The Big List of Bookish Social Networks

Trinity College Library, Dublin

As I mentioned when I discovered Wordie and Coastr, I’ve yet to find a book-oriented social network that’s inspired me to register. And it’s not like there’s any shortage of them. Here’s an alphabetical list of all the players I know of, annotated with deconstructive criticism. The bold-face names are serious contenders.

  • aNobii: Multilingual Hong Kong-based book-lister with a clean design.
  • Bibliophil.org: Personable. Feature-rich. Unfortunate design.
  • Booktribes: Bookish social network with extremely busy pages.
  • BooksWellRead: Way too many ellipses…
  • Buchpfade.de: Bookish community site for German speakers.
  • ChainReading: Aimed at reading addicts, but site activity doesn’t suggest an addicted user base.
  • ConnectViaBooks: Socializing, rather than cataloging, is the main focus of this London-based booklover site. Some real potential here.
  • Douban: Bookish community site aimed at some of the world’s 1.1 billion Chinese speakers.
  • Goodreads: Simple bookish social network that emphasizes book recommendations from other users.
  • GuruLib: For readers with a compulsive desire to catalog everything they own. Not pretty.
  • Lib.rario.us: Media collection organizer in a precarious position.
  • LibraryThing: The most established bookish community site of the bunch, with active developers. They just hired Wordie’s John McGrath and they’re encouraging people to make Chuck Close-style mosaics of themselves out of book covers. One to watch.
  • Listal: Taggerific media-cataloging site with rich profiles, a surplus of content and widgets galore.
  • Mediachest.com: Established media-cataloging site whose best feature may be groups.
  • Reader2: As in “reader squared.” I found it difficult to browse.
  • Reliwa.de: German book and music social network. Seems pretty active.
  • Squirl.info: John McGrath, who created Wordie, is the co-founder of this social collection organizer, so I want to like it, but I don’t.
  • Shelfari: Nicely designed bookish social network out to take out LibraryThing. They’ve got big widgets.
  • ShelfCentered.com: Lists are called shelves here but you can’t begin browsing them until you register.

I guess what I really want is a combination of Wordie, Flickr and Amazon, with the book information pages of Google Book Search (maps included!) and highly customizable widgets. Is that too much to ask?

25 Comments

  1. Have you come across anything that is basically a cataloging site (like LibraryThing) but allows other users (that you accept – friends, really) to see your lists and to add or manipulate them somehow.

    For example, I have used book want lists that, if someone sees and buys for me, then they would mark the book on the site as purchased.

    Posted by Jason on 05 Feb 2007 at 5:19 pm
  2. ShelfCentered might be what you’re looking for, Jason. I haven’t registered but they have a wishlist feature that allows your friends to mark the items they’ve purchased for you.

    Posted by Sean on 05 Feb 2007 at 9:40 pm
  3. Shelfari is definitely tempting for it’s good looks, but I just can’t see myself entering all my books instead of, you know, reading them. Listing collector’s items (and old or first-edition books that really serve the purpose of collector items) a-la squirl, sure, maybe if I was bored—the primary purpose of a collection is to show it off. But listing all the books I’ve ever read seems insufferably tedious—the primary purpose of books is reading them!

    On the other hand I did make friends with a stranger on the other coast in the early days of Friendster based on our mutual listing of the same obscure book. Haven’t emailed her in years, but we did have a few enjoyable games of email Scrabble. So maybe there’s something to it after all.

    Posted by lauren on 08 Feb 2007 at 1:06 am
  4. “Its good looks”! Damnit. I think I had once posted a very long diatribe against Nabisco for precisely that mistake.

    Posted by lauren on 08 Feb 2007 at 1:09 am
  5. Are there a lot of folks visiting these book social networks? Which of these are the most popular so we can add on http://www.socialurl.com?

    Posted by ViAbuzz on 13 Mar 2007 at 6:49 am
  6. I personally used Collectors Quest new platform to organize my books:

    http://www.collectorsquest.com/collection/36/my-bookshelf.html

    Posted by Valio Petrov on 08 Jul 2007 at 1:25 pm
  7. I use gurulib for a while, and I don’t care about its “not so pretty” design. You should try to test it longer, it is really user friendly, and the smarter for great collections of book, movies or documents, furthermore if you often grow it.
    I personally don’t care about the social features, I tried a bunch beffore choose gurulib, and it’s the most complete for organization.

    Posted by mael on 08 Sep 2007 at 6:46 am
  8. I used reader2 for a while but I found goodreads much nicer

    Posted by virginia on 11 Sep 2007 at 8:13 am
  9. 2 french : Babelio and Zazieweb.

    Posted by Hubert Guillaud on 31 Jan 2008 at 4:51 am
  10. Hubert Guillaud forgot to mention the pionneer in France : L’agora des Livres : http://www.agoradeslivres.com
    a small audience (perhaps) but a real network of passionate readers (for french speaking persons only)

    Posted by Andras on 19 Feb 2008 at 5:47 pm
  11. Have you tried Bookcrossing? I used to be a very active member, read tons of books traded through the site and went to tons of meetups. It is a great site with an excellent and very active community.

    Posted by Anne Helmond on 10 Mar 2008 at 9:09 am
  12. Here are a bunch more places to list your books – some of which are mentioned. Sites to List Your Books. I use several off and on but it is hard to keep track of them all.

    Posted by Book Lister on 17 Mar 2008 at 12:29 pm
  13. I got the same feel as well, till I tried http://www.bookjetty.com. It’s the newest one launched, quite promising.

    Posted by Pete on 06 Jun 2008 at 1:21 am
  14. thanks for the list. this really helped

    Posted by Missu on 10 Jun 2008 at 12:59 am
  15. A new one you might want to check out for good book recommendations is http://www.Juicespot.ca. Nice, clean design. Users share comment on books.

    Posted by Good Book Recommendations on 02 Jul 2008 at 3:04 pm
  16. thanks for the wonderful list.

    Posted by cornell on 24 Sep 2008 at 6:46 am
  17. Nice List, Thanks

    Posted by Indian Social Networking on 26 Nov 2008 at 4:49 am
  18. Weread(http://weread.com) is a community for book lovers. You can rate, review and discuss about a book and share them with your loved ones.

    Posted by weread.com on 25 Feb 2010 at 12:35 am
  19. One site you have not mentioned is Authonomy (http://www.authonomy.com)run by the publishing house Harper Collins. On it unpublished, self-published and other obscure authors can display extracts of their work. The books are arranged in a charts system according to how many fellow memebers have backed them.

    Posted by Christopher Posner on 08 May 2010 at 7:43 am
  20. Sorry, The Authonomy address should be http://www.authonomy.com

    Posted by Christopher Posner on 08 May 2010 at 8:12 am
  21. Useful list. Just re-joined LibraryThing – but it’s not exactly compelling is it… which is the best??

    Posted by Chris Moss on 05 Jun 2011 at 2:13 pm
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