Monday, November 12th, 2007

A Dutch swap site

I’ve just added a new swap site, Boekenruilen.nl, a new Dutch book swapping site. Here’s the swap page for Duncton Tales, available on Boekenruilen.nl.

Book-swapping is another of the “29 Things” many members don’t know about LibraryThing.

In short, there are a growing number of swap sites out there—sites where you can give and give books for a modest fee or even for postage alone. The largest site is BookMooch, but many members swear by other sites, and there are a growing number of country-specific sites. Boekenruilen.nl is the first Dutch site of its kind.

Some time ago, we decided NOT to get into the swapping game ourselves, but to integrate with sites. Almost all sites have met our modest requirements for integration. In this way every work on LibraryThing can have a “swap” page, showing what sites have a book and making it easy to give or get a book from a swap site. The page can be found in the “Buy, borrow or swap” box.

Examples: Atonement, The Kite Runner, Freakonomics.

Labels: 29things, boekenruilen.nl, swap

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Does your bookstore have it? (Calling BookSense stores!)

Introducing our new series: “29 Things You Didn’t Know you Could Do with LibraryThing” our attempt to introduce cheesy “style magazine” graphics and arbitrary numbers to the LibraryThing blog!*

Today’s topic is Bookstore Integration. Did you know that LibraryThing integrates with local bookstores? Basically, we’ll tell you if your local bookstore has a copy of a book in the store, and what it’s going for. It’s free for you and for the bookstore. It’s particularly easy for the bookstore to set up.

So far, we only have three bookstores in the system:

If you’re near any of these stores, you can add them to your work pages in two ways. Either go to your profile and select “edit profile,” or click the little pencil next to “Buy, borrow or swap” on a work page.

We need bookstores! We’d love to get more bookstores involved. In particular, any independent that uploads its inventory to BookSense can upload the same file to LibraryThing—no problem. If you aren’t a BookSense member, but can still export inventory data, let us know. Basically we need ISBN, price and quantity updated at least once per week.

At one point we explored some “high-level” discussion but, like so many “deals,” nothing came of it. Since the whole thing is basically free promotion for local bookstores, and a service to local customers, we hope that we can get more bookstores, and even bookstore chains involved without another conference call with a corporate marketing director!

As stated, this is a free servie. Like our Early Reviewers program—free buzz for publishers, free books for readers—we aim to do nothing more than make LibraryThing more useful and fun for everybody**. We succeed if LibraryThing gets better, which “aligns” our interests much better than if we negotiating complex deals.

Email tim@librarything.com for more info! Please note that this is a local bookstore offer. We’re not soliciting online bookstores to send their inventories. AbeBooks.com and BookFinder exists already!

*Why 29? Because it looked better than 27 or 28!
**This also applies to our recent movie-ticket give-away, although in exchange for the promotion New Line Cinema did agree to cast Abby as lead in a future production.

Labels: booksense, bookstore integration, bookstores

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Cool member covers rolling in

Two days ago I asked members to send us alternate “default covers” and the covers are rolling in, even though I neglected to say how. We love all of them—they’re excellent. It’s going to be hard to pick winners.

How to send more: Since the files are big, there’s no easy way to post them; send to my email, tim@librarything.com.

theAshLad3

Greyhead

Mark

From cckelly

peterp6

Image:book-cover-violet.jpg Image:book-cover-black.jpg Image:book-cover-brown.jpg Image:book-cover-blue.jpg Image:book-cover-green.jpg Image:book-cover-red.jpg

My original cover

Labels: book covers, contests

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Free movie passes to Love in the Time of Cholera

Want to see a free advance screening of a movie next week? New Line Cinema is giving LibraryThing members in California* an invitation to see the film Love in the Time of Cholera before it opens. Details below.

Does the film do the book justice? Members of the Made into a Movie group, I look to you… (Join the conversation about When the movies are better than the books or vice versa).

The nitty gritty.
There are two screenings:

Los Angeles. 7:30pm, Tuesday November 13th. AMC Century City 15, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90067. (Click here to get the LA pass)

Orange County. 7:30pm, Wednesday November 14th. AMC 30 @ The Block of Orange, 20 City West Blvd, Orange 92868. (Click here to get the OC pass)

Click on the link to get a pass, print it out, and bring it to the screening (each pass admits two people). Both screenings start at 7:30pm, and admittance is on a first come first served basis—so get there early! They’ll start letting people in around 7pm.

*Apologies to the non-Californians (hey, I’m one of you!).

Labels: movies

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Help out with default covers!

LibraryThing now shows a special blank cover whenever a book lacks one.

We think we can do it better. We’d love members to be able to pick a different cover, and even different default covers for different books. For example, I’d love to have a default cover for the Loeb Classical Library’s Latin (red) and Greek (green) books.

So, let’s open it up. LibraryThing members have time and again shown they take better pictures than us. So let’s have a contest!

UPDATE: Two people sent in some very slick covers, in a rainbow of colors. I think they’re pretty cool. Check them out below. I also set up a wiki page for the contest.

What do to: Take a photo of your favorite, probably old book. Make sure you take it from directly above and the image is clear.

The image. Quality is key. The image need to be large and clear. You don’t need to Photoshop it yourself—slicing it out of background and removing the title, if there is one—but it has to be doable. Shadows are killer.

The rules. We’ll give out three-to-five free accounts, but we reserve the right to use any image submitted. All images will be credited on the page where you choose them, if you want it.

Sent today!:
Image:book-cover-violet.jpg Image:book-cover-black.jpg Image:book-cover-brown.jpg Image:book-cover-blue.jpg Image:book-cover-green.jpg Image:book-cover-red.jpg

Current page:

Google’s default covers:

Labels: book covers, contest, covers

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Free books! November Early Reviewers

LibraryThing Early Reviewers
The November batch of Early Reviewers books is now up. It’s a nice varied list this time. 13 different publishers provided 24 different books, adding up to 600 copies in total.

See all the books and request the ones you’d like to review here: http://www.librarything.com/er/list.

Open to UK residents The big news this round is that we’ve got a publisher from the UK participating, so one book is available only to residents of the UK! We’re still working on opening this up to more countries, so if you don’t live in the US, Canada, or the UK, don’t give up hope yet!

The deadline to request books this round is Monday, November 12th at noon EST. Check out the rules and Frequently Asked Questions, or talk about the program in the Early Reviewers group.

A big thanks to the following publishers for participating:

LibraryThing Early ReviewersTim also made up a bunch of new graphics for Early Reviewers—feel free to take them, love them, use them on your blog, proudly proclaim that you’re an Early Reviewer. You can find them here: http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Early_Reviewers_Graphics

We also made the news last week—the Early Reviewer program was mentioned in November’s issue of Publishing Trends (“We Won! Publishers Learn That Everyone Loves (to Talk About) a Free Book“), which was also picked up by GalleyCat. Hopefully this will bring more publishers (and thus more free books) our way.

Labels: early reviewers

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Twenty Million Books / Three-hundred thousand members.

We recently hit another big milestone—20,000,000 books and 300,000 registered members!*

The exact twenty-millionth book was All Day Every Day by David Armstrong (2002), added by BernardYenelouis last Wednesday night. BernardYenelouis, who gets a gift-account for his good luck, has a library filled with interesting photography books. In this case, he was actually the first to add the book.

It’s an interesting light on the books members have. I usually stress how books bind people together. I once almost broke the system proving that while, as the idea goes, everyone may be six-acquaintances away from everyone, if you consider books as the connection, they’re more like three books away. But people’s reading tastes are also amazingly diverse. Over 1.7 million books are singletons on LibraryThing, and five million books belong to a work in ten or fewer members’ libraries. Sure we have a hundred-thousand Harry Potters, but the “long tail” of books is very long.** Chris Anderson has shown this in book sales, but the long tail of ownership is much longer.***

Twenty million feels pretty big to us, but we’re not quite sure where it puts us on our—admittedly asterisked—climb up the global libraries list. We’re in the top five, it seems. The largest, however, the Library of Congress has 30 million books. That’s going to be a fun one!

We’re also announcing the winners of the 20-million/Halloween photo contest. The Halloween winner is Bluesky1963‘s wonderful Oz-inspired photo (right).

The Halloween runners-up was micketymoc‘s wonderful “Scary Stories.” (What sort of stories do books tell around the camp fire? Termite stories, of course!) Micketymoc‘s profile’s also great. As for the 20-million photos it was a tie between erelsi183‘s candles and the cake-and-numbers photo by white_Dandelion.

I enjoyed all the others, but thought I’d post a few, including AnotherJennifer‘s “Annabel Lee, Shakespeare, and the devil celebrate Halloween together,” mekela05‘s Steven-King/spiders pile and Mojosmom‘s horror pop-up.

Four more pictures deserve a mention. Abby and Sara invited Lisa, Liam and I over for dinner in Cambridge, and I brought along the bottle of champagne that my brother had given me in commemoration of LibraryThing’s one-millionth book. It was time to drink it, and it was good.

The other two are the only costume photos we received. One Thingamabrarian who wants to be known as Christine submitted her MySpace profile costume. She gets ten points for originality and loses them for not going around as her LibraryThing profile! The other photo is just nepotism.

*Of course, not all 300,000 are active, and a small number of our books are really DVDs or CDs—which are harder, but not impossible to enter. Against that, however, many records combine multiple volumes in a single entry, so the number of uncounted volumes may well balance out the non-book stuff.
Around the same time we hit 26,000,000 tags and 600,000 user-contributed covers. Still, I spent half an hour trying to find the cover for my copy of the Complete War Memoirs of Charles de Gaulle, the one with him very tiny in a big white Cross of Lorraine, a cover I feel like I’ve seen in a thousand used bookstores! No dice, on LT or elsewhere. I don’t usually understand the desire for the right cover, but this one got me. Unfortunately, my scanner is non-functional. In related news, we’re going to announce something really exciting about covers sometime this month.
**It seems to me that LibraryThing really comes into its own in the sweet-spot between very obscure and very common, perhaps 25 to 500 members. After all, there are ample real-world opportunities for discussing Harry Potter or the latest hot novel, and when only a few LT members have a book you can’t be sure any will be actively engaged with the social-networking side of the site. About eight million books belong to works between 25 and 500 members.
***And of library collections. I found a good quote in the short essay “The Long Tail and Libraries” by Tom Storey (in Developing Cyber Libraries, 2006, not yet in LT!). “If Anderson’s theory is correct, and all media are in the throes of radical change, libraries may be well-positioned for this new. The Long Tail is something they understand and have practiced for years.” (p. 238)

Labels: 20 million books, book pile, contest, halloween, milestones

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Early Reviewer books on NPR

Two LibraryThing Early Reviewer books have been mentioned recently on NPR, so we figured that deserved some notice here.

The story ‘Identical Strangers’ Explore Nature Vs. Nurture is about Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein’s* Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

And Disease, Politics Permeate ‘The Air We Breathe’ is on Andrea Barrett’s The Air We Breathe.

We’re still/perpetually looking for more publishers to join our Early Reviewer program—more information here: http://www.librarything.com/forpublishers/

And for aspiring readers/reviewers, we’ll announce the November batch of available books soon!

Oh, and Tim wants me to remind everyone about the latest book pile contest (below): Twenty-million books and/or Halloween…

*Paula Bernstein is, incidently, also an official LibraryThing Author.

Labels: early reviewers, LT author, NPR

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Photo contest: Twenty-million/Halloween


Back when we had five million books!

We’re about to hit twenty-million books cataloged. It should happen Monday or Tuesday. Then Halloween is coming up later in the week.

So we’re doing a photo contest (see past ones)! Some ideas:

  • Make a spooky halloween book pile. Scary books and severed hands?
  • Make a twenty-million pile, or better, I’d love to get photos of people blowing out candles on books or whatever. Since we’re all virtual now, I’m going to ask all the LT employees to blow out something on a cupcake. Come join us and we’ll make a big montage of fire and puffed cheeks.

We’ll give out a winner (lifetime account) and two runners-up (year’s account) for each of the two categories. And glory, lots of glory.

Directions:

  • Post your photos to Flickr and tag them “LT20millionhalloween” (also tag them LibraryThing). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them here or do 2.
  • Or, post your photos on the wiki here.
  • Or, if all else fails, just email them to tim@librarything.com and I’ll post them.

Contest ends MIDNIGHT Thursday, November 1.

Labels: 20 million books, book pile, contest, halloween

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Pirates and haikus and contest winners

At long last, the contest winners!

Pirate book piles

I’m giving out two awards for the Talk Like a Pirate Day book pile contest, so congrats to
-Mr-Dustin-, with Treasure of Knowledge, and Emma*, for Here be Pirates—a delightful combination of books plus skull.

See other photos on Flickr, under the TLAPDLibraryThing tag, linked to in the comments of this blog post, or here on WikiThing.

Haikus

Are pirate haikus
truly art? Or attempts to
bring meaning to bilge?
-megacoupe

The age old question. Well, I love the LT haikus. More than words can describe. Especially now that I get emails which start “The haiku told me to email you about…” Priceless.

Here are a few of my favorites—gift memberships are winging their way to the authors of these gems.

But no one must see
all my birdwatching manuals!
Hide all your books here.
-gemmation

New to LibraryThing.
The day is gone. Tomorrow,
A new boss awaits.
-peter.g

Though ye sail under
many flags, your Tag Mirror
shows yer true colors.
-SilentInAWay

Cutlass, cannon, argh!
The never-ending battle.
Splitters and lumpers.
-larxol

Common Knowledge is
Uncommonly addictive
Leaves lie yet unraked
-tardis

Look at all the LibraryThing Haikus on WikiThing—there’s help in haiku, general LT haikus, Library 2.0 haikus, and even Talk Like a Pirate Day themed ones.

Look, even Thomas Jefferson approves!

I delight, knowing
That my library lives on,
On the Internets.
-ThomasJefferson

*email me (abby@librarything.com) – I don’t know who to give the gift membership prize to!

Labels: book pile, contest