Monday, September 12th, 2005

LibraryThing in the Guardian!

LibraryThing was written up by Andrew Brown in the Guardian‘s daily email digest “The Wrap.” The Wrap is subscription only, but apparently reaches some 40,000 people, and not a few have since stopped by.

The article is long and, as stated, not free, but I can share the opening paragraph:

“Almost every day someone comes up with a use for the internet that
makes you wonder why no one has thought of it before. Once a year,
maybe, one of these good ideas gets built. Last week, one of these
simple, brilliant ideas got built, and it’s good news for anyone who
owns the books they read.”

Brown’s weblog notes Bibliophil and Reader2, who also had similar ideas (and Bibliophil had it first). Brown’s opinion that Bibliophil has “rotted” is a bit strong—the webmaster wrote to me that he’s in the process of a major upgrade.

Brown is optimistic about the business possibilities. I think he’s wrong: the internet produces much more value than it captures. But I intend to make some money (2-4 memberships/day?) and that money will pay for the new server I’m getting this week, and some of the time. At the current rate, LibraryThing is adding 150,000 books/mo. That kind of database isn’t free.

Comments suggest that $10 isn’t a big barrier for people. I may raise this a little in the future, or switch to a yearly rate, but “free or cheap” will always be the deal, and, of course, current paid members are locked in for life.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on features. The “Add Books” page changed a little. If the LC has just one match it no longer automatically adds it to your library, but shows you the cover and lets you try Amazon. There are a few other such tweaks.

Keep the suggestions coming. I have a backlog, but expect to work continuously on this for some weeks to come.

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