September 19, 2008

LibraryThing – Your Online Book Catalog


LibraryThing is a great site for anyone who loves books. It takes just seconds to sign up and start adding books to your own personal shelf. LibraryThing collects book data from almost 700 library sources, so when you search for a snippet of the title you want to enter, it soon finds your book and all the cataloging data. There are many ways to add books so it’s practical to use LibraryThing to manage your entire book catalog, just like a library.

However, LibraryThing is not just a catalog; it’s also a social site, so you are encouraged to fill out a profile with information about yourself and your books and to join conversations with other people who are reading the same books that you are. If you’re not sure where to start, LibraryThing can make recommendations based on your tastes. Your LibraryThing home page tends to be busy, but it contains all you need to make the most of this worldwide book club.

On LibraryThing you can meet up with your friends from other social networks or make new friends based on your shared interests. The site promises to put you in touch with people with ‘eerily similar’ tastes, and it certainly delivers. Now, instead of browsing the shelves of bookstores and supermarkets looking for new books to read, you can find out what people like you think of a book before buying it. That’s one of the best parts of being part of this online reading community.

Practical Uses

  • Find spot-on gifts for your literary friends by viewing their LibraryThing bookshelf
  • Stay organized by creating a catalog of everything you have read or plan to read
  • Discuss science fiction novels with other passionate readers from around the world
  • Find out about book-related events like clubs and book signings that are taking place in your area

Insider Tips

  • You can sign up to be a LibraryThing “Early Reviewer” which entitles you to receive free books before anyone else has seen them
  • Use keywords tags on your books to make it easier to link up with others who share your tastes
  • Click on any book description to see what others thought and to get recommendations for similar books that you might enjoy
  • Share your favorite books with the world by using the LibraryThing widget on your personal web sites
  • Use a barcode scanner (available for small price around the Internet) to scan your books and add them easily

What We Liked

  • Adding books is easy: just enter a few words of the title and LibraryThing polls hundreds of libraries around the world to find the right one
  • The LibraryThing profile page contains a lot of information about your books, tags and favorite authors, but you can also choose to keep some information private
  • LibraryThing enables you to create private groups for discussing books with friends

What We Didn’t Like

  • Adding books from other services sometimes requires a workaround
  • Some competing books sites provide similar functionality for free


Company Info


  • Free (up to 200 books); $10 a year; $25 for life


  • 4 out of 5 (great)

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