Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Special The Circle giveaway for UK members

Happy Halloween, everyone! I promise only treats, and no tricks today. As One LibraryThing, One Book continues to grow, I’m already halfway through the book, and we’ve got some great discussions going.

I have exciting news for UK members interested in joining us. Penguin UK has offered us 10 copies to give away to members located in the UK! Click here for your chance to score one. Please note, since this is a special give away, time is short, and we’ll be closing the giveaway for requests on Sunday, November 3rd at 6pm Eastern.

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Free passes to Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show

Thanks to Marvin Getman, who produces the show every year, LibraryThing members can attend the Boston Book, Print and Ephemera Show for free this year! The show is happening Saturday, November 16, from 8am-4pm at the Back Bay Events Center. That’s the same weekend as the Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (hosted by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America).

Passes can be downloaded and printed from a special page, just for LT members, here. So, if you’re in Boston that weekend, be sure to check it out! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it, but I’d love to hear from those of you who can!(1)

To recap

What? Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show
When? Sat. Nov. 16, 8am-4pm
Where? Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St., Boston, MA
How do I get my tickets? Print them here.

Questions? Comments? Send them to info@librarything.com.


1. Drop me (or Matt—matt@librarything.com) a line at loranne@librarything.com

Labels: book fairs, book world, boston, events

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

One LibraryThing, One Book Update

I’m thrilled at the response we’ve gotten regarding our first One LibraryThing, One Book project. We already have 101 members in our Talk group, and it’s been growing every day.

I have some great news for Canadian members interested in joining us. Knopf Canada has been kind enough to offer 10 copies for us to give away to members in Canada. Click here for your chance to score one. Please note, since this is a special give away, time is short, and we’ll be closing the giveaway for requests on Friday at 6pm Eastern.

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Interview with Tom Standage

Some excerpts from our interview with Tom Standage, which appeared in October’s State of the Thing.

Tom is the digital editor of The Economist and the author of several works of popular history, including A History of the World in 6 Glasses and The Victorian Internet. Tom’s new book is Writing on the Wall, a history of social media, published this month by Bloomsbury.

Give us the nutshell version of Writing on the Wall, if you would, for those who haven’t yet had a chance to read it.

The basic idea is that social-media environments have existed for centuries, and don’t require digital technology to operate. I describe examples of the use of social media (essentially, media you get from other people) going back to Roman times. It turns out that these ancient social-media systems provoked many of the same arguments and questions that we have about social media today. So history can provide some valuable lessons.

How were the “social media environments” of earlier periods similar to those we’re familiar with today? How were they different?

They were similar in the sense that they were decentralized and created discussion or community as people passed stuff to each other, copied it, recommended it, and commented on it. This was done by distributing letters, pamphlets, poems on slips of paper, and so on. People collectively decided what was important and worth passing on, and what you passed on was also a means of self-expression. Centralized media only emerged in the 19th century with mass-circulation newspapers, followed later by radio and television. So today’s social-media environment is, in many ways, a return to the way things used to be. That said, the main difference is that digital social media is global, instant, and searchable. So the analogy is not perfect. But it is close enough to be interesting and informative.

What was the most surprising thing you learned as you researched for Writing on the Wall?

Probably the most remarkable thing I came across was the Roman wax tablet that looks exactly like an iPad—the size and proportions are the same. It was used as a notebook, to jot down thoughts before committing them to papyrus. There’s one in the Roman museum in Cologne, Germany, and I have a picture of it in my book. It’s a great example of what I try to do in my books, which is to see the past in the present, and the present in the past.

You include in the book a number of examples of criticisms of previous social media environments that bear very strong resemblances to criticisms we hear today. Do you have a couple of favorite examples of these?

My favorite example is the way coffeehouses were criticized in the late 1600s. They were the media-sharing platforms of their day, where people went to read and discuss the latest news and gossip. Critics thought this was just wasting time, and that coffeehouses were “enemies to diligence and industry”. But they turned out to be crucibles of innovation that spawned advances in science and commerce.

For more on Tom’s work, thoughts on social media, and recent favorite reads, check out our full interview.

Labels: author interview, authors

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Interview with Patrick Ness

Some excerpts from our interview with Patrick Ness, which appeared in the October State of the Thing.

Patrick is the author of several books for young adults, including The Knife of Never Letting Go and the Carnegie Medal-winning Monsters of Men and A Monster Calls. His new book, More Than This, was published by Candlewick in September.

I don’t want to ask for a nutshell version of More Than This, since so much depends on the mysteries that the reader has the chance to unpack, but will you give us a sense of how the book begins, at least?

Well, the first line is “Here is the boy, drowning” and he does, unambiguously, die. So where does he wake up on the next page then? Don’t really want to say any more than that, really!

Was there a specific idea or incident that inspired the story?

I always wanted to write a book where someone wakes up and the world is empty. So the next question is why? And that opened up a whole realm of possibilities and other questions, which is what I find exciting. I also wanted to write a book about yearning, about yearning for more than just your own life, because I think that’s such a painful and poignant universal teenage experience. Then I just sort of went from there to see where the story would take me.

What’s your favorite line (or scene) from the book?

I don’t want people to turn to it first! But I’m really proud of the last line. To me, the whole book rests on it and it’s got everything I want the book to be about in it. But read the first 480 pages first, please.

What do you think it is about dystopian writing that works so well for YA/teen audiences?

I’ve always thought it was because dystopias are about a world where society has suddenly collapsed, where the rules are arbitrary and unknowable, where people are divided into groups, and your friends are both beloved and duplicitous. In short, it’s high school. I don’t think teenagers look as dystopia as fiction; they see it as a pretty accurate description of what their current world feels like.

When and where do you do most of your writing? Are there any particular writing habits or practices you’ve found useful?

I work at home and in the London Library. And I do have a few habits—1000 words a day, working to goal rather than time, etc.—but it’s a really important thing that no one can tell you how to write; they can only tell you how they write and that’s an important difference. The things I do may be of no use to you at all, but that’s absolutely fine. As long as you get the writing in, you’re doing it right.

For more on Patrick’s work, favorite books, and what we can expect to see from him next, check out our full interview.

Labels: author interview, authors

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

One LibraryThing, One Book

In the grand tradition of The Big Read and One City, One Book projects everywhere, LibraryThing is beginning its first ever, LibraryThing-wide read. It’s a bit of an experiment, and there has been much discussion on Talk about how to make it work.

For our first One LibraryThing, One Book selection, we’ll be reading Dave Eggers‘s The Circle. This one is a bit of an ironic pick by Tim—a dystopia about social networking, ha ha. If it doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t worry—in the future, we’ll expand the selection process to allow for member voting, in some fashion.

Get involved

Discussion starts November 18
In the interest of keeping discussion lively and spoiler-free, we’re setting the start date for discussion of The Circle as Monday, November 18th, at 9pm Eastern. Prior to that time, please use the “Introduce Yourself” or “First Impressions” threads to talk about your thoughts on the book as you’re reading.

Ten free copies up for grabs!
Thanks to the nice folks at Knopf, we’ve got 10 free copies of The Circle up for grabs, as a special extra batch in Early Reviewers. Go here to request one!

Questions? Comments?
You can check out and contribute to the discussion that spawned this project on Talk.

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

AllHallowsThing Contest!

To celebrate Halloween, LibraryThing is introducing a brand new competition, “All HallowsThing.” It could help you decorate for the big night, or even inspire that costume you are worrying about!

How to enter

  1. Choose one of the two competition categories, or submit to both.
    • Literary Costume: Dress as a character or object from your favorite book.
    • Pumpkin Creations: Make a literary pumpkin!
  2. Take photos of your costume/pumpkins.
  3. Upload your photos to your gallery.
  4. Be sure to tag your photos. Tag them AllHallowsThing2013.
  5. Go ahead and add a title, description or whatever, detailing how you made your costume/creation.
  6. Deadline: The deadline is by 6 pm, Eastern on November 8th to be considered for our fabulous prizes!

Winners get

The staff at LibraryThing will choose the winners of each category.

Grand Prize: One per category

Runners Up: Two per category

  • Your choice of a LibraryThing t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat
  • That secret, undisclosed LibraryThing gift we haven’t announced yet
  • A lifetime gift membership

Fine Print: You can enter as many times as you like, but you can only win one prize. By entering the contest you certify that your creation is your own. All decisions as to winners will be made by LibraryThing staff, and our decisions are final, damn it. LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less honorable mentions. We reserve the right to use your photo, but the copyright remains yours. You can release them under a copyleft license.

Questions? Post links and question on this Talk topic.

Labels: AllHallowsThing, contest, contests

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

October Early Reviewers batch is up!

The October 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 100 books this month, and a grand total of 2,870 copies to give out. You might be excited to know that, this month, we have The Second Chance Dog, after which you may be ready to move on to a Second Chance Boyfriend!

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, October 28th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, France, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Taylor Trade Publishing Kregel Publications Monarch Books
Lake Claremont Press Prufrock Press Everything Goes Media
Informed Decisions Publishing Demos Health CarTech Books
Cleis Press Viva Editions River Valley Publishing
O’Reilly Media Random House Monico
Wayzgoose Press Pneuma Springs Publishing Bantam
Akashic Books Del Rey Palgrave Macmillan
Gothic City Press Gray & Company, Publishers JournalStone
Dragonwell Publishing Circumspect Press Henry Holt and Company
Seawall Books Algonquin Books Human Kinetics
Bantam Dell Ballantine Books St. Martin’s Press
Minotaur Books BookViewCafe Galaxy Audio
Crown Publishing Recorded Books Wayman Publishing
Altaire Productions&Publications Bluffer’s Guides Pants On Fire Press
McFarland Gotham Books Plume
Tundra Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

700 Thank-Yous

After congratulating Loranne and Matt, I want to thank everyone who applied for the job and didn’t get it.

You are superstars

Almost 700 people ended up applying. Many put a lot of work into their cover letters, and I asked almost 100 to complete detailed follow-up questions. I interviewed 10–at two hours each, on average. People gave us a lot of time, and I’m grateful for it.

The applicant pool was amazing, including booksellers, librarians, publishing people and book lovers of innumerable types and talents. We seriously considered everyone from a director of marketing at a red-hot imprint to first-job people who just loved books so much they had to apply. Many were long-time LibraryThing members, many “outsiders.” Each “cut” was difficult. I suspect that most could have done the job, and I suspect hundreds would have rocked it. Deciding on Loranne and Matt was exciting. But saying goodbye to so many great people feels like a loss.

So, thank you for your time, and good luck in your careers. You guys are the superstars of the book world.

And all I got was this lousy t-shirt?

If you applied for the job, and if you’ve read all the way down to this, you may be saying “I applied for this job, and all I got is nice words?” But if you applied, you also know the original job post hid something at the bottom.(1)

Well, not true. You also get a t-shirt. Well, at least the first 100 people to ask will get one. (We might go above 100, but supplies here may give out.) Just email Tim your address, color and size, and we’ll hook you up.


1. About 1/3 missed it.

Labels: employees, employment, jobs

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Welcome Loranne

As Tim wrote earlier today, LibraryThing’s epic search for a “new Jeremy,” ended by deciding we’d take things up a notch and hire TWO people!

Hi, everyone, I’m Loranne Nasir (LT member lorannen)! I’m joining Tim, KJ, and Matt at LTHQ here in Portland. Along with Matt, I’m taking over for Jeremy, as Member Support and Social Media Librarian.

Originally from a small town in Missouri, I went to the University of Chicago, and recently completed a MSLIS at Syracuse University, where I studied everything from cataloging to information visualization. My social media experience includes helping Barbara Stripling with her successful campaign to become President of the American Library Association.

My hobbies include photography, swordplay (épée), wordplay, reading, and gaming. Among my favorite authors are Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, and Haruki Murakami.

I’m very excited to be joining the LibraryThing team and moving to Portland all at once. Going forward, I’ll be handling Early Reviewers, contests and games (really looking forward to Edible Books come April!), as well as official Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I was drawn to LibraryThing by the outstanding community here, and while I’ve got big shoes to fill, I look forward to working with and for all of you!

Come say hi and welcome me and Matt on Talk.

Labels: employees