Trying Shelfari, GoodReads, and LibraryThing

July 27, 2008 — Decided to try out one of these book social networks to see if I can find some important books I should be reading. The idea is you enter the books you’ve read and rate them, as well as the books you want to read. Then the site will show you people who like similar books and you can hopefully stumble upon some books that they’ve read that you will like.

The three main sites I found were Shelfari, GoodReads, and LibraryThing. The idea is pretty cool, because a good book recommendation, unlike a movie recommendation, can possibly change your life. So the chance of getting a huge payoff from these services is relatively very high. Not bad for spending no money and just a couple minutes or even an hour or two entering your book list and exploring the shelves of others.

My primary goal is to find business and technical books. Finding good fiction or literature to read is not a problem for me–there’s plenty of it out there. Really what I’m looking for is books that have been read by people I respect in a business/technical role. That’s why I think a service like this could be more valuable than Amazon’s recommendation engine. I’m looking for quality books read by quality people. Amazon generally recommends popular books. The books I want to read don’t necessarily have to be popular among the masses, just popular among the people who I want to learn from.

I started with Shelfari, then checked out Goodreads, and then on to LibraryThing.

They are all pretty good. I will update this post later with more detailed reviews, but I have to say if you sign up for one you might as well sign up for them all. You will increase your chances of finding “diamond in the rough” books that way. Of course, it takes time to input your books into all 3 of them, but there could be a quicker way to do that(I’m gonna look into existing sites, otherwise might roll one myself).

The traffic stats: shows goodreads pulling away from the comptetion.

shelfari(red), goodreads(blue), librarything(orange)

Google Trends for Websites also shows goodreads in the lead and growing fastest.

Note: I imported this post from my original Wordpress blog.

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