Archive for the ‘press’ Category

Friday, March 21st, 2008

All Things Considered does the LibraryThing

NPR‘s All Thing Considered did a story on LibraryThing and bookish social networking yesterday. It was a great story, and, I suspect, a perfect audience. Check it out.

Right now the story is number three on NPR’s most-emailed list. (This is no doubt why traffic hasn’t let up!) Abby promises she’ll make me a (quinoa?)* cake if we beat out Obama’s speech. So, send the story to all your friends! UPDATE: We’re number one! Help me, I’m giddy.

They covered some other sites, but I think LibraryThing came off best. Besides talking to me–45 minutes of conversation reduced to ten seconds of tape!–they also interviewed Sean Flannagan of the blog Deeplinking. His blog post include “The Big List of Things I Like About LibraryThing” so I think the reporter got it from all sides.

*As Dan Pashman proved on the Bryant Park Project, we need a quinoa angle to really take off on the most-emailed list. How about the quinoa tag, or the book Quinoa, the supergrain? And neti pots? We got your neti pots right here, guys. Flush out your nose with LibraryThing!

Labels: librarything for libraries, press, press hits

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

WSJ does the LibraryThing

We hit the Wall Street Journal’s Quick Picks section, with a nice four-paragraph article about LibraryThing by WSJ reporter Ian Mount. In contrast to most pieces, this one puts emphasis on the cataloging side.

The article is very welcome, but its infelicities show how complex LibraryThing’s “story” has become. The books in LibraryThing, the books in the libraries we search, and the books in the stores that integrate with us are all different. It’s hard to get that across right. When you add the social side of LibraryThing, the story becomes impossible. And that’s not including the Early Reviewers program, the 700+ LibraryThing authors, the 39+ libraries using our data, the libraries of dead luminaries and on and on. Something we’re about to unveil will add a whole new dimension to the site.* We’re getting hairier.

The home page needs a redo. I want something that functions as both a gateway to new users and a springboard for users already on the site. I’m contemplating a shift of emphasis, toward “the world of books.” Somehow we need to communicate that LibraryThing isn’t a lightweight catalog program or a way to “friend” bookish people. It’s this ocean of stuff—books you have, books you don’t, book reviews, people who read books you do, conversations about books, authors showing off their books and their libraries, book stores, publishers, etc.

To me, the basic bargain (or “value proposition,” in web design speak) is “catalog some books and this teeming ocean lies before you.” But I can’t think of any way of expressing this without sounding glib and insincere, eg., “LibraryThing: The Ocean of Books!”

It would be interesting to ask members to design the home page. I’m guessing there would be little agreement on what to put there and what to leave out. There are members who only use LibraryThing to catalog, and don’t even like the whole “work” level. There are members who only use it to chat with other book lovers. There are even people—we know who you are, librarians!—who use the book-recommendation features frequently, but have never made an account.

I suppose these are problems you want to have…

*We’re developing a feature which, if I could, I would put after collections. But we agreed to do something many months ago and one of the titans of the internet has us by the ear over it. Seriously. We’re not going to have lunch in this town if we don’t finish it.

Labels: books are broken, ocean of books, press, press hits, wsj

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Dutch-ness resumed

I manage to speed up the Dutch Royal Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) with some help from their technical staff. I’m very pleased how welcoming Dutch libraries have been. We were also invited to add data from another library, this time a public. I’m nearly cross-eyed from all the varieties of data I’ve been parsing.

We’re going to be in a national newspaper, the NRC Handelsblad, tomorrow. I’ve seen a copy of the article; it looked very positive. Also, when run through Babel Fish (Google doesn’t do Dutch), it looked insane. (Typical sentence: “Pubers, muziekliefhebbers, students, zakenlieden, homos, vips, jobseekers or singles: all they have their own network sites.”)

UPDATE: Here it is. Very positive. (And it gave us a pretty big bounce. Let’s hope we can hold it.)

Oh, we hit 250,000 users. But no big deal. We all know that registered users isn’t the same thing as regular users or paid users. When we hit 250,000 paid users I’ll blog about it, from my teak and platinum moon-yacht.

Labels: dutch books, moon-yachts, press