Monday, 8 February 2010

LibraryThing

I set up a LibraryThing account back in September 2005, added ninety or so books to it, and promptly abandoned the whole thing... For some reason, a couple of weeks ago I decided to give it another go. In the interrim I have made card catalogue lists of all my books (very handy for taking to Hay-on-Wye and preventing me buying books I already own) which made putting them on LibraryThing a HECK of a lot easier.


And so here I am. If you've ever wanted to scout through my library, now you have the opportunity - and I even have a sassy widget in the left-hand column which will show you some of the books every four seconds. It's a bit weighted to authors beginning G-Z, because for the A-F authors I was scrupulously choosing the editions I owned, and after that I just chose the ones which had cover pictures included.

To be honest, I'm not sure what else to do with it now - I know that FleurFisher is the person who has the highest percentage of her books in common with me, and it's fun to see how many books I own that nobody else on LibraryThing does, but I don't really see myself having the time to enter into the (doubtless bustling) community. My bookish online community time is already taken up twofold!


But there you are, thought you might be interested. How's about you - are you a LibraryThing user? Or any other online library service?

30 comments:

  1. LibraryThing remains a bit of a mystery to me. I'll be interested to see the other responses to this post because, once you're up on LibraryThing, what exactly do you do there? Is there a purpose to it, beyond fulfilling that voyeuristic need to examine other people's bookshelves? I think I'll stick to the simple blog world for now, but I am intrigued to learn more.

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  2. Welcome to LT! I share 105 books with you and FleurFisher must have the best library because I share 160 books with her. LT has a wonderful Virago Modern Classics group. You must drop in once in a while. By the way, my LT name is Tuppy Glossop. Here's the link to my library: http://www.librarything.com/profile/tuppy_glossop

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  3. I'm a big fan of LT. Quite aside from it being a good way of keeping track of what I have and what I've read, and as a way on indulging my compulsive list-making, I've found it to be a great way of finding other recommendations. If I see I share a lot of books with someone, then I have a glance through their library to see if there is anything else that I think I might like.

    I also ended meeting someone who has become a good friend through LT. We were the only two people on all of LT who owned a particular book of Victorian plays, and after sending a couple of messages back and forth we found out we were on the same MA course... and the rest is history!

    Also, I'm really nosy and I like looking at what other people have in their collections!

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  4. Welcome to LT! We apparently share 119 books (many of mine are actually "wishlist" books). I've had an account there for years. Like you, I created one, then abandoned it only to take it up again later.

    I mostly just use LT for keeping track of what I own and what I've read each year, and it's very useful for that. I don't participate in the communities much, although I read a few of the groups.

    The biggest benefit I've gotten from LibraryThing is their Early Reviewers program. I've gotten several very good review books through them; however, I think that most of the books posted there are only available in the U.S., so your succes with that might be limited. Still, it's fun to look through the list and try to see what LT decides you might like.

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  5. Okay, you have way more patience than me. I us Goodreads, but I did it a little at a time.

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  6. So (I'm technologically challenged at times), how does LT help you at Hay on Wye? Or did I read that wrong? Is it something you can just access with your iPhone/handheld/whatever? I ask because I've been looking for something for *years* that could "hold" my library so that I don't buy duplicates. The iPod/iPhone route won't work, because they don't have enough memory for me to sync my records to them.
    Could LT and a new phone be my answer? she asked hopefully. :)
    Potential upside: having my wishlist with me at all times.
    Potential downside: having my wishlist with me at all times! :)

    I guess I'll head over to LT and read up on it.

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  7. I'm still in my lost-interest phase. I keep having dreams that I've lost all my books and I have no way of remembering what books I had, to replace them.

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  8. I mostly use LT to keep an accurate record of which of my books are TBR and to participate in the Early Reviewers program. We share 71 books thanks to Dame Agatha. ;)

    Susan - you could definitely get a phone with a browser and pull up LT but it's very small and hard to navigate. I have a spreadsheet in google docs of my wishlist that pulls up nicely on my iphone browser.

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  9. Hi Susan - no, it was the good-ole-fashioned card file system (pictured) which helped at Hay! Popped the list of 1400+ books into my bag to stop me buying multiples...

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  10. I've begun a shelfari account, which currently has one book on it, the one I'm reading. The thought of listing all my books and then adding them makes me feel tired.

    I think I will check out the library thing though, see if i'm filled with a little more enthusiasm to list my books.

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  11. Well, all I can say is all you LT people must have a lot more time and patience than I have. I can't imagine ever getting around to doing this. Perhaps if I could really see the point...?

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  12. Hurrah! I love librarything - it is so useful for cataloguing my books and enabling me to see what I have. I'm pleased that you're only 300 books ahead of me!

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  13. Like Harriet, the time involved in inputting all of this seems overwhelming at the moment. I have a wireless barcode scanner that I use with my library software, but it doesn't sound compatible with LT. If I could just, with one button, move it all...then I could see it. Why can't technology keep up with me (and my laziness)?

    Thank you, Kristen for the tip on the smallness of the browser. I've kept to a straight cell phone for years because I don't think I'd use all the apps on an iPhone (I've even made dh return one bought as a surprise!). I'm not adverse to technology, it just needs to fit who I am/what I do to be worth the monthly fees to me. I don't need "new" distractions! :)

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  14. I'm there at MrsMcBookworm, but, like you, I go back and forth. It's fun, but I don't use it often.

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  15. Hi - I'd never heard of LT before - wasn't sure of the point at first, but when they said it was 'Facebook for booklovers' it rang a bell. Who knows, I may do it! But spending dangerously long time on Mac already... 'Bookcrossing' is a bit like this, only the books move around! Have added more to my bookblog http://passionatebookworm.blogspot.com/ so have a look. Would love some comments as feel noone is reading it.. Love your blog as usual, and a friend (Carole) once won a book from you! JaneX

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  16. Simon, can I be nosy and ask where you get the ring binders for your index cards, if indeed that's what they are (in the photo)?
    Many thanks.
    Pat

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  17. Hi Pat - I *think* I'm right in saying that they actually came from Asda! It was either Asda or Tesco or Sainsbury's or something like that - but they've stopped doing them, sadly, because I went back to get more and they had none... Well, you might be lucky!

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  18. Thanks Simon. I'll have a look - they would be most useful!
    Pat

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  19. I know a lot of people really like Librarything, but it confuses me. Maybe someday I'll get the patience to actually go through it. I should make card catalogues though, if nothing else it will keep me busy in front of the television. Personally, I like Goodreads.

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  20. Like several other commenters, I use LT to keep track of what I have read. Nor is it only useful for recording the books I actually own; I don't have enough space to keep hold of a lot of books, so it is good to at least have a virtual collection.

    As Kirsty said, it is also very useful for picking up ideas and recommendations - as if we don't get enough of those already from the blogs!

    I hope you don't mind that I have added your collection as an "interesting library" and added you as a "friend". Perhaps, I ought to have gone for "contact"? You can always say no to that, if you're horrified by the idea of having a "friend" - however virtual - who has actually enjoyed an Ian MacEwan novel!

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  21. I am not a member... well I dont think I am. I had a phase of signing up to everything and then got too into them and stopped reading as much so am trying my best not to get addicted but this post is most tempting!

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  22. I will certainly befriend you, David! And, you know, I actually really like Black Dogs and Antonement and quite like On Chesil Beach and Enduring Love - it's only Saturday I couldn't stand!

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  23. except I can't find your request, David... unless you were talking to someone else in the comment list?

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  24. I joined LT purely to keep track of what I owned - my books are fairly scattered, and because I read a lot from the library it is easy to lose track. And I do love looking at other people's books.

    Groups I have mixed feelings about - there are interesting things going but there's a lot of nonsense too - and rather too many cliques.

    But you will find some wonderful booklovers who don't have blogs, but review and talk on LT. It's well worth clicking on some unfamiliar names, seeing what you find and saying hello.

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  25. I joined LT in 2007, mainly to catalogue my reading and see what other like-minded members are reading. It was through LT that I discovered Persephone Books and all the delightful literary blogs you folks maintain :)

    regards

    Laura

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  26. I thought I'd seen you adding a lot of books! I'm on LT but I have maxed out on my free account and now have to pay if I want to add any more books...so I'm thinking about that.

    I love being part of the community and getting recommendations. I think it's a fantastic resource for booklovers, and it is helpful to know what books you own - though I need to pay up in order to fully catalogue my collection!

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  27. I love Librarything. I started it off so I could have an online catalogue of all my books, so if the house burned down, I'd know exactly what I'd got.
    Then I started posting my reviews and posting comments and being nosy in others' libraries. Then I was inspired to expand the review etc to create my blog.

    I also got one of LT's bar-code scanners which is wonderful - it makes entering books v.quick and it recognises the edition you have.

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  28. LT - a paid acct. can involve only one payment. I did that. I first signed up, was overwhelmed, stayed away for awhile, went back (paid for a life-time mbrshp - reasonable price) & catalogued quite a number of things, and have been off for awhile again now.

    Entering data isn't as difficult as it might seem at first - put in a title & see what comes up. If you're lucky, someone else on LT has the same edition & cover. Covers can be searched also (all around the Web). For my really off-the-wall books, I just scan them.

    One title I have has only one other owner (hmmmm, maybe two) - well, I _thought_ that!! :-) I just checked and there are 34 people out there with "A Day with Picasso : Twenty-Four Photographs by Jean Cocteau."

    LT: nbtOO

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  29. Just checked your pages on LP and see you have a photo gallery of authors. I love it! Very interesting to skim through.

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  30. I love LibraryThing! It's so exciting! (I know this makes me sound soo sad!) I loved putting all my books on (2000+). Did take a while. One of the best things is the tags you give to the books, so say you're going to Italy, you can look at all your Italy books. You can see their covers all lined up together. Bliss. Browsing other people's libraries is good; the groups are good and I love looking at my statistics such as how many books I've entered for this particular month. I'm not a nerd.

    Link to my library: www.librarything.com/profile/TalulahBelle

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