even it has been massively detrimental to my bank account, and I am running out of wall space for bookshelves.

I have spent countless hours diving into "users with your books" and "what should you borrow". And Talk is one of the most civilized places on the internet. (I would have said the only civilized place, if not for Ravelry.)

Congratulations on reaching the financial stability that enables you to do this. Thank you for doing this now, when even $25 is too much for people who are losing their jobs. And thank you for building such a wonderful site.

Mar 20, 1:31am Top

When things are getting me down--even before this Corona nightmare--I find that when I open up LT, I'm filled with hope again, being with other readers and the interesting things one can do with this wonderful ap (sp?).

Can't remember when I joined, but it was early on.

Thanks so much for the whole experience.

Mar 20, 3:42am Top

If you need a translation into Swedish I'll be more than happy. I can even provide translation credentials if you want them. ;)

Mar 20, 3:47am Top

>123 Diane-bpcb:
If you go to https://www.librarything.com/home#folly, you can see your thingaversary, the date you joined with your current account, or you can check your profile. You joined on Aug 8, 2012 :D

Mar 20, 3:59am Top

>125 divinenanny: It's also listed on your profile.

Mar 20, 5:47am Top

>124 PawsforThought: Are you also a professional translator? Excellent! I've been alone in translating the interface and tags for some years now. Let's talk! :)

Mar 20, 5:50am Top

>127 anglemark: No, I'm not a professional, but I've been employed as a translator.

Mar 20, 5:59am Top

>128 PawsforThought: If you've been paid to translate, you're by definition a pro.

Mar 20, 6:14am Top

>129 anglemark: Well, then I guess I am one!

Mar 20, 6:44am Top

A wonderful decision. Well done to you and the team.

Mar 20, 11:22am Top

>100 rosalita: Awww, that's so sweet! I'm glad to see you are still around and using this wonderful site.

Someone mentioned this on the blog and I'd like to firmly agree here: Being able to offer this site free because of success on different products is wonderful and awesome and exciting, but I hope Tim knows how many of us would gladly donate or help out if the site ever needed it in the future.

Mar 20, 1:38pm Top

>117 timspalding: : you've got mail :-)

Mar 20, 1:41pm Top

This is truly wonderful. As a long-time lifetime member, I say thank you! The more the merrier on LT.

Mar 20, 3:59pm Top

This is great! I'm happy to be a member.

Mar 20, 6:01pm Top

LibraryThing is my FavoriteThing! I'm glad to hear LT is financially secure enough to be able to make individual memberships free. I have never begrudged my $25, paid way back in 2006. You provide the best way to organize my books -- thank you!

Mar 21, 1:40am Top

This is wonderful news...I'm hoping to drag lots of friends in to catalog their personal libraries now!

Mar 21, 4:38am Top

Congrats on financial security!

I totally forgot I could add movies and music. I could do that now! oooh...

Mar 21, 6:16am Top

Repeating what others have said: congratulations on financial security, LibraryThing is my favourite site, and $25 well spent (If anyone wants ideas as to where else to park $25, head over to https://www.kiva.org).

I've just set up another account for myself for the various books I don't actually own, that I've added for various projects. Is there a pain-free way to mass-transfer one of my collections straight into the new account? If so, entry-level instrucions, please.

Edited: Mar 21, 7:12am Top

>100 rosalita: That was so sweet. Helped brighten my day.

Mar 21, 9:39am Top

I paid for a lifetime membership over ten years ago. Even at the time I thought it was a bargain. Just recently I worked with a non-profit organization that is using TinyCat, so as far as I am concern my lifetime membership was money very well spent. Thank you, LibraryThing.

Mar 21, 11:29am Top

I'm not complaining, but this will change the site over time. Previously it attracted a relatively small number of dedicated readers, for better or worse. Now it will be more like GoodReads. This wont happen overnight, but over time. This is true elsewhere also, compare Reddit (free) with Metafilter (pay), the quality of the community and dedication is different. There is a place for free sites and pay sites, they are just different.

Mar 21, 12:04pm Top

>142 Stbalbach: LibraryThing has always been a free site to those who are starting out here. For several years now there has been a move away from paid membership. People joining through the app have been lifetime members. There have been special deals for people coming from other sites at critical moments. Free lifetime memberships have been given out to anyone finding 5 answers in the treasure hunts. People gave away memberships to others who couldn't afford them. (>100 rosalita: is not all that uncommon here.)

I think it is a good development that nobody is being left out because they don't know the loopholes.

Mar 21, 7:28pm Top

I understand >142 Stbalbach:'s concern but as >143 MarthaJeanne: pointed out, there have been a lot of loopholes throughout the years allowing people to get free lifetime members. In fact, using one of the TinyCat promotions is how I got my lifetime membership for free.

I do share a concern that LT will eventually turn into Devilreads-Lite and I'd be interested in how >1 timspalding: is planning to make sure that doesn't happen.

Mar 21, 8:12pm Top

This is lovely ... I joined many years ago, but never got around to paying, that I remember. Almost all of my books are now in ePub format on my hard drive, catalogued in Calibre (and backed up to Mega.) I shall try to add them all in soon.

Mar 21, 10:53pm Top

Way to go. Love this site, agree w all posters who claim it was the best 25 they ever spent

Mar 22, 5:28am Top

>84 lilithcat:, >111 Lyndatrue:

Thanks. I'm certain I only ever paid for a life membership, so if the recollection of $10 is correct it must've been a discount like the one lilithcat mentions.

Mar 22, 6:00am Top

>147 AndreasJ:

It used to be “choose your own price” for awhile as well.

Mar 22, 6:50am Top

Great idea, now I can finally add my wishlist here in a separate account! :-)

Mar 22, 8:43am Top

Just what is needed in these difficult times - long live LT!

Edited: Mar 22, 12:39pm Top

>142 Stbalbach:

I don't think the elimination of the user fee will change the character of the site much. There are several quality "gates" here that don't have to do with an upfront payment to eliminate free riders:

a) cataloging is an activity that tends to reflect personal passion,
b) the anti-advertising elements of the site (including user content),
and to be honest, I think there's a non-negligible effect from
c) non-intuitive elements of the interface and the basic purpose of the site.

I know that Tim and his LT team aspire to eliminate as much of c) as possible, but I do think it's fair to observe that it has contributed to the culture that currently exists here, acting partly as a social filter. I would expect far more impact to the site culture from a big UI rework than I do from the elimination of membership fees.

Mar 22, 7:25pm Top

I just joined about 12 days ago, and now I feel a bit guilty not having made a donation at that time...would gladly pay a year's donation fee if that is still possible...otherwise thank you Tim for your decision!

Edited: Mar 22, 11:44pm Top

When I joined donating $50 many years ago you sent back a note "Are You My Mother?" I dramatized that book with Kindergarden kids for decades. I have always enjoyed that response and continue to love and learn from Library Thing. Thanks for supporting as we go through this terrible time. I am confident we will emerge stronger on the other side.

Mar 23, 6:39am Top

>1 timspalding:

The message: on https://www.librarything.com/more/accounts
Is still: LibraryThing is free up to 200 books. After that we ask for $10 (year) or $25 (lifetime). In fact, you can pay us whatever you want.

I see this now, I already have a lifetime account (if that matters for the message)

Mar 23, 6:41am Top

>152 Jim57:
You can donate here:

(Bottom of the page)

Mar 23, 8:29am Top

As others have said, there have been plenty of loopholes already. I got my membership in 2012(?) after a security breach*. That's what got me coming back here at all, because a 200-book limit was useless to me and I was unemployed at the time.

*I think this is the only time that's happened. Tim and the team are excellent site caretakers.

Mar 23, 8:46am Top

Congratulations on going the free route . A message from S Africa . Cheering news at a grim time . I've never regretted paying a lifetime membership in 2011 and having catalogued over 17000 books , made friends on line ( And even met a couple in person ) it's been value for money in untold ways . You are the backbone of my library . It's an amazing site and should you ever require a donation just ask my way .

Mar 23, 1:24pm Top

I paid for my membership many years ago and still to this day it is one of the best investments I have ever made. Kudos to the Librarything team!!!

Mar 23, 4:51pm Top

Disappointing but Librarything has not really been exclusive for a long time.

Mar 23, 7:02pm Top

I will continue my monthly donation out of appreciation for the bandwidth and reliability. LT has been a sensational tool for my cataloging needs.

Mar 23, 11:21pm Top

Hi Tim,
I paid $25 about 10 years ago and it is money well spent. As a busy teacher-librarian ( the last of a dying breed I'm afraid), LT is my go-to whenever the students ask me for "a book like" another. I tell the kids that LT is my other brain, that stores all the books I have read over the years so I don't have to remember and I currently have over 1,000 reviews stored. Awesome value. Thanks to you and all developers for a wonderful tool....just hoping the App will have its bugs ironed out and become as good too. Cheers from Locked Down Australia - Nicola

Mar 24, 9:10am Top

My only worry was not about the "culture" of the site, but that maybe there will be less attention to bug fixes and new features. But I trust LT staff will continue to work on the site as always.

Mar 24, 9:22am Top

The life-time membership was always great value and this is great for all new members.

Mar 24, 11:07am Top

Curious: How do people envision the culture of the site changing negatively once it's free? I would think bringing in more people who were curious about what's going on over here but didn't want to make a financial commitment might be a good thing. And am also of the opinion that more people who might think twice about spending $25, as I would have been in my early internet days, might also be a good thing for encouraging more diversity here. It seems that people tend to self-separate into groups according to their interests on the site anyway.

Mar 24, 11:30am Top

How about a nice little badge for the ol' paid lifetime members?

Mar 24, 12:47pm Top

thanks for doing this in this rather challenging time with corona virus. Something good for people to do constructively whilst confined to their homes etc.

Mar 24, 12:52pm Top

Moloch (#162):

My only worry was not about the "culture" of the site, but that maybe there will be less attention to bug fixes and new features.

That would be a reasonable worry if it had been the case that membership fees were a significant part of LT money. As Tim says, that hasn't been the case for some time now - for quite a while their prioritization has been directed toward where the money comes from, rather than the base site. That said, the "LT 2.0" redesign, which we'll hopefully see later this year, is the most significant development on the core site in years, so it's not like they've completely stopped work here.

Mar 24, 1:05pm Top

>159 Kuiperdolin: Disappointing but Librarything has not really been exclusive for a long time.

I may be misinterpreting this comment, but to me it's an unqualified *good thing* for LibraryThing to become less exclusive. As >164 lisapeet: says, increased diversity can only improve shared data in terms of recommendations and such.

Mar 24, 1:11pm Top

>164 lisapeet: encouraging more diversity here, >168 rosalita: increased diversity

Well said.

Mar 24, 3:23pm Top

There's no such thing as "free" - it just means that somebody else pays. This announcement says that subscribers are no longer the source of revenue at LibraryThing and it is a logical consequence that their wants/needs will no longer be the deciding factor in decision-making. I think it's a sad day.

Edited: Mar 24, 3:55pm Top

>170 whorbert:
True, and what LibraryThing is selling is our crowd-sourced data - tags, reviews, connections, etc.

But that means that they will still very much need to be responsive to users needs, in order to keep the data coming. If the service for users goes downhill and we leave, they'll be left with nothing to sell.

Honestly $25 for a lifetime membership is effectively free - they haven't been surviving on our payments for a long time. I signed up in 2006 - that's less than $2 per year. Best value online service ever.

I have no worries about this move, and think it's great news that the company is in a position to do it.

Mar 24, 4:08pm Top

whorbert (#170):

This announcement says that subscribers are no longer the source of revenue at LibraryThing and it is a logical consequence that their wants/needs will no longer be the deciding factor in decision-making.

That's been true for a long time. Making it free is acknowledging that reality, not creating that situation.

Mar 24, 4:24pm Top

>170 whorbert:

it had been free for anyone using the apps for years (due to the way Apple deals with apps that need payment for the iOS one for example). This does not change the realities much - it just makes people jump through less hoops to get it for free. Tim and LT had been moving towards the free for unlimited books for years now; this just removed the last small corner where it was still paid.

It is a great news - but for all intents and purposes, it just makes official a state that had been there for awhile.

Edited: Mar 24, 5:21pm Top

I've been with LT for years and this is great news. LT was and is the perfect fix for my small church library.

Mar 24, 9:38pm Top

This is a great move. I'm very happy knowing that I helped this site and the company when it was needed, and would be happy to continue to do so in the future. Happy cataloging, everyone!

Mar 24, 10:23pm Top

I have been a member since 2009. I was an eager greenhorn looking for a way to connect with like-minded people. I always felt LT had a certain personal touch that other similar places lacked. You guys have never disappointed me and today is no exception. I congratulate you on making such a momentous decision. Thank you!

Mar 25, 1:41pm Top

Good move. I feel proud of you for keeping books more centre stage than it would otherwise be.

Mar 25, 1:53pm Top

>159 Kuiperdolin: I don't even want to be in an exclusive club. I have been in some, and they're boring.

Sure, this will change the demographic of LT over time. But demographics change for any group, all of the time.

Mar 26, 1:50am Top

So, basically, librarything will start selling our personal information now.

Mar 26, 4:14am Top

>179 alektzin: In brief, they sell the aggregated depersonalized book data we enter. Not our personal details.

Mar 26, 8:35am Top

>179 alektzin: We're pretty against that, actually.

Mar 26, 9:21am Top

>179 alektzin: Seeing as the only 'personal' data we have to enter is a member name, it's rather hard to see how that would work.

Mar 27, 7:37am Top

Done. Thank you divinenanny!

Mar 27, 9:08am Top

An unintended consequence: we're having some trouble over in spamfighters because now that all accounts are "paid", it is harder to make spam accounts disappear (https://www.librarything.com/topic/315284#7102211)

Mar 27, 9:49am Top

Oh darn, time to rejoin the effort.

Mar 28, 8:32am Top

I'd like to send my thanks and congratulations on this decision also. Librarything has been an important part of my life ever since I first heard about it and joined in 2007. Like many others I would not hesitate if you were to ask for a regular subscription - in fact I never understood how you cand maintain the consistent high quality for the miserly contributions we have paid. I do hope that you get some income from Amazon and others? And can generate ample sums from Tiny Cat.

Mar 28, 10:10am Top

Mar 29, 6:18am Top

Good luck with the free service! Was happy to join as a life member. Great for new users to be able to use this fantastic site for free.

Mar 29, 1:35pm Top

I take this as you now are reclining on a pile of gold? At least that was your conservative estimation of your future when I joined in 2006. I hope it came true? That badge of yours, "Made with Lapsang", drew me in.

Yesterday, 8:31am Top

I was glad to join as a life member and it's been a great site for me == and obviously for others. Good luck with continual success.

Yesterday, 9:38pm Top

As someone who stumped up their USD25 the very day I discovered the place way back in the early eighties,* and has purchased and gifted many further lifetime memberships, and even won a few at various times, I am so happy to see that LT is no longer dependent on mere cataloguers’ cash to keep the wolf from the door.

Congratulations and thank you for a wonderful website that I really do not use as much as I should any more.

*wait, checks notes, it was actually in 2007? It seems a lifetime ago.

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