Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

“The Casual Vacancy” Review contest winners!

Drum roll please … I’m happy to announce the winners of the review contest for J.K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy.

As promised the top three reviews (those with the most “thumbs-up” when the contest closed) win a $50 gift card to Amazon, Abebooks, Booksense, or any independent bookseller of their choice, a LibraryThing t-shirt and a lifetime membership (to keep or give away).

The top three are:

Seven runners up* (the next seven reviews with the most “thumbs-up”) win a LibraryThing t-shirt and a free lifetime membership (to keep or give away).

We didn’t have forty additional reviewers who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews, so everyone who did that will each receive a year’s free membership (to keep or give away).

Congratulations to everyone who participated! If you won a membership: I’ve upgraded your own if you weren’t already a lifetime or annual member; otherwise, go here to send your gift membership. For winners of the top prizes, I’ll be sending you a profile comment shortly!

You can read all the reviews here.


* I was actually shocked to find myself as the “first runner-up” (you can read my review here if you like). As per the rules, I am thus a “prize-less runner-up.”

Labels: contest, contests, reviews

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“The Casual Vacancy” Review Contest

J.K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy, hits shelves (and mailboxes) today, and I’m going to bet it doesn’t take very long at all before the LibraryThing reviews start appearing.

We figured it was a good time to have another review contest! We did this before when Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, and it was great fun.

The prizes:

That’s right, there will be FIFTY winners.

How the winners will be chosen:

  • The top three reviews—with the most thumbs-up—will get the big prize. The next seven will get the next prize.
  • The remaining forty winners will be randomly picked from all members who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews.

So, when you finish reading, get writing! When you’re done writing, take some time to read other reviews, and give the thumbs-up to the ones you think deserve it.

The contest ends on Friday, October 19th Tuesday, October 30th. Have fun!

We’re also assembling the published reviews for The Casual Vacancy as they roll in. See this thread for discussion. Warning: don’t read these reviews if you don’t want to see spoilers.

Fine Print: The review you post must be your review (as per the Terms of Use). LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less runners-up.

Labels: contest, contests, reviews

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Twitter your reviews

We’ve added a feature to make it easy to Twitter (or Tweet) your reviews.

You’ll see the option—a tiny Twitter logo—on your reviews. When you click it, it takes you to Twitter and fills in the message box. You can, of course, edit it however you like.

You can spot most such tweets with this Twitter search.

This is our second Twitter-based feature. The other is an easy way to Twitter your books to LibraryThing, handy for making a note of a book when you’re in a bookstore or library. Like that, the Twitter your review feature is all about restraint and options. We’ve rejected the idea—popular among book and non-book sites—of automating that process, of making it easy to machine-gun all your friends and followers with trivial updates.

Are you on Twitter? Follow us. Most LibraryThing-related news comes from my account, LibraryThingTim. The LThing account is for incoming messages mostly. John, Chris and Luke are also on, discussing LibraryThing’s irrationally vague vacation policy.

Labels: book reviews, new feature, new features, reviews, twitter

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

LibraryThing Reviews in Library Catalogs

We’ve just released a new feature for LibraryThing for Libraries—Reviews.

LibraryThing reviews will start showing up in library catalogs across the country, and library patrons will be able to add their own reviews directly into a library catalog. But that’s not all. Check out this post on Thingology for more.

Labels: book reviews, library thing for libraries, LTFL, reviews

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Breaking Dawn review contest winners

The suspense is over—behold, the winners of the Breaking Dawn review contest!

When the contest closed on the 15th of August, there were already 119 reviews in (for a book that had been out just two weeks). As promised the top three reviews (those with the most “thumbs-up” when the contest closed) win a $50 gift card to Amazon, Abebooks, Booksense, or any independent bookseller of their choice, a LibraryThing t-shirt and a year’s free membership (to keep or give away).

The top three are:

Seven runners up (the next seven reviews with the most “thumbs-up”) win a LibraryThing t-shirt and a year’s free membership (to keep or give away).

And then forty reviewers were randomly chosen from everyone who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews. They’ll each receive a year’s free membership (to keep or give away).

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Winners, email Lindsey: info@librarything.com to claim your prize (include your user name)! If you won a tshirt, include your mailing address, and preferred t-shirt color and size (see the choices here).

Labels: Breaking Dawn, contest, reviews

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Twilight Review Contest

In mere hours (at midnight on Friday night), the fourth book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn will be released. And I’m sure I won’t be the only person up reading all weekend, and then waiting to talk about it as soon as I’m finished.

We figured it was a good time to have another review contest! We did this before when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, and it was great fun.

The prizes:

That’s right, that’s FIFTY winners.

How the winners will be chosen:

  • The top three reviews–with the most thumbs-up–will get the big prize. The next seven will get the next prize.
  • The remaining forty winners will be randomly picked from all members who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews.

So, when you finish reading, get writing! When you’re done writing, take some time to read other reviews, and give the thumbs-up to the ones you think deserve it.

The contest ends on Friday, August 15th.

And then? Well, there are a ton of Twilight groups where you can stop by and join a discussion on Breaking Dawn, Bella, Edward, Jacob, and more. Here are a few:

Labels: Breaking Dawn, contest, reviews, Twilight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Harry Potter Review Contest—57 Winners


UPDATED to include readafew*

The winners of the Harry Potter review contest, picked by you! The reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came pouring in—there were 288 by August 6th (the day the contest ended), and 364 as of right now!

As we said, the top six seven winners get a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, Abebooks, Booksense, or any independent bookseller. These were choosen because they were the reviews that got the most thumbs-up, using our new rating reviews feature. We intended to award the top five, but of course, there was a tie for second, so we’re giving out seven top prizes, total.

Without further ado, the winners:

LadyN’s review was by far the top ranked, with 28 “thumbs-up” when the contest closed (it’s even higher now!). LadyN captures the book perfectly, I think, when she writes:
“In Deathly Hallows, Harry gradually finds himself without several things he has previously believed he relied upon, the truth growing ever more apparent that his true magic is drawn from friendship, loyalty, protection, courage and the pursuit of what is right.”

The next five were all tied, with 19 thumbs-up votes.

sinister_wombat’s review was less glowing, rating the book only 2 stars.** sinister_wombat found fault with the consistency of Rowling’s world, and notes that: “Harry’s quest for the hallows feels like a clunky story haphazardly thrown into the main narrative with no real point or purpose.”

xicanti’s review appreciated the way the entire series built to this final book, saying, “Many, many times, I found myself crowing with glee as a long-running plot point was summed up, or when one of my theories proved correct.”

ablueidol’s review sums it up by saying, “Expect that the story and the consequences are darker. Discover that loose ends from the various stories are tied up. And that all that glitters is not gold.”

invisiblelizard, it appears, read the book through the night (as many of us did). The review notes that the “ending … timed to coincide with the first rays of sunlight after a long night, felt warmer to me. Even with several main characters left on the floor.”

Kerian’s review celebrates the Boy Who Lives—”Filled with surprises as well as chapters that had me crying all the way through them, this is a book I will reread for decades to come. J.K. Rowling has created a marvelous series, full of love, tears, and laughter. Without a doubt, the Muggle world will never forget the name Harry Potter.”

readafew’s review was a great (and spoiler free!) journalistic commentary: “What? You want to know about Harry Potter? Sorry, I can’t answer any questions about on-going investigations….”

The other fifty winners were pulled randomly from all the members who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews. It’s kind of neat to see how many people participated all around.

These 50 winners get a free membership to LibraryThing*** and a CueCat for entering their books.****

Fence exa137 mummimamma kconcannon sulkyblue
Rhinoa Aerodynamics littorina Merriwyn sedelia
Sassm prkcs cnrenner badgerthorazine sarahthelibrarian
little_mrs littlebookworm jrepman missylc jbd1
lampbane mystfromthesea DaveFragments CozyLover yoyogod
zeitgeistxx edfinn feaelin Anks FrogPrincessuk
codyne pratchettfan PollyWannaBook alisonsw susiepie
MisterJJones donutgirl mrsradcliffe ejp1082 szarka
capnk8 malisita philosojerk gaskella gwoodrow
Phantasma alchemia hero120499 lewispike teampoush

Congratulations to all, and thanks for writing. These were truly fun to read.

*So we pulled the top winners by calculating the number of votes minus the number of flags against that review, as of Aug 6, when the contest closed. But it mistakenly counted flags against the review that had been applied *after* the fact, which counted readafew out. So thanks to all for setting me straight, and thanks to the Hogwarts Express crew, who noted the correct winners, waited patiently for me to blog this, *and* wrote a fantastic song… :)
**I think this allayed a lot of concerns about the “thumbs up” review voting feature—that people would only give positive reviews a thumbs up. Good job, folks.
***You’ve already got one? Pass it along to a friend!
****We’re sending you a profile comment if you won, but if you have comments disabled, or if we miss you somehow but you see yourself listed here, then send an email to info@librarything.com to claim your prize.

Labels: contest, harry potter, reviews

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Harry Potter Review Contest: 50 winners

It’s almost 12:01 here. Any moment now, the first copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will come available, and LibraryThing members across the US will start reading. (Some other parts of the world have already begun.) I wouldn’t be surprised if the first reviews were posted by noon tomorrow. Sounds like a good excuse for a contest, right?

We already have a Harry Potter Book Pile photo contest (one entry shown on the right). Well, how about a review contest too? The deal:

  • Five reviewers get a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, Abebooks, Booksense or any independent bookseller.
  • Fifty get a free membership (for them or as a gift), a handy CueCat barcode scanner, for entering more of their books, and eternal glory.
  • We end it Monday, August 6.

LibraryThing is a gloriously supportive community. So we’re going to do it a little differently:

  • We’re going to use the new review-rating feature.

    Liam Weasley, with Scabbers

    As many know, this only allows “thumbs-up” ratings.

  • The five reviews with the most thumbs-ups will win the bigger prize.
  • The rest will be randomly picked from all members who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews.

That is, we’re rewarding participation and generosity most of all.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.* We’re going to have anti-abuse measures in place, and we think the top five will be clean.** The interest level will be very high. After all, the Harry Potter group on LibraryThing has seen some 11,532 messages.

Have fun tonight. Me? I’m watching over the littlest Weasley, while my wife and niece party with the wizards.

*If we get a lot of sock-puppet votes, we may make the top-five part of the contest only count votes from established members.
**But I won’t be reading the reviews myself. I am stuck in book five, recently restarted. Arg.

Labels: contest, harry potter, labelled for your delectation, ocelot, reviews

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Project Ocelot: Social changes

New look; new connections controls.

This announces a series of major “social” improvements, previously dubbed “Project Ocelot.”* Most have already been released, but were never blogged.

They were talked about, however—and how! The first batch were released to the Recommended Site Improvements group on July 11, where they garnered 187 messages. Two pre-release topics, here and here, racked up another 228 messages. And there were spin-off topics too.

As usual around here, the conversation drove our work. It was a great fun to work through everything with everyone. In case there is any doubt, developing LibraryThing is a blast.**

Here’s a run-down of the changes:

1. Friends and Interesting Libraries. (On your profile.) LibraryThing now offers a number of different “connections” between members. Shared books are still primary, but we’ve added “Interesting Libraries,” “Friends” and “Private Watchlist.”*** Interesting libraries are a one-way thing, although the person you mark as interesting gets a heads-up notice. “Friends” is a mutual connection. “Private Watch Lists” are still private. You can edit your connections, and see who has you on their lists.

Previous “friend” proposals have caused some concern, so we took pains to overcome most objections. We made “interesting libraries” the first option, to keep focus on the books. Friends don’t show up unless both sides consent. And you can disable “friending” and block users. The term “friends” itself rubbed a few people the wrong way—I’ve only just gotten over it myself—but it’s success is clear. Since the changes went live 60% of connections ahve been “friend” connections.

2. Connection News. (On your profile.) You can now follow what your connections are doing on LibraryThing—the books they’re adding, the reviews they write, the books they rate. You can choose any of the new categories (eg., “Friends”) or the fifty users who share the most books with you. This is my favorite feature. It’s something LibraryThing was missing. I think it adds a lot.

Members who share my favorite authors.

3. Shared Favorites (Introduced today). (On all profiles.) Some time ago, we started allowing members to list their favorite authors. Well, now you can find out who shares them with you. Here, for example, is Abby’s list. Mine is too obscure still.

4. Rating Reviews (Introduced Wedensday). LibraryThing a supportive environment. We didn’t want the “vote wars” that Amazon books can have. So, we are allowing members to vote for good reviews with a thumbs-up. But there’s no thumbs-down.

We did add flags for Terms of Service abuse and for non-reviews. (Wherever reviews are found; the feature is being discussed here.)

5. “Also On” Connections. (On your profile.) This is the most technically interesting of the features. For some time, users have been able to record what other sites they belonged to, and their site handles there. “Also On” Connections parses your “Also Ons” to get your sites, and then checks public information from these sites to get your friends’ lists. These lists are then cross-checked against LibraryThing’s “Also On.”

Basically, it help you to fill in the gaps in your social network on LibraryThing. We made it when we ran a test and discovered that lots of users were friends on Flickr or BookMooch, but not on LibraryThing. Probably many didn’t even know their friend was on LibraryThing.

6. Invitations. (On your profile.) Altay made a nice, understated “Invitations” feature, that sends out invites to the people you select.

7. Search tweaks. (On search.) Search now allows “also on” searching.

Of course, we have more to do—a lot more, here, on the core cataloging features****, and with translation (one update there).

*Name discussed here.
**It’s odd, but LibraryThing involves its “users” in its development more than most open-source projects. Open source projects have more focus on developer-to-developer conversations. We almost never talk about technology, but always about features.
***There was a brief period when we had “public” and “private” contacts. All public contacts became “interesting libraries”.
****We should have some good announcements here soon.

Labels: new feature, new features, ocelot, reviews, social networking

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Stars in reviews

Here’s a low-hanging fruit. We finally put the review’s star rating in the reviews. I think I’ll call it a “mashup.”

From The Da Vinci Code:

Labels: new feature, new features, reviews