Archive for May, 2009

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

May Bonus batch of Early Reviewer books

This month we have a special bonus batch of Early Reviewer books! The May Bonus batch includes 7 books and a grand total of 185 copies to give out.

For a special treat, Random House is giving away books from two recent Pulitzer Prize winners. Jon Meacham for American Lion and Elizabeth Strout for Olive Kitteridge.

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 Friday, June 5th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This batch of books can be sentonly to members in the US. 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!

Random House Open Letter
Ballantine Books Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company

Labels: bonus batch, early reviewers, LTER, random house

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Flash-mob in South Carolina

This Saturday, May 30th, the Clemson Montessori School in Clemson, SC will host a flash-mob to catalog their library.

It will start at 9am and go until it ends (probably not later than 3pm). Arrive anytime before lunch and stay an hour or all day! The school will provide morning snacks, coffee, etc. and lunch for helpers.

204 Pendleton Road. Clemson, SC 29631 (just off of US 76).

The catalogers will be behind the white fence in the building nearest the soccer field.

There are lots of books to catalog and the library building has wireless internet so bring your laptops and join us. (We should also have limited access to a couple of desktop computers).

Please let Tricia know if you plan to come (or need more info) via a comment on her profile (hailelib or cmslib29631) or email at

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Better statistics, other improvements

I spent the weekend cooking up code, not sausages:

1. Series statistics. By popular demand, the member Series Statistics page can now show your series books you have in context of the complete series. (See talk post.)

2. Awards, characters and places. I’ve added similar statistics pages for three other “Common Knowledge” categories—Awards, Characters, Places. (See talk post.)

I also added series, awards, characters and places stats in your profile* and the “Your Zeitgeist” box on your home page (see talk post.)

3. More Green Checkmarks. Green check-marks, the mark that shows when you have a work, have spread further. They are now appearing on work-page recommendations, recommendation pages and in other members’ catalogs. (See talk post.)

4. Power Edit gets better Previously, you could only Power Edit a page at a time (ie., no more than 100 books at a time). I added a feature to allow you to power-edit all the books in a given result set. So, you can do all your books, all the books that match a particular search, etc.

See the talk post.

5. Message Flagging. I’ve improved message-flagging in Talk, so that members can reverse their flagging, as well as counter-flag a message, if they think it was wrongly flagged. (See talk post.)

I also proposed making the Wikipedia policy “Assume good faith?” an official LibraryThing policy, triggering a lively debate about community norms, just what spam is and so forth. See the talk post.

*Originally high, but I moved it down when members hollered.

Labels: common knowledge, new features, statistics

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Author interviews posted

Our first two author interviews, first seen in the revamped State of the Thing newsletter, are live on the site itself. The interviews are:

Abby and I enjoyed reading the books—we both read from Bad Mother (thumbs up, but it will tweak you), and Abby read The Song is You (thumbs up)*. Philips’ interview convinced me I should check him out. “A child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy champion” and a huge fan of Pale Fire? Will he come to our next party?

Want to do an author interview? Know someone who might? We’re looking for authors, and we’d rather get great ideas from members than declare open-season on our inboxes from publisher PR types. Email about it.

We have a number of other things authors and publishers can “do” with LibraryThing on the about page. We’ll be sprucing it up in time for Book Expo America in New York.

*I think we have to stop saying if we liked a book, as we’ll eventually read one we positively hate and “Check out this interview with Mr-Can’t-Write” probably won’t win us any friends.

Labels: authors, librarything authors, new features

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

State of the Thing

Our monthly “State of the Thing” newsletter just went out.

We “did it up,” with a full HTML version and some special features. Notably, the May newsletter includes our first two author interviews:

Ayelet Waldman, author of the Mommy Track Mysteries, and now Bad Mother
Arthur Phillips, author of The Egyptologist and The Song is You

We ask penetrating questions like “Describe your library” and “Is your husband really that perfect?” We’ll be doing more of them as time goes by, and making them available on the site generally.

For now, however, you can only get them in the newsletter. So if you want to get a copy, be sure to edit your account preferences. We’ll send you out a copy soon after.

Labels: new features

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Compare your library with others’

I’ve added a new “Compare: Connections” feature, similar to the Legacy Library feature. But instead of munging statistics about Jefferson and Yeats, the new feature works on your friends, interesting libraries and other connections lists.

Members: find yours here.
Others: here are mine.

As with the Legacy Libraries page, you get a couple options. First, you choose which list you want to look at—friends and so forth. Then try:

  • Shared books, books. Shows the most popular books you also share.
  • Shared books, people. Shows all the connections, with how much they share.
  • Top books. Shows the most popular books, whether or not you share them. It’s a “Most Popular Books” for your friends and other connections.

I’m anticipating some time-outs on larger libraries. The calculations here are brutal—100MB of RAM is not atypical. I’ll mitigate them tomorrow.

A feature for LibraryThing Authors. I’ve also added a small, but cute feature for LibraryThing Authors. In certain circumstances, LibraryThing Authors now get a “Your Readers” list, alongside their friends and so forth. Right now, these lists are appearing on all author and work pages—again, only if you are a LibraryThing author. They aren’t showing up in the “Compare” feature because many authors have hundreds or thousands of readers, and the system can’t handle all that calculation right now.

Talk about both features on this blog or here.

Labels: new features

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Who reads an author?

I’ve “brought back” top member lists on author pages, significantly enhancing them with lists that show the author’s readers among your friends and connections, and among Legacy Libraries (eg., C. S. Lewis had a lot of Twain).

Also new, LibraryThing Authors now get a new “Your Readers” connections category, so they can find out what your readers think of a given author or work.

Discuss here

Labels: authors, librarything authors, LT author, new features

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

May Early Reviewer Books

The May batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 61 books this month, and a grand total of 1,569 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:

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, May 29th at 6PM EST.

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

Howard Books W.W. Norton HarperCollins
Canongate Books Litwin Books Tradewind Books
St. Martin’s Griffin The Permanent Press Shambhala
WaterBrook Press Leucrota Press Newmarket Press
Henry Holt and Company Crossway Beacon Press
Scribner Bantam Touchstone
Knopf Manic D Press Doubleday Canada
St. Martin’s Press Raven Tree Press Solutions
Delta North Atlantic Books Faber and Faber
Bell Bridge Books Bloomsbury Workman Publishing
South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Labels: early reviewers

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

London Book Fair

A few weeks ago I flew across the pond to speak at the London Book Fair. The panel* I was on focused on books and marketing in an online world. I talked about how traditional marketing is seen as just spam when it comes onto social networking sites (the “hi, want to be my friend? buy my book!” posts endear no one), and how authors need to genuinely participate and become part of the community online.

On LibraryThing, there are a number of ways for authors and publishers to become involved. I talked about Early Reviewers, of course, but also Author Chats, LibraryThing Local (add upcoming readings!), and our (upcoming) author interviews.

I spent the rest of the fair walking around to publisher booths, inviting them to join Early Reviewers. We have a majority of the big publishers in the US participating, but only a handful in the rest of the world. Part of this trip was to attempt to remedy that, one country at a time (if LibraryThing wants to fund an Abby world tour, that’s fine by me)! I talked to many UK publishers, and hopefully we’ll see some books available to more countries on the Early Reviewers lists soon!

And, of course, London was great fun. I’d only ever been to England on layovers before (meaning, I’d been to Heathrow, but not beyond the airport walls!). In the evenings I played tourist and walked all over the city. I only went inside a few places, but the highlight was definitely the underground The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.

*See Lance Fensterman’s (my fellow panelist and director of BookExpo America) post about the panel here, and the moderator, Chad Post’s here.

Labels: author chat, authors, early reviewers, London Book Fair, publishers