Friday, March 29th, 2013

Free accounts through Sunday

In the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads, we’ve had some blow-back on the fact that LibraryThing charges for a membership to add more than 200 books. In fact, when you go to pay, it’s pay-what-you-want. The money helps pay for the site, and keeps us advertisement-free for members. Also, we believe customers should be customers, with the loyalty and rights of customers, not the thing we sell to our real customers.

However, some people don’t like it. And we want everyone. So, as a test and a welcome, we’re giving out free year’s accounts to everyone who signs up through the end of Sunday. We’ve also upgraded everyone who signed up since 4pm yesterday.

Here’s what the profile comment looks like. You should get it pretty quickly:


Photo by flickr member chamisa flower.

Labels: amazon, fun, gifts

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Amazon buys Goodreads: what does that mean for LibraryThing?

Amazon announced yesterday that they’re buying Goodreads, LibraryThing’s younger brother and competitor. This has the potential to change things for LibraryThing. We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on how we can survive and thrive in a Amazon-Goodreads world.

See the open thread about this: LibraryThing: How to succeed in an Amazon/Goodreads world. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Labels: amazon

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Common Knowledge at 5 million!

Earlier in March, LibraryThing Common Knowledge hit five million edits (and flew right on by: another 53,000 have already been added since then!).

The five-millionth CK fact was … drum roll please … the term “American Revolution” added in the “Important events” field on Barbara Tuchman’s book The First Salute by member berry25. Hey berry25, want an LT t-shirt or a CueCat?

Common Knowledge? What’s that?

Common Knowledge, a part of LibraryThing since 2007, is our vast fielded wiki system of bookish data, capturing everything from characters (Frodo Baggins, C-3PO) to series and awards information to related movies, dedications, author information, and much, much more. See the wiki page for a full rundown.

Some of these pages are ridiculously, awesomely complex: check out the Star Wars series page, for example (872 works, with something like 70 sub-series!). To get a sense of the depth and breadth of everything included in Common Knowledge, check out the clouds page.

Who’s added all this info?

CK would not be the amazing resource that it is without the hard work of the many LibraryThing members responsible for those 5 million+ edits. (Back in 2007 Tim predicted it would prove “insanely addictive”, and that seems to have been spot-on). More than 1,000 LTers have contributed at least 600 edits, and some of the totals are extremely impressive. Here are the top five all-time CK contributors:

Can I contribute?

Please do! It’s super easy to add Common Knowledge data – you’ll see the fields at the bottom of every work or author page on LibraryThing. And if you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions, chime in over at the Common Knowledge, WikiThing, HelpThing group.

Here’s to you all, and here’s to five million more Common Knowledge contributions!

Labels: common knowledge, milestones

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

March Early Reviewers batch is up!

The March 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 143 books this month, and a grand total of 3,658 copies to give out.

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, March 25th at 6 p.m. EDT.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and 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!

Henry Holt and Company Taylor Trade Publishing Sakura Publishing
Lion Fiction Putnam Books Ballantine Books
Safkhet Fantasy Apex Publications Riverhead Books
The Permanent Press Plume Two Lines Press
WaterBrook Press Prufrock Press Palgrave Macmillan
Portfolio Random House Hunter House
Crown Publishing Pants On Fire Press Spiegel & Grau
Ashland Creek Press Greenleaf Book Group Pneuma Springs Publishing
Akashic Books Bethany House HarperCollins
In Fact Books Pubslush Press Dundurn
EgmontUSA CarTech Books Top Five Books
MSI Press Random House Trade Paperbacks Safe Harbor Publishing
Dimensions of Wellness Press Camel Press William Morrow
Coffeetown Press Camel Press McFarland
February Partners Hay House Skyhorse Publishing
Istoria Books BookViewCafe JournalStone
Gray & Company, Publishers Algonquin Books Galaxy Audio
Galaxy Press Wayman Publishing Human Kinetics
Cleis Press Career Upshift Productions Bridgeross Communications
Crossed Genres Publications Arundel Publishing Leafwood Publishers
University Press of New England Northeastern University Press Booktrope
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Penguin Young Readers Group Orca Book Publishers
Viva Editions Charlesbridge

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The 2nd annual LibraryThing Edible Books contest!

We had so much fun with last year’s virtual Edible Books Contest, we’ve decided to make it an annual event!

How to participate:

1. Create an “edible book.” We’re defining this broadly, so entries can include dishes:

  • referencing a book’s title or characters (puns are entirely welcome)
  • inspired by a book’s plot
  • in the shape of an actual book (or eBook, or scroll, etc.)
  • takeoffs on the LibraryThing logo

2. Take some photos of what you made. The photo at right is the grand-prize winner from last year’s contest. See more of the winners here or all of the entries in the gallery.

3. Upload the photo to your LT member gallery. Sign in, then go here and click the “Add another picture” link to add the image.

4. When adding the image, tag it “EdibleBooks2013″. This will add your image to the contest gallery, and counts as your entry into the contest. If your photo doesn’t have the tag, we won’t know that you’ve entered. You’ll be able to see all the entries here.

5. Tell us about it in the “Title/description” box.

Deadline: Add your photos by 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 4.

What we’ll do:

Based on all the images in the “EdibleBooks2013″ photo gallery, LibraryThing staff will choose the following winners:

Grand Prize (1)

  • A $50 gift certificate to Longfellow Books
  • An LT t-shirt (size/color of your choice)
  • An LT library stamp
  • A CueCat
  • An LT sticker
  • Three lifetime gift memberships
  • Great honor

Runners Up (2)

  • Your choice of one LT t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat
  • Two lifetime gift memberships

We may also pick a few Honorable Mentions—final number will depend on the number of entries received—and they’ll receive a lifetime gift membership.

Have fun!

Fine Print: You can enter as many times as you like, but you can only win one prize. Your dish must be made of edible ingredients (no hats, lost-wax sculptures, performance art), and by entering the contest you certify that it is your own creation. Entries submitted to previous LibraryThing Edible Books contests will not be considered. All decisions as to winners will be made by LibraryThing staff, and our decisions are final. LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less runners-up. Any images you load stay yours, or you can release them under a copyleft license, but we get a standard “non-exclusive, perpetual” right to use them.

Questions? Feel free to post questions/discussion/etc. here.

Labels: contest, contests, fun

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Let’s show our love for Longfellow Books!

width="300"During last weekend’s blizzard, our much-beloved independent bookstore here in Portland, Longfellow Books (see them on LibraryThing Local), suffered significant damage when a water line in the building’s sprinkler system froze and caused torrents of water to pour through the ceiling directly onto the books. Co-owner Chris Bowe told the local paper that as much as half of the stock was damaged by water: much of the rest was saved by the quick actions of the Portland fire department.

I’ve heard from several of you this week asking how we can help. For now, the single best thing we can do to show our love for Longfellow is to buy some books from them. They’re taking orders by phone (207-772-4045) and through their website, and they’ve printed up some limited edition Flood of 2013 Gift Certificates, which you can order online. It’s even International Book Giving Day, so what better time than the present? (Also, it’s Valentine’s Day, and books make great gifts for that special someone!).

The Longfellow staff have been working hard all week to try and get the store open in time for their Pussy Riot Valentine’s Day Benefit event tonight at 7 p.m., and once they get things back up and running they may have other/different ways we can volunteer and help out. We’ll be sure to pass those along to you all. For now, head on over to longfellowbooks.com and buy a book (or six) or a gift card. Let’s help show Longfellow how much we care!

[Update: Just after we posted this the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance also announced some other ways to help – check those out here].

Labels: bookstores, love, portland

Monday, February 11th, 2013

February SOTT & Author interviews!

The February State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and various forms of bookish delight, should have made its way to your inbox by now. You can also read it online. It includes interviews with authors Robin Sloan and Christine Sneed.

I talked to Robin Sloan about his book Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore , published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in October. Some excerpts:

The title of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore came from a tweet, right? Tell us where you got the idea, and how the book developed from the original short story into a full-length novel.

That’s right: the germ of the idea was a tweet from my friend Rachel, way back in 2008, which read, “just misread ’24hr bookdrop’ as ’24hr bookshop’. the disappointment is beyond words.” I read it walking down the street in San Francisco, and it made me smile and wonder: what would a 24-hour bookstore be like, anyway? A few months later, when I sat down to start a new story, the question was still there, so I started to sketch it out. When it was finished, I published that story online, both in Amazon’s Kindle Store and on my website, and it just took off like a rocket—somehow finding an audience much bigger and more vocal than any of my other stories before or since. So, that was a sign that maybe there was something there: some deeper potential, some larger story.

What was your research process like as you wrote this book? Were there sources on the early years of printing that you found particularly useful?

I love Andrew Pettegree’s The Book in the Renaissance, a historian’s look at the publishing business circa 1400-1600. Basically the takeaway is this: it was just as competitive and chaotic as the internet industry is today. Probably more so.

What are some of your favorite libraries and/or bookstores, and why?

I have way too many favorites to list, but I’ll give a shout out to Green Apple Books in San Francisco, which was my neighborhood bookstore when I was first starting Penumbra. And actually, there’s a branch of the San Francisco Public Library around the corner that’s quite lovely, too; it has just as many books in Chinese and Russian as in English. You could do a lot worse than to have these two places as your neighborhood book-acquisition options.

Read the rest of our interview with Robin Sloan.

I also had the chance to talk with Christine Sneed about her recent book Little Known Facts (Bloomsbury).

Do you recall what first gave you the idea to write a novel about Hollywood fame and its effects on both the famous person and those around him?

I remember wondering one day what it would be like to have a famous film actor as your father, especially if you are a young man—what sort of competition and envy would you feel? This is where the idea for the book began, but I’m not sure what triggered it.

You’ve written that Little Known Facts asks of its characters ‘If you could have anything in the world, what would you choose?’ How would you answer that question yourself?

Well, it will sound a little suspect, but it’s nonetheless true: I would help friends and family pay debts, send their children to college, take fancy vacations in the sun. I’d want to be able to take fancy, sunny vacations too and spend more time in France, the country where I studied in college; it remains very close to my heart. I’d also like to see about four movies a week.

Tell us a bit about your writing process: how and when do you do much of your writing? Any particular hints or tips on writing that you’d like to share?

I usually write in the afternoons when I’m not teaching; I do sometimes write at night, but not as often. The writing advice I often give is that you can get a lot done in the interstices—even if you only have 30-45 minutes on a given day, sit down and at least make some notes. A book is written little by little, not in one marathon session.

What’s your own library like? What sorts of books would we find on your shelves?

Some poetry but mostly fiction and nonfiction by American and British writers, and currently on my desk are Dan Chaon’s Stay Awake, Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Achy Obejas’s Ruins, along with Brad Watson’s Aliens in Their Prime, also, Outrageously Offensive Jokes III and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012.

Read the rest of our interview with Christine Sneed.


Catch up on previous State of the Thing newsletters.

If you don’t get State of the Thing, you can add it in your email preferences. You also have to have an email address listed.

Labels: author interview, state of the thing

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

New Local: LibraryThing Local Gets a Redo

We’re very excited to announce a whole series of improvements to LibraryThing Local, your gateway to tens of thousands of bookstores, libraries, book festivals, author readings and other bookish venues and events.




The major improvements are:

Speed. As the data grew, Local got slow, especially if you lived somewhere like New York. The html pages for places like that were also gigantic. (And I mean gigantic. They crashed browsers!) New Local is much faster, with page-load times of a few seconds at most, and pages under 100k.

Better, bigger maps. You can now zoom, click and drag the maps and new venues will come in dynamically. (Before they just stopped outside the sample area.) Each map also has a full page mode (see New York, NY) that fills the page.

More venues! More events! Our recent push for events produced a huge influx of new venues and events. We also wrote special scrapers for most of the major publishers, and B&N and IndieBound stores, which more-than-doubled what users entered.

We’re up to 80,500 venues, including 28,000 bookstores and 45,000 libraries, and 118,000 bookish events, including nearly 10,000 upcoming.

All-in-all, we’re confident that no other source has as much information on bookish events as LibraryThing Local.

Books for Ghana. We’re also extremely pleased that by adding events to LT Local, members raised more than $1,700 for needy readers. So far we’ve contributed $600 of that to Keith Goddard’s Books4Ghana campaign on Indiegogo, putting that effort over the top. This will fund the shipping of several thousand books to the Bright Future School in Keta, Ghana this spring. We hope to work with Keith more going forward.

New version of Readar. We’ve updated Readar (formerly Local Books) to make it compatible with the 5S.

If you haven’t used it yet, Readar is a simple app for bookstores, libraries and bookish events near you. I use it all the time at home—every time I want to call a bookstore, they’re all right there. And I use it whenever I go on a trip, so I know where to spend my free time.

Local Members. The Local members page, which shows members near you who’ve chosen to make their location public, has been thoroughly revamped and updated, with a pleasant checkerboard view. It’s on “infinite scroll,” so that it loads ahead of you, like Pinterest. The members are sorted semi-randomly, with members who are more active on LibraryThing or share something with you nearer the top.

To add a public location, or remove yours, edit your profile. As of now, only about 27% of members have public locations. You also have a “private location,” so you can find out what’s going on in your town without telling anyone where that is!

Profile page changes. Just some slight tweaking on your profile page: we’ve moved the “About me” and “About my library” sections up a bit, so they now appear before your lists of groups and favorite authors and venues. We’ve added a “Favorite venues” link directly to your LT Local Favorites page.

Event filtering. Back in November we added a way for members to filter out events they didn’t have any interest in seeing. We’ve expanded that to filter out some less “pertinent” events—mostly all the Nook demos at B&N stores—at a global level, so they won’t show unless you want them to. You can toggle to seeing absolutely everything by choosing “all” instead of “most” above event lists.

Helper stats. We’re rearranged the Stats/Memes page a bit, adding a Helper section where you can see all your Helper badges, your Common Knowledge contributions, and your additions to LibraryThing Local. The new Local page shows all the venues and events you’ve added so far. (See yours or MDGentleReader‘s.)

Better Venue Linking. Linking up the brief location info on publishers sites (eg., “Tattered Cover, Denver”) to their real-life LibraryThing venues (e.g., this) has become a crucial step in getting so many events in LT Local. We’ve improved the Help Connect Bookstores and Libraries to LibraryThing page to help helpers out more—providing a list of best matches. It speeds things up enormously. (Many thanks to MDGentleReader, rosalita, eromsted, lilithcat, SqueakyChu and many others for doing so many the old way.)

Talk about it. Come talk about the changes here! If you find a bug, tell us here.

Labels: events, librarything local, new features

Monday, February 4th, 2013

February Early Reviewers batch is up!

The February 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 110 books this month, and a grand total of 3,871 copies to give out.

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, February 25th at 6 p.m. EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and 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!

Algonquin Books Henry Holt and Company Tundra Books
Chronicle Books Random House The Permanent Press
Riverhead Books Taylor Trade Publishing Putnam Books
Ballantine Books Prospect Park Books Entangled Publishing
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Union Books Quirk Books
Illuminated Publications, LTD Plume Petra Books
University Press of New England Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Random House Trade Paperbacks
Rovira i Virgili University Press Oxford University Press Spiegel & Grau
William Morrow Randall House Publications JournalStone
Hunter House Orbit Books WaterBrook Press
HarperCollins Greyhart Press Stone Bridge Press
BookViewCafe Palgrave Macmillan Istoria Books
Galaxy Audio Prufrock Press Gotham Books
Avery St. Martin’s Griffin Ripetta Press
Information Today, Inc. Orca Book Publishers Zest Books
CyberAge Books Crown Publishing Bellevue Literary Press
Thomas House Publishing A & N Publishing Open Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Join the 75 Books Challenge for 2013!

Looking for a fun way to get more involved with LibraryThing? Join the 75 Books Challenge for 2013, one of the site’s most active (and entertaining) groups. Members take a stab at reading 75 books over the course of the year (although, as the group description notes, “It turns out we care less about the numbers than we do about the exchange of book info and the community of readers”). Your mileage will vary.

Participants are invited to start a thread and list/discuss what they’re reading (here’s the full list so far), but the group goes way beyond that, with monthly Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI) challenges, monthly themes, group reads, meetups, and more.

This is the sixth year of the LT 75 Books Challenge, and it gets more and more interesting every time. I’ve joined the fray for the second time this year (you can see my reading thread here): I had a great deal of fun last year, and am excited to be back in the game for 2013!

The activity level is fairly high, but there’s a handy wiki to help you keep things straight, and of course the members of the group are always helpful to new members. Most importantly, it’s a fun way to meet other LibraryThing members and discuss what you’re reading (also, be warned, your wishlist is very likely to grow by leaps and bounds!).

To participate, just jump right in by visiting the group page. And have fun!

Labels: groups, reading