Archive for July, 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Authors abound

This month’s State of the Thing newsletter several exclusive author features, which you can now see on the site, even if you don’t read the State of the Thing.

Interview with Author David Ebershoff.

David is the author of The 19th Wife—the story of Brigham Young’s 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young. In his interview with LibraryThing, David talks about his own personal library, his research process, and the book.

Reading lists
On the search for something to read? Authors Steve Luxenberg and Mary Jane Clark, gave us two very different “summer reading” lists. The books they suggest are pictured below, but see their pages for their reasons why.

Steve Luxenberg’s creative take on a summer reading list

Mary Jane Clark’s summer reading list

Steve and Mary Jane are also doing author chats on LibraryThing right now, so stop by to ask them a question!

Author chats

Authors stop by LibraryThing to answer questions from members, talk about their writing, and more. These three authors are chatting right now, and check out the schedule of upcoming chats for what’s up next.

Labels: author chat, author interview, authors, state of the thing

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

$1,000 Indie bookstore spree for a Maine-based PHP hacker

As LibraryThing learns again and again, hiring hackers in Maine is hard. So we’re renewing our offer—find us an employee and get $1,000 worth of books. 

Skills. We’re looking for a smart, capable, passionate hacker/programmer. We work primarily in PHP and JavaScript, with some Python thrown in. We use a lot of MySQL. We have a startup mentality.
I’ve given up on listing skills and requirements. We want someone who will kicks ass immediately or very soon after the hire. The rest is window-dressing.
We are only looking for someone in or around Portland, Maine. If you’re super-excited about working for LibraryThing from home, go ahead and send a resume, but it’ll go in a different pile.

$1,000 for an Indie. With southern Maine losing bookstores fast, we want the money to, well, keep ’em here. So, the winner gets a $1,000 gift certificate to Longfellow Books, Books, Etc. or any other independent bookseller, new or used. If you’re not local, we’ll write the check to your local indie. 

Rules. To qualify, you need to connect us to someone. Either you introduce them to us—and they follow up with a resume and etc.—or they mention your name in their email (“So-and-so told me about LibraryThing”). You can recommend yourself, but if you found out about it on someone’s blog, we hope you’ll do the right thing and make them the beneficiary.

Small print: Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible and completely dictatorial. It only applies when an employee is hired for a full-time salary job, not part-time, contract or for a trial period (which we often do first). If we don’t hire someone for the job, we don’t pay. The contact must happen in the next month. If we’ve already heard of or from the candidate, or the situation is otherwise unclear, we may split the money up. Void where prohibited. You pay taxes, and the hidden tax of shelving. Tim Spalding and his family are not eligible, but other LibraryThing employees are.

Labels: employment, jobs, maine, portland

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

HelpThing: Member-driven help

We’ve added a “Help” button to every page of LibraryThing. The button goes to “HelpThing,” a member-driven help system taking shape as we speak:

The idea is simple:

  • Every page on LibraryThing gets a HelpThing page
  • HelpThing is wiki-editable by any LibraryThing member
  • Members and staff collaborate to create a detailed, but accessible guide to LibraryThing

HelpThing started as a “stealth project” by LibraryThing programmer Chris (ConceptDawg). It took a while before I was convinced of the idea.

While I was ignoring the idea, however, members were busy realizing it, official sanction or no. Most of the content was written by LibraryThing member fyrefly98, with contributions from mvrdrk. A somewhat separate—but integrateable—guide to collections was produced by PortiaLong and Lquilter. These members, and the others who helped them, are simply awesome.

Well, now it’s your turn. From being a non-feature, then a Beta feature, it’s now available for everyone to edit. To bring some structure to it, and because, well, I’m still a little afraid of it, I started a HelpThing Style Guide, and fixed up a few pages.

Come and discuss the feature on the New Features post. Ongoing conversation can be had in the Common Knowledge and WikiThing group.

Three cheers for Chris and everyone who’s worked on it so far. Now let’s make it as helpful and compelling as we can!

Labels: HelpThing, new features

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters??

Quirk Books, the publisher responsible for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which has been on or near the top LibraryThing’s “Popular this Month” list since May) has announced a new title: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I haven’t read P&P&Z yet, but I know Sonya and Tim both enjoyed it…

Ben H. Winters, the author of the upcoming Sense and Sensiblity and Sea Monsters was interviewed in EW’s Shelf Life recently, where he said:

I feel like people who really love Austen get it. Her novels are so strong, so cleverly constructed, so smart and dry, they really lend themselves to over-the-top violence.

Were truer words ever spoken?

The books’ trailer

Meanwhile, the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame Smith, is now working on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for Grand Central. That one I can’t wait to read.

At any rate, we’ll have to see if we can get some copies for Early Reviewers.

Hat tip Speakeasy, a WSJ blog.

Labels: early reviewers, pride and prejudice and zombies, quirk books

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Congratulations to Mike and Rebecca

Congratulations to LibraryThing programmer Mike Bannister and his bride Rebecca Kilkenny Mullins—we wish you many joyful years together!

Labels: 1

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

LibraryThing at ALA

Tim and Casey tossing a rhinoI’ve posted the details of our attendance at this year’s American Library Association conference in Chicago over on Thingology. We have a booth in the exhibit hall, and we’ll be showing off new features for LibraryThing for Libraries.

Labels: ALA, conference, event, librarything for libraries, LTFL

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

July Early Reviewer Books

The July batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 63 books this month, and a grand total of 1622 copies to give out. We’ve also got a new Early Reviewers feature announcement—Books you’ve won. More on that below.

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, July 24th 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.

Books you’ve won: We’ve added an easy way to track all the books you’ve won from Early Reviewers. The Books you’ve won page lets you keep track of the books you’ve won, reviewed, and whether a book has actually been received. More on the feature in this blog post.

And as always, our thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Hachette Book Group Crossway Vintage Canada
HarperCollins Bell Bridge Books Workman Publishing
Conari Press Bloomberg Press Bantam
Random House Henry Holt and Company Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company
Hyperion Books Beacon Press The Dial Press
Orca Book Publishers DK Publishing Faber and Faber
St. Martin’s Minotaur St. Martin’s Griffin Pronghorn Press
Okri Books Bloomsbury Bethany House
Red Hen Press Loving Healing Press Leucrota Press
DiaMedica ArbeitenZeit Media The New York Literary Society
Tilbury House Brandeis University Press Unbridled Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Early Reviewer Books You’ve Won

We’ve* added an easy way to keep track of all the books you’ve won from Early Reviewers. This new page shows you all the books you’ve won and whether you’ve written your reviews yet. You can also mark if you haven’t received a book yet, so that the lack of a review won’t count against you. Once your LTER book comes in the mail, you can mark it received and then add it to your library right from this page.

Books you’ve won

As we say in the Rules and Conditions for Early Reviewers:

You are not legally obligated to review books you receive through LTER. But subsequent LTER dispersal decisions may take your number of reviewed and unreviewed books into account. A book will be considered “reviewed” if a review is posted to LibraryThing and is comprised of at least 25 words and not obviously nonsense. Reviews may include but not solely consist of a URL.

So write those reviews!

Talk about it in this Talk thread.

Note: You’re not required to actually mark whether or not you’ve received the book. If you’ve reviewed it, we’re going to assume you got your copy. The received data is mainly so we can keep track of books that have gone missing in the mail.

Update: The next step is to add a similar page for Member Giveaway books. We’re doing it as a separate page since the requirements are somewhat different between Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways. But the MG page will also let you see what you’ve won, mark books as received or not, and (importantly) remind you whether or not the member requested a review with the giveaway.

*Credit goes to Luke—thanks for building this!

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Flash-mob in Kansas City, MO

The Crossroads Infoshop (a Radical Library and Zine Distro) in Kansas City, MO is hosting a flash-mob to get their library cataloged. They’re a community-run radical information center that runs on donations and volunteer support.

They have a small collection (the guess is 500-800 books) that they’d like to get onto their LibraryThing account: crossroadsinfoshop.

The flash-mob cataloging party is Friday, July 10th from 5pm-10pm. They’re supplying free food and drink for all volunteers!

The Crossroads Infoshop is located at 3109 Troost Ave in Kansas City, MO (Google maps). If you have any questions—or to RSVP—please feel free to contact them directly at or through their LibraryThing profile, crossroadsinfoshop.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Twitter your reviews

We’ve added a feature to make it easy to Twitter (or Tweet) your reviews.

You’ll see the option—a tiny Twitter logo—on your reviews. When you click it, it takes you to Twitter and fills in the message box. You can, of course, edit it however you like.

You can spot most such tweets with this Twitter search.

This is our second Twitter-based feature. The other is an easy way to Twitter your books to LibraryThing, handy for making a note of a book when you’re in a bookstore or library. Like that, the Twitter your review feature is all about restraint and options. We’ve rejected the idea—popular among book and non-book sites—of automating that process, of making it easy to machine-gun all your friends and followers with trivial updates.

Are you on Twitter? Follow us. Most LibraryThing-related news comes from my account, LibraryThingTim. The LThing account is for incoming messages mostly. John, Chris and Luke are also on, discussing LibraryThing’s irrationally vague vacation policy.

Labels: book reviews, new feature, new features, reviews, twitter