Friday, October 17th, 2008

Bigger than the Library of Congress

LOC photo taken by Abby, two days after LibraryThing
became a “real company” in 2006

LibraryThing now has 32,287,447 books cataloged—finally surpassing the number of books in the Library of Congress (32,124,001 according to the ALA Fact Sheet). We’ve been waiting for this for years, as we slowly made our way up the list. Alas, now that we’ve topped it, what have we to aspire towards?

We’re not trying to say that LibraryThing compares with the LC, in a “real library” sense. We have, for example, 24,119 copies of Tolkien’s The Hobbit in LibraryThing, and 15,545 copies of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (and don’t even get me started on the Harry Potter books!* No real library stocks books in those kind of quantities!

But the fun of LibraryThing isn’t just in the widely held books, it’s in those that are shared by only 10 or 20 other members. It’s easy to find someone who has read The Hobbit. Finding someone to discuss your more obscure books isn’t quite so simple. But on LibraryThing, you can. There are 8 members who list The National Uncanny: Indian Ghosts and American Subjects—8 members who can find each other and have a common interest. The “long tail” of LibraryThing is long indeed.

*See the top 1,000 books and authors here

Labels: library of congress, milestones


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