LibraryThing, a popular social cataloging and network website, is marketed toward people like me who are crazy about books. Case in point: I’m in my late twenties and my idea of a fun Friday night is browsing the shelves of a bookstore with a cup of coffee in hand. When I learned of the existence of LibraryThing in early 2010, I knew I had found an outlet for my bibliophilistic leaning.
Why did I give LibraryThing a chance? Read on.
#1 – Share Your Collection
Like it or not, our choices in books communicate messages about ourselves to other people. Have you ever peeked at someone’s book collection when visiting their home for the first time? Or slyly glanced at the books held by another person in a bookstore? One of the fun aspects of LibraryThing is choosing what books to include in your online catalog. Opening this collection to other LibraryThing members offers you the chance to shape an image of yourself and your tastes.
LibraryThing allows you to enter up to 200 books for free or an unlimited number for $10 (yearly subscription) or $25 (lifetime subscription).
#2 – Connect with Readers Like (and Unlike) Yourself
Besides the act of reading, the flip side to being a booklover is discussing books with other enthusiasts. LibraryThing offers you a wide platform to voice your opinions. You can join discussion groups on topics ranging from the Twilight series to winners of the Man Booker Prizes. Start your own threads and converse with people from around the globe. Write reviews of books in your catalog and read other people’s reviews. Debate, analyze, and question. It is this dynamic exchange of ideas that makes LibraryThing a fantastic tool for deepening your reading experience.
#3 – Let New Books Find You
With thousands of books published every year, it is difficult to choose which ones to invest your time in reading. Based on the books in your catalog, the website makes recommendations and provides a list of members with similar preferences.
You can even enter giveaways for free books in exchange for reviews. Through this program, I learned to appreciate a genre that I was determined to snub: adaptations of literary classics. Imagine the look on my face when I received a free copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls in the mail last year. I grudgingly gave the novel a chance and have since bought other similar works (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Android Karenina, The Meowmorphosis).
#4 – Not Just Hype for Authors
If you are an author, LibraryThing is a means for you to make connections with potential readers. The website claims to have over 1 million members, some of which are libraries, publishers and bookstores from around the world. You can become an official LibraryThing Author with a page dedicated to your work. Post a bio, a photo, links to your website, information about your books, and a catalog of your personal library for readers to peruse. Publish information on your readings, book signings and other events on LibraryThing Local (see reason #5).
#5 – Leave the Computer Behind for Awhile
LibraryThing offers a Local page that can be customized to your location, with listings of libraries, bookstores, author readings and literary events up to 100 miles away.
So Why Did I Give LibraryThing a Chance?
LibraryThing celebrates the pleasure of being a person who loves to read. Years and years ago, I felt like an oddball as the child who always seemed to have her nose stuck in a book. I’ve since accepted myself as a true “bookworm” and take pride in the name. The success of LibraryThing only serves to validate this passion. If you share my feelings, take a look at the website. Who knows? A few weeks from now, you may find yourself involved in a world-wide readathon or doing flash mob cataloging.
Heidi Caudill, adminstrative associate