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Online Personal Libraries and Book Social Media Sites

Some readers are concerned about the growing reach of Amazon into all corners of our book reading world from selling to publishing to acquiring their favorite social media site where they chat with other readers about.  I’ve looked at a few alternatives but other than Library Thing, there isn’t a real good replacement for Goodreads.  Some of the sites are prettier, others allow you to interact outside of the site, but none combine the ease of use, ability to interact with other readers, and book catalog features that Goodreads has.

Library Thing covers


Library Thing.  Library Thing is the most similar source on the internet to Goodreads.  It allows you to create an account, add books to your catalog, create lists, write reviews, and share those with other members.  Bookish uses LibraryThing reviews.

Cons:  The interface isn’t as elegant as Goodreads and there is a cost.  A free membership allows you to add 200 books to your shelf. You have to pay $10 per year to have an unlimited bookshelf or $25 for life.

Riffle Books

2)  Riffle.  This site is in beta only. Essentially you create lists using book covers and then share those lists on social media networks.  You can follow the lists of others. It is a nice, graphic oriented interface. Riffle is akin to tumblr or Pinterest due to its graphic oriented, no text design.  If creating lists of covers is your thing, Riffle is the place to do it, although you have limited content so far.

Cons: There is no place to interact with other readers (other than by following) and no place to write reviews.  It is oriented to the big 5 traditionally published books.

Bookish Screenshot

3)  Bookish.  You can read a sample, buy a print version (the ebook versions are listed as “not in stock”), and add to either a “I want to read” or “I’ve read” list.  You are also allowed to give a star rating to the book and a text review of the book.  The existing reviews are pulled from LibraryThing or PW.  Bookish’s primary purpose is to provide a list of “also likes”.  Sadly the primary source of “also likes” right now is the author’s other books.  In other words, type in the name of a book and other books that the publishers have deemed similar are supposed to appear. It is a not really designed to connect one reader with another.

Cons:  There were books from smaller publishers like Samhain but only if those books had a print component, it appeared.  There was no way to connect to other readers and no way to share the reviews or follow the reviews of a member.

PS: I’m not sure if what I wrote here will be construed as unhelpful.  If so, it might be the last time I’m allowed to link to Bookish per its Terms of Service.


4)  Storyverse.  Storyverse is designed to extend the book to connect you with other content that is related.  For instance, if the book mentions a place or a song or another book, Storyverse is linking to all those related items.  Imagine the book is the hub and the spokes are all the other content that is inspired by or inspiring the original book content.  From a user standpoint, that can help you find more books, movies, music, and other entertainment options. 

Cons: There is limited content.  For instance, Colleen Hoover self published Hopeless and has sold a half million copies but only her two traditional published books show up.  There is no place to share your thoughts about books on the site.

get glue

5)  Get Glue.  Get Glue is a social sharing site where you can connect with people who have similar tastes in television shows, books, movies, and music. By “checking in” when you are watching a show or reading a book, you can earn badges and interact with other viewers in real time.  It’s for more interactive than the other sites but seems more suited to live entertainment than for books.

Cons:  More suited to live entertainment.


6)  Bookvibe.  If you use Twitter, you can enter your handle and Bookvibe searches your feed to see what books your friends are reading.  As a supplementary service, BookVibes is a neat program.  I don’t see it replacing a catalog type service like Goodreads or Library Thing, but it’s a fun way to get recommendations.


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. mara
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 05:09:44

    Hello Jane you might want to check the British Anobii., its look and feel reminds of GR :)

  2. Ros
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 06:54:44

    It’s probably worth noting that if your reason to leave Goodreads is to escape Amazon’s clutches, Library Thing is not the place to go. I’m not sure what percentage of LT Amazon own, but they definitely own some.

  3. Phy
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 07:28:51

    @Ros Amazon owns 40 percent of LT.

  4. Tina M.
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 08:01:41

    I’m disappointed to see that Get Glue isn’t as friendly to check into books like they used to be. The website always comes up as an error, but I can still check into books using the app on my phone.

  5. Evangeline
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 08:12:58

    @Tina M.: When I asked a GetGlue friend why so many members had “12%” in their names, I was told it was because GetGlue research stated books, topics, and music only made up 12% of all check-ins and they decided to remove them from the site and updated versions of the app. The “12%” is supposed to show GetGlue that all check-in topics should stay put, but without publisher support (namely, designing stickers for GetGlue users to win for checking into a book), I doubt they’ll pay attention.

  6. Tina M.
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 08:18:19

    @Evangeline: Good to know. Thank you.

  7. Sunita
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 09:12:21

    @Phy: No they don’t. That 40% figure comes from a Wikipedia entry, which also points out that Bowker acquired a stake in LT after abebooks did (that’s where Amazon’s 40% comes from, since Amazon acquired abebooks).

    There is no way to know how much of the minority stake (the owner of LT holds a majority stake) Amazon controls through abebooks. But it’s less than 40 percent. And according to LT’s owner, he still works through abebooks and Amazon only has limited access to aggregated LT data.

  8. Sunita
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 09:16:22

    I’ve been looking around at books sites as well and found two more: The Reading Room, which is based in Australia and is free, and Libib, which is also free. The Reading Room has bookclubs and looks like a possible GR substitute, but I’m still waiting for my .csv files to import into the account I created. Libib looks to be entirely a cataloguing site for books, movies, and other media. You can add notes and create sub-catalogues, but there doesn’t seem to be a social community aspect.

  9. Brianna (The Book Vixen)
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 09:27:20

    LibraryThing is offering free accounts (see here). Offer ends TODAY and is only for a year. It’s a good offer if you’d like to give LT a try and you plan to shelf more than 200 books.

  10. Jody
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 09:47:44

    Thanks for the LT tip, Brianna.

  11. Megan
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 11:43:00

    Like Sunita, I’ve been looking around as well, and so far I’m really enjoying It doesn’t have the social aspect, which I actually prefer.

  12. Jenna
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 12:45:34

    Thanks for reviewing these sites. I’m not too inclined to go hopping just yet. I love Goodreads and I really don’t want to put all the effort into recreating my profile. Unless if Amazon changes Goodreads drastically I won’t jump ship. It’s nice to know about other options!

  13. Eliza Evans
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 12:52:30

    Does anyone have recs for an iOS app that will let me do the cataloging and shelf things that Goodreads does? I’m not interested in the community aspect or the ratings. I just want to be able to keep track of what I read and when, with a monthly granularity.

  14. Carrie G
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 12:58:13

    @Jenna: I agree totally. I think ship-jumping is a bit premature. I’m invested in Goodreads and until I see signs that Amazon is going to change anything significantly, I don’t see any reason to leave. Amazon owns a lot of companies, I know, and there are worries about it reducing the choices on the internet, but I don’t see that happening over the long haul. There are too many entrepreneurs out there. And anyway, Amazon DOES own several online companies that it hasn’t interfered with, such as Audible. None of my reviews on Audible have ever shown up on Amazon and they have the same log-in info. Life is too short to worry about what might never happen. If something happens to make leaving Goodreads the right choice for me, then I’ll worry about it.

  15. Phy
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 16:56:31

    @sunita, thanks for the correction.

  16. Sunita
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 18:38:49

    Phy, I should have said in my original response that I made the same assumption as you and was corrected on Twitter by the owner! I wish they’d fix the Wiki entry.

  17. azteclady
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 20:14:03

    @Sunita: LT owners may have done so, but Wiki editors have been known to believe they know better than even interested parties, thus deleting pertinent edits correcting falsehoods.

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  19. Sunita
    Mar 31, 2013 @ 20:33:57

    Oh that is a very good point!

  20. missreadthis
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 09:43:13

    I use to list my books, as it’s pretty concise and the appearance is extremely pleasant, but there’s no discussion portion (as far as I know). Unfortunate.

  21. MrsJoseph
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 11:44:46

    I just bought Book Collector Pro: to catalog my books. I’m going to review on my blog now and only use the social aspects of GR.

  22. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 12:12:00

    @MrsJoseph: I could KISS you! That is EXACTLY what I want, because I am not social about books. Never have been. I use GR mostly for inventory and mobile wish-list. THIS is perfect!

  23. Expy
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 12:43:36

    @Sunita: PetraX posted a big con of TRR: And I also read somewhere that TRR’s ToS is not any better than GR/Amazon’s and seem worse in fact.

    My friend, Rose, discovered if anyone’s interested. She said it’s like the love child between Tumblr and Goodreads.

  24. MrsJoseph
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 13:14:07

    @Moriah Jovan: Welcome! I really like it, too. :-)

  25. MaryK
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 13:37:29

    @MrsJoseph: I’ve used Book Collector Pro for a while and really like it. There’s a $10 app you can buy to make the whole thing portable.

  26. Sunita
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 14:12:11

    @Expy: Thanks for those links! I waited a day for my files to upload to The Reading Room, then sent an email, and haven’t received an answer or had my books imported into my account. Combined with this information, I think I’m out of there.

  27. MrsJoseph
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 14:51:12

    @MaryK: I’ve been eying that. I think I’ll let hubby digest the original price before I jump in with the app, lol.

  28. Sally
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 15:43:46

    For those still interested, LT extended the free one-year accounts if you sign up by Friday.

  29. Mark @ eBookDesignWorks
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 17:06:35

    Some good suggestions here — worth checking out. But I’m sticking with Goodreads for now. Let’s see if, and how much change there will be. I hope it stays the same.

  30. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 21:37:09

    I’m not jumping ship until I see what happens. If Goodreads goes and removes ‘buy’ links to other bookstores, yes, I’ll leave the community because that’s limiting choices, IMO.

    To be honest, I use pinterest to keep track of books I want to read more than anything else and I don’t tend to use GR socially as much as I use sites like Twitter. What we need is a better mashup of GR and twitter.

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  32. MaryK
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 14:41:15

    I just discovered that has an organizational component. If you sign up for an account, you’re able to add books to a “my books” section. It doesn’t appear to have any social features. I haven’t explored it at all but thought I’d share in case anyone was interested.

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  34. BookVibe
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 11:15:12

    @Shiloh Walker:

    Hi Shiloh,

    Just now noticing your comment on this post. Have you checked out BookVibe? We compile all the books that the people you follow on Twitter are talking about. It’s not quite GR yet in terms of community features, but we’ve found some great recommendations from our friends and bought a lot of books. Please let us know what you think if you get a chance to check it out. Thanks.

    -Tom from BookVibe

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