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. 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.
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.
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.
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.