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Social Networking for Readers

I participate in Social Network Book sites (stolen from Angela James' blog)

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There are broad based social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and maybe even Twitter and then there are speciality social networking sites like LibraryThing, Goodreads, Shelfari and even Readerville, which I signed up for an then promptly forgot about. What about you? Do you participate in these sites and if so, which ones.

Poll idea taken from Angela James.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Bev Stephans
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 21:14:18

    I signed up for Shelfari without realizing that I did. I played around with it a bit and then forgot about it. It just wasn’t interesting enough.

  2. rebyj
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 21:37:32

    I’ve had Shelfari for awhile, I didn’t know about Goodreads till Angela’s blog so I’ve been playing with that today. I can add books a lot faster at Goodreads . I still have about 200 more books to add though.

    Anyone is welcome to add me , I needs friends!! lol

  3. AnneD
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 21:48:24

    My goodreads exposure mainly is making sure my books were up correctly with the right info / registering as an author.

    I seriously don’t have the time to catalogue all the reading I do. Although I should, then I wouldn’t end up being Mrs Two-times Buyer /borrower.

    Twitter is my new addiction. You can find me tweeting at

  4. Christine
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 21:50:30

    I was surprised that so few had spoken up for LibraryThing, my favourite website ever — but then I noticed that only eleven people have voted so far. D’oh!

    My profile:

  5. Elizabeth
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 22:27:20

    I use Goodreads when I remember. I started cataloging all the books I owned and then forgot about it. Now I just try to keep up with the books I currently read. It helps that I have a friend on Goodreads who remembers to update their account. When I get the email notifications that they’ve updated it often reminds me to update. But I use Goodreads more as a way to have a record of what I’ve read and less about seeing what other people read.

    I have a Library Thing account too, but I haven’t used it in ages and probably forgot the password.

  6. MB (Leah)
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 22:39:04

    I just signed up with Goodreads and Librarything, but like Goodreads better. Many of the bloggers, reviewers I like to read have their books on Goodreads so it works out better for me. Plus, it’s so easy to use and enter books.

  7. Shanna
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 23:09:25

    I like Library Thing. It’s fun to see my library graphically, it’s so pretty. There’s also a active romance group that I like to participate in. In addition, it’s another way for people to find my blog and book covers.

  8. Persephone Green
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 00:55:51

    I waste enough time on blogs and other social networking sites; I don’t need to waste more time watching what books other people read. Recommendations on blogs like this one or casual word-of-mouth praise is good enough for me. ;)

  9. Caty
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 04:58:46

    I am not really that keen on social networking sites – no Facebook or MySpace for me – but I absolutely adore LibraryThing. There are several groups there that I belong to, and I’ve had dozens of recommendations for books I would never have known about or thought of reading otherwise. I’ve discovered quit a few book blogs though LT, too. I spend far too much time working on my LT library – it brings out my OCD tendencies and can keep me occupied for, um, longer than would probably be considered normal or healthy.

  10. Joonigrrl/Leslie
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 05:20:44

    I recently starting adding books to my LT library. I’m not on it for the social networking, but as yet another attempt to keep track of all the books I read. Not sure if it’ll last. I tend to get impatient with those kind of things.

  11. Caty
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 05:21:04

    And I really think I need more coffee this morning.

    My LibraryThing profile.

  12. jmc
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 07:36:03

    I like LibraryThing. I used to use Rosario’s amazing, fabulous spreadsheet to track my reading, but got lazy and now use the date function and tags on LT to do so.

  13. joanne
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 07:52:25

    I’ve looked at all of those sites at one time or another and always come away feeling like omg, more work. Reading is my hobby. Some, insert husband, family & friends here, would say that reading is the love of my life.

    I have my keepers, I have authors and/or series that I collect. I have authors that I like to keep up with and books that I actively promote because I think they would be enjoyed. If I can’t remember reading a certain book or author then it has no place in my leisure time.

    I have no desire to review books other then to say yeah or nay. I’m leery of taking recommendations from people I don’t “know” (in quotes because I don’t know anyone on DA or the other sites where I get recommendations, but I know them to be honest in their reviews)

    So long story short. Those sites for me are just another place to ‘do something’ and I’d rather be reading.

  14. Darlene Marshall
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 08:03:27

    I do all three. It doesn’t take much time, once you’ve got your basics set up, and I like being able to share what I’m reading.

  15. Angie
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 08:51:12

    I signed up for the free trial thingy on LibraryThing, since the idea of having an easily accessible inventory of all my books struck me as pretty awesome. It’d be nice to be able to shop for books online without having to either worry about buying duplicates or have to go hunting through the library, the computer room, the living room, the bathrooms, my computer bag, and anywhere else books are shelved, lurking, left or stacked against the walls. [laugh/flail] I quickly realized, however, that actually inputting all the data necessary to create the inventory would take weeks, and that’s devoting all my spare time to it. O_O I still have visions of doing it some day, but it’s not going to be any time soon.


  16. Throwmearope
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 09:12:06

    I am on LibraryThing, but find some of it cumbersome. Guess I’ll try Goodreads. Just tired of having double copies of books.

  17. karmelrio
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 09:16:35

    I’m with Joanne – rather than dealing with (yet one MORE) blog or social networking site dedicated to reading books, I’d rather… read a book.

    Definite blog fatigue here.

  18. Elizabeth
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 15:58:31

    Hi guys, I think you should wait to put up an image on the blog post until you know the winner of the poll. Otherwise it looks like it is already decided! But perhaps it is on randomization. Anyway, my 2 cents!

  19. Jane
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:05:47

    I’m confused. Picture of blog post?

  20. savedbygrace
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:12:35

    I love Goodreads! I found it over a year ago when I saw a list of online social bookclube type things on the back of a magazine.
    I’m addicted to it. It’s amazing and pretty much everyone I’ve encountered on the site is really, really nice and friendly. A few have become my Facebook friends too. (and that’s saying a lot because for me, my Facebook friends are pretty much ONLY family and friends in ‘real life’). What I really like though is that you can give feedback about the site on the official feedback group and the creators-Otis & Co.-actually listen to you and reply.

    It’s amazing because before Goodreads I thought I was the only one absolutely obsessed with writing and reading especially, then to suddenly have a whole community of people just like me … it’s great.

  21. Elizabeth
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:17:36

    Oh sorry, my mistake. I linked to the poll from Galleycat, which has a picture up on the site (as if the winner has already been decided).

  22. savedbygrace
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:18:01

    … Oh yeah … people aren’t just really nice on Goodreads, they’re really good FRIENDS. :)

  23. Frogger1013
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:33:13

    I tried out Goodreads after someone mentioned it to me. At first, I wasn’t too interested, but now I’ve become addicted to the site. It’s a great way to keep track of what I’ve read, what I thought of the book, what I have yet to read, but own, wishlists, upcoming releases, and the like. I like have such easy access to my reading habits.

    But I also really enjoy interacting with other romance readers. Goodreads has several very active romance groups and I’ve met some great people with similar reading tastes. I’ve discovered new authors/books/series that I wouldn’t have found before because of recommendations and reviews. And it’s just nice to chat with others who appreciate a good romance novel.

    I never tried LibraryThing – no money for a subscription. But I’ve tried out Shelfari, and I didn’t like it at all. Too clunky. And trying to get help there over a problem was a pain in the butt. At Goodreads, the admin people are always connecting with users, listening to suggestions to improve the site, taking bug reports. They’re always on top of things.

    And I also love Goodreads Librarian feature. Users can apply for permission to edit book data and help make the Goodreads book database better. You can’t do that easily at Shelfari (at least you couldn’t last time I tried). So yeah, I’m all for Goodreads.

  24. Fiona
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:47:34

    I love GoodReads. I’ve had a LT account, but even though the one time subscription was really cheap, I wasn’t about to pay for it. Saying that, if GR ever said I had to pay for it, I would because it is so good.

    It is more geared towards readers, authors and communities where people get together and can discuss things more readily then I found at LT. GR I find you connect a lot more to the other users and readers. It’s effected my reading habits in many ways and helped me to discover many different books that otherwise I’d never have seen.

    I used LT just to catalogue my books when I felt like it, but with GR now books have taken a whole new level. I love comparing my books with my friends and seeing what they have been reading. I love sending and receiving recommendations. I love how simple and easy to use it is and how fun it is.

    GR wins hands down for me.

    I did sign up to Shelfari as well, but I found it clunky and cumbersome. It’s more visual and ‘prettier’ but adding books is slow.

    GR just wins hands down for me because of it’s simplicity. It’s enriched my love for reading. It isn’t just a tool for books, it really helps you find great books.

    Also, if you are an author, it allows you to connect with your readers, or find new readers (just don’t spam groups and people with your book adverts – get involved! Read!) and very good to find out what books people are reading, or not.

    GR proves that people still read and it isn’t some anti-social activity that weirdos partake in. GR brings people from all over the world together to talk and discuss the books they’re reading and/or writing.

    Reading has become a social activity and unites those lone readers (readers with non-reader friends) from all over the world and there you can find so many people who have similar tastes in books – or even different. It’s great to read a book no one else you know wants to read, and then find someone who shares your passion.

    GR is a 24/7 around the world place for book lovers to come, catalogue their books and talk about them. Brilliant!

  25. savedbygrace
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 16:56:12

    Well said, Fiona! :)

  26. Maggie Stiefvater
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 17:24:44

    I have to admit I am very, very fond of Goodreads. I’ve been on there since June and initially thought it was going to be just one of those places I stuck my head in to say “hi” and wave feebly before disappearing, but it has turned out to be great for me as a reader. I love the friends function — I get e-mailed lists of books they’ve reviewed and added, and after I see the same titles going by with good ratings, I pick up the book. It’s how I found several of my favorites of last year, including SAVING FRANCESCA and THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX.

    I tried tooling around Shelfari and LibraryThing and found them clumsier than Goodreads.

    The big drawback on Goodreads? I get pinged by a lot of self-published authors wildly out of my genre just looking for another name to plump up their friend list and hawk their book too. That’s not cool.

    But overall, I love it. Used to be when I wanted a quick read on how a book was, I would check out Amazon reviews. Now I shoot over to Goodreads and get a far more intelligent and cohesive picture. Thumbs up.

    (And sure, it’s addictive to see how regular joes are reviewing and rating my book too.)

  27. Jules Jones
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 17:28:28

    LibraryThing for me. I originally joined because I wanted to be able to catalogue my books for insurance purposes — I’ve done enough long-haul moves where I’ve claimed on insurance for damage that this isn’t just an idle whim. I only got into the social side later. There are a lot of great conversation groups there, plus there’s the early reviewer programme which has provided me with some interesting review copies.

    Oh, and I get an “LT Author” icon for my user profile, because I’m an author who is a member of LibraryThing. Silly it may be, but it gives me a warm fuzzy glow. :-)

  28. Bev Stephans
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 18:25:50

    I should have mentioned in my first post that I keep an inventory of my books in my word files. This works out very well and it’s easy to back them up to a flashdrive.

  29. Cerri Ellis
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 19:17:02

    I like both Shelfari and Goodreads and use both keep track of which books I’ve read and also to pick out which books to read next. I’ve had several people recommend books and I’ve bought them, when money and time allow. :)

    This is the first I’ve heard about Library Thing. I doubt I’ll join, although I might check it out. I think two reader networking groups is enough to keep me occupied. At the pace I read, cataloging books takes up enough valuable time I could be doing something better…like reading. :P

  30. DS
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 19:38:12

    I obsess over books enough. I do like the program Jane mentioned a while back for cataloging ebooks, Calibre, and I have enough things I keep up with online– especially this time of year when my motor goes into idle.

  31. Lisa
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 01:31:04

    I am addicted to Goodreads. It’s by far my all time favorite site on the web. I signed up for the other reading sites at some point but once I got involved with Goodreads I never went back to the others. I’ve been on Goodreads for 20 months and I’m still learning about features and they’re still adding features. There’s so much you can do there. Members can use the site in all sorts of ways so that it meets their needs. I’ve found so many books I want to read it’s ridiculous, I’ve met people from all over the world, the member reviews are wonderful, the groups are a great way to meet others with the same specific interests. It’s an amazing site.

  32. Dance Chica
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 11:46:42

    I really like GoodReads. I first signed up with LibraryThing and then Shelfari, but found GoodReads worked best for me.

  33. Gina
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 14:06:28

    I catalog my books where I buy them, on the Barnes and Noble website using their newest feature “My B&N”. I don’t participate in group discussions although there is suppose to be a way to see other peoples collections, tag favorate peers, etc., but between MySpace and Facebook I’m all networked-out. I get my author / publishing world convo from reading Dear Author which convenietly feeds to my igoogle home page perfectly.

  34. SonomaLass
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 22:00:00

    I joined Goodreads because my daughter and several of my friends back east were on it, some of whom weren’t on Facebook. I like seeing what they’ve read recently, and we have more conversations about books now that we get each other’s reading updates automatically. I put in some of my all-time favorites, because I wanted my vote to count, but mostly I use it for things I’ve just recently read.

    I don’t pay a lot of attention to other people’s ratings (any more than at Amazon!), but sometimes reviews give me an idea of whether I’d like a book or not. I haven’t done much with the groups, but I’m thinking about it after reading some of these comments.

    @rebyj — I added you!

  35. Kathy
    Jan 18, 2009 @ 10:06:03

    I love Goodreads! If you are into books, than this is the place for you. You can keep track of what you are reading, what you have read and what you want to read…… with people about books, make new friends, and discover books you might never had heard about before! I couldn’t live without it!

  36. rebyj
    Jan 19, 2009 @ 12:54:46

    Thanks SonomaLass!

  37. Brad
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 10:05:12

    What I have noticed from the Social networking sites I have visited. LibraryThing seems to cater to established big publishers. They snuff out the indie published books. If you happen to have a book that is self published or through a small indie forget sending it to their early review program. They will keep it private with no discussions about the book showing unless you actually perform a hard search of the author and title. Their star rating average also does not work correctly for the indie book either. In addition the group of reviewers that constantly receive early review books tend push the big publishing house books with higher scores. This elite group also tends to give lower scores to the basement presses. I find it a form of censorship. They have the nerve to call themselves Librarything?

  38. Jody
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 15:14:04

    I love Library Thing and don’t know what I did on the internet before I found it.

    I have tried the more wide ranging social sites but didn’t like any of them but have found LT to be a great way to combine my love of reading with a place to chat to other book-lovers without all the silliness that seems to crop up on places like Facebook.

    I love having my library listed in an easy to monitor database and yes it does take some time to set up if you already have a large collection of books but even if you start one book at a time as you buy or read new ones and use a spare half hour here and there for the books you already have it soon makes for a great on-line library. They also sell a gadget to help for a reasonable price if you want to do that.

    The LT team are also very friendly and great at helping out. If you have a question, a problem or a complaint they respond quickly and fairly (no they aren’t paying me) and the Early Reviewer programme is really great too. Free Books, what’s not to like?

    I’ve been an LT member for almost two years now and it has been a lifeline to me, a lot of fun, I’ve met some great people, found some great books I wouldn’t have read without LT and honestly believe it to be the best site on the internet.

  39. Mary Louise Penaz
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 15:50:33 is the best book-centered social network in cyberspace. The idea that I can see what my friends are reading and compare books with my other members is the best way to fully understand what’s available in the publishing world. I like the list of books read by my friends when it comes through the email. Finally, I encourage any of my friends who are authors to get an account to use as a platform for their book, to get an audience for the book, and to share with the members their own favorite books and comments. is the best place for authors. The members appreciate and respect their input, and most either join or lead book groups. Now that is an amazing.

    I use Librarything for my school blog to show my students the books for class, that way it doesn’t change. But for all of my other social networks or blogs, I use Goodreads widgets to showcase my rotating books shelf. The staff at Goodreads is excellent. I also enjoy the atmosphere that Otis and Elizabeth have created, people are respectful but willing to debate ideas. They have created a wondeful relationship betwee the members and authors. The diversity of members is amazing. The book clubs or groups are excellent.

  40. Helcura
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 16:14:03

    I love LibraryThing. It does exactly what I want and the people are a delight.

  41. Heather
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 16:24:38

    LibraryThing!!! LT all the way, definitely, very much, LibraryThing!!

    Yes, I have checked out other book-sites. I am technically a member of GoodReads, in that I signed up there, but I spent about an hour there and never went back. Didn’t interest me at all. Shelfari either, although that had a little more tug then GoodReads.

    But LibraryThing is AWESOME!! Not only have I met the most awesome book-lovers there, but the cataloguing aspect is wonderful, it has easy ways to post reviews, talk to others about favorite books, find related books…. LibraryThing is responsible for roughly 60% of my current wishlist!

    From what I saw at GoodReads, they are most about the socializing. The social aspect is NOT what I look for in a book-cataloguing site. LibraryThing has so many personal touches, so many ways that I can make my catalogue my *own*, so many things I can do to interact with my books and book data, it is just completely wonderful.

  42. veinglory
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 16:53:10

    Shelfari = teh ebil

  43. Paul
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 17:08:38

    With respect Brad I’m not quite sure what you are on about… you are describing one (quite small) part of Librarything’s output as if it was run by publishers… Librarything is wonderfully democratic and by far the easiest cataloging site. At $25 for a lifetime membership it’s an absolute bargain!

  44. Victoria
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 17:14:07

    My brother-in-law invited me to join GoodReads and I did, but then quickly left. It’s too visually noisy and clunky and I didn’t care for how pushy the interface was. I like the elegant simplicity of LibraryThing. Both the ‘add books’ feature and group/talk are superior to GR. I like that my friends can leave me a private comment on LT. I also like that the founder of LT asks my opinion about improvements to the site. I didn’t get the impression that anyone at Good Reads wanted my input.

  45. Rebecca
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 17:37:12

    I’ve been a member of LibraryThing since 2006 and I totally love it. It is the only social networking site I’ve ever been tempted to join. Not only does it allow me easily to list and view my books, but I’ve learned so much from the other members about books and authors I never had tried. I’ve looked at both Shelfari and GoodReads but they just don’t offer me what LT does — ease of accurate cataloging and a wonderful community. I could go on and on, but I agree wholeheartedly with what others have said about its elegance and simplicity. Oh, and the involvement and responsiveness of the staff is just amazing.

    PS I don’t know what Brad (#37) is talking about. I have hundreds of books that are not from major publishers and I had no trouble entering them even though there were some, e.g., French mountain hiking guides) I had to enter by hand.

  46. Kerian
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 18:32:26

    I don’t like LibraryThing. I love LibraryThing.

    I’ve been a member of LibraryThing for two years now. The day I stumbled on it became a milestone in my life. My lifetime membership status isn’t just because a friend paid for me to have more than a year of unlimited book cataloging. I love how well I can keep track of my books there. The site has terrific features that feed all of my addictions for organizing and much more. I turn to LT for anything book related before all else. LibraryThing has complete reins of which books I purchase and which books I don’t purchase. It can tell me what order a book series is in, which books I may like based on what I have already, and I haven’t even gotten started on the communication parts of it. It introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever ‘met’ and I am very grateful for the friendships it has given me. Talking to a group of people about books you have in common is wonderful. Talking to a group a people who you know well and share many of the same book interests as is even better. I am eternally grateful to those who work hard to keep LibraryThing the outstanding place that it is.

  47. Deena
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 19:58:49

    I love Library Thing. I have received numerous Advanced Reader’s copies. Some I have absolutely loved. I use LT for keeping track of what I have read. I was forever picking up what I had read and getting 50 pages in it and thinking I think I have read this. I also have the book I own that I haven’t read in my library, that way I won’t buy what I already have. I also keep my wish list on Library Thing.
    Having librarian rights is fun combining editions and seeing instantly how many other people have that same book. It is a great site and it keeps getting better!

  48. Myckyee
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 22:32:08

    Oddly, other comments I've read above about Shelfari and Goodreads are saying almost the same things as I would about LibraryThing so I'll try to be more specific about why I prefer LT. Shelfari is like kindergarten, Goodreads middle school and LibraryThing like university. ;) LibraryThing does not have advertising flashing at you on every page. LT is well organized using tabs at the top of each page where you can access your customizable home page, catalogue, profile, groups, add books, tags, etc. Each of these pages has interesting and fun aspects to them for further exploration. Core groups such as Book Talk, Author Chat, Early Reviewers, New Features, Recommended Site Improvements, Bug Collectors, Site Talk and Off-Topic are prominent under groups and easy to post to. A notable group (among many) is ‘combiners' where you can learn how to combine or separate editions of a book. And there is plenty of opportunity for any author to have an LT author badge attached to their profile and join in any group discussions. The Early Reviewers group is not elitist (that comment really confused me as it does not fit LT whatsoever) – but it is popular. There was even a fun ‘santathing' event at the holidays where members could sign up to be a secret santa for another LT member. The community is helpful and friendly and so, yes, I voted for LT.

  49. Mary Lou
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 23:13:58

    Another vote for LibraryThing. I’m sure the others are fine in their way, but I love spending time at LT; tweaking my collection (over 2000 titles – every one of them in this house somewhere!), adding books, contributing to Common Knowledge data bases about my favorite titles, and visiting with book aficionados that have become friends. I also really enjoy the transparency of the site. Our opinions are asked, our input is considered, and new features and problems are discussed.

  50. Julia
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 01:31:23

    LibraryThing! I looked at Shelfari a couple of times (too trendy) and I use Goodreads a little (also too trendy), but it’s not nearly as smooth as LibraryThing for adding tags (which Goodreads confusingly calls ‘shelves’) as well as for uploading book covers and detailed book information. I’ve used LibraryThing for 14 months and have logged nearly 1800 books (most of them within the first few weeks of use). I love the ease of use, transparency of administration, and intelligence level of participants. I love that it’s always about books first, and social fluff second or not at all–it’s all your choice as a user. There are too many things to enjoy at LibraryThing to list them all here.

  51. the "J"
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 01:33:20

    I signed up for shelfari first and what did I get out of it? They spammed my friends in my name… I tried Librarything afterwards and was hooked up after a few minutes. My main interest is cataloguing books. LT is a cataloguing site with a social media function. The rest are a social media sites with a book function.

  52. Sarahemmm
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 04:41:37

    I found LibraryThing a couple of years ago, following a suggestion in a newspaper I respect. I was hooked instantly and have never bothered to look elsewhere.

    I was delighted to pay for my pleasure, since that means there are NO ADs on the site. $25 for life – not exactly going to break the bank, is it?

  53. Jenine
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 06:04:41

    I’ve been with LibraryThing for over two years now and have to say it takes up about 90% of my recreational online time. I love it! I’m also on Shelfari and have “met” some wonderful people on there as well although I find the cataloging aspect of LT far superior.

  54. Anion
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 07:00:12


    Their star rating average also does not work correctly for the indie book either. In addition the group of reviewers that constantly receive early review books tend push the big publishing house books with higher scores. This elite group also tends to give lower scores to the basement presses.

    Hmmm. With all due respect to small presses–I love small presses–you don’t suppose there might be some other force behind lower scores for “basement” press books, do you? Like maybe that the reviewers simply don’t find them to be as good?

    I’m not at all saying this is always the case or tarring all small or indie press books with the “this is crap” brush. Not at ALL. I’ve read some breathtakingly good indie press books. But while I and I’m sure everyone else has also read the occasional NY clunker, I’ve read far more bad books (badly written, cliched, badly edited, whatever) from tiny presses. (Not to mention, the big houses can afford to send out more ARCs, which is why they get more early reviews.)

    So I really think it’s a bit facile to write that off as “elitism” instead of seeing it for what it is; a statement of quality.

    Either way, LibraryThing is made up of readers, and they are who make it what it is, so if you don’t like it, get involved. I have also never had a problem adding indie/small press books. I love LibraryThing and think it’s fantastic!

  55. elbakerone
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 11:24:16

    I’m also a Library Thing user and lover! I’ve been on there for about two and a half years and it’s only gotten better. I tried GoodReads for a little while but I was mostly unimpressed.

    Also, for those talking about the subscription cost of LT, it’s free to use for cataloging up to 200 books. After that you can do unlimited books for $10 a year or $25 for a lifetime account. I paid for the lifetime account shortly after joining because I knew it was a site that I couldn’t do enough with. The cost was not much of an issue for me and I’ve already received twelve free books through their Early Reviewers program so it has more than paid for itself! (Quick note too, the Early Reviewers program is open to anyone with an account: free, yearly or lifetime)

  56. savedbygrace
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 11:28:38

    @ Victoria … did you check out the Goodreads Feedback group? That’s the official feedback group for Goodreads, and the whole point of it is because Otis & Co. want our input–suggestions, complaints, bugs, etc. And they do something about it too, and reply back (as well as a ton of other fellow Goodreaders. :)

  57. Chelsa
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 12:27:18

    With respect to everyone. I tend to agree with Brad. Librarything does snuff out indie books. To me that is censorship. You will not find discussions on indie books unless you hunt for the author or title. Brad is correct. Most of the scores and popularity are listed incorrectly for basement press books. The early Review program promotes established publishers only. The indie books are separate.
    Indie books are listed on Librarything’s site yet hard to find unless a search is performed by author name and title not like the mainstream publishers. I do not think Brads post has anything to do with the helpfulness and kindness of the staff at Librarything. I am sure they are nice people. The fact is Librarything caters to the large publishers or established publishers. Goodreads shows it all.

  58. Clarence
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 13:17:05

    I just checked out the publisher guidelines to participate in the Early review program at Librarything. Self published books are listed as semi private. Why is that? As a reader I want to judge what I want to read or what I enjoy.

  59. Jules Jones
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 13:51:43

    Declaration of bias — I am a member of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer programme, and have been almost since its started.

    Right now the programme only accepts review copies through publishers, not through authors. Yes, that means self-published and vanity-published books are excluded (no, I do not equate the two). However, it does *not* mean that small indie publishers are excluded. In fact, one of the things I enjoy about the programme is that I get to see information about books from small indie publishers.

    As for the ratings — the LTER members I know are book-lovers. They’re individuals who want to read good books, and who will rate the books according to how they enjoyed them or found them useful, not according to who published them. Of course, we are encouraged to be honest with our reviews, and that means that if the book in our opinion is not very good, then we’re going to say so.

    I just ran a search for one of my own books by ISBN. Came up fine. I’m not sure what other ways it’s supposed to be easy to find a book by a big publisher and not by a small publisher. Unless of course, you’re referring to the fact that various feeds will mention books as people add them to their catalogues or review them. Oddly, this happens more often with books that are more popular.

  60. TheBookmarque
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 15:55:56

    As the recipient of a dreadful POD/self-published book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I will be more careful about which books I try for in the program. While there may be some wheat in the harvest, overall it’s mostly chaff with these kinds of books and I’d rather not bother. As far as I know, LT is planning to set up a separate corral for the self and POD published books in the ER program which will allow for visibility, but clearly designate them as what they are.

  61. riverwillow
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 18:09:48

    Librarything, Librarything all the way – the suggester and the unsuggester are fabulous things and I love the connections that come up from friends and people with similar libraries as well as having a nose around the books on other people’s bookshelves. As for the Early Reviewers programme its amazing, I have books I’ve liked and one book that I absolutely loathed, from publishers of all sizes and standing and, unlike other review programmes, you are not penalised for bad reviews or unfairly rewarded for good reviews. The staff at LibraryThing are amazing and it really has a family atmosphere. I’ve looked at Good Reads but Library Thing is better. Should add I am a bookcrosser as well and love their site too.

  62. Cindy
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 19:00:38

    LibraryThing is nothing short of amazing! I looked at other sites, but none came close to what I was looking for. There is social networking for those who want it, book discussions, group reads; the list goes on and on. I have been introduced to authors and books I would have never read if not recommended by a LibraryThing member. The Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing has been wonderful. It’s like Christmas when you realize you’ve been awarded a book! The staff are very supportive of members and suggestions. They are very active in groups and join in with everyone else. Many authors are members at LibraryThing and frequently join in on discussions of their books. I can’t say enough good about the site.

  63. David
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 19:23:47

    had seen a brief glimpse of GoodReads, but Facebook’s Visual Bookshelf had sent me to LibraryThing in October.

    Found that LT was very easy to use. Found that with the use of tagging it was modifiable by me, and that with several customizable displays of my library, I could pore through my 5000+ books quite quickly.

    With this blog post went to take a further look at GR and found that it looks sexy, but it hasn’t the depth of LT. Further GR claims 3 times as many members as LT but looks like they are neck to neck in the poll. Shouldn’t GR have 3 times as many votes, or do only 1/3 of their membership feel that it is worthwhile.

    In my three months on LT I have received countless recommendations that are key to what I like to read, have made friends and have struck up correspondence with like eclectic readers. Seems like a pretty good deal.

    Controversy over whether an early reviewer, a small sub group of users I am sure, can get the books, noting if the books are vanity press, etc, seems like a very small sub group of a sub group of a sub group of 35 million, or 40 million indexed books.

  64. Tim
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 20:11:30

    From Tim, the LibraryThing founder

    “Self published books are listed as semi private [on LibraryThing]”

    What? There is nothing whatsoever in the rules like that! You can catalog any book you like-‘from Amazon, from 690 libraries around the world or by yourself. (Goodreads catalos from Amazon only.) The system neither knows no cares whether your book is self-published. Is this just FUD?

    It’s true that LibraryThing does not currently include self-published books in its Early Reviewer program. Publishers giving out books on LibraryThing-‘and we both invented this idea on bookish social networks and have given out up to 2,000 books per month!-‘are wary of having their hot pre-release book from, say, Toni Morrison appear below a self-published book. In return for this, we require the books be pre-release or very fresh and we require them to give us a decent quantity (usually 20, less for expensive books). These requirements are what makes Early Reviewer so valuable. (Not to us: We don’t charge anyone.)

    Next week we’re introducing a “member give-away” feature in parallel with Early Reviewers that will allow people to give away self-published books-‘and also older, post-release books, books in small quantities, etc. I hope that gives self-published authors the audience they want, but I won’t apologize for setting up a program publishers trust–or the river of free books it has engendered.

    I’d add that LibraryThing assigns books to people based mostly on what’s in their library, not a random pick. This works out better for everyone–publishers get the books into the hands of people who are most interested, and casual drop-ins with few books and little interest don’t get sent books they won’t review.

  65. Rhonda Androde
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 23:04:26

    “It's true that LibraryThing does not currently include self-published books in its Early Reviewer program Publishers giving out books on LibraryThing-‘and we both invented this idea on bookish social networks and have given out up to 2,000 books per month!-‘are wary of having their hot pre-release book from, say, Toni Morrison appear below a self-published book.” This sounds biased and elitist to me.
    Self published books entered in the Early Review program are semi private. No buzz or conversations showing associated with a book means not many sales and readers like me not even knowing about a book. That is censorship. It makes no difference to me who a publisher is, as long as a book is an enjoyable read.
    Tim, you should know as well as I do. Publishers big and small will still send their books for reviews to readers. Why not an even playing field?
    I read many books. Indie included. Some of the best writing I have read lately comes from small press books. No surprise. Things are changing in publishing. As I am sure you are aware. The big publishers are starting to lose.
    By the way, I have been requesting books through the Early Reviewers for the last six months and have yet to win one book. Yet, the same people keep winning books every month. The same people who give POD's a bad rap.

  66. The "j"
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 23:36:48

    By the way, I have been requesting books through the Early Reviewers for the last six months and have yet to win one book.

    So you’ re just pissed that you didn’ t get any books? ARC envy?

  67. Bob
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 01:02:59


    “Semiprivate”? What are you talking about? Exactly the same material is available for all books entered. As for “buzz and conversations” has it occurred to you that a bestseller will have more of these?

  68. Anion
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 01:53:57

    @Rhonda Androde:

    That is censorship.

    No. That is not censorship. Not at all. Not by any definition of the word.

    You want to talk about self-published or small-press books? Why don’t you start a conversation? I suggest one in which you learn what “censorship” really means and discover that it is a government act and has nothing to do with which books are discussed on a cataloging website.

  69. Lord Nigel KnickKnack
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 03:07:29

    I have been using LibraryThing for over two years now and I intend to continue using the site until that unknown hour when my lifetime membership expires. I cannot imagine any other site ever answering my book cataloguing needs more exactly than this always excellent yet ever improving site. The social end of things was not even a small part of my initial attraction to LibraryThing, but I must admit that even this has been of no small value to me. Many a time in the content of some message from or in the course of some conversation with a fellow LibraryThinger I will be given something to think about or something to laugh about…or both. All in all, quite a tidy bargain in info-tainment.

  70. Arthur
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 06:29:52

    Okay, let’s do a side-by-side indie publisher comparison for Brad & Rhonda (who absolutely aren’t the same person, right?).

    The book I used was “The Borden Tragedy” – the third in a graphic novel series by a small print publisher Nantier Beall Minoustchine. The series has gained a lot of acclaim both through awards and by landing a few volumes on “must read” lists.

    First the main page lists:

    GR – 71 ratings, 16 reviews, 3.92 rating

    LT – 71 members, 6 wrote reviews, 4.03 rating

    BONUS – Tag cloud, Recommendations, Will You Like It? (Based on your Library), Common Knowledge (locations, character lists, awards/honors, first & last lines, etc.)

    Series Information:

    GR – Bust

    LT – – with a link to the publisher in the sidebar/information screen.

    Author Information:

    GR –

    Apparently, Rick’s done nothing of note other than write 28 distinct works. At least no one at GR thinks so…

    LT –

    Includes links to his official home page and Wikipedia and a permissioned photo. CK filled in with basic biograhic information.

    Conversations –

    GR – “There are no discussion topics on this book yet…”

    Well, unless you count the comments on the GR reviews that talk about things to do in Massachusetts.

    LT –

    One of the great things is that if you look at the still-active conversation for this book, you’ll see that they look for a recommendation – and the fare recommended is well-known AND independent alike. To see a recommendation list from USERS that includes Maus, Persepolis, Cartoon History of the Universe, Fun Home, Blankets, Cartoon Homocidal Jungle Cat, and 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation is really only a list I’d expect from LibraryThing…

  71. amberwitch
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 06:43:57

    I spend a godly amount at LibraryThing, and have by now more than 2500 books registered. Several of them small press or selfpublished – don’t know about indie or vanity press, but things from, blindeyebooks, nightshade books, samhain etc. None of then are in any way presented or catalogues different than books from Tor or Ace or any other ‘big’ publishing agent. There are fewer copies registered, true, so the ability for LT to calculate recommendations etc. based on the available data is limited. The engagement of the LT members, however, leads to member written recommendations whenever (someone thinks) a book warrant it.
    There is no “Semiprivate” status for books, authors or catalogues at LibraryThing. All books are equal. Authors are either LibraryThing authors or not (and LibraryThing authors can be featured on the homepage). Libraries can be either public or private. All other differences stem from the amount of data that has been entered – by the users.

    I am registered at GoodReads as well as LibraryThing, but as I am concerned with the dataquality and cataloguing of books more than the socializing, I vastly prefer LibraryThing.

  72. Karen
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 07:28:58

    I have been using LibraryThing ever since I had the Eureka moment of realizing that here was a site to help me catalog and organize my library of over 2000 books. Since I joined over a year and a half ago I have received a small number of pre-publication copies of books to read and review, I have received two gifts of books during the holidays, and I have received many hours of enjoyable conversation with intelligent, well-read, polite, and friendly people who also write in complete sentences, use punctuation appropriately, and have interesting opinions.

    I see no reason for accusing other sites of not being what I want them to be.

  73. Antof9
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 07:33:36

    Funny, I don’t consider Goodreads, LibraryThing, or FB’s Visual Bookshelf to be “social networking” sites (I use all three). I consider them all to be book cataloguing sites. is actually a social networking site that revolves around books. I’m surprised I had to list it as “other”!

    And for what it’s worth, LibraryThing loses my “vote” every time with their limit of how many books you can add (for free) per year.

  74. klarusu
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 08:06:18

    LibraryThing, hands down, beats the pants off all the rest. I paid my lifetime $25 (and that is really nothing considering what’s on offer) and over the past couple of years I’ve had 7 Early Reviewer books through the ER program, and, bless their cotton socks (yes, both of them!), they let me enter the Secret Santa this year at their expense because I was broke (how’s that for personal service, curious as to whether Goodreads would even care) plus all the cataloguing and debate that I signed up for in the first place.

    As for the 200 book limit, for heavens sake, stump up the $25 dollars if you want to add more. I would say LT is pretty unique in allowing you hold an account of 200 books or less for free, forever and still have access to all the features on the site, including things like the ER program with no penalty for not being a paying member.

  75. Medellia
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 08:50:35

    I’m a LibraryThing member and absolutely love it for all the reasons mentioned above. I got curious about Goodreads a little while back and went to check it out, but the second I saw ads, I was out of there. That $25 for a lifetime membership seems all the more reasonable in light of the fact that I don’t have to be bombarded by blinking neon lights and products dancing in the air–as if by magic!

    I’m not a member of the ER program, but I did find a book from a (very very) small indie press through the author chat forum. Some copies of it were given away through the ER program, and the book received very high ratings from LT members because–shock–it’s a good book. I had a lovely (non-semi-private :) chat with the author on the talk forums–which I should mention is another great thing about LibraryThing: authors are not allowed to fly through and spam the boards, but instead have to participate in the normal LT dialog. I really appreciate the LT staff’s efforts to keep the talk forums from degenerating into the boards…

  76. Ms_Bella
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 10:55:25

    In my opinion Librarything is the best book cataloging site on the web. I have spent countless hours catalogin my books on there and I have aid the membership fee for the lifetime membership. I am also an early reviewer and I have to say I love the program. Every Book I have gotten from it has fit into my library perfectly.

    To those who believe that LT isn’t as good as other sites, to each their own. But I don’t care how popular other sites might be I have made a number of wonderful friends on LT who I tend to call my “LT Family”

    I love how easy it is to find books to add to my collection, the recommendations page and the unsuggester are wonderful features. The talk group don’t just revove around books but revolve around friendships as well. When you’ve had abad day and need to talk about it your friends are there to give you feedback on life as well as books. It is a wonderful site.

    The catologing feature is the easiest I have ever come across by far. I found that goodreads and shelfari are over complicated. I was a member of GR and Shelfari before I found (and got addicted to) LibraryThing. After seeing everything that Librarything had to offer ( and for such a reasonable price!) I gave up on the other two and am now enjoying my life with LT, my friends, and my books.

    LibraryThing is also responsible for about 3/4 of my existing library, without all of the wonderful suggestions I would have never expanded my reading tastes so. It has really helped me grow as a reader. Not to mention that it has made reading more fun for me (i didn’t know that this was possible!) because now I can go ahead and talk about what books I loved, Hated, or found So-So with other people who share my interests! All I have to say is it it wonderful and I am so glad that the creators do such a wonderful job of maintaining it. They are very helpful when it comes to any problems you might have along with keeping things that shouldn’t be on a networking site off of it, including ads and spam e-mails. All group topics are clearly laid out and there are groups for about anything you can think of and they are always making sure everything is kept apropriate for all ages.

    Well I will end my praise here even though I could probably go on for hours! Yay! LT!

  77. Jane
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 10:58:36

    I’m kind of amazed at the, ah, passion that some of the social networkers are showing toward their preferred site. It’s interesting to see that some feel like they have some kind of ownership interest in seeing it be the most popular.

  78. caite
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 11:44:29

    Having to choose between paying $25 for a LIFETIME membership, or a lifetime of looking at ads, it is no choice for me. LibraryThing has my vote, without question. The Early Reviewer books that I have been lucky enough to receive, in return for a promise to review them, has more than recouped my money, if that mattered. But it does not really.
    Do I feel a certain ‘ownership’ in LT? Well, yes, I do. Maybe it is because it is a site full of like-minded people, passionate about books. Maybe because Tim, the founder, and the other folks that run the site, are on there daily, posting, telling about their ideas for the site and listening to our’s. There is a real personal element on LT that I have never felt on GoodReads.

    Bottom line, I just want people to check out what is, from my experience, a great site. Their loss if they don’t…lol

  79. savedbygrace
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 11:54:42

    @ Medellia … all you have to do is install Adblocker and you never see those ads again. :)

    Since I had Adblocker from the beginning, I never noticed we had them until I realized that a little tan box to the right side of my screen (the same color as the top navigation bar) was something for Google. Never noticed it until a few months ago. Now it’s like it doesn’t even exist because it doesn’t pop out at all or anything.
    It’s really cool to see all the different opinions of the sites, and how we each really enjoy our online social book clubs and would say the people at whichever one are like family (I consider the goodreaders my family) and it’s really easy to use and navigate and etc.

    Jane–yeah. I am passionate about Goodreads. Can’t help it. I love it. People there are nice and Otis & Co. are wonderful. I do kind of have an ownership interest in seeing it do well.

  80. Kirby
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 12:15:02

    Library Thing is the best! I absolutely love LT. I actually stumbled across it over a year ago, looking for an easier way to catalog my classroom books. Quickly I loaded up my 200 limit (since I have over 4000 books in my classroom library), and spent a small amount for a lifetime membership. I love LT so much that I purchased a 2nd lifetime membership for my personal books. I didn’t really discover the message boards until this past summer, but I have quickly become part of several “families”.

    LT, in all it’s awesomeness, is the best place for my needs and wants. While I pick and choose the features I want, LT offers quite a bit. I am more than happy to recommend LT to all my friends and colleagues.

  81. Medellia
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 14:16:39

    #77: So what you’re saying is, if I love LibraryThing so much, why don’t I just marry it? (Oh, I would if I could. ;)

    #79: You are my new favorite person!

  82. Jill
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 14:55:09

    I don’t understand the complaints about indie presses on LibraryThing. To begin with, the system architecture is primarily constructed around a specific work and a specific author because that is just how one focuses on cataloging a text. The publisher name is just not what most users primarily use in constructing a query in such information systems. Any more than one would search by publisher name in a library catalog…

    It is nonsense to suggest that anyone is censoring content on LT; the data set there is based on what individuals own or have read. The cataloging is based on what libraries hold in their own collections. And I do recall seeing one title available for the Early Reviewers Program that was from some tiny state agency that was attempting to promote a book on emergency preparedness for fire and rescue workers. Hardly a mainstream press offering!

  83. savedbygrace
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 16:26:32

    @ Medellia … I’m guessing you installed Adblocker?
    if you did … doesn’t it work great? All you have to do is rightclick on the ad and click block frame or screen whatever and then when the little window pops up you backspace until just the .com address is left and it blocks EVERYTHING from that advertising site/source! ^_^

    wow that was definitely a tangent …

    anyway … Goodreads all the way and yeah. :)

  84. savedbygrace
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 17:01:17

    Oh yeah … @ David, it’s not that ‘only 1/3 of our members feel it’s worthwhile’. It’s just that not everyone knows about this poll. If I could put the link to the poll where I knew all of our members or at least most of them would see it, follow the link, and vote, I most definitely would. ^_^

    It’s posted in our Feedback group, of which a lot of Goodreaders are members, but not nearly enough. People probably do not consider the Feedback group important enough to be a member of but they don’t know what they’re missing. :)
    A link to the poll is also in TNBBC (The best book club in the world–yes I am biased).
    But that’s it. And upon saying this, I am going to post the link to this poll in every group I am a member of. Just so it’s a lil’ more than 1/3. :)

  85. Chels
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 18:09:06

    LibraryThing all the way!!!

    LT is awesome. You can catalogue your books and put tags on them. You can edit the books to have the exact information as your book and pick from a variety of covers. The site gives book suggestions and has an unsuggester too. You can see who you share books with and make many new friends. You get to personalize your profile and now you even have a home page.

    The talk feature is fantastic. I love talking to all my friends in the different groups. They are so many great people on LT. I’m very happy I made an account 2 years ago. I have a lifetime account, $25. It’s definitely worth it. But you can have up to 200 books for free or more by paying $10 per year.

    I love how everything on LT is so neat and organized. That’s probably the perfectionist in me.

    I also have an account on goodreads but I don’t like it as much as LT. The only reason I joined was because my cousin was on it and wanted me to. So I have it so I can talk to her and a couple friends. Goodreads is more of a site for teens though. It’s sloppier and a little confusing at times. It’s hard to add books and your only choice is amazon. I have checked out shelfari and think pretty much the same thing but I don’t have an account there.

    I agree with #51, LT is a cataloguing site with a social media function. The rest are social media sites with a book function.

  86. Kelsey
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 18:30:40

    Goodreads all the way! I’m obsessed with it. And no, I don’t mind the ads. I don’t even really notice them. And for a broke college student like me, I can’t afford to pay $25 bucks for no ads when I don’t even mind them in the first place. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. =)

  87. savedbygrace
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 20:21:17

    @ Chels … when I joined over a year ago it was all about books and there were a few groups. Then the Twilight Craze hit and now there are more teens who’ve discovered it. (So that means more people who read) though there are a ton of roleplay groups. There are plenty of ‘adult’ discussions, reviews, and groups. It’s geared toward people of all ages. =)
    We have a homepage too–where you can see what everyone is reading, or just your friends are reading, or your top friends, statuses (what page they’re on in a book), group updates, reviews, and what books your friends have added as ‘to-read’.
    The adding books–all you have to do is put the title of the book you are looking for in the search box in the upper right corner, hit search, look for it on the list, and click ‘add to my books’. Viola. :)

    Is it easier than that on LT? Is there actually any way it can get easier?

  88. Julia
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 21:12:21

    I would be interested in knowing the rate of international usage on all the leading library groups. LibraryThing has made efforts to internationalize that help us connect with users all over the world, often in several languages. Besides the USA, use by people in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, and the traditionally English speaking countries is fairly high, judging by the comments I’ve read during the past year or so.

    Another reason I have a very strong preference for LibraryThing is because of all the ways the tech people have made the site easier for us non-techies to use. For example, on our customized home pages, we can see what’s happening on the discussion threads we choose, or observe the recent activity (new books) and reviews, etc., of the friends and contacts we choose to list. In this manner I can avoid the things I dislike and join the discussions I enjoy. When I have more time, or a new interest, I can SEARCH the groups list (which I was not able to do at Goodreads) and find out whether a new group has started, or of course consider starting my own, which you can do on both sites.

    I spend a lot of recreational time on LT but I never feel like my time is wasted by trying to figure things out. I do feel frustrated on Goodreads because, frankly, it feels like a chick-lit chat group…Am I missing how to connect with the people doing some serious reading?

    As for finding out “what’s popular”, if I want to see top sales, I consult things like the NYTimes or London Times book reviews or the Guardian…or Amazon or Barnes and Noble, etc. I also search for the smaller publishers, like Stonebridge Press, which cater many good titles in English about Japan. I check the Asian Book Reviews site (Hong Kong) for other extremely well-written reviews about the areas which interest me most.

    This discussion has been interesting–especially to see people’s passions and preferences–and above all, it’s great to see people enjoying reading.

    I was looking for a way to catalogue my books, and after 14 months I still feel I found the best place at LibraryThing (lifetime member, 25 well-spent bucks). My library is fairly broad and well-tagged, and I like to write longish, thoughtful reviews, so maybe that’s why I’ve been lucky to receive several early reading copies of books which targeted my interests perfectly. (The famous algorithm works very well!) I’ve also become acquainted with several fantastic individuals.

  89. antigone
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 03:32:59

    I use Goodreads. :)
    I tried LibraryThing and it’s pretty good but since I’ve already cataloged most of my books in Goodreads, it’s just such a hassle to transfer all of it to LT. Personally, I think LT is a better book catalogue. My only problem so far with it is that it isn’t free (or rather, the free account allows too little books). I have more than 200 books, more than the allotted amount for a free membership. I know, $25 is pretty cheap for a lifetime membership but I don’t live in the states, I don’t use credit cards and opening a dollar account is simply too expensive and too much of a hassle. I’d rather spend my time looking for new books and having fun at Goodreads than trying to upgrade my LT account. I don’t mind the ads, anyway.

  90. trav
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 10:14:49

    In the past I have created accts on all the services, but LibraryThing is the only one I have ever used. And out of all the options it’s the only one worth paying for! It’s fantastic.

    You might take 30 secs to look at each service and think you like shiny gfx and such. But once you spend any time on there you realize that what you really want are to 1. catalog your books and 2. discover/make real connections with other people with similar libraries and interests.

    So while other services work on the “pretty”, LibraryThing works on the two points that really matter to people who love reading and their books.

  91. Chels
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 11:20:52

    #87 I see. But to me it just seems like it’s geared more toward teens in the way it looks and feels. I just like LT better.

    On goodreads to enter the book you put in the title and they may not have what you were looking for. On LT, you can scan the ISBN and get the exact copy of your book. Also, I always forget where you add books. LT has a tab for that.

    LT has groups very organized and doesn’t hide threads like goodreads. You can ignore threads if you don’t want to look at them again or you can star threads if you really liked them or thought it important. I have met so many people on LT and I love my “LT family”. I now know people on the opposite side of the US and in London, Canada, and Australia.

    LT also has fun statistics about your library, your messages, and more. The staff is awesome. They take your input about the site into great consideration. They make new gadgets and change things to make it easier/nicer for the users.

    Before yesterday the last time I was on goodreads was a month ago. I try to go on LT as much as I can. As a matter of fact, I was also on LT while on goodreads yesterday.

  92. Jules Jones
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 17:04:36

    Jane, people do get very passionate about the sites, because if you’re a booklover who likes discussing books, when you find one that fits the way you like to work or socialise online, it usually fits really, *really* well. I first got into LibraryThing because I wanted to be able to catalogue my books for insurance purposes. A couple of my friends had recommended it, so I went over to try it out using the free account. I had my credit card out half an hour later, and a week or so after that, I then infected half a dozen friends in one evening by burbling about how easy it was to enter books and then get nifty stuff back out from other people’s entries on the books…

    I mostly hung out in the Folio Society discussion group for a while, but got sucked into the social side of the site by, of all things, spam. Some git of an ill-mannered author had left a comment on my profile page pimping his book and tried to friend me in order to get me to read his profile page, which was a giant ad for his book. I went looking for somewhere to complain about this, and ended up in a rather vocal thread — to which Tim-the-owner responded *very* quickly with an emergency control measure to stop the immediate problem and then a more measured response to deal with future outbreaks. There’d been a couple of incidents within a couple of days, which led some of us to suspect that LT had been “discovered” as a shiny new means of promoting yourself to readers.

    Note well — one of the misbehaving authors was a Big Name Author, who got slapped down for it just as firmly as if it had been an author from a tiny indie press.

    The robust attitude to spam control, and the complete lack of ads if you’re a paid member, are two of the reasons *I* like LT.

  93. Wendy Fraser
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 12:37:59

    I have an account with all 3. I use my LibraryThing account to keep a track of every book I own but I use GR or Shelfari to track everything I read. I do this because the majority of the books I read are library books and I don’t want them on my LibraryThing account but do want to track what I have read and when. I like both GR and LT and am only just sussing out Shelfari.

  94. Madysen
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 14:45:20

    Wow. I’d never heard of Library Thing until now. ^^ But I’m on Goodreads and love the site! Except for the fact that you have to join a group to post in it… That pretty much sucks.

  95. Elise Chidley
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 18:13:32

    Goodreads is great–easy to navigate, full of interesting forums, with great features like book giveaways.

  96. leafar
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 03:02:34

    Other may be : (not only books)

  97. Naomi
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 16:29:23

    Well, I’ve been following this discussion with interest.

    First of all, it’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm for sites dedicated to books and booklovers – how great it is that we have all found somewhere to call home.

    My home is librarything. As a technophobe, I find it so easy to use, and by looking at all the different groups and talk threads, it is clear to see that it offers so much more than I currently use it for, should I require it. It is there for the hardened “cataloguers” and recreational readers alike.

    I love to keep track of my books, discover new reads and write/submit reviews for my own use, and also with the hope that others may find them useful. And where would I be without the incredible friends I have made?

    Librarything is the first book dedicated website I discovered, having heard about it on BBC Radio 2 one day. I signed up immediately. I therefore cannot comment on goodreads, shelfari, or any of the other sites, suffice to say that I have never felt the need to explore elsewhere.

  98. SonomaLass
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 16:45:37

    See, I feel the same way about Goodreads that Naomi does about Librarything. It’s the first one I joined (at the invitation of several friends), and I’ve never felt the need to look elsewhere. Like some others here, I already have ad blocking software, so I never registered advertising as a problem.

    I think it’s wonderful that there are multiple sites for book cataloging/reader networking, and this discussion is hopefully of use to people trying to choose one to suit their taste.

  99. Jamie
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 07:22:15

    “I can SEARCH the groups list (which I was not able to do at Goodreads) and find out whether a new group has started, or of course consider starting my own, which you can do on both sites.” – Yes, you can search for groups to find something you’re interested in at GoodReads.

    “On LT, you can scan the ISBN and get the exact copy of your book.” You can search by ISBN on GoodReads, too.

    “I do feel frustrated on Goodreads because, frankly, it feels like a chick-lit chat group…Am I missing how to connect with the people doing some serious reading?” There are definitely a wide variety of groups on GoodReads – some for serious readers, some are on the lighter side.

    “It's hard to add books and your only choice is amazon.” This is untrue. There are many ways to add new books – by looking at others’ shelves, by searching by title, author, or ISBN, etc. – all you have to do is check the to-read, read, or currently reading box and it’s added. This can even be done right on the search results page. You can find books via GoodReads at Amazon,, B&N, & Abebooks.

  100. Julia
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 08:02:58

    HOW can you search the Groups list on GR? If these things are there, why aren’t they obvious? Why is it so hard to find them?

  101. Jamie
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 08:23:19

    Personally, I’ve actually never had any difficulty navigating the site, but I suppose what works well for one person may not for another.

    Just click on the Group tab at the top of any page, and there’s a search bar on the top right to find groups.

  102. Jamie
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 08:35:10


    Additionally, on the groups page, there’s a section toward the bottom which features new groups. I took a look at LT, and the 2 sites are actually very similar in this regard.

  103. Julia
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 08:47:48

    @101, 102
    Thanks, Jamie. Apparently I was starting from a different spot or I was just not observant enough. I’ve just checked through my favorite areas on Groups on GR. It satisfied my curiosity. I’ll continue to check on GR from time to time, but for me, LT offers much more scholarly and literary discussions than GR. Thanks for your help.
    Happy reading!

  104. Serendy
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 22:19:30

    I use Goodreads but I have to agree with Julia (88) and Chels (85). The site seems very geared to teens and the groups seem to be either specialising in chicklit chat or are kind of pretentious.

    The booklists are a joke – the fourth top book of all time is Twilight (teens and chick lit) and its also rated as the second worst book of all time. There is something seriously effed up about an algorithm that produces that and site owners who are happy to let it run.

    There is a whole group of unofficial nannies called Librarians who think they run things and get really upset if book data is not presented or adapted in ways they approve of. They take themselves so seriously and are forever bitching and bickering over protocols like whether a colon should be followed by one space or two – so pretentious. I couldn’t take them seriously.

    Despite all that, Goodreads catalogs books brilliantly and since I have thousands I do appreciate that, but I think, having read this thread, I will investigate Library Thing.

  105. ZXoloft
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 22:28:30

    SavedByGrace (message 56) I think the feedback group serves as an UNPAID research and development department for Goodreads. And the aforementioned obnoxious librarians are the UNPAID database department. No doubt they will one day sell it for a fortune.

  106. Rowena Cherry
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 10:54:50

    I participate to some extent on,, and others (BarnesandNoble bookclubs,

    The site I find most user friendly is Among great features they offer is the goodreads giveaways. Authors are allowed to participate. LibraryThing has a similar program, but only publishers participate. I find frustrating. I can never track down the messages and questions that are advertised as waiting for me/about my books.

    Best wishes,
    Rowena Cherry

  107. savedbygrace
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 12:07:44

    @ZXoloft … I don’t understand your comment. The Librarians are, indeed, ‘unpaid’ but they do it because even though they may argue over simple things or whatever, they know what they’re doing. About the feedback group–the creators of Goodreads/the people who made the site and run it are the groups’ moderators and they know what they are doing as well, and do listen to our feedback and do something about it. If there’s a bug, we tell them via that group and they fix it; if there is a suggestion and a good number of people think it is a good idea then it’s moved to the top of the list and usually out at the next ‘release’ of updates and everything. If there are spammers, they get rid of them.

    They also inform us of ‘big’ and small changes to things in the group (like the layout of the site) and we get to preview them and give input. Goodreads Feedback is the ‘official’ group of Goodreads where all the suggestions, bug reports, praise, spammer alerts, etc. are made.

  108. serendy
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 12:34:17

    One of the things I hate about Goodreads which I generally love is the massive amount of self-promotion , self-rating, messaging and out-and-out spam posts in groups from authors. Finding an author with 50 or 60 books and 900 ‘friends’ isn’t unusual. If Library Thing doesn’t allow that I may well swap allegiance.

  109. Bookie
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 12:54:30

    SavedbyGrace, you say, “yeah. I am passionate about Goodreads. Can't help it. I love it. People there are nice and Otis & Co. are wonderful. I do kind of have an ownership interest in seeing it do well. ”

    Yet you also say, “all you have to do is install Adblocker and you never see those ads again. :)”

    Its a very hollow kind of support that takes advantage of all the freebies on offer and won’t ‘pay the price’ – in this case viewing ads. How do you think that the real owners feel when they read your advice to others to block the ads? You don’t think this is kind of cheating (I know you are a student at a Christian college and probably don’t have much money but still)? Goodreads is supported by numbers of viewers not click-throughs (although possibly that as well) and by purchases from Amazon etc.

  110. savedbygrace
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 18:04:17

    @ Bookie, I had Adblocker installed way before I became a member of Goodreads. I’ve only turned off Adblocker a few times so I could run programs/games that Adblocker blocked, and I’ve gone to GR and the ads weren’t too bad. But generally I keep Adblocker on because I don’t use applications that it blocks that often and I don’t want to see ads on all the other sites I go to that are really flashy and irritating.

    I still see Google/Amazon ads all the time. So they’re getting lots of $ for that. :)

    Hollow … well, I wouldn’t describe myself like that (though I do doubt there are that many people who would insult/put themselves down). You’re right I have zilch … I always tell people to get Adblocker because I’ve always been doing that. On other sites that are great or whatever but are like Facebook and you really don’t want to see the ads and I’m just accustomed to telling people if it’s some really racy or super flashy ad or whatever, just get Adblocker. Of course I want to see GR do well but I’d never buy anything because of ads. If I had millions of dollars, believe me I’d give a ton of money to them (besides my college, my parents, my public library, Church … ) and they’d not have to put ads on GR to be supported.

  111. Bookie
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 20:34:25

    SavedbyGrace. I saw how you carefully excerpted your answer about Adblocker and posted it on Goodreads. Someone who wants everything for free and tries to get around even viewing ads but still wants all the benefits, whether it is MySpace, FaceBook, Goodreads or whatever, is called a freeloader. Whether or not you would buy anything because of seeing ad is never going to be tested if you are always going to block them. How do you thinnk all these sites can offer you all the free apps you want? They have to have full-time staff and they want paying. But that’s not your concern is it?

    Lots of people use adblockers of various kinds and still want free sites, you aren’t alone. But I remember when you first came on Goodreads and were holier-than-thou about your Christian principles and what you were allowed to read and allowed to do. Certainly I don’t see any Christian attitude at play in someone who everything for nothing and gets out of paying even the small price of viewing ads which is all Goodreads (and Facebook etc) are requesting. So I stand by previous post when I said that your support was kind of hollow.

  112. Bookie
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 20:36:27

    Sorry about bad grammar and spelling. I should have previewed it first.

  113. savedbygrace
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 16:22:55


    Lovely place for telling someone they’re holier-than-thou and hollow.
    If you’re going to be like that, fine.

    I wasn’t being holier-than-thou, I was being honest and a typical teenager and just excited that I’d found a place where people accepted me for who I was (totally obsessed about books). And part of telling people about myself and getting to know people was, for me (but apparently it’s a bad thing?) talking about what I believed also my frustrations that much of what I read had to be ‘appropriate’ and Christian and how, as an obsessed reader, I couldn’t help but read some ‘bad’ books like a few vampire books (Twilight … ) and books with magic in them (Eragon, others). I was (and still am) excited about my faith and wanting to share it with others.

    Many, many people use Adblocker to block ads. I’m one of them. I’m far from perfect, and though it’s great that some people are willing to ‘keep me in check’ and ‘call me out’ I don’t think this is the place for it. Besides the fact I don’t really know you and this whole thing has been blown out of proportion from rooting for my favorite site to ‘you’re hollow and holier-than-thou’ and apparently I want everything for nothing because I use adblocker and don’t want to see ads.

    I’m just going to stop there, I don’t want to get into this whole thing.
    Back to rooting for Goodreads. Go Goodreads!
    Too bad we’re only 40%, darn it.

  114. S
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 22:56:18

    Hmmm… last time I checked this morning LibraryThing was over 400 votes ahead. Now LibraryThing and Goodreads are neck and neck. I think your poll’s been hacked.

  115. Mahmood
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 15:58:13

    SavedbyGrace – there is just one question I can see as to your wanting freebies and justifying yourself, just ask yourself WWJD? What would Jesus do

    Just a joke

  116. Veracity
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 21:05:45

    @Jamie You can search by ISBN on GoodReads, too.

    Yes, but the ISBN search on GoodReads is far less accurate. Whereas the ISBN search function on LibraryThing returns book data for all but a few of my more obscure books, GoodReads often can’t find data on my more mainstream books, especially if they are published in a non-US, non-UK country.

    The other thing that makes LibraryThing a standout application for me is that the founders and developers LISTEN to their members and are continually adding improvements and new features. Also the obsessive geek in me loves their accurate cataloguing and attention to detail – but you can use LibraryThing in many ways, not just geekery.

    LibraryThing forever!

  117. Rovin
    Feb 08, 2009 @ 11:46:28

    You got hacked. Someone on Goodreads kept voting, deleting their cookies and voting again and again. Haha

    Maybe SavedbyGrace did it. She was promoting this poll on Goodreads and wanting freebies and cheating aren’t far apart, same mindset. I have to echo what Mahmood said SVG, What Would Jesus Do?

  118. Jules Jones
    Feb 08, 2009 @ 12:47:42

    The Member Giveaways feature on LibraryThing that Tim talks about in comment 64 is now live. And I’m using it to give away five copies of my contemporary m/m romance, so it would appear to be small press and ebook-friendly.

  119. savedbygrace
    Feb 08, 2009 @ 14:45:59

    I’m really confused.

    @ Rovin … First of all, I only ended up telling two groups about the poll because so many of the same people were in all the groups I am a member of and you can only vote one time on your computer (even if I had been able to post the link to this poll on all the groups, what’s wrong with promoting it? I’d like Goodreads to win, yes, so It’d be great if everyone on Goodreads voted). Second, I’ve never cheated in my life. Third, I have no idea how to hack anything.

    I hope you’re kidding about me hacking it/cheating. I do sometimes have a hard time discerning when someone is kidding. Except for Mahmood. I know he/she was kidding, but that’s because he/she said so. Unless you’re all trying that reverse psychology thing on me? …


  120. rovin
    Feb 08, 2009 @ 16:55:32

    SavedbyGrace, I was joking. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

  121. savedbygrace
    Feb 08, 2009 @ 22:44:13

    Oh good. My first thought was right, then. Never second guess yourself! (I think)

    Phew! *Wipes beads of sweat off forehead*

  122. somervillerose
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 06:01:09

    I came across another site that offers book recommendations based on your reading profile and allows you to recommend books to others. It’s also in its beta phase and is still being developed, but has some really interesting features available already, including loads of book-related videos and forums . They have book giveaways too.

    I haven’t tried GoodReads or Shelfari.. might give them a go.

  123. JoeGould
    May 11, 2009 @ 05:06:02

    Somerville: i use both Library and bookarmy

    I’m a fan of both but i like the author interaction in the forums

    Add me as a friend!

  124. Kristy
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 11:18:42

    LibraryThing is awesome! I can’t even remember my life before LT.

    I personally thing LibraryThing is better than goodreads. I don’t like to use goodreads that much besides the fact I want to talk to my friends. I do like that you can have favorite quotes on goodreads.

    But LT is better!

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  127. M—
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 14:06:44

    I’m active on three: Librarything, BookMooch, and Goodreads. I use all of them almost daily, and each for specifically different things.

    On LibraryThing, I keep an accurate record of all the books that I own. I really like how it allows me personalize how I organize my library, and the site has helped enormously to prevent me from acquiring duplications of books. I paid the small fee for a lifetime membership without qualm.

    On BookMooch, I feed my book addition by giving away books I don’t want in favor of receiving books I do want. I’ve struck most of my book-related online friendships through this site.

    On GoodReads, I keep track of books I’ve heard about and think maybe I want to read one day and also keep rather indiscriminate record of past books I have read. I really like the large membership number on the site and the correspondingly large amount of information (such as book reviews) available on the site.

    …I don’t think I could ever give any one of these sites up.

  128. Keuty
    Jun 25, 2010 @ 14:46:05

    #87 savedbygrace:
    Actually, LibraryThing IS easier than that when it comes to adding books. There is a separate tab that says “Add Books”. You click on it and then put in the title, ISBN, or etc in the box. Then you just click on whichever book you want to add. There’s no “add to read, not read, etc.” But there is a drop-down box if you want to have it in your collections other than your library.

    LibraryThing is very, very, VERY organized! I love it and it is perfect for OCD people like myself. :)
    Amazing book site and all the options are fun and helpful. The people there are also nice and groups are enjoyable. (and again, organized!)

    I can only speak for LibraryThing and goodreads but I would definitely pick LT out of the two. Goodreads is less organized and gets confusing. I do love that you can have favorite quotes but on LT you can just type them on your profile so it doesn’t really make a difference. It’s also kind of cool that people can write stories and poems but the same could be done on an LT group whether through comments or just links to writing.

    And I do NOT love the ads on goodreads! How annoying are they. And it just makes it look less professional.

    LibraryThing is my home. :)

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