Monday, May 7th, 2007

Going to Book Expo America in New York

Book Expo America, ABA’s annual book industry trade convention is in New York City this year, and I (Abby) am going to be there. I’ll be speaking on Thursday, May 31st (from 1-2pm—mark your calendars!) on a panel called “Using Social Networking to Build Author Brands.”

We just found out that the our competitor, Shelfari, is also going to be at BEA this year, and is apparently using some of their Amazon funding to co-sponsor an event. Hey! Well, not only does LibraryThing appear to have sixty-five times as many book lovers as them, but we think we have a lot more to offer authors, booksellers and publishers and we’re going to prove it.*

Authors. It was at last year’s BEA that we launched the LT Author program. After Tim and I spent a day walking around trying to describe LT in a nutshell**, we realized we had been telling people, “it’s like MySpace, but for booklovers.” Well, MySpace is all about bands and musicians promoting their music. Wouldn’t LibraryThing be a good place for authors to do the same? What better place to promote your new book than a website full of avid bibliophiles?

And so was born the LT Author button, a shiny yellow badge that connects an author’s “author page” with their profile page. So far LibraryThing has snagged 395 authors. (See the complete list.)

Best of all, they’re not just authors who clicked a box. To be part of the program, you have to have a LibraryThing account and put in at least 50 books. What is your favorite author reading? Find out.

Neil Gaiman’s author photo. Members have added over 15,000 pictures and photos of authors (see recently added ones), with alibrarian and leebot leading the pack. They deserve some kudos—it’s actually a pretty intensive process, often involving writing authors, publishers, or photographers for permission, so the sheer number of photos is all the more impressive. Plus, it makes for a nice gallery. :)

LibraryThing members have also added over 92,000 links to author pages—links to author home pages, blogs, publisher pages, Wikipedia pages, interviews, articles, fan sites. That’s a lot of links.

Booksellers. We’d love to add more bookstores to our “bookstores that integrate“—adding availability and pricing information on every work page. We’ve got only three so far, but we’ll be adding two major “chunks” of them in the next few months—to at least 100 total. It’s a great way for people to be able to see at a glance if a book is at their local bookstore.

Publishers. So far, we’re not doing anything for publishers! But there’s a big announcement coming soon. Be on the edge of your seats!

So what can we do to make LibraryThing big at BEA this year?

Our big idea so far is a par-tay. Of course, anyone and everyone can find some time to talk to me during BEA, but I’d like to have a big meet-up. Authors, publishers, booksellers, and hey—readers. Anyone in NYC who’s around is invited, not just the book-industry professions allowed to go to BEA (they have to restrict it, because there’s so much free merchandise on offer.)

I made a BEA 2007 group, post there with ideas of where we should meet (I’m thinking maybe a restaurant near the convention center?). New Yorkers, I call on you for suggestions!

We’re also thinking about bring a bunch of CueCats, and giving them out to authors, to entice them into becoming LT Authors… What else?

*[Written by Tim] Shelfari doesn’t release any statistics. But they do release the top 20 bookshelves. The 20th bookshelf on Shelfari has 1,360 books. LibraryThing has 1,378 members with that many. Hence 20/1,378 = 68.9 times as large. You will note that we do not abuse our other competitors–just Shelfari. Some of them are quite good! There’s a good thread going about them. We want people to check them out, and come back to tell us how to improve LibraryThing!
**”This is me in a nutshell: HELP! I’m in a nutshell!”

(photo by Rick Dikeman on Wikipedia, under GNU Free Documentation License)

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