Following an increasing trend of social networking and shopping sites, social book site Shelfari launched recently. A site where you can share and review books with your friends is nothing new. There is What’s on My Bookshelf”, “What Should I Read Next”, “Library Thing”, and (Mac only) “Delicious Monster”.
Here’s an outline of each of the services:
Shelfari - It’s the newest and most visually appealing book service.Shelfari has come up with a cleanly designed solution. Closely integrated with the Amazon API, users can populate their book shelf with books from the Amazon catalog by word search, ISBN, and CSV file. Users can write reviews, tag, recommend books, make friends, and write notes to each other. There’s also a very well organized explore page that lets you find new users, top rated books, most revuews, amongst other filters. The closest competitor is the older and larger “Library Thing” that has a few extra features, such as groups, automated recommendations, and bulletin boards, that I’m sure Shelfari will add in the coming months.
Library Thing - Created by Tim Spalding, a web developer and web publisher based in Portland, Maine, Library Thing is the “Plenty of Fish” of the social book review world. They reached a million tags last November. Library Thing lets you populate your shelf by searching for keywords, ISBN, and CSV upload. Library Thing doesn’t just draw from Amazon, though, but also allows you to add texts from the Library of Congress and 45 other sources from around the world. The site also supports reviews, rss feeds, goups, bulletin board discussions, and posting comments on profiles. While Library Thing doesn’t support book swapping itself, it does point you to several other services that have the book available.
What’s on My Bookshelf - It’s an online co-op that lets its members exchange their books using a simple point system and very similar to Lala in it’s spirit. You can make friends, keep an inventory, and manage a wishlist of books you want. The point system works like this. Every book you register on the site is given a point value to “purchase” the book based on it’s new book price (not the age, however). Each book you register is worth at least 0.2 points, adjust by its new price. Then you “purchase” books from other users by giving the point value of the books you registered to the user who mails you the book upon receiving it. So far, it seems a like a lot of paperback fiction and romance books are being traded.
What Should I Read Next - If you’re looking for something to read, What Should I Read Next is a great place to search for a book recomendation amongst their 20,000 book catalog. Without registering, you can plug in a title and author to see the other books registered users most frequently cataloged and favorited with your query. Users can leave comments about books as well. The site doesn’t seem to have a lot of commentary on books yet, and it may be because it lacks the social draw of other services that would get users to really contribute.
Delicious Library - Delicious Library not only lets you catalog any book, but also movies, music, and video games with a barcode. You enter books into your library by using a camera hooked up to a Mac to scan their barcodes. Once in your library, DL fetches all the meta data on the item from Amazon’s web services. Delicious Library serves up recommendations related to your items using Amazon’s recommendations based on purchasing habits. Displayed on photo-realistic digital shelves, you can rate your items, sort, attach them in email recommendations, sync with your ipod, and buy items from Amazon. The program looks beautiful and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. The only problem is I don’t own a Mac.