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Books go Web 2.0
July 11, 2007 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Shelfari. Books go Web 2.0.
posted by humblepigeon (75 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It also has a Facebook tie-in.
posted by humblepigeon at 7:08 AM on July 11, 2007


Excellent. Now I don't even have to buy the book before pretending to have read it.
posted by vbfg at 7:11 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's it? Just a plug for a new site? No comparison to existing sites that do similar things, such as LibraryThing and others?
posted by DU at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2007


Books go Web 2.0.

What, again? I haven't even finished putting my books into LibraryThing yet...
posted by herichon at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2007


Web 2.0 ? That's not even DHMTL, but may be F.U.D.
posted by elpapacito at 7:17 AM on July 11, 2007


What DU said. Why not explain why we should care?
posted by oddman at 7:21 AM on July 11, 2007


Discussion on LibraryThing about other book sites.

Word on the street is that Librarything is for people who love books. Shelfari, an Amazon funded venture, is for people who love Amazon.
posted by vacapinta at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Shelfari is not new. LibraryThing is the recognized leader in this space (should be in the MeFi archives numerous occasions).
posted by stbalbach at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2007


Yeah, I mean FFS humblepigeon. You could at least post a synopsis of every book on Shelfari. Jeez...
posted by nthdegx at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2007


I thought LibraryThing was 2.0. I have the feeling we're gonna need to move to a new iteration of the internets soon.
posted by OmieWise at 7:23 AM on July 11, 2007


oddman - why not skip over posts you don't like?
posted by nthdegx at 7:25 AM on July 11, 2007


Whoa! Negative reaction.

I didn't know about LibraryThing and though Shelfari was quite original, if obvious. OTOH I suspected that Shelfari was aiming for a corporate takeover but it looks like it's already an Amazon project.

If somebody wants to flag this for deletion they can do. I won't be offended. I just throw these things out there.
posted by humblepigeon at 7:26 AM on July 11, 2007


The owners are from RealNetworks

And I'm closing the book on this one.
posted by phaedon at 7:27 AM on July 11, 2007


humblepigeon, I, for one, thank you for the link.

*bows* *explodes*
posted by nthdegx at 7:28 AM on July 11, 2007


Librarything is web 2.1.2

Myspace is web 1.9

Facebook is web 2.0.2
posted by drezdn at 7:28 AM on July 11, 2007


Word on the street is that Librarything is for people who love books. Shelfari, an Amazon funded venture, is for people who love Amazon.

Librarything is also for people who love no more than 200 books, or who love paying for website accounts. I'm not sure how LibraryThing is the "recognized leader" (as someone else said) when LibraryThing and Shelfari do essentially the same thing, the main difference being that LibraryThing limits you to 200 books whereas Shelfari is unlimited.
posted by jejune at 7:31 AM on July 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


goodreads.com is another interesting book site. And I know it's not the most important thing, but it's the easiest on the eyes of the sites discussed here so far.
posted by jiiota at 7:32 AM on July 11, 2007


I can't find my book in your database; can I add it myself? How about loading my own book cover art?
No, but both of these features have been requested by many users, so stay tuned...


FuckingUseless 2.0
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:33 AM on July 11, 2007


Now if someone could only figure out an easy way to export from LibraryThing and import into Shelfari, why, we'd be all set.

And when I say we, I actually mean me.
posted by willmize at 7:34 AM on July 11, 2007


The only thing that bugs me about goodreads is that they consider every edition of a book to be a separate book. So if you rate or discuss "To Kill a Mockingbird," you're just rating the 1995 Hardback edition of the book. Each edition of a book has its own ratings and its own comments.
posted by jiiota at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2007


I'm not sure how LibraryThing is the "recognized leader" (as someone else said) when LibraryThing and Shelfari do essentially the same thing,

Recognized leader means most users, most traffic - not features. Although I've found LT to be fairly flexible.

I'm not sure what the point is about money. You can't be the recognized leader unless you're entirely free?
posted by vacapinta at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2007


Now if someone could only figure out an easy way to export from LibraryThing and import into Shelfari, why, we'd be all set.

And when I say we, I actually mean me.


And now, minutes later, we're done. Sweet!

Useless kinda, but still sweet.
posted by willmize at 7:39 AM on July 11, 2007


Well, I signed up and I like it. :) Thanks humblepigeon.
posted by nickyskye at 7:41 AM on July 11, 2007


What is "books"?
posted by Mister_A at 7:42 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Does this work with delicious library?
posted by empath at 7:45 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yup, Shelfari works with Delicious Library
posted by sindas at 7:52 AM on July 11, 2007


vanity reading. how pointless.

anyway, i've never seen the site and it looks pretty cool. thanks for the link.
posted by ashbury at 7:53 AM on July 11, 2007


What is 'books'?

"Tech Support!"
posted by steef at 7:54 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's great steef; hadn't seen it before.
posted by Mister_A at 8:01 AM on July 11, 2007


I wonder what tech publisher O'Reilly, who offer a read-our-books-online service called Safari, think of that name.
posted by mendel at 8:19 AM on July 11, 2007


ashbury: I didn't see it as vanity reading, but as a way to get book recommendations. I suppose it could go either way.
posted by jiiota at 8:19 AM on July 11, 2007


Three of the most talked about books here are The Da Vinci Code, The Princess Bride and A Million Little Pieces which suggests that I might not really care what other "Shelfarians" are reading.
posted by rhymer at 8:24 AM on July 11, 2007


I'm perfectly happy with LibraryThing and have no interest in competitors with fewer useful features. I don't see why a fairly nominal fee for lifetime membership would disqualify LT from being the "recognized leader"; it already has more books listed than Harvard Library.
posted by languagehat at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually I take it all back. This is from Timothy on the Da Vinci Code thread:

I read this book almost purely because my Bible study group kids were telling me about how scary it was when they read this book. For me personally, it was quite exciting to read, but I couldn't quite get over author's disrespect towards my God nor the fact that he earned so much popularity through this deceptive fiction...
posted by rhymer at 8:35 AM on July 11, 2007


I use goodreads, and even though the version of the books being all different bugs the crap out of me, I am also keeping it as a dynamic list that I'm updating as I read books, and I find that convenient, because it is actually the version of the book I'm reading, or the one I plan on buying.

Although editing long lists is kind of a pain in the ass.
posted by mckenney at 8:36 AM on July 11, 2007


I wonder what Apple, who offer a web browser called Safari, think of O'Reilly's Safari service.

I wonder what safari operators, who offer a wild-animal-viewing service in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, think of Apple's web browser.

But then again I do spend a lot of time wondering.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:36 AM on July 11, 2007


I'm waiting for Web 3.0, where we'll use the the powerful neural networks embedded in most human skulls to share high-bandwidth information down multiple simultaneous channels, including somatic and verbal, in addition to the old-fashioned visual interfaces. We'll support even the visual people, with resolution of unbelievable accuracy*, and we'll even throw in a free physics system second to none.

Social networking... it's the future.

* Resolution limited to 1 Planck length.

posted by Malor at 8:41 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Visually unattractive. "Top Shelfarians"? Gag me with a spoon.

That said, a facebook based system could be interesting.
posted by delmoi at 8:47 AM on July 11, 2007


But Malor how will people make money from it?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:47 AM on July 11, 2007


I wonder what Apple, who offer a web browser called Safari, think of O'Reilly's Safari service.

Probably that it's a piss-poor pun.
posted by rhymer at 8:48 AM on July 11, 2007


ashbury - I don't see it as vanity; quite the opposite. I can rec all sorts of good books through librarything to friends and acquaintances, and browse through others' listings to see what they have to say about books I haven't read.

Also, I can call up my library when I'm in the bookstore and make sure I'm not buying something I already own. ;)

Now if only there were a program that would allow you to catalog your dvd collection and put it on the web, I'd be set.
posted by tzikeh at 8:53 AM on July 11, 2007


I wonder what Apple, who offer a web browser called Safari, think of O'Reilly's Safari service.

I wonder what safari operators, who offer a wild-animal-viewing service in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, think of Apple's web browser.


Apple are probably fuming about O'Reilly's service, but it doesn't pay to piss-off a company whose textbooks give your products legitimacy and might even increase their userbase.

O'Reilly are probably fuming about Shelfari but are so obsessed with their public image, and their reverence for Web 2.0 (that Tim O'Reilly identified, remember), that they don't sue.

The people running safaris in Arfrica don't care because they're too busy running away from tigers.

Which brings us neatly back to Apple. And that, gentlemen, is satire.
posted by humblepigeon at 8:58 AM on July 11, 2007


I'm waiting for Web 3.0, where we'll use the the powerful neural networks embedded in most human skulls to share high-bandwidth information down multiple simultaneous channels, including somatic and verbal, in addition to the old-fashioned visual interfaces. We'll support even the visual people, with resolution of unbelievable accuracy*, and we'll even throw in a free physics system second to none.

The next big leap will be when cell phones fully integrate social networks with GPS, bluetooth, etc. So you can know where all your friends are in real time, how many degrees of seperation there are between you and everyone else on the street, how closely matched your okcupid score is with the hot chick in the elevator, what your friends think of the restaurant on the corner, etc...
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on July 11, 2007


To their (further) credit, Library Thing offers a sliding scale for its "premium" membership, starting at $6.00 /year.
posted by everichon at 9:05 AM on July 11, 2007


I'm a LibraryThing user, but I do have a Shelfari account. This will probably end up sounding like an advertisement for LibraryThing, but so be it...

LibraryThing does everything Shelfari does (except putting the books on a "real" shelf) and more. They've got 4 or 5 different ways of recommending books to you -- I don't see any recommendation engine on Shelfari. You can add book info and cover art yourself, or pull it from any number of catalogs. LibraryThing also generates an amazing list of stats, if you like that kind of thing.

For Facebook integration, there are 3 user-written Facebook apps (two written by me). Granted, they're of rather limited functionality (displaying books on your profile and in your news feed), but there is also an official one in the works with more features planned.

Librarything is also for people who love no more than 200 books, or who love paying for website accounts.
That's a strange complaint to read on a website that charges for accounts...

Three of the most talked about books here are The Da Vinci Code, The Princess Bride and A Million Little Pieces...

For comparison, the top 3 reviewed books on LibraryThing are The Da Vinci Code, The Time Traveler's Wife, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

tzikeh, it looks like you can put DVDs into either of these systems using the ISBN. I know that better DVD and other media support is frequently requested at LibraryThing, but I have no idea how well Shelfari handles it. You'll get those little pages behind the cover image...
posted by natabat at 9:12 AM on July 11, 2007


There is also anobi, which i use for all my reads, where as I limit my libraryThing stuff to books and dvds that I own.
posted by Fence at 9:20 AM on July 11, 2007


tiny mouse voice: i made http://lib.rario.us for sharing your collected books, dvds, and cds... there isn't enough hours in the day to work on these projects, so... my apologies.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 9:23 AM on July 11, 2007


I’m another LibraryThing user here who’s had a look at Shelfari, but won’t be switching. Shelfari seems like a fine project, but its total reliance on amazon makes it less than useful for me.
posted by misteraitch at 9:35 AM on July 11, 2007


"I use goodreads, and even though the version of the books being all different bugs the crap out of me, I am also keeping it as a dynamic list that I'm updating as I read books, and I find that convenient, because it is actually the version of the book I'm reading, or the one I plan on buying."

I've recently started using Library Thing in a similar way as a resource for myself, really, and with the time I presently feed to read the 200 limit probably won't be a problem for quite some time :( By then I'm sure I'd be more than happy to pay for a service if I'm still using it. In liklihood I'll forget about it in a few weeks.

Don't really see any value in adding in all the books I have or have read already.
posted by nthdegx at 9:52 AM on July 11, 2007


Here's the original LibraryThing MeFi post.
posted by nthdegx at 9:53 AM on July 11, 2007


Three of the most talked about books here are The Da Vinci Code, The Princess Bride and A Million Little Pieces which suggests that I might not really care what other "Shelfarians" are reading.

The Princess Bride, not worth talking about?

Inconceivable.
posted by rokusan at 10:03 AM on July 11, 2007


The people running safaris in Arfrica don't care because they're too busy running away from tigers.

A tiger? In Africa? (pedant/Python)

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:08 AM on July 11, 2007


Shelfari's denizens come off as barely literate, not a good thing on a book site. Any group of book lovers who give The DaVinci Code four stars (the same as Amazon's ratings!) is not overly discerning, in my book.

(If you haven't read Language Log's take on Dan Brown's writing style, here's your chance.)
posted by kozad at 10:16 AM on July 11, 2007


Whoa! Negative reaction.

Well, you posted a site that's not new nor revolutionary, and you admit you didn't even know about the even older Librarything. I'm not sure you have enough familiarity with the internet to be posting anything. What's your next discovery to share... google?
posted by justgary at 10:34 AM on July 11, 2007


Now if only there were a program that would allow you to catalog your dvd collection and put it on the web, I'd be set.

You might like DVD Profiler. Just enter the UPC codes on your DVDs and it does the rest. It's free, and stores your collection online. I'm quite happy with it.
posted by Ljubljana at 10:38 AM on July 11, 2007


What's a "google"?
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:45 AM on July 11, 2007


I wonder what Apple, who offer a web browser called Safari, think of O'Reilly's Safari service.

They might think, "cool name, glad we copied it," since Safari Books Online was founded in July 2001 and the beta version of the Safari browser was launched in January 2003.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


tzikeh: ashbury - I don't see it as vanity; quite the opposite. I can rec all sorts of good books through librarything to friends and acquaintances, and browse through others' listings to see what they have to say about books I haven't read.

Sure, I can see the value of that, but there's all kinds of resources online that can do that. Most libraries have online resources and links that do this exact thing, without the big splashy covers on bookshelves thing. I'm not saying that the site has no value, nor am I saying that it's pointless. I like having recommendations for reading material as much as the next person, but for whatever reason, this site said "vanity reading" to me.

Either way, I can certainly see why people would be attracted to services such as this and wouldn't be against using its resources for my own search for quality reading. Frankly, askme has been very helpful, so it is a great site to cross-reference with.
posted by ashbury at 11:37 AM on July 11, 2007


The people running safaris in Arfrica don't care because they're too busy running away from tigers.

A tiger? In Africa? (pedant/Python)


Where can you see Tigers? Only in Kenya!

posted by djgh at 11:48 AM on July 11, 2007


How 'bout an app that allows you to spend all of your discretionary time methodically sorting and exhibiting a catalog of all of your personal effects, in the hope of constructing an idealized mask that will hide your perceived character defects and push to the forefront those attributes that you believe others perceive to be admirable.
posted by sswiller at 11:48 AM on July 11, 2007 [7 favorites]


I signed up anyhow
posted by sswiller at 11:49 AM on July 11, 2007


LibraryThing is cool, and I do want to spend one weekend adding all our own books so that I get better recommendations, statistics etc, but I realized that it will only ever be a snapshot frozen in time. When I give books away I won't bother to remove them, so the data will become wrong, and that will bother me. So I haven't added my books yet. I guess I could make it a chore for my children :-)
posted by mdoar at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2007


justgary: Well, you posted a site that's not new nor revolutionary, and you admit you didn't even know about the even older Librarything. I'm not sure you have enough familiarity with the internet to be posting anything. What's your next discovery to share... google?

justgary: Total of 14 MeFi postings since joining six years ago; made comments/postings favorited by 65 people during that time.

humblepigeon: Total of 28 MeFi postings since joining four months ago; made comments/postings favorited by 269 others during that time.

Some people do. Some people just complain. I know which category I fall into.
posted by humblepigeon at 12:54 PM on July 11, 2007


O'Reilly are probably fuming about Shelfari but are so obsessed with their public image, and their reverence for Web 2.0 (that Tim O'Reilly identified invented as a marketing gimmick, remember), that they don't sue.

Just needed to correct that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:01 PM on July 11, 2007


Natabat says: For Facebook integration, there are 3 user-written Facebook apps (two written by me).

Arg! I was this close to finishing a Facebook LT widget making thing of my own today. And worse, it looks (and works, I think) almost exactly the same as yours does. I even also use nearly free speech for hosting. But yours is probably a million times better done than mine would have been, anyway. I didn't even think of having custom CSS support, I was just going to force all users to the same style. My hat totally goes off to you for that one.

One suggestion though: I was going to have a refresh button inside the profile box that would only appear if you were looking at your own page. It's probably more intuitive than having to go back to the canvas each time for a refresh.
posted by tracert at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2007


librarything is also connected to Bookmooch.com, which is the deal-maker for me.
posted by eustatic at 3:02 PM on July 11, 2007


Also! Natabat, you are now officially my new internet nemesis. So, you know, watch out, and everything.
posted by tracert at 3:08 PM on July 11, 2007


sswiler Yes please!
posted by Grod at 3:16 PM on July 11, 2007


Whatever happened to Guzzlefish?
posted by box at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2007


The only thing that bugs me about goodreads is that they consider every edition of a book to be a separate book. So if you rate or discuss "To Kill a Mockingbird," you're just rating the 1995 Hardback edition of the book. Each edition of a book has its own ratings and its own comments.

IIRC, this is the problem I had with LibraryThing. Different editions, different languages, all of the same book. It was so frustrating I quitted it.
posted by zardoz at 5:36 PM on July 11, 2007


How long ago was that, zardoz? LibraryThing combines various editions of a book into a work.

Now if they'd get around to sorting out the multi-volume problem, and adding trust relationships, the ability to private/public individual books, and a couple of other ePonies, that'd be awesome.
posted by zamboni at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2007


tracert -- someone asked for the CSS support over at LibraryThing (or possibly via email), so I can't take credit for that one.

A refresh button in the profile box was definitely something I thought of, and, if I ever get the time to go back to it before the official app is released, will be the first thing I will add. I was just being really lazy :)

::looks around nervously:: Am I being followed?
posted by natabat at 7:26 PM on July 11, 2007


humblepigeon: I just throw these things out there.

humblepigeon: Total of 28 MeFi postings since joining four months ago; made comments/postings favorited by 269 others during that time.

Some people do. Some people just complain. I know which category I fall into.


I don't think this was an egregious post, but I also don't think you have any call to pat yourself on the back too hard when, by your own admission, you have a scatter-shot approach to making front page posts.

And stop using favorites as a measure of worth on MeFi, it's bad for the site.
posted by OmieWise at 4:29 AM on July 12, 2007


this is the problem I had with LibraryThing. Different editions, different languages, all of the same book

Please give it another try. Like other LT users, I spend a lot of my time on the "combining" pages, making sure all editions and translations of a single book are in the same "work." I think you'll find your books are properly grouped, and if one of them happens not to be, it's the easiest thing in the world to fix.
posted by languagehat at 4:46 AM on July 12, 2007


Do I have to wait for the Web 3.0 version before I can use one of these without having to sit down and type out or barcode scan every fricking thing I own, just so I can, uh... find more books I don't have the time to read (let alone sit around scanning the barcodes of)?

When I can take a bunch of videos or pictures of my shelves and random stacks of CDs or DVDs, upload them, and have the program/site figure out what I have, maybe it'll be worth a look.
posted by Caviar at 10:36 AM on July 12, 2007


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