Reading is a wonderful thing! There is nothing quite like finding an amazing book and unraveling its secrets; Sometimes it feels like you’re the only one that knows them. The hours you spend reading can build quite the bond between you and the main characters you’re reading about or reveal a wealth of information. At the same time, you don’t want to hoard the amazing story you just read, you want all your friends and family to read this book and see just how wonderful it is. You want to bless them with the same adventure you were able to experience. All of this is the power of books, what could I possibly add to it?
Well, I wanted to introduce you to LibraryThing, if you haven’t already heard of it. LibraryThing has been around for a number of years and has a pretty specialized niche in the virtual world. LibraryThing is a “A home for your books. A community of book lovers.” That pretty much says it. LibraryThing allows you to catalog your home library and add reviews, ratings and tags. I tried to do this before using an Amazon wishlist but it just wasn’t designed for that; LibraryThing was. In addition, the social networking aspect of the site allows you to interact with other book lovers in a variety of ways, many passive and many active.
One of the primary functions of LibraryThing, is to get your home library cataloged and organized. These books don’t have to physically be on a bookshelf at home, they might just be books you borrowed from your public library but you want to record that you read them and what you thought of them. Sometimes, I will pick up a book, read it, not be that impressed with, and then a month later it seems to be getting rave reviews and be flying off the shelf. It just makes me do a double-take. Wait, I did read that, didn’t I? I can refer back to my LibraryThing account and verify that I’m not going crazy.
You can add the book to your LibraryThing catalog with more than just a list. You can do a quick rating and give a book anywhere from 0 – 5 stars. You can also do a full review, if you’d like. You can also add tags to a book. I, for example, tag a book whether I read it or tried to read it and gave up and whether I own it or not. You can then go to your listing of books and use it as a database and sort it by these different attributes. One of the things, I love to do when I’m reading a good book is take quotes from it, some line or phrase that struck me as odd or powerful, and jot it down. I’ve been making a long collection of these quotes and I love referring to them or re-reading because they remind me of all my favorite books. Sometimes it seems like the more quotes I record from a book, the more I like it. (It must be a remnant from that history major.) LibraryThing allows me to add my comments to each book. I can put quotes or thoughts in the metadata for each book in my collection. You can make public comments or private comments that are restricted to just you.
You can share your library and leave it public to the world or you can make it private. If you make it private, you can use all the functions of LibraryThing, you just don’t show any of it to random strangers. Fortunately, there might be more than random strangers on LibraryThing, you can connect with friends and co-workers and see their library if they make it publicly viewable. You might just have something to talk about when you see that they rated one of your favorite books fairly high. This aspect also allows you to get a lot of recommendations and suggestions. If you see somebody (which LibraryThing will generate this for you) with a lot of the same books that you have read, you might peruse their list of books and find your next great read. LibraryThing also generates its own list of recommendations based off of the books in your library and your ratings of the books.
Besides being a book lover, you might also love statistics. If that’s the case, LibraryThing compiles all of its data across its users and provides an interesting list of statistics with its Zeitgeist. You can see which author is on LibraryThing or what book is the most popular (based on recent addings). This and the screenshot below are just a very small sampling of the statistics available.
LibraryThing is by-and-large free. A free account gets you full functionality, but it limits your library to 200 books. You can buy a paid account on a yearly basis (for as little as $1) or but a lifetime subscription for around $20.
From their FAQ:
A basic unpaid account is limited to 200 books in your library. There is no limit on the library size for a paid account.
Go check out LibraryThing and get your books in order. Read reviews and find recommendations for your next great literary adventure.
If you’re curious, check out my LibraryThing profile or add me as a friend if you’re already on LibraryThing. If you’d like to see more quick reviews from a real-live librarian, check out the Mixing Business and Pleasure blog.
My favorite books as of right now:
Share what your favorite books are in the comments and let me hear any feedback about LibraryThing or other cool book-related websites and tools.