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Book Club, Anytime, Anywhere!

I straddle the fence between the geeky on-line world and the nerdy writing world, and ne’er the twain shall meet.

But the rule for all worlds, virtual or otherwise, is “Wait For It.”

Well, looks I’m done waiting for those two worlds to meet, at least when it comes to sharing and discussing the books I’ve read.  Imagine having a well-informed, huge, and always available book club at your fingertips.

Enter LibraryThing and Shelfari.  Next I’ll be working on the Visual Bookshelf plug-in for my Facebook account.

Is this alienspeak to you?  Have no fear!  These are just places on the web that you can share the book titles that you read, own, borrow, etc.  You can chat with other people who have read the same books, and sometimes you can even chat with the authors.  LibraryThing also has listings of readings and other literary events in your area.

Right now the problem with these sites, for me, is that I can’t get the bar code scanning to work.  This makes inputting hundreds of book titles VERY time consuming.  Granted, you can just plug in the ISBN and 99.99% of the time, the application finds the book and you can simply click to add it to your library.  Typing in ISBN numbers is like my personal hell, though, because I have tracking issues (related to dyslexia) and it takes me longer than normal to read and then type in long strings of numbers.

Still, I am doing it slowly.  I enter books that I’ve read even if I don’t own them, so I can discuss them.  I don’t enter books I own that I haven’t read yet or don’t remember reading.  No use looking ‘ready’ to discuss something if you aren’t informed.  It’s not a book race, as if the one who dies with the most books wins.  Social networking of any kind is all about the conversation.  I don’t claim every single book that has ever crossed my path; I add only the ones I find interesting enough to chat about.

If you are a reader and are interested in seeing the bookshelves of people who have read the same books (great way to get recommended reads!), I’d start first with LibraryThing.  You can then export your list and import it into Shelfari and Facebook’s Visual Bookshelf plug-in. More book network sites are popping up everyday.  Shop around until you find one you like.  Look for me there as PurpleCar or Christine Cavalier, and we can talk shop.  Happy Book Clubbing!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • AnnKingman 23 July 2008, 10:32 pm

    I also like GoodReads — I find the user interface to be a bit nicer than Librarything, and for whatever reason I have not yet warmed up to Shelfari, though they recently had a site redesign.

    Of course, Librarything gets bonus points for not requiring a log-in to search for particular titles. For this reason, we use Librarything to link to title information for the books that we talk about on our blog and podcast. (I know the rest of the world uses Amazon for that, but we believe in supporting your local bookseller as well, and Librarything offers multiple purchase options).

    Still, I have not yet found the “killer ap” book site. Knitters have Ravelry — I want something more like that.

    (my librarything name is bookwoman)

    • PurpleCar 25 July 2008, 8:54 am

      Ann, that’s awesome! I’m gonna check out your site and podcast!

      I agree, we need a Ravelry…