Posts Tagged ‘shelfari’

Book sites

June 13, 2012

It was not until a while ago, that I decided to really do something with book sites. Let me explain. These sites (links below) allow you to input your books, rate them and (in some cases) come up with recommendations of other books they think you’d like to read. I keep a book database on the computer, have been doing that for longer than I’ve been a member of these sites, and that will still be my primary database.

The problem with these sites (yes I start with the one bad thing XD) is that while they have a lot of books, I have some books from Dutch authors and they are not on these international sites. While this is not a big deal for me, my primary database will remain on the computer. I also have some books translated into Dutch but originally from English authors (and French, Swedish, German, etc.) and do not always recognise the English title. Sometimes it’s literally translated and thus easy to find, other times it is completely different and it would require me opening the book to find out. A few of those books are still in plastic though (I know! terrible XD), and until I read them I think it’s easier to keep them closed and wrapped in the plastic. These days if a book is from an English (or American) author, I definately buy the book in English. I’ve hardly read any Dutch books the past few years.

Now for all the positives of these book sites (I’ll talk about each individual site below), it’s quite easy to search for a book and put it in your local library (or shelf as some sites call it). It’s easy to give them tags, so you can sort them ie. based on genre (that’s what I did). It’s lovely to see all the covers next to each other (well, you may have to press ‘next’ depending on your amount of books etc.). You can have friends and see what your friends read and what books they have. Putting all my books into these sites (and it’s actually handy that some of them allow you to import from another one) was actually a lot of fun and made me want to read more books! I have quite a few books, you see, that I haven’t read yet (and also some that I’d like to reread etc.). The amount of books I have with each site, is different because some sites don’t have the exact edition I have, this is most notably with omnibus or combined books. So instead I sometimes filled them in seperately. There are probably a few books I missed, too, on some sites. I did check after I did the import but I probably missed some things.

The individual sites, broken down and my opinion about them:

GoodReads I found a bit less handy to use at first, but it’s growing on me. Most people use this site (and LibraryThing, more below) instead of the other ones. Your reading progress is tracked and you can, I think, enter challenges, such as read x amount of books per year. GoodReads seems to have a relatively big database of books, with lots of editions and covers. It seems to have a good recommendations system. You can rate books, write reviews and fill in when you finished reading a book. You can set how many pages you’ve read of a book, with a neat little bar (at least, I’ve seen this on other people’s profiles. I haven’t tried to do this myself), a feature the other sites don’t have to my knowledge. You can export a list of your books to be imported at other sites. The site allows you to view books in a database like manner (including sorting options) as well as viewing them with their covers.

I find Shelfari the handiest to use (though GoodReads is growing on me rapidly), it’s very easy to add books, tag books, rate books etc. Shelfari are owned by Amazon these days so you can import your purchases from there straight away if you wish this. I still have an old account there, my Amazon account and legacy Shelfari account are not linked. You can rate books, write reviews and you can fill in the date when you finished reading a book (or what you are currently reading) and your reading progress is tracked. They are still working on the recommendations so I haven’t seen them much yet. Maybe if you have an Amazon account you do see recommendations, I do see recommendations on Amazon when I’m logged in there. You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file. The site doesn’t allow you to view the books in a more database manner like GoodReads does, but it does give you a shelf with your (beautiful) book covers. Most of the time there is a cover from the edition I have. You can also upload a picture/photo of the cover you have.

BookLikes is, I believe, originally from Poland and its team is not as big as the other sites’ teams. This shows in the sense that the site has a lot of duplicate books (and sometimes duplicate authors too). Gladly you can report any wrong information in an easy manner. Still, it might annoy some people. I have to admire their book database considering their team seems to be the smallest. They have most of my books, the ones they don’t have are combined books and omnibus books, sometimes. This is not too much of a deal as I can often add the books individually so it doesn’t bother me too much (it can be handy in fact). The site displays your books in a shelf like manner, with covers. You can unfortunately not choose between different covers so you’re stuck with the one that they chose or is the most popular (I have no idea how the cover is chosen). You can rate your books, but unlike the other sites you cannot say when you finished reading something, so your reading progress is not tracked (you can say which book(s) you are currently reading). You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file, which makes it easier to start your database. Their logo is a cute owl, which doesn’t add anything maybe, but I think it’s very nice. The site also shows recommendations. This site has the smallest community of the ones I’ve looked into. Still, since I’m such a bookworm and all, it can’t hurt to have more options to make friends and find new books.

LibraryThing is used by a lot of people, its downside is that if you want to enter more than 200 books, you have to pay a one-time fee. While it’s not that much or anything, to me LibraryThing doesn’t offer enough extras compared to the free sites, that I’d want to pay this fee. If I didn’t have my own book database and lived in the US, perhaps I’d think about it. LibraryThing allows you to buy a scanner, and then scan the barcode of your books to be entered on the site. This is an easy way to add your books, but since I don’t live in the US buying such a scanner is a lot more of a hassle (or so I think, I haven’t looked into it to be honest! I’m happy with my database and the free sites). I think the site has the biggest book database out of all of them, and your books can be neatly sorted in a database like manner or with covers. I can’t say much about recommendations because I’ve only entered a few books on the site.

There is also Anobii, I have an account there but I don’t use it at the moment. I just noticed they have an app that also allows for barcode scanning, I don’t have a smartphone though. I can’t say that much about this site as I haven’t looked at it since I signed up for it, two years ago or something? It displays most text in Dutch for me at the moment and when I try to change language to English (as I prefer that) nothing happens, maybe you need to be logged in for that to work. So I can’t really comment much on this site as I haven’t really looked into it.

Anyway, those are some thoughts on these book sites (I’m sure there are others), all in all I think it’s a great idea and I love using them (I use Goodreads, Shelfari and BookLikes on a regular basis at the moment).