The Perks of LibraryThing
Today I’d like to talk about a book site other than Goodreads ;-). While the news of Amazon buying Goodreads is a bit disheartening to some that don’t like Amazon’s review quality, it seems that time has yet to tell what that exactly means. For me, however, the acquisition does mean that I’m going to start paying attention to reviews that I have more confidence in, just in case Goodreads/Amazon cross-posting does happen. LibraryThing.com is probably the second best known book review site out there, however there are a lot more awesome things about it than just being an alternative to Goodreads! Today, then, I’d like to talk about all the perks of LibraryThing :). (At least the ones I know of, it’s a pretty feature-packed site!)
The first cool thing I’d like to highlight for LibraryThing is something called Community Knowledge. Basically, ever been frustrated when the characters of a book aren’t listed? How about wondering where a book takes place? Well, LibraryThing has developed a wiki-style information page for each book separate from reviews where members add information like character names, places, awards, series (in publishing order and chronological!), and so much more. Very much like Wikipedia, there is a chance something is wrong, but members can review and edit the information added, so it’s usually right. To find this awesome perk, just look along the left side of the page under the book image. See over to the right, the bolded “Community Knowledge” link, that’s it :D. I don’t know why I always choose DoSB for my examples, I was just curious what would be listed for it, hehe! Also a fun fact, the Community Knowledge feature hit 5 million edits the other day, woot!
Perk 2: Early Reviewers Program
LibraryThing works with publishers to get early copies of books into the hands of readers that will review them too! It’s called the Early Reviewers program and I find it much less stressful than trying to get copies through other sites because it is on a monthly basis. Early every month the list goes up and you can request however many you want. Then the list goes down late in the month and the randomizer picks winners. You’ll win one book max unless you mark that you are okay with getting multiple. While it isn’t required you review the books you receive, if you don’t review them eventually, they will start to count against you for future winning. LibraryThing currently doesn’t have as many of the big name books, but that might change as publishers react to the Goodreads acquisition (a lot of them are competitors with Amazon since Amazon has its own resources to publish books apparently). It can take a while to get your books if you win though, since publishers vary in how quickly they ship things.
Perk 3: Recommendations
So a while back I complained about how book discovery algorithms never seem to work for me. My friend who uses LibraryThing much more than I do jumped on that post to excitedly suggest LibraryThing’s recommendation system. Not only does LibraryThing give you recommendations per book that are pretty darn good, but members can also make recommendations for books. For most books (especially popular ones), members post their recommendations for “if you liked this book, try this other one” and people thumbs up or thumbs down recommendations if they agree or not. This means that for one book that you loved, you will find at least ten recommendations for what to try next! On top of that, there is a “Will You Like This?” bar that will predict how confident their algorithm is that you will like a book, how cool is that??
Perk 4: Engaged and Active Developers
One of the coolest things about LibraryThing from a tech nerds perspective is how responsive the developers are. They are a very small group, but the first reaction to Goodreads’ announcement was to ask the community what they wanted to see. The community at LibraryThing is also ridiculously engaged and that leads to all the awesome recommendations and extra info about books. But I’m really excited to see what the developers release in the coming months, since they just hired on more coders, so things are going to get awesome :D.
I’m sure I’m missing out on awesome perks of LibraryThing, so let me know what your favorite thing about LT is :D. Also there are certainly many great book sites out there, which one is your favorite? This is also in no way trying to bash Goodreads, since I’m still holding on to GR for a while longer, I just thought you’d like to learn about another book resource ;-).
© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.