I’ve been meaning to post about LibraryThing since I joined back in September. You might have noticed the bit in the sidebar here that says “Potential Reading” and shows 5 random books from my library — that’s a LibraryThing feature.
LibraryThing is really oddly addictive. I mean, it’s just a database of one’s books, right? And I already owned Bookpedia — which is really a nice program — to catalog my books, though I never managed to get very far. What is it about LibraryThing that keeps me adding books? (Slowly, yes, but surely.)
Probably it is the social aspect, though it’s not social in the sense of live conversation or anything like that. (Which is fine with me, as an introvert.) I can see who has a library most like mine (I realized one of my friends was there because her library matched mine so well), and who owns the books that I own. I can read other people’s comments, and post messages on their profile pages. There are RSS feeds for each user’s catalog, their reviews, books with specific tags — just an amazing number of potential RSS feeds to follow. Additionally, there is the competitive aspect — I want to post more books in certain categories than others have. I don’t think I can ever catch up with the user called dean, who has 7,998 books online, but I’m hoping someday I can catch up with languagehat’s books tagged “language”, at least. (He has 643 and I have 119. I’m fourth among people using that tag.)
Every couple of days I bring a handful of books down from the bookshelves upstairs and enter them into LT. At this rate, it’s going to take a while to get all of them posted, but it’s fun.
The only feature missing that I cared about using in Bookpedia (as far as I know — the site’s creator adds new features so quickly it’s hard to keep up!) is that Bookpedia allowed me to scan books’ ISBN bar codes with a Cue Cat scanner (unmodded, even), making book entry really fast. On LibraryThing, I have to type each one in if I want to base a search on the ISBN. But so far that’s not bothering me.