Archive for October, 2010

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

October State of the Thing

State of the Thing logoWe’ve just sent out this month’s State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and various forms of bookish delight.

This month we have over 2,000 free Early Reviewer books available, interviews with Kristin Hersh and Sara Gruen, a new feature and a list of the popular books this month.

Check your inbox or read it online.

I got to interview Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses fame, about her memoir Rat Girl. Kristin talks about bipolar disorder, synesthesia, getting to look back on her life 25 years later — and how Colum McCann should totally be a band.

We also have an interview with Sara Gruen, about her latest novel, Ape House, which features bonobos, the media circus and a well-meaning journalist in the middle. Sara talks about meeting the real bonobos at the Great Ape Trust that inspired her simian characters and cheerfully admits to being an animal person. She also lists her favorite ape resources for anyone who’s read Ape House and wants to learn more about them. Last but not least, the interview features a photo of Sara at the Great Ape Trust giving kisses to one of the bonobos!

Read previous State of the Thing newsletters:

If you don’t get State of the Thing, you can add it in your email preferences. You also have to have an email address listed.

Labels: early reviewers

Monday, October 25th, 2010

LibraryThing is hiring: Are you bookish and social-media savvy?

madinkbeard‘s beloved “We Heart LibraryThing” entry in a 2007 photo contest.

LibraryThing is hiring a bookish, social-media savvy employee. We want someone passionate about books and about book lovers, and excited to take social cataloging and bookish social networking to the next level. LibraryThing takes a different approach to social media, and the job is a step above the usual “social media manager” position with its overtones of being “the face” of a company, and of manipulation and fakeness.

This is a Portland, Maine position exclusively. We want someone who can come into the office most days. If we find the right candidate, we will help you relocate. Portland is a great place to live.

You must be:

  • Deeply familiar with social media
  • Able to write well and quickly
  • Able to work and set goals independently
  • Able to think big, but also handle details
  • Hard-working, smart, driven, optimistic, organized and productive
  • A passionate bibliophile

We’d appreciate:

  • LibraryThing membership, familiarity
  • Librarian, bookseller, publishing or other book-industry background
  • Experience designing software features or interfaces
  • Technical skills (HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, etc.)
  • No cheese allergies


  • Write newsletters and blog posts
  • Suggest and help develop new features and projects
  • Look for new opportunities and set priorities for yourself and others
  • Work with publishers, authors and other actors (eg., coordinate and expand the Early Reviewer program)
  • Attend trade shows and so forth, at need
  • Maintain LibraryThing’s presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social media


Salary plus gold-plated health and dental insurance. We require hard work, but we are flexible about hours.

How to apply:

Resume is good. Don’t send one of those overboiled cover letters, but a brief introduction would be good, followed perhaps by recapitulating the bullets above and saying briefly how they do or don’t fit you. Send emails to

Labels: jobs, member input, member projects, social cataloging, social networking

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

National Book Festival wrap-up

National Book Festival goersBy all accounts the 2010 National Book Festival went of without a hitch or typo. There was good weather, ample food options and the LibraryThing members managed to find each other!

Here are the LTers who got together to hang out IRL*. You can read about their experiences meeting up and seeing authors here.

Thanks to squeakychu (in her awesome custom LibraryThing teeshirt) for organizing!

Back row: gilroy, Tanneitha (peeking over gilroy’s shoulder), drneutron, VoraciousReader, carlym

Front row: SqueakyChu, jmaloney17, veborder

*IRL =  in real life

Labels: meet up, members, National Book Festival

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

In-Talk Bug Tracking

LibraryThing now has an In-Talk Bug Tracking system. Check it out.

The Story. For some time now LibraryThing members have been agitating for a bug tracking system, to augment the Bug Collectors group. I held back. Bug tracking is “work.” Members will do wonderful things for a site they love, but I didn’t want to ask them to become data-entry and QA professionals. Nor did I want to fool with such a system. I like conversations, not forms. And I think conversations work better. Very often what seems a bug is really something else—a needed feature, a poorly explained concept, etc.

But the need was still there. It was deuce-difficult to figure out what bugs had been reported, and what the status was. The confusion was bad for users, and it was definitely impeding our ability to identify, prioritize and fix bugs.

So, I’ve finally implemented a compromise idea—Bug Tracking within the existing Talk system.(1) The result should satisfy almost everyone. Bug-tracking is still conversational, and capable of opening up to larger discussions. But every bug is tracked and given a basic status. Nothing is “lost.”

How it works. It works like this:

  • Every post to Bug Collectors is entered into the bug-tracking system.
  • Bug-tracking posts get a green box, describing the state of the bug.
  • A Bug Tracking view shows bugs by status, category and assignment.
  • Members of Bug Collectors get “Bug Tracking” as a permanent option on their Talk tab.
  • Members and staff classify and change bug status, as appropriate.

Many thanks. I’d like to thank members for helping me think through the plan (here and here). And I’d like to thank them for the care and attention they’ve taken reporting bugs. It is not, of course, possible to describe everything that goes on at headquarters, but they are right that bug-fixing has not always gotten the attention it deserved. The new system won’t magically create time, or new employees, but it will speed the process, and remind us just what’s out there to solve. As usual, it’s an honor to work at a site with so many smart, dedicated and generous users.

Special thanks to these top Bug Collectors group contributors: jjwilson61, lorax, jjmcgaffey, infiniteletters, BarkingMatt, MarthaJeanne, readafew, AnnieMod, christiguc, fleela, staffordcastle, lilithcat, AnnaClaire, rsterling, AndrewB, FicusFan, r.orrison, _Zoe_. There are many others, of course, with literally hundreds of posts and reports to their name. Among these Brightcopy deserves a special mention, as a relatively recent user whose done more than most to report bugs—and push me along.

Come talk about it on Talk here.

1. I was unaware of it, but Ravelry apparently does something similar.

Labels: bugs, new feature, new features

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

TOR Early Reviewer books!

Wow! Added to the already expanded batch of Early Reviewer books for this month, we have three books from the publisher Tor! That means we’re up to 87 different titles and like a bazillion copies available to you, for free, to review.

See, what happened was I asked the Early Reviewers what publishers they’d like to see in Early Reviewers. They gave me their wish lists, and at the top of lots of them was Tor! Tor! Tor! So, I asked Tor to ask if they had any books they’d like to offer. They said “Sure!”

So, if you enjoy reviewing books,  like free books (if you read this blog, I bet you do) and dig awesome sci-fi/fantasy, you might want to request one of these books.

See all of the Early Reviewers books

Labels: early reviewers

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

MORE Early Reviewer books!

I had just blogged yesterday about the newest batch of Early Reviewer books, which featured 1,906 copies of 72 different titles. For whatever reason*, a number of publishers asked if they could add book to the October batch after it had opened. Of course I let them. Who am I to stand between voracious readers and a big pile of books? We’re now have 84 different books, with 2,086 copies!

If you are one of those folks who jumped in and did your requesting yesterday, you might want to go back and see if there are any other books you’d be interested in reviewing.

Oh no! New books?! Take me back to the Early Reviewer page directly!

*My guess is they were all outside jumping in piles of autumn leaves, at least those located in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Everywhere else, I’m going to say it was a case of the Mondays.

Labels: early reviewers

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Author gallery updated

I’ve reworked the author gallery (see yours or LibraryThing’s) to use the new image system.

The author gallery shows pictures for all your authors who have one, and lists the ones that don’t. You can also see the most popular authors on LibraryThing the same way.

Images have recently undergone a change a licensing. After considerable debate, a large majority of members (208/26) agreed with my plan to shift away from member-moderation of image copyright to the more common pattern of relying on the instruments and protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The upshot is that while LibraryThing, like all websites, still prohibits uploading copyrighted content without permission, members are no longer encouraged to flag and remove images for copyright reasons on their own authority. If I have time, I’ll write up a longer blog post about the change, on Thingology.

Labels: authors

Monday, October 4th, 2010

New Early Reviewers books are here!

The October 2010 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 72 books this month, and a grand total of 1906 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, October 29th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the many, many countries. 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!

Kregel Publications W.W. Norton WaterBrook Press
New American Library New York Review Books Human Kinetics
Avon Books Harper Paperbacks Hachette Book Group
Hyperion and Voice Ballantine Books Wilderness Press
Scholastic Bascom Hill Books Sovereign
Menasha Ridge Press Tatra Press Penguin
Bromera Bantam Dell The Permanent Press
Beacon Press Fernwood Publishing Hyperion Books
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers St. Martin’s Press South Dakota State Historical Society Press
Second Story Press Henry Holt and Company Bell Bridge Books
Nolo Toybox Books HarperCollins Childrens Books
Chin Music Press BookViewCafe Demos Medical Publishing
Zondervan Echelon Press Bloomsbury
DK Publishing Sasquach Books St. Martin’s Griffin
Rovira i Virgili University Press Harper Navigator Press

Labels: early reviewers