Friday, November 4, 2011

My Two Cents on Goodreads and Librarything

Strictly speaking, only one of my friends. But I'm
attempting to get more to sign up.

Since I have a lull in my reading schedule (apparently, studying and reading are two mutually exclusive activities), I decided to finally write down my thoughts on two very popular book-social/sharing sites: Goodreads and LibraryThing.

I was actually pretty much unaware of both sites until I got Zite and started reading all these blogposts about Goodreads/LibraryThing, which more or less piqued my interest. So, being indecisive, I decided to join both sites, figuring that if I wanted to, I could just delete an account. So, after about a month or so of playing around with both sites, I came to a conclusion:

Goodreads and Librarything are more complementary products than competitive products (products in competitive supply).

While this may be a very obvious conclusion, it took me quite a lot of time to figure it out. At first, I was more in favour of LibaryThing, since I wanted a place to catalog my books, and from what I heard Librarything was the winner. And it's true. LibraryThing's cataloging system is superior compared to Goodreads. While Goodreads only has shelves (which I find rather cumbersome to use), LibraryThing has categories and tags. Which means you can subdivide the books. That's pretty much why I only use LibraryThing to keep track of the books I own.

On the other hand, Goodreads is supposed to emphasise the social aspect of reading more. I don't know how true that is, since only one of my friends use Goodreads, but it does seem so. And it's somehow easier to enter a review on Goodreads (they have a dedicated review box), so I tend to use Goodreads to record the books I read but don't own (borrowed books, library books mainly).

The next thing both sites have in common are their discussion groups. Since I'm quite lazy, I tend to neglect such things, but I am making an effort to participate more. So far, what I've gathered is that LibraryThing is good for specific things - like discussions on Japanese culture, while I'm learning how to improve this blog most from the Goodreads discussion (Especially the groups Blogger Lift and Creative Reviews). Although it is difficult for me to just jump in the discussions, I got many ideas on how to improve just by reading the posts (sorry, all improvements will only be done after November 18th)

Now on to the peripherals of each site. (Basically, my studying-induced vocabulary is trying to say that I'm going to talk about the 'add-ons' of the site).

To be honest, the reason why I joined Goodreads was because of its peripherals. It had a quiz function (And I knew the answer!) and an app (which LibraryThing does not have, but is supposed to be working on). Since you can read ebooks on the app (as long as you have the ebook open when you go offline), it's yet another and very convenient way to read, since you can post updates on your reading progress and record quotes.

LibraryThing has a very interesting "Common Knowledge" section, which has interesting information such as dedications, quotations, opening and ending sentences and such.

And I think, this discussion will be incomplete without talking about their giveaway programmes. While Goodreads does let me try to win physical books, the copies are very little and there are much more participants. So the chances of winning go down dramatically. On the other hand, while I can only win ebooks from Librarything (at least so far), they have more copies and less participants (due to, I think, the lower number of members), and I've got quite a few ebooks already. Not to mention that LibraryThing divides the give aways into early reviews and member giveaways, which increases the selection (to me, anyway).

In conclusion, both sites have their unique selling points. While Goodreads is free, LibraryThing is free only up to the first 200 books. But honestly, I love the site enough that I'm considering paying the lifetime membership fee. Unfortunately, that requires a credit card, which I don't have at the moment.

Does anyone have other opinions? Whether there are any bugs in either site that I've neglected or some function I've missed out? Just leave a comment and I'll reply(:

UPDATE (30/3/2013): Here's an update after using both sites for a while

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