Archive for November, 2009

Monday, November 30th, 2009

SantaThing sign-up closes in 24 hours

SantaThing (LibraryThing’s version of Secret Santa) is open for sign-ups until December 1, 4 pm EST (about 24 hours from now).

We already have over 400 members signed up to participate, and tons of helpful suggestions posted! If you don’t want to be a Santa yourself, you can always help out by looking at the list of Santas and posting book suggestions.

To sign up, just go here and click “become a Secret Santa”.

Tuesday afternoon, we’ll match up Santas. We’ll let you know via profile comments who your Secret Santa is, and you’ll be able to pick books for them. Remember, if you signed up a gift recipient, you’re responsible for picking their Santa’s books. You’ll get a profile comment for each Santa you signed up.

Picking will be open until Saturday, December 12 at 10 pm EST.

We’re also planning a virtual soiree Saturday night and Sunday when the picking officially closes, to pick books for anyone whose Santa hadn’t picked for them. I imagine it will involve LibraryThing members cozied up with eggnog by a toasty fire with a kitten* at their feet, making sure there are books picked for everyone. If you’re interested, look for more information on the Talk thread for it.

* or whatever your preferred seasonal beverage, ambiance device and power animal may be

Labels: santathing, secret santa

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

SantaThing and Giving

In this year of a down economy, two developments with SantaThing, our “secret Santa for booklovers”:

First, there was the Talk thread started by a member who got help last year to participate, when she needed it and, now that she doesn’t, wanted to pay-it-forward and help someone else. This started a chain reaction, with more and more members offering to pay for someone. Other members have been asking for help, for themselves or sometimes for relatives, either in Talk or privately. The whole thing is pretty awesome.*

Today I was contacted by a member (who would like to remain anonymous) offering to pay for 20 SantaThings ($500), again for members who were planning to skip it because money was too tight. The money came out of the blue, and, despite the crescendo of giving, was quite a shock to us.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about either giving or receiving SantaThing, read here.

Second, with all this giving, we’re changing our mind. The SantaThing deal was $25 for $20 of books. The $5 was for shipping, and a little to cover staff time. But most of our shipping is now free. (We get it from from Amazon and the Book Depository, and Powell’s is doing us a favor.**) And we’re starting to feel seriously privileged to be involved in this!

So—to heck with it—we’re getting rid of the margin. SantaThing is now $25 for $25. We’ll make a little money when people can’t quite fill the $25, and we’ll spend it on the countries and bookstores that don’t have free shipping. It’s the least we can do.

You have until December 1 to sign up for SantaThing.


Sonya and Tim

Links: SantaThing; Talk thread.

*I think “community” is an overused word online. Most “online communities” aren’t. All those sites with employees known as “community managers” tick me off particularly. We like to think we’re better than those sites, but, despite tons of friends, a marriage, occasional flash-mob cataloging, Legacy Libraries and even a group of members who now vacation together, I wouldn’t even say LibraryThing is a real “community.” It’s more of a large, long-running cocktail party with a lot of rooms and some good friendships. But I can’t help feeling cheered again by Clay Shirky’s Love, Internet Style. Shirky writes that, looking forward, “You will make more accurate predictions about software… if you ask yourself not ‘What’s the business model?’ but ‘Do the people who like it take care of each other?'” Well, you do. And it’s a pleasure to be part of it. — Tim
**We have Amazon Prime, and the Book Depository has free shipping. We’re grateful to Powells for giving us free shipping for this effort. (Thanks to Darin for making it happen.)

Labels: altruism, santathing, secret santa

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

November State of the Thing

On Monday I sent out November’s State of the Thing, our monthly newsletter. Sign up to get it, or you can read a copy online.

This month’s State of the Thing features a synopsis of our newest features, opening SantaThing, free books and the announcement that Abby is moving over to head LibraryThing for Libraries, and I’m taking over Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways, author chats, site questions and State of the Thing.

We also have three exclusive author interviews:

Gregory Maguire, is the author of the popular Wicked and many other novels for both children and adults. Maguire published The Next Queen of Heaven with the Concord Free Press, a revolutionary “generosity-based” publisher.

Charles Cumming’s new novel, Typhoon, is getting a lot of attention (he’s touted as a successor of John le Carré). Cumming’s intelligent thriller starts with the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese, and moves through to the lead-up to the Beijing Olympic Games.

Eugenia Kim is the author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter, a story that encompasses a enthralling personal story, the roles of gender and class, and Korea’s fight for independence and struggle with modernity.

Eugenia is also participating in an author chat (as well as giving away a signed copy of her book) with LibraryThing members from now until December 6th.

Next month, we’ll be interviewing Julie Powell and Masha Hamilton. Have a question for them? Post it here and we might use it in the upcoming interview.

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

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

SantaThing has arrived!

Now in its third year, I’d like to announce SantaThing!

What is SantaThing, you ask? SantaThing is Secret Santa for LibraryThing members.

The idea is simple. Pay $25. You play Santa to a random LibraryThing member, and find them up $20 worth of books, based on their library or a short description. Someone else does the same for you. LibraryThing orders the books and pays the shipping, and you get the joy of giving AND receiving!

You can sign up for yourself, but you can also buy in for anyone else–LibraryThing member or not. If the person doesn’t have a LibraryThing account, make sure to mention what kinds of books they’d like, so their Secret Santa can choose wisely.

Even if you don’t want to be a Santa, you can help by suggesting books for others.

New and exciting twists this year:
This year, we’re offering you the option of some independent (and for some people local) booksellers, and WAY more countries can participate (see the full list). For the first and second annual SantaThings, we used Amazon as our bookseller, and registration was limited to those living in the US, UK, and Canada.

This is a huge new experiment, so please be understanding. We’re trying to make SantaThing inclusive for other booksellers, with the hopes that next year we can throw the doors wide open.

In the United States, you can choose between Powell’s (Portland, OR), Harvard Book Store (Cambridge, MA), The Book Table (Oak Park, IL), and In Canada, your choices are Chapters Indigo, The Book Depository and In the UK, you get The Book Depository or All other countries get to use The Book Depository.

Here are the important notes:

The sign-up will close Tuesday, December 1st at 4pm Eastern time. Once the sign-up closes, you’ll be able to use the same page to pick for your Santa.

Picking closes Friday, December 12th at 10pm Eastern time. Once the picking ends, the ordering begins, and we’ll get all the books out to you as soon as we can. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have books out by December 25th, but we’re going to try our darnedest.

Go sign up to become a Secret Santa now!

Questions? Ask them in this Talk topic.

Labels: santathing, secret santa

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

The Books of Wikipedia

UPDATE: I’m going to take another swipe at the data here. I’ve found too many places where it looks like citations aren’t registering. I’ll update when I can. Meanwhile, I’m moving the Secret Santa post to the top again. (Tim)

I’ve added a new “References” section to work pages, and within that a list of the Wikipedia articles that cite the work.

This feature comes from a complete parse of the English Wikipedia data dump, looking for citations and other references to books.

All told, the data covers 251,911 pages and includes 540,000 citations. They cover some 227,852 works. This is a marked improvement over 2007, when a similar effort found citations to LibraryThing works on only 90,136 pages. It’s not perfect. I don’t try to capture non-ISBN references in running text.* But it’s interesting.** Come talk about it here.

Here are the top 100 books:

Top 100 Most-Frequenty Cited Books in the English Wikipedia
1. 2,122 Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums
2. 1,313 Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (James, Andrew’s Disease of the Skin)
3. 1,231 Air Force Combat Units of World War II
4. 1,184 Jane’s encyclopedia of aviation
5. 839 British parliamentary election results, 1918-1949
6. 764 The Ship of the Line: The Development of the Battlefleet, 1650-1850 (The Ship of the line)
7. 603 Handbook of British Chronology (Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, Volume 2)
8. 603 Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1860-1905
9. 591 The science-fantasy publishers: A critical and bibliographic history
10. 560 Civil War High Commands
11. 539 Wrestling Title Histories
12. 514 A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (2 volumes)
13. 504 The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature
14. 464 The Dinosauria
15. 463 The DC Comics Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition
16. 460 The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem
17. 452 The Canadian directory of Parliament, 1867-1967
18. 442 All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948
19. 419 Air Force combat wings : lineage and honors histories, 1947-1977
20. 415 The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy Through 1968; Volume 1: Who’s Who A-L
21. 414 The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
22. 406 Fields of Praise: Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union, 1881-1981
23. 403 Birmingham City
24. 398 The New Grove Dictionary of Opera : A-D
25. 377 Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments
26. 371 Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology In General Medicine (Two Vol. Set)
27. 362 NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book
28. 356 The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Animals: A Comprehensive Color Guide to Over 500 Specie
29. 348 The Pimlico Chronology of British History: From 250, 000 BC to the Present Day
30. 347 Michigan Place Names (Great Lakes Books)
31. 345 The Directory of Railway Stations: Details Every Public and Private Passenger Station, Halt, Platform and Stopping Place
32. 342 The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition
33. 341 Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand
34. 334 The Book of Sydney Suburbs
35. 331 The Men Who Made Gillingham Football Club
36. 331 Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants
37. 315 Oregon Geographic Names
38. 305 日本写真家事典―東京都写真美術館所蔵作家 (東京都写真美術館叢書)
39. 296 U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History
40. 294 Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns
41. 289 The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy Through 1968: A Bibliographic Survey of the Fields of Science Fiction, F
42. 281 Reed New Zealand Atlas
43. 277 Music in the Renaissance
44. 277 Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer (Atlas and Gazetteer)
45. 273 Enzyklopädie des deutschen Ligafußballs 7. Vereinslexikon
46. 271 The Text of the New Testament an Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual
47. 268 Blackpool (Complete Record)
48. 266 The PFA Premier & Football League players’ records, 1946-2005
49. 261 The Oxford Companion to Chess
50. 259 Dictionary of Minor Planet Names
51. 256 A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica (Comstock Book)
52. 251 Saints!: Complete Record of Southampton Football Club, 1885-1987
53. 247 Cassell’s Chronology of World History: Dates, Events and Ideas That Made History
54. 247 The Book of Golden Discs
55. 243 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth, 1918-88
56. 236 Retreat to the Reich: The German Defeat in France, 1944
57. 236 RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 191
58. 231 Australian Chart Book 1970-1992
59. 231 The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records
60. 228 Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945
61. 224 US Air Force Air Power Directory
62. 222 Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals
63. 221 Rough Guide to World Music Volume Two: Latin and North America, the Caribbean, Asia & the Pacific (Rough Guide Music Gui
64. 219 In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials
65. 215 A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago
66. 212 Encyclopedia of Fishes, Second Edition (Natural World)
67. 208 The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World
68. 205 The Kentucky Encyclopedia
69. 205 Arsenal Who’s Who
70. 205 Guia de Catalunya. Tots els pobles i totes les comarques
71. 204 Armor Battles of the Waffen SS, 1943-45 (Stackpole Military History Series)
72. 203 Sixty Years of Arkham House: A History and Bibliography
73. 203 Indie Hits: The Complete UK Independent Charts 1980-1989
74. 201 The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics
75. 201 The geographic atlas of New Zealand
76. 201 The International Rugby Championship 1883-1983
77. 200 The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae (Virgin Encyclopedias of Popular Music)
78. 199 Arkham House Books: A Collector’s Guide
79. 198 Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft
80. 196 Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1906-1921 (Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, Vol 2)
81. 195 The fighting ships of the Rising Sun: The drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895-1945
82. 192 Economics: Principles in Action
83. 191 New RHS Dictionary of Gardening
84. 190 Fungal Families of the World (Cabi Publishing)
85. 189 The Vertigo Encyclopedia
86. 188 Dermatology: 2-Volume Set
87. 187 The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota: A Guide (Minnesota)
88. 187 Minding the House: A Biographical Guide to Prince Edward Island MLAs, 1873-1993
89. 186 Domesday Book: A Complete Translation (Alecto Historical Editions)
90. 186 The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile (3 Vol Set)
91. 185 Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern : die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges
92. 184 The Mountains of England and Wales, Volume 1: Wales
93. 183 The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld
94. 183 The Oxford Dictionary of Opera
95. 179 Generals in Blue Lives of the Union Commanders: Lives of the Union Commanders
96. 178 The Arkham House Companion: Fifty Years of Arkham House : A Bibliographical History and Collector’s Price Guide to Arkha
97. 177 David and Charles Book of Castles
98. 175 Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (Recent Releases)
99. 174 The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family
100. 171 Hot Dance/Disco 1974-2003

Here’s the table above, in selectable form, in case you want to put it on your blog:

*The parse used ISBNs, OCLC and LCCN numbers and title/author combinations, in both running text (for ISBNs) and citations. In 2007, I used titles and authors in running text. But this produces some false positives and, basically, would have tied up a server for a week.
**I don’t want to start a fight, but I think the winners suggest alarming unevenness. They look like special cases—a bunch of devotees going citation-mad. While everyone knows Wikipedia is driven by passion, the theory is that large numbers and diverse viewpoints tamp down some of the excesses there. That said, I am going to take another crack at the data, hoping some of these effects diminish.

Labels: new features, references, wikipedia

Friday, November 20th, 2009

50,000 Venues in LibraryThing Local

During our mad rush to add all the used book stores at (see blog post) and all the Barnes & Noble stores (see Talk thread), Dan added the 50,000th entry into LibraryThing Local.

So what’s It’s Barnes & Noble in Morgantown, WV.

There’s no photo up yet, if someone near Morgantown wants to go and take a picture with a piece of paper that says “50,000!” on it…

Labels: librarything local, milestones, West Virginia

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Your statistics: Ebooks and audiobooks

Our recent ebook push had one major flaw—something was up with the profile statistics page.

That’s been fixed, and the result is stunning. Instead of a few dozen ebooks, most users should see hundreds. My stats, for example, include fifteen LibriVox ebook editions, 45 Project Gutenberg editions and fully 99 Open Library editions—all free.

Check it out:

Labels: audiobooks, ebooks, kindle, open library, statistics

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Local Book Search: A new way forward for bookselling

We’ve just released a slew of new features (see overview). We hope members like them all, but Local Book Search is the most important. I won’t mince words: it is intended to change bookselling forever.

The Idea. It’s a simple idea: a location-based search for books. After all, you can ask Google for pizza where you live. But you can’t do it with books, until now.

Just Show Me the Feature! Here are some sample links:

Imagine if all the bookstores and libraries in central London were searchable.

The Vision. More and more people look to the web, even for local information. I can’t remember the last time I checked a newspaper for movie times or local music. Bookstores, however, have largely stayed off the “local web.” Those that expose their holdings do it inconveniently. Many don’t at all, either because their systems are old, or on principle. And nobody has ever tried to tie it all together, like Local Book Search attempts to do.

Physical bookstores often complain about online prices, but a lot of the problem is just convenience. If I lived in San Fransisco and wanted a copy of Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down, I probably wouldn’t bother to call up all my local bookstores; Amazon is quick and easy, and will surely have it. Local Book Search find a half dozen copies, new and used, in just seconds.

At a minimum, this is a cool test. Maybe bookstores will prefer to keep their holdings information to themselves and shut us out. A bookstore near me won’t participate because they think the information is “valuable” and, if it were online, “people would know what we don’t have.” I think that sort of thinking is the road to a world without bookstores.

Online bookselling is here to stay. It’s a wonderful thing. Same-day online delivery, as recently offered by Amazon, is something new. But physical book stores are also very important. We hope local book search can be one of the things they need to survive and prosper.

Who are you searching? The list currently stands as follows:

How are you doing it? We’re doing it in a mix of ways. A number of bookstores, including Powells, Porter Square and City Lights, send us their files. We have special permission from Abebooks too, so we pre-parse the Abebooks sellers.* (Members have helped us connect them to LibraryThing.) Indigo/Chapters gave us their blessing, and a convenient way to do it.

The rest involve just-in-time searches. Every system is different, so we’ve written a special connector for each, but the usual pattern is some sort of multiple-ISBN fetch. In every case, we’ve obeyed a site’s “robots.txt” file–going only where we’re allowed, and hitting a website no faster than once per second. That’s also why we’ve stayed off some biggies, like Barnes and Noble–their store holdings pages are prohibited by robots.txt.

Why aren’t there more indies? We introduced basic bookstore integration back in 2006 (!), taking only indies. It never really took off, because we couldn’t convince IndieBound to offer access to the files, and, I think, asking booksellers to upload their file to IndieBound and then LibraryThing was a hard sell.

Since then, we’ve pushed hard to get indies involves, with no success. We even lost our first participant, when Ann Arbor’s Shaman Drum went out of business. Those who follow our Twitter stream will remember a lot of hand-wringing over the topic. (In fairness, IndieBound has expressed interest, but they are still working on their platform.) So, we went and did it outselves, with whom we could.

The “connectors” all take about the same amount of time, whether we pick up 400 stores in Borders, or a single store in the Strand. So, by time, we’ve spent most of it integrating with indies. We have a decent list of other indies to add, when we get the chance.

The Future. Obviously, we know this is bigger than LibraryThing. If you have an idea about where it should go, chances are we’ve had it too. We’re working on it.

We are, incidentally, aware that we’re weak on the library front. We have 40 libraries now and, if all LibraryThing for Libraries sites agreed, we could get up to 170 systems (more than 1600 buildings). Unfortunately, you can’t really screen-scrape most library systems; they tend to break under the strain. Nobody really has the data necessary, except perhaps for OCLC.

So, OCLC, how about it? Our peanut butter. Your chocolate. Don’t libraries deserve to be part of this? Can we let bygones be bygones?

What we need? Bookstores who want to participate should send me an email ( or a Tweet (@LibraryThingTim).

Bookstores concerned about LibraryThing servers hitting them too hard should also write us. We’re keeping close tabs on how often we scrape sites. (We also cache results for 24 hours.) In many cases, we could do it more efficiently, if we were allowed to access search pages, not just product pages. And we can try fewer ISBNs. Or, if you are able, we can parse your files and never hit your site.

All told, we think the traffic is good for you—it will get you sales. But we are conscious of limited technology budgets, and will work with you to increase the benefit, and decrease the potential cost.

Kudos. Thanks are owed to:

  • LibraryThing members who are helping us connect Abebooks to LibraryThing.
  • Abebooks. In theory, local book search could cut them out of the equation, as people walked into a store, instead of buying online. But they saw it as a valuable service to their members, and an overall win. Abebooks deserves applause for taking a risk.
  • Indigo/Chapters. Every time I deal with them, I marvel at how easy they make things. No meetings, just agreement to test it out. Indigo, like Abe, is Canadian. Is there something in the water?
  • Powell’s, Porter Square Book and (tiny) City Lights Books in Sylva, NC deserve thanks for being with us from the first. Because their method–sending us files–is so much easier for us, we’re planning to create some special features for them.
  • Programemrs Chris and Mike, and non-programmers Dan and Stephanie. The “Get this Book” and “Local Book Search” project took over two months, and involved huge amounts of new code, and also data entry. As Chris remarked, for most companies, “this would be a site.” It is an awesome achievement.

Come talk about it. Come talk about all this on Talk.

* sellers already total over 1 million books, and we haven’t caught up with all the Abe-to-LibraryThing work members have done. We think they’ll end up around 1.5 million books total.

Labels: abebooks, booksellers, bookstore integration, bookstores, local book search, used bookstores

Monday, November 16th, 2009

New Feature: Get this Book

This post does not discuss what I consider what may be the most innovative and promising new feature, Local Book Search. I’ll get to that in the morning. (See it in action.)

Over the night we added a small avalache of features (for a list of Talk posts, see the top of this post.) This post talks about the “Get this book” feature.

Show me the feature! Check the Get this Book feature for Romeo and Juliet. Then come discuss this here.

Why the new features? For years now we’ve had a feature called “Buy, Borrow and Swap”—involved bookstore and library links, and integration with swap sites.

Two things moved us replace this feature:

  • We wanted to make it better—to integrate with as many sources as possible, so we show people what was out there, and send people to links that existed, not a lot of blind links to pages that might or might not exist. First, as discussed here, Amazon tightened up its linking policy, forcing changes.
  • Amazon required it. As a site that uses Amazon data (although we also use some 690 other sources), we had to follow their rules, which required us to drop links to competitor sites, except on secondary pages. We didn’t want this to be a net loss for the site, so we decided to make the best secondary pages we could imagine. (Three programmers kept imagining for two months straight, and this is what came out.)

The new pages are accessible from any work page, and are pictured at the right.

Ebooks. Another book site integrated with a single attractive, but not comprehensive ebook supplier. So we decided to integrate with fourteen. We’ve included both pay sites (Kindle, Sony Reader) and free sites (Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust).

Not pictured:

The integration is deep. For Hathi alone, we’ve linked 398,000 LibraryThing works, and OpenLibrary adds another 178,000 full scans. Because our catalog is so vast, and our data so “ratty” (it comes from over 690 source), LibraryThing can do a lot better than parsing ISBNs. This is how we connect to so many ISBN-less sources. My favorite is the Online Books Page, which collects links to some 30,000 books found here and there online, mostly one-off scanning projects at universities and the like.

There are, of course, more. We’re not parsing Barnes and Noble ebooks—which will become important if the “Nook” takes off. If you don’t see your favorite source, let us know. We’ll work to add it.

Audiobooks. I haven’t taken to ebooks yet. (For starters, my reader is broken.) But I listen to a lot of audiobooks. For people like me we’ve added links to three audiobook suppliers—Audible, iTunes and the wonderful, free, amateur-driven project LibriVox.

Live Price Comparison from Many of you use the price-comparison site, so, with their help, we decided to integrate a good piece of it into the site itself. BookFinder reaches out to dozens of new and used booksellers, and comes back with good deals and rare buys.

Live results are a core principle of the site, so caching is for as little time as possible. The results are also distinguished by being cross-edition—a fairly new concept in price comparison. You can change the ISBNs or titles BookFinder uses, to get price-comparison that fits you best.

Swap sites. Swap-site integration has been with LibraryThing for some time now. We’ve spiffed it up, and added a long-missing site, As a lot of members belong to more than one site, gathering them all together like this should be valuable.

All Sources. “Get this book” are just the best slices of a much larger pie. Check out All Sources (here, for Romeo and Juliet) to get all the sources. As with other parts of the site, the data is fundamentally under your control. If you don’t see your favorite bookseller or book database, go ahead and enter it. We also want help improving the data.

Your Quick Links area is editable. To edit it, check out Edit Quick Links, which looks like “All Sources,” but works a little different.

What’s missing. Here’s how we plan to improve the page, and how you can improve it too.

  • Members need to be able to add new ebooks.
  • We need more ebook sources. Seventeen is great. There are probably thirty we should have.
  • A lot of sources need improvement; they don’t have all the link types they could have.
  • We have second slate of “book database” integrations coming up, including a full conversion of all Wikipedia citations.

Come talk about the new features here.

Labels: audibooks, bookfinder, ebooks, get this book, local book search, swap site

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Help put used bookstores on LibraryThing

We’re about to push a slew of new “local” features, including the first-ever “local book search.” To make this as good as it can be, we need to connect as many bookstores as possible to the LibraryThing Local system. We previously asked for help with IndieBound stores. We’re now asking for help with a really hairy category category—used bookstores.

Check out this page and pitch in: Help put used bookstores on LibraryThing

It lists all booksellers—mostly, but not exclusively used—and allows LibraryThing members to connect them to LibraryThing Local venus. Once connected, the local page gets a link to their Abebooks page, and is entered into our upcoming Local Book Search feature.

I’d like to thank Abebooks for cooperation here—allowing us to include results from their affiliates. I say “generously” because “local search” has the potential to cut Abebooks out of the transaction. They feel—and I think they’re right—that the loss will be small, and will be offset by the value of giving their affiliates another way to expose themselves to the world, and book lovers another way to discover their books.

As usual, we have a Talk discussion going on about this—how best to do it, etc.

Update: We pushed this a few hours ago, and the response is already huge—more than 130 linkings, by two dozen members. As with IndieBound, I’m in shock at how readily members take up the call. We won’t let you down—the upcoming feature is going to be great, and all the better for this work.

Labels: abebooks, indiebound, local book search, used bookstores

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Free movie passes to “The Road” in Detroit and Philadelphia

The folks who are bringing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to the big screen are inviting LibraryThing members to attend free advance screenings of the new movie.

You can start speculating on the adaptation now, in the Made Into a Movie and Book vs Movie groups. This was one of those books I bought so I could loan out. I can’t wait to find out what the attendees think.

There are two screenings, with limited seating. Tickets will be given out to the first-emailed, first-served.

Philadelphia (downtown)
Sunday, November 15th at 7:30 pm

Detroit area (Novi, MI)
Thursday, November 19th at 7 pm

If you live in either area, and are interested in attending, email Holly Cara Price ( It’s first-come, first serve, so email her ASAP if you’d like to go. Holly will email you instructions on tickets and the theater location.

For the rest of us, the movie will be released November 25th:

Here’s the movie synopsis:
From Cormac McCarthy, author of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, comes the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of the beloved, best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, THE ROAD. Academy Award-nominee Viggo Mortensen leads a distinguished cast featuring Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron, Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall, Michael Kenneth Williams, Molly Parker, Guy Pearce and young newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee in this epic post-apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) as they journey across a barren American landscape that has been destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm. THE ROAD boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of – a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love and an unshakable morality even in the face of total devastation.

Directed by John Hillcoat

Update 11/13/09:

Today in the Wall Street Journal is an incredible, lengthy interview that Cormac McCarthy. The writer spent a record 7 hours with McCarthy talking about the film, the book, and life in general.

Labels: advance screening, Detroit, Michigan, movie event, movies, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Friday, November 6th, 2009

November Early Reviewer books

The November 2009 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 102 books this month, and a grand total of 3571 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 Saturday, November 28th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to many many countries—too many to list here! 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!

Kensington Publishing Dafina Citadel Press
Bell Bridge Books The Permanent Press Open Letter
Penguin Red Hen Press Bloomsbury
W.W. Norton Bantam Ballantine Books
International Publishers Marketing Human Kinetics St. Martin’s Paperbacks
St. Martin’s Griffin Weiser Books Conari Press
Tor Books Universalis Publishing Doubleday Books
O’Reilly South Dakota State Historical Society Press HarperCollins
Bascom Hill Books Rovira i Virgili University Press Bethany House
Small Beer Press Little, Brown and Company Grand Central Publishing
St. Martin’s Press Orca Book Publishers Picador
Pocket Books Avon Books Harper Paperbacks
Viking Books Putnam Books Random House
Henry Holt and Company Faber and Faber

Labels: early reviewers, LTER