Archive for the ‘librarything local’ Category

Friday, November 20th, 2009

50,000 Venues in LibraryThing Local

During our mad rush to add all the used book stores at Abebooks.com (see blog post) and all the Barnes & Noble stores (see Talk thread), Dan added the 50,000th entry into LibraryThing Local.

So what’s http://www.librarything.com/venue/50000? It’s Barnes & Noble in Morgantown, WV.

There’s no photo up yet, if someone near Morgantown wants to go and take a picture with a piece of paper that says “50,000!” on it…

Labels: librarything local, milestones, West Virginia

Friday, May 9th, 2008

BookSense Events!

We just added over six-hundred and fifty events to LibraryThing Local, LibraryThing’s portal for local bookstores, libraries and events.

The events come direct from our friends at BookSense, the nationwide organization of over 1,200 independent bookstores. They made their complete events calendar available to us, and we were only to happy to add all the events we didn’t already know about.

BookSense is the best; if you have a favorite local bookstore, chances are they’re a BookSense store.* BookSense also gets the best authors. Upcoming events include David Sedaris at Vroman’s in Pasadena and Salman Rushdie at Vroman’s and at Caucer’s in Santa Barbara. Of course, as happens with distributed data collection, not every BookSense store has their events in the feed. And some events had already been added by members. Be the total gain is some 660 upcoming events—a big leap. We’ll be updating from th BookSense feed periodically from now on, which should take some of the data-entry load off of dedicated LibraryThing members.

So, thanks to the people at BookSense for working with us on this, and happy event-attending to the rest of us.

PS: There’s a short article about this in the ABA’s Bookselling this Week by David Grogan.


*My favorites—Books, Etc., Longfellow Books and the Harvard Coop—are all BookSense stores. My wife spent much of her 20s working at another, Bookline Booksmith, together with her best friend, who went on to work at Booksense. So, I’ve wanted LibraryThing to do something BookSense since we started.

Labels: authors, booksense, librarything local, new feature, new features

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

LibraryThing Authors Opens Up

We’re opening up and relaunching our LibraryThing Authors program—our way to connect authors to their fans.

Before, we required authors to have at least 50 books cataloged before joining LibraryThing Authors, and some 800 authors have done so. But some authors wanted to start right away or were more interested in reaching out—talking to members and listing their events—than cataloging their library. So we’re dropping the 50 books requirement. Visit LibraryThing Authors for directions on joining.

There’s more for authors to do on LibraryThing—now more than ever:

  • Add your readings and other events to LibraryThing Local. Events now appear on author pages too (eg., Sarah Monette, Megan Abott, James Dashner and Elizabeth Bear).
  • Add your photo to your author profile.
  • Connect with readers on a more personal level, in groups and on-on-one.
  • Showcase your favorite books on your catalog.
  • Add your home page, interviews and other links to your author page.
  • Dress up your “Common Knowledge” section with where you went to school, your agent, where you’re buried, etc.
  • Get your publisher to put one of your books up for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Or pick up a free book yourself. (Or wait a few weeks—we’re going to open that up to authors too.)

In the next few week’s we’ll be unveiling a new “Author Chat” section on Talk, where authors can engage readers directly.

Labels: librarything local, LT author

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

LibraryThing Local explodes

This morning, three days after its official launch, LibraryThing Local passed 9,000 venues. (UPDATE: 10,000 13,000 15,000 16,000.)

In this time some 700 members have entered more libraries, bookstores, fairs and other venues than our closest competitor in this space assembled in ten months of work, drawing mostly on chain bookstores and publicists.

Much remains to be done. New York City looks like it’s been attacked by a swarm of smurf bees, but Athens, Greece is still pretty empty. And events—while over 1,100 now—aren’t growing as fast as we’d like. (I blame a joyless, balky interface, which will soon be fixed.)

LibraryThing Local’s success follows on LibraryThing’s series project which, in two weeks assembled more book series data than the largest commercial supplier of this data.

Together, I think these suggest something important: The most powerful agents in the book world today are regular people.

LibraryThing is blessed with the most extraordinary members I have ever heard of. They’ll hunker down for hours adding information for fun and to help out their fellow members. They’ll engage in two- and even three-hundred message discussions over features. They make Facebook aps and browser enhancements on their own. They send us new logo designs. They send Abby postcards. They send us cookies.

They—and given the readership of this blog, probably YOU—are something else. It is a real surprise and honor to find myself developing software under these conditions. It’s up to us to keep you interested and happy, and think of new things to do with what you create. It’s up to you to tell us when we’re falling short of that.

Labels: librarything local, members

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Introducing LibraryThing Local

Today we* unveil a major new section of the site, LibraryThing Local.

What is it? LibraryThing Local is a gateway to thousands of local bookstores, libraries and book festivals—and to all the author readings, signings, discussions and other events they host. It is our attempt to accomplish what hasn’t happened yet—the effective linking of the online and offline book worlds. Books still don’t fully “work” online; this is a step toward mending them.

LibraryThing Local is a handy reference, but it’s also interactive. You can show off your favorite bookstores and libraries (eg., mine include the Harvard Bookstore, Shakespeare and Company and the Boston Athenaeum) and keep track of interesting events. Then you can find out who else loves the places you do, and who else is going to events. You can also find local members, write comments about the places you love and more.

LibraryThing members rock. LibraryThing Local just opened, but for the past week we’ve let a few members in to check it out and add venues.** They went crazy!

Together, about two-dozen members added over 2,600 venues. The coverage is spotty, covering the members personal interests. So, Paris is a literary desert, but Chicago and Antwerp are a mess of little green and blue dots, and even frosty Juneau (pictured right) is done.*** LibraryThing Local would be boring without content, so everone owes a debt of gratitude to members like SilentInAWay (400), alibrarian (351), christiguc (302), Talbin (242), SqueakyChu (240), boekerij (217) and others for kicking things off so well.

This kind of passion give us hope that LibraryThing Local will swiftly become the web’s best, most complete source for finding bookstores and library—and for the events they throw. Unfortunately, we only got events working yesterday, so there are only 200 so far. Something to work on?

Authors! Publishers! Libraries! Bookstores! Right now, everyone can add events. But they won’t necessarily get to you, so go ahead and add your venues and events. We are experimenting with the concept of “claiming” a venue, so that a bookstore of library can assert control over its basic factual information. (You don’t control the comment wall, of course.) For now, you need to email us. Go to a venue for more details.

Beta, Forevah. LibraryThing Local is not “done.” It’s missing key features, like RSS. And it has a few bugs. For good or ill, that’s how we work around here.

The main planned improvements are:

  • RSS Feeds
  • Fine-grained privacy settings
  • Author and work integration
  • Enhanced features for bookstores and libraries that take part
  • More stats, like the most interesting events

I’ve started two discussion threads:

Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what members think of it. We’ll do our best to make it as good as we can.

Use BookTour! (We do not.) LibraryThing Local was something I’ve wanted to do since visiting Ireland a year ago and not knowing where the bookstores were. But I didn’t get serious about the idea until approached by BookTour.

BookTour is a startup founded by Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and the upcoming Free. Chris’ idea was to make a central site to collect information about authors on tour.

LibraryThing agreed to be BookTour’s first partnership. But along the way we ran into difficulties. We wanted strong venue information, so members could show off their favorite bookstores and libraries. BookTour is focused on the events more than venues, which include many duplicates. Eventually it became clear to me we were after different things, so we parted ways.

Although LibraryThing Local is now doing some of the same things, I hope blog readers will check out BookTour. I expect them to be adopted by other book-related sites and, at present, their data is more copious than ours. Certainly, no author should tour without first adding all their events there, and they have a very handy Excel-based upload option that will appeal to publicists with large numbers of events.


* Chris (conceptDawg), whose favorite bookstores include Bienvielle Books, built much of LibraryThing Local. Send praise his way!
**We released LibrayThing Local to a private but non-exclusive beta group two weeks ago. Later, after deciding not to use others site’s data (see above), we let members add their own venues, and later events.
***Best of all the Alaskan-adder, alibrarian, has no connection to Alaska whatsoever. He just got tired adding every library in New York City.

Labels: authors, book world, bookstores, librarything local, new feature, new features, publicists, publishers