The Library Thing

Every once in a while your surfing along on the Internet and you run into a site where you say, gee, I wish I had thought of that.  A site you just can't click past, and want to investigate further.  There's not that many sites like this on the Internet.  I just ran into one.

I did what I'm sure every other reader out there has done, you get hooked on an author, and read every book written by that author, and then you run out of author.  You search for another author, and the first thing you want to know is: what's that author's best book?  You want to try a good read to see if you like the author.  You go to Amazon and search all the books by the new author, and their ratings to pick out your next read.

Lately, I have not been completely trusting of Amazon and I've looked for other sites to support the Amazon ratings.  I usually type something like "The best book by ..." into Google, and a bunch of sites come up.  But its flaky and the search results are not consistent.  You end up searching more than reading.  That's when I discovered "Library Thing."

Not a great name for a site, but in this case the right name and appropriate.  So what is "Library Thing."

If you read a lot, and I do, you have books on your bookshelf at home, you have books on your Nook eReader, you have books on your Kindle eReader, yes I have both, you have books you've read but no longer own, and you have books you want to read.  That's a lot of books, and quite frankly I never have organized them, until now.

Library thing is a web site where you can store all the above books.  There is a category that automatically lists all your books across all categories.  It is a way to organize your reading life, all the books you ever read, or want to read.

It's more than that, not only can you put your books into categories, so you easily can see all your books on your Nook, or your Kindle, you can also tag your books into as many categories as you like, mysteries, romance, technical, programming, you make up the tags.

Library Thing puts in the book covers, allows you to rate the books from one to five stars, add reviews, and has a bar that determines whether you'll like a book you want to read, or not, based on your collection of books.

It's easy to add a book, you type in the title, or the authors name, or the ISBN, and the site lists all the books it can find that are similar to your search, you pick one.  It automatically adds the cover.  If it can't find the cover it puts a leather cover image up and you can up load a cover later.  You can categorize the book into more than one category, rate the book, write a review if you want.  This is a way to keep track of all the books you've ever read, rate those books, write a public or private comment on the book, and know where that book is in your collection. What's not to like.

Library Thing does much more with the books you put in your collection, it collects and summarizes the results for all its 1,500,000  members who have collections on their site.  Let's go back to my original problem of finding a new author.  If I search on an author, it will list all the books by that author.  Each book will list the number of members who have that book in their collection, the members overall average rating to two digits for that book, for example, 3.98, how many members have written reviews, and how many editions of the book have been published.  You can click on any of these categories, for example, click on reviews, and all the reviews written for that book show up on one page.  What a resource.

Finally, if you click on your profile, the site will recommend other books to you based on the books you have added to your collection.  This mostly list books you don't have in your collection by authors in your collection. There is a forum and groups which I haven't explored yet as a social aspect of the site.  Right now I've been busy adding my books.

There's been a need for a way to organize and rate the books you read for many years.  One of the reasons I found this site so intriguing was in my past life I thought about writing a stand-alone application to do just this, but its a much better application on the Internet by far, and the folks who put this site together deserve a big thank you for a job well done. Enjoy.

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