Monday, September 19th, 2011

Welcome Mike Topper!

Welcome Mike Topper (LT member miketopper), our new developer! He’ll be working on projects both for and for LibraryThing for Libraries.

Mike was born and raised in a small city right outside Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, he went on to work for various startup companies in Ann Arbor, New York City and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mike and his wife moved back from Argentina last year and are now restoring a 200-year-old farmhouse in rural Maine. (Mike will be able to come down to LibraryThing’s offices in Portland whenever we want to work together, but he’ll mostly be working from home.)

Mike enjoys hiking in the White Mountains, knitting things for friends and family, reading a lot of epic fantasy books, buying fancy scotch, rooting for the Detroit Tigers and working on his falling-down farmhouse. He has dreams of one day owning a herd of dairy goats.

His favorite authors include Arthur Conan Doyle, George R.R. Martin, Michael Sipser and Kurt Vonnegut. You can follow him on Twitter at @miketopper, and as GeekPride on Ravelry.

Labels: employees

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

LibraryThing Meetup at National Book Festival

This year’s National Book Festival (coming up on September 24-25 on the National Mall) is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic event: for the first time the festival will extend over two days, and the list of authors is very impressive indeed.

LibraryThing members are planning to meet up at various points during the festival, both to attend author events and just to meet, eat, chat, &c. Come discuss in the planning thread or visit the meetup wiki to see what’s going on.

We’ll post pictures and more from the meetups after the Festival. Have fun!

Labels: meet up, National Book Festival, NBF

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Legacy Libraries updates: Arendt, Greene, Twain, Wilde

Some recent Library Library highlights:

Hannah Arendt: LTers pranogajec, rsterling, and mambo_taxi have completed the addition of political theorist Hannah Arendt’s 3,500+ books, which are currently in the collections of Bard College.

Graham Greene: Our flash-mob to finish up author Graham Greene’s catalog went very well, and Greene’s 2,500 titles now at Boston College have been completely entered. Thanks to the following LTers for their assistance: g062r (who began the project and added the first several hundred titles), plus ReneeGKC, jjmcgaffey, cinaedus, timspalding, jbd1, cartogis, melmmo, JustJoey4, DuneSherban, mandymarie20, Kaczencja, SassyLassy, flissp, rdurie, melmore, jcbrunner, anglemark, ansate, Wabbit98, UtopianPessimist, urland, arrwa, cpirmann, jburlinson, DanaW.

Mark Twain: Now underway as an effort of the Mark Twain Papers & Project, headed up by LTer skgoetz, Mark Twain’s Legacy Library catalog. Watch for new titles!

Oscar Wilde: Another Legacy Library now underway: the books entered so far are based on Thomas Wright’s book Oscar’s Books, with many more to come from other sources. LTer JDEllevsen began this catalog and will be augmenting it with additional data over time.

On the Libraries of Early America front, I recently finished up the library of Richard Henry Lee. He’s the 20th Signer of the Declaration of Independence with a completed LT library (see the full list here). And I’m currently going through a large database of 17th and 18th-century probate inventories from York County, Virginia to add information about libraries there. More data about early libraries continues to arrive every day!

Many thanks as always to all those helping out with the Legacy Libraries. For more info or to find out how you can help, see the homepage.

Labels: flash-mob cataloging, legacies, legacy libraries

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

A Member Giveaways success story

Last week I was delighted to receive the following email from LT Author Douglas E. Richards (member DouglasE.Richards):

“Since its launch 6 weeks ago, my new thriller WIRED has become the #1 bestselling technothriller on Amazon (including both physical books and eBooks), and the #1 book in high-tech sci-fi — and as high as 131 among all items in the Kindle store (including books, newspapers, magazines, and games). I believe that much of the credit goes to LibraryThing and its fantastic giveaway program. WIRED was part of one pre-publication and one post-publication LT giveaway, and I’m convinced that it was the giveaway winners who ignited the word-of-mouth fuse that still seems to be going strong.

I can’t thank you enough for giving authors like me a place to go to find avid readers willing to take a chance on an unknown novel, and willing to spread the word once they find something they like. I really appreciate it.”

Check it out: here’s Amazon’s Best Sellers in Science Fiction list, and there’s WIRED, right there at the top (as of 1 p.m. EDT, still ahead of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons). This afternoon it’s listed as #79 in the Kindle Store among paid ebooks.

WIRED has already garnered 27 reviews on LibraryThing, and has an average rating of 4.5 stars.

Find out more about Member Giveaways.

Labels: member giveaways

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Recommendations for groups and authors! (but help needed)

I’ve added two new types of “recommendations”—”characteristic works” for member groups and “read-alikes” for author pages. We need your help improving the latter.

Groups recommendations. The group recommendations are on the new and developing “Group Zeitgeist” pages. Each group Zeitgeist includes two lists:

  • Most-held works. Shows the top books held by group members, with no weighting or adjustment–that is, Harry Potter often wins.
  • Characteristic works. Shows the top books, weighted the way recommendations are weighted–that is, it shows works held by group-members in unusual amounts.

“Characteristic works” works quite well. Librarians who LibraryThing lists Taylor’s Introduction to Cataloging and Classification, Library: An Unquiet History and even AACR2. Christianity‘s list starts with Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Cthulhu Mythos with The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, Medieval Europe with The Civilization of the Middle Ages, etc.

Author read-alikes. The new “author read-alike” uses much the same algorithm, but the results are not always as good. For example, C. S. Lewis recommends George MacDonald, G. K. Chesterton and Madeleine L’Engle–good–but also Laura Ingalls Wilder–read by some of the same people who read Narnia, but not otherwise similar.

To help us improve the algorithm, we’re showing four different versions of the algorithm, and asking members to rate them with stars. Knowing both what authors fail and which version of the algorithm is better will help us develop a better algorithm. Keep in mind that we make recommendations to be interesting and entertaining, so a certain amount of weirdness is acceptable if it also produces something inspired.

So far, only about 2,200 authors have been calculated. You can see a list of the authors here, with your authors shown in bold.

Labels: authors, recommendations

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

September Early Reviewers batch is up!

The September 2011 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 121 books this month, and a grand total of 3,089 copies to give out. It’s our largest ER batch so far!

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:

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, September 26th 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, Israel, and a whole bunch 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!

Picador L&L Dreamspell Gefen Publishing House
Bloomsbury Henry Holt and Company Double Day Religion
WaterBrook Press Harper Paperbacks Mulholland Books
Quirk Books William Morrow Ballantine Books
Ashland Creek Press Wakestone Press Lazie Horse Publishing
February Partners New Society Publishers St. Martin’s Minotaur
St. Martin’s Press Zed Books Signet
Nolo Crown Publishing Tundra Books
Human Kinetics Tor Books Small Beer Press
Exterminating Angel Press HighBridge Gunga Peas Books, LLC
JournalStone Delacorte Press St. Martin’s Griffin
Sovereign The Writer’s Coffee Shop Camel Press
Marina Publishing Group Iron Diesel Press Random House
SpaceStation Colt Open Books BookViewCafe
Prufrock Press Pomegranate PomegranateKids
McFarland Penguin Young Readers Group Bellevue Literary Press
Orca Book Publishers Clerisy Press Bethany House
Taylor Trade Publishing Lamington Press Sourcebooks
Safkhet Select Safkhet Fantasy

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Author rating statistics

I’ve added an author sub-page for “Rating statistics.” It shows all an author’s works, together with their ratings. In addition to the average (mean), it also has rating count, median, and standard deviation. You can click on a column to sort by it, and filter out books with few ratings—useful for more popular authors.

Check out some examples: Ann Patchett, John McWhorter, David Sedaris.

Labels: authors

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Help libraries damaged by Hurricane Irene

Author Kate Messner posted yesterday about serious damage suffered by the Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY from Hurricane Irene’s floodwaters. Almost their entire childrens’ book collection was soaked beyond salvage, and they could use donations of money or books to replace the lost titles.

We’re sure there are other libraries out there in the same situation, so we want to help however we can. I’ve set up a wiki page to track needs and how to help, and I’ve contacted librarians at various libraries in the Bahamas and the U.S. reported to have suffered damage from Irene. I’ll be updating the wiki page as I get new information, but others should feel free to add to it, or to email me ( with updates.

I’ll be sending copies of some of my favorite childrens’ books, as well.

Come discuss on Talk.

Labels: altruism, libraries, love

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Flash-mob catalog Graham Greene’s library!

Flash-mob time! Help us complete the Graham Greene Legacy Library catalog by assisting with the addition of the ~2,200 remaining titles.

Greene’s library, now in the collections of Boston College, is notable for the number of books containing Greene’s annotations and marginalia.

Many thanks to LTer g026r for getting this project started!

See the wiki page for details on how to help, or discuss on the Talk thread.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, legacy libraries

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Stamp your books!

Today is LibraryThing’s sixth birthday. In honor of the event, we’ve got a nifty new piece of LibraryThing swag—a good old-fashioned library stamp, so you can keep track of the books you’ve cataloged, and show off a bit too. After much deliberation and hunting, we finally found a supplier that could provide what we wanted: a decent wooden stamp with a handle that we could sell for a reasonable price.

The rubber stamp is mounted on maple wood, and we opted for the wooden handle, to give you that real library stamp feel. The impression is 1 inch by 1 inch— perfect for stamping on the first page, half-title, title page or wherever.

We’ll be selling these at $9.95 apiece, plus shipping and handling.

Order yours at:

Come talk about the stamp.

Labels: birthday, LT swag