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Friday, October 03, 2008

Library Thing? Shelfari? Spiral notebook? Notches on the bedpost?

My Library Thing subscription expired this month (why didn't I buy the lifetime? I can't remember) and I am debating renewing it. While I enjoy it while I use it, I don't know that I use it enough to justify spending money on it right now. I've got so many other irons in the fire that I could easily drop this one, and not notice. I could change my "Now Reading" in the sidebar to something that I manually change- it's not like I ever remembered to change the tags at Library Thing anyway. I also keep a running list of books read up there at the top of this page (on the tab) and in paper journal at home. Cutting something out would be niiiiiice.

But- I spent all that time entering all those books! I do like the features like the groups and the message boards. I like to be able to follow a conversation from the info page about the book. I like to see what other people with similar libraries have. I like looking at everything I've read, all in one place (I use Library Thing to catalog what I have already read, not what is actually in my library.) I hate to have already spent SOME money on it, and not continue using it. I like the Early Reviewers books. Though, I do already have SO MANY books at home that I haven't read that perhaps I wouldn't miss this aspect.

I could switch to a free service, but would I use it more? Tell me, please, what do you do? Do you use an online service? Excel? Just your blog? A paper journal? (This reminds me of another post about a journal that I'll be begging your experiences on later! I better make a note to remind myself. I swear, if I don't make a note I won't remember. My brain is on strike.) I want to be a follower, so tell me, so I can be like YOU-ou-ou. I wanna walk like you, talk like you... sorry, forgot where I was for a second there. Anyway, help me out, tell me what to do.



  1. I'm on Library Thing and Good Reads plus I keep a spreadsheet going. I use Library Thing more than Good Reads - maybe because I was on there first and know it better.

  2. And me... I use Goodreads more than Library Thing. It's free and seems easier too. I also am still writing what I'm reading in a plain old paper notebook.

  3. I'm signed up for Good Reads but I never get on (or go on in spurts every so often). I use a Microsoft Access document (um ya--who does that??) but I'm going to export it to Excel once hubby can install Office 2007 on my computer. And then I use my blog. And then I have another excel document where I also have page numbers and the links to my blog (just has the year's reads, not ALL books). I am a gigantic nerd. I'm sure someone out there can relate. :) I'm the same way with bill paying--have a few different spreadsheets and tracking thingies (Quicken).

  4. Ya'll aren't helping what with your three different methods!

  5. I'm on GoodReads and Shelfari. I like them both although it's hard to keep them both up to date. I actually chose them over Library Thing. I like the sociability aspects on GR and Shelfari which I didn't feel that Library Thing had. Also, I think they are easier to build your library on. I couldn't say which one of those two I like better though because I have different "friends" on them both.

  6. Lisa, I'm crazy. I do three: Library Thing, Shelfari and Good Reads.

    I was on Shelfari first, so it's the closest to being a complete list, but really only contains maybe half of the books I've read.

    Then I bought a lifetime LT membership. I tried to import my Shelfari books but when I did, the ratings got all messed up. I never fixed them.

    I just started a Good Reads account last week.

    My GOAL is to add books to all three as I read them. I'm definitely doing Good Reads on a going forward basis only. No way am I taking the time to go back and put all my past reads and reviews in.

    Trisha, I agree that LT isn't as user friendly. But I love Early Reviewers and it just seems more 'bookish' to me (not sure what I mean by that ... it's just a feeling I get.)

  7. I use Goodreads along with a spreadsheet on my palm pilot. The reason I won't give up the spreadsheet is because that way my TBR list is always with me when I'm at the library or bookstore.

  8. You can do Early Reviewers and groups on Library Thing without paying.

    I started with Shelfari, tracking my current and most recently finished reading and showing widgets of both on my blog.

    Then I recently bought lifetime LibraryThing and I love it! I'm cataloging all the books I own (Still not done). I find the groups and searches on there to be 100% more user friendly than Shelfari. A search for a book on Shelfari is very unsatisfying while there are all sorts of connections via Librarything. I wish LibraryThing had "shevles" so I could separate what I've read and what I own (since obviously I read more than I own) and then I'd use LibraryThing exclusively. I think it is far superior, just not as pretty.

    I also signed up for GoodReads because my friend kept sending me an email. But I never put anything on there. Also not very pretty to look at. At least Shelfari gives me a pretty widget ;)

    But even with all of that, I have a Word document (ok, make that 20 documents) with lists of all the books I want to read, in various categories.

  9. I was in the same boat last month. My one year subscription to Library Thing expired (although it was a gift I received, I was under the impression it was a lifetime gift subscription, so I was surprised to get that email that it had expired). I entered all of the books we own last fall, but had just started using GoodReads a few months ago. Mostly, at GoodReads, I was entering reviews of books I read, and making a list of books I saw at other blogs that I might want to read. I was not using it to catalog the books we own, but I have done that now. I moved them all, manually (I couldn't find a way to import my LT library, there might be an easy way, but I couldn't get it to work). So now I have everything on GoodReads. I have 2 widgets from GR and 1 from LT on my sidebar, in addition to a text file that I maintain. So far, I'm happy with just going with GoodReads. It's easy to use, and it's FREE. Big plus with me!

    Hope you find something that works for you!!! :)
    Happy Reading!

  10. I absolutely love LibraryThing. I love the way I have my books catalogued, the discussion groups, the Early Reviewer books, the reviews and tags and all the other little goodies. I'm on GoodReads only because some friends badgered me into it, and I remembered to update it every 6 weeks or so. A Lifetime membership at LT is really inexpensive and I think it offers so much more than the other sites I've looked at/signed up for.

  11. My two cents: I have LT and shelfari. I like LT better, maybe because it's less "cartoony" (?). I love the sort, search, tagging features.

    If you've entered a lot of books (and tagged, reviewed, etc.), stick with LT. How about asking for the lifetime membership as an early holiday gift?

  12. Either I'm lazy or just too scattered, but I have trouble keeping up with even Good Reads and it's easy to use (and free -- can't beat that with a stick). Usually, I just update my sidebar. There are times Blogger goes insane for weeks and I can't update my sidebar, but when it works I try to keep up with what I'm reading and have recently read. It's handy and fast.

  13. I signed up with Library Thing, Shelfari and Good Reads to see which one I liked best but haven't done a single thing with my accounts since. I use my blog to track all of my reading and an excel spreadsheet to catalog my books. I'd love to do something different than Excel though but don't have the time to try to figure it out.

  14. None of you are helping me! Ok, maybe I'll wait before deciding and in the meantime just continue my paper journal and the blog list. I like the "what I'm reading" widgets, but I can surely just make a list. I was hoping someone would just tell me the cool neat secret trick at any one of them to make it stand out!

  15. Well, the thing is there are pluses and minuses to every thing. What is a cool secret depends on what you're looking for.

    Cool secrets for Shelfari: pretty widgets, shelves for "to read" and "read", etc.

    Cool secrets for LibraryThing: awesome search functions, sorting functions, and discussions.

    For me, the LibraryThing awesome functions are worth the little bit of money I spent. I love reordering my books by keyword! (Of course, I used to order my books physically by Dewey Decimal system long before LibraryThing existed...I'm a geek.)

  16. You've already got a lot of good feedback here, but I thought I'd jump in.

    I use Goodreads to track the books I've read, the books I'm reading, and the TBR list. I use LibraryThing for the books I own. (By the way, you can import your books from one to the other fairly easily.)

    I also have a spreadsheet that I use to track my books read each year.

    All of this record keeping is probably overkill, but I like my system(s). :) Good luck with yours. (Make sure and let us know what you decide.)

  17. I'm another one of those "all of the above" people. I like and use Library Thing, Good Reads, and Shelfari, plus I keep my own database of everything I own. I started on Library Thing but didn't care for the interface (and still don't) so I then moved to Shelfari. I just recently went back to LT because of the Early Reviewers group.

    My most comprehensive list is actually on GoodReads, because their format is the easiest one to export and import to other sites.


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