Not long ago I did a post on Delicious Library - the well-executed book/game/music/movie cataloger for Macs. I'm afraid I'm already switching, despite the fact that Delicious Library has some features I'll miss. I have discovered Library Thing. Kind of makes me wonder if the folks running things got tired of trying to come up with a decent name.
Unlike Delicious, it doesn't allow you to catalog anything other than books. Also unlike Delicious, it doesn't allow me to use my groovy built-in iSight camera. And the Library Thing bookshelf view isn't nearly as pretty as the one in delicious. You're probably wondering why I'd switch, given all the downside.
The Good News
- Library Thing has a universal import feature that lets you import data from just about anywhere, including Delicious Library and your Amazon order history. It's a pretty slow import, though, as you have to get in a queue for batch uploading. The wait time to upload my measly 154 books from Delicious has a 3-hr wait, so it's not something you want to do often. Most of the wait time is lookups ahead of you in the queue, and as the site gets more popular, that will get to be a bit much. Still, I'm glad I could do it. Individual lookups take place immediately..
- You can create a printable version of your catalog.
- You can use a usb barcode scanner to add books to your catalog.
- You can access 81 libraries and universities around the world for lookups.
The Even Better News
- You can tag your books
- You can share your library, find other people with libraries similar to yours, and get recommendations for future reads (you can also play around getting suggestions that Library Thing is pretty sure you won't like.
- They provide widgets for your blog, and even the ability to allow your readers to search your catalog from your blog.
The social pieces of Library Thing appear to be done very well. You can join groups and talk in forums. You can write reviews and help fix errors and tweak entries in the global catalog. Judging by the author tag cloud, it's a pretty literate group so far, with heavy bias toward early 20th century literature and science fiction.
There are amusing stats all over the place - it's a data-lover's dream. A few high points:
- Largest library: 14,908
- Books cataloged 11,017,131
- Top 10 authors: JK Rowling, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis, William Shakespeare, Isaac Asimov, Jane Austen, Douglas Adams
- Top 3 Reviewed Books: Da Vinvi Code, Time Traveler's Wife, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
I figure I'll gradually catalog my library over the next several months. It's something I've always wanted to do - I'm glad the tools are finally ready for prime time.
There's also a LibraryThing blog.