Find of the Month – July 2006

Librarything.com

It is a somewhat quiet day but I thought I would add to the chorus of support for Librarything.

At first the idea did not appeal much to me. I logged in and created an account but did not really pursue it. Only when Richard Charkin’s Blog and Joe Wikert’s Blog both pushed it last week that I actually spent some time on the site and found that I was addicted.

The site allows you to build your own personal bookshelf much as I have been trying to on my (I now know) deeply unimpressive bookshelf page. It is easy using the features to tag, review and change details of edition for any given book. It is also very easy to search Amazon and public libraries for other books and critically to search other members’ catalogues. This is not only a great way to see how strange or mundane your library is but also to discover new titles, recall old titles that you have read and forgotten and to find new authors.

I can see a few ways in which the site could be improved. the search function is excellent but I seem to be only able to add one book per search which is frustrating if I own multiple books by an author, or multiple books in a single subject. Overall though the site is wonderful and cheap. It costs only $25.00 to host all your titles for life, $10 to store them for a year, or you can opt for 200 titles for free!

UPDATE: 12.45 The Libraything link is acting funny. I am trying to correct it. Thanks to Lee for letting me know.
UPDATE: 12.50 Should be functioning properly now.
UPDATE: 00.13 It seems everyone has been here before me but I guess that’s the web for you. Before you search it you think you are pioneer and when you do search it you discover that in fact you are part of a globally distributed network of strangely likeminded people.

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10 comments

  1. I found out about librarything last week too and became addicted quite quickly as well. Any bibliophile can get lost in there for hours on end.

  2. I’ve had a librarything account almost since the start – I think there were only about 4000 members when I joined. It’s improved a lot as it’s been very much a work in progress. I’m less interested in the social networking side of it – although it’s interesting to see which of my books are owned by no one else. And of course, it would help if I actually finished inputting all my books!

  3. I do like librarything — I’ve been using it not to catalog my books, but as a way to enter my current reading. For some reason, the idea of using this tool to keep track of what I’m buying and checking out from the library (and sometimes reading, sometimes not) appeals to me. Anyway, I don’t know what kind of person would actually have the time to sit down and enter their entire library. In fact, I’d like to meet that person and see if maybe they might want to do our laundry and organize my sock drawer in their spare time.

  4. Some people seem to have entered huge libraries. I am jealous of the time not only taken in entering the data but spent reading the books too! I wonder if when I am finished my list will be anywhere as large. I realised when I started that I have no idea how many books I have read/bought/borrowed and started in my life so far and I’d rather like to have a rough idea.
    The beauty of the sharing and social features is that you cans imply look for someone with similar tastes, browse their library and add the books you yourself have already read. Genius if slightly lazy!

  5. what a great tip — you can harvest things from other people! I hadn’t realized that. I’m all for slightly lazy, by the way. I like to conserve my energy for reading and eating chocolate.

  6. Re entering books, it’s got a lot easier. Back at the beginning I pretty much had to manually enter everything which took forever. Now provided the book has an ISBN the system does it almost automatically. Of course it can still be time consuming if you want to get really anal and make sure you have the right cover recorded… Like you, Eoin, I started because I wanted to know how many books I have and things like how many books by which author, or when they were published, without having to go and physically count them every time.

    It’s interesting the way you are using it, Bloglily. I think lots of people are using it in ways that were never originally envisaged, which is the beauty of it really.

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