Archive for the ‘book pile’ Category

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Spine Poetry Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Book Spine Poetry Contest! We were happily overwhelmed at the number of entries we received (373 total!), and all of the judges agreed that it was very difficult to choose just a few winners. You can check out all of the entries in the gallery. Click on the images in this post to see the full-size versions.

Without further ado ….

We’ve decided to award two grand prize awards: the first goes to HouseholdOpera for “Dark and Stormy Night” (pictured at left). The poem reads “The dark is rising / under Milk Wood. / A wave / travels / the forest, / tempest-tost.”

The second grand prize goes to klx, for the only poem that made almost all of us laugh out loud when we read it (pictured at right). Here’s the poem as captioned by the author: “My goat ate its own legs, / Weird by true, / A moveable feast. / The idiot.”

Along with the honor and fame, HouseholdOpera and klx have both won an LT t-shirt, stamp, and sticker, plus a CueCat and three lifetime gift memberships to LibraryThing!

We picked two runners-up: both will win their choice of an LT t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat, plus two lifetime gift memberships. The runners-up are trippingpencil, for “Feed / the white tiger / or she dies, / Asshole. / How good do we have to be?” (at left) and opheliaskiss, for “The Bookseller” (at right).

We also chose a few Honorable Mention winners; each will receive a lifetime gift membership. These are:

  • eelee for Cameras
  • jorlene for Such a long journey …
  • Sylak for The Library / Thing of Beauty (which, the author writes, “will never be broken up by me and now sits in pride of place at the top of my bookshelf for visitors to admire”)
  • Rating an Honorable Mention (but not winning another prize) is HouseholdOpera for Steampunk Internet.

    I’ll be contacting the winners today to claim their prizes. And let me just reiterate how really difficult choosing the winners was: we had a great range of really amazing material to work with!

    Congratulations to our winners, and a big thanks again to all the entrants and to our special guest judge, Nina Katchadourian! Watch for a collection of Nina’s Sorted Books projects, coming in 2013 from Chronicle Books. And stay tuned; this was a good success, so I think we’ll do it again next year!

    Labels: book pile, contest, contests

    Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

    Book Spine Poetry Contest!

    August feels like a good time for a contest, right? We’ve decided to try a new twist on our usual bookpiles contest: book spine poetry (here’s a previous example, from our 2007 “downpile” contest).

    We’ve thrilled to announce that we’ve arranged for a special guest judge to help us pick the winners of this contest: Nina Katchadourian, who’s been working in this field since 1993 with her Sorted Books project (credited with inspiring many subsequent projects of this type). In 2013 Chronicle Books will be publishing a book of Nina’s works, so look forward to that!

    How to participate:

    1. Create a poem using book spines. The poem can incorporate any element of the spine you like (color, text, whatever). Theme/length/format is entirely up to you (bonus points if it’s about books, reading, or LibraryThing, though!). If you need some inspiration, there are some great examples here, or here (the latter are the works of our guest judge).

    2. Take some photos of your poem.

    3. Upload the photo to your LT member gallery. Sign in, then go here and click the “Add another picture” link to add the image.*

    4. When adding the image, tag it “SpinePoetry2012”. This will add your image to the contest gallery, and counts as your entry into the contest. If your photo doesn’t have the tag, we won’t know that you’ve entered. You’ll be able to see all the entries here.

    5. Tell us about it in the “Title/description” box. You can include a list of the books you used, a transcription of the poem if you want, any explanation, &c.

    Deadline: Add your photos by 4 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 7.

    What we’ll do:

    Based on all the images in the “SpinePoetry2012” photo gallery, guest judge Nina Katchadourian and LibraryThing staff will choose the following winners:

    Grand Prize (1)

    • An LT t-shirt (size/color of your choice)
    • An LT library stamp
    • A CueCat
    • An LT sticker
    • Three lifetime gift memberships
    • Great honor

    Runners Up (2)

    • Your choice of one LT t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat
    • Two lifetime gift memberships

    We may also pick a few Honorable Mentions—final number will depend on the number of entries received—and they’ll receive a lifetime gift membership.

    Have fun!

    Fine Print: You can enter as many times as you like, but you can only win one prize. By entering the contest you certify your images and the poems are your own creations. All decisions as to winners will be made by LibraryThing staff and our guest judge, and our decisions are final. LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less runners-up. Any images you load stay yours, or you can release them under a copyleft license, but we get a standard “non-exclusive, perpetual” right to use them.

    Questions? Feel free to post questions/discussion/etc. here.

    Labels: book pile, contest, contests

    Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

    Bookpile contest winners picked!

    We’re now ready to announce the winners of our Non-English bookpiles contest, but before I do that, I need to first award the prizes for what is definitely the longest-running bookpile contest in LibraryThing history.

    The winner of the 30-million book/LT’s 3rd birthday bookpile contest (yes, we’re now almost at 60 million books and have just passed the 5.5-year mark) is Flickr member asperschlager for “Colorful Book Pile.” Email me to claim your prizes (a CueCat, an LT t-shirt, and a gift membership. Please email me ( to claim your prize.

    LTer kristenmm takes the runner-up prize for her book pile, which contains “titles that I think describe LT itself, its users, employees, or features.” Email me to claim your gift membership, and we’re going to send along a t-shirt too.

    Thanks to all those who submitted entries, and we do apologize for the delay. Better late than never, right?

    Now, on to the main event! We asked members to submit images of non-English bookpiles, for use on the homepages of the various language versions of LibraryThing (from Dutch and Catalan to Russian and Japanese).

    We received more than 100 excellent entries via Flickr (browse the photostream) and in members’ LT galleries, covering at least 23 separate languages (plus polyglot). See the full list of languages here.

    The winning images, as well as selected other submissions for each language, will go into a rotation on the homepage, so that visitors and members might see a different image each time the page is loaded. We’ll be doing something similar for the main site as well. When we launch the new sites, they’ll look a little something like this (the Swedish site):

    Now: the list of winners! If your name is here, please send me an email or a profile message (jbd1) with your choice of either CueCat or LT t-shirt (and if t-shirt, whether you’d prefer black or red, and what size), and your mailing address. If you won more than once, you can have a combination of your choosing!

    I’ve linked the language name to the winning picture:

    We had a few entries in other languages that were out of focus just wouldn’t work for the homepage piles; we’d still like to have images for these and the rest of the languages, so please feel free to send along additional bookpile pictures! If we end up using them, we’ll send along a t-shirt.

    And finally, the overall winner, claimant of both a CueCat and a t-shirt, is elfo, for the beautiful Spanish book pile at left.

    Thanks to everyone for your entries, and we’ll let you know when the new homepage versions go live!

    Labels: book pile, contests, cuecat

    Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

    Non-English book piles contest!

    You may not know it, but LibraryThing is available in almost 50 languages, from Dutch and Catalan to Russian and Japanese–not to mention Pirate.

    Member civitas points out that whatever language you’re on, the home page sports a pile of English books. As he put it, “The effect may be subtle, but why give a prospective new user something negative to think about, or to have a vague feeling about, before signing up …?”

    We agree. So, a contest! Win a CueCat, or a LibraryThing t-shirt (plus everlasting fame and glory, of course).

    What to do: Go to the list of language sites (there are 51 total) and choose which* to submit. We’ll also accept “Polyglot” submissions, to use as the default for any languages we don’t get entries for.

    The photo:

    • Should show a stack of books in that language (probably ~10 books or so is optimal).
    • Light background
    • We should be able to read the titles clearly
    • Don’t include an e-reader (they look dated too fast)

    Where to post it—do one of the following:

    • Post to Flickr with the tag “LTInternationalBookpile” (also tag them “LibraryThing“). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them in the comments here.
    • Upload the pictures to your LT profile (be sure to let me know they’re there by adding a comment to this post with your LT username).
    • If all else fails, email your submissions to me (
    • Regardless of how you upload the images, please make sure to tell us what language you’re submitting for! LibraryThing employees are a linguistically talented lot** but labels will help.

    All submissions must be received by Monday, 31 January at 6pm EST. Talk about ideas/submissions here.

    What we’ll do: Once the entries are in, we’ll pick a winner for each language, and they’ll have their choice of a CueCat or a LibraryThing t-shirt (plus the aforementioned fame and glory). We’ll also pick an overall winner, who’ll win both a CueCat and a t-shirt, plus a membership upgrade or gift membership).

    While you’re at it … This contests also offers us the perfect chance to remind people that translations for the various non-English sites are ongoing, and new contributors are always welcome! Anybody out there know Maori? Tim made the Maori translation in a fit of optimism during a talk in New Zealand. But it has yet to receive a single edit!

    * You can submit bookpiles for more than one language. You can even win for more than one language. Tim’s standard fine print (“Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible and completely dictatorial”) applies. Any questions or clarifications, just ask.
    ** Tim’s done Hittite, Abby Russian and Chris Catalfo is fluent in Italian.

    Labels: book pile, contests, cuecat

    Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

    Book pile contest

    It’s been a while since we’ve had a bookpile contest, so we figure it’s time to bring back that LibraryThing tradition. We’re also nearing the 30 million books milestone as well as coming up on our third anniversary—time to start celebrating!

    As you know, we’ve been doing a lot of work on the home page lately. As we announced last month, every member now has a personalized, customizable home page. Next up is redesigning the home page that everyone sees when they first visit LibraryThing (the signed out home page). We’re considering a new book pile (see the current one to the right)—that’s where you come in. We’re not guaranteeing we’ll use it, but we figured we’d see what LibraryThing members can come up with!

    So, the contest! We want book piles. Remember, your pile should represent LibraryThing itself, however you choose to interpret it (is it all about the cataloging for you? The talking about books? Connecting with other members?). Given the international flavor of LibraryThing, extra points if you include non-English books in the pile as well.

    The rules

    • Post your photos to Flickr and tag them “LTbookpile” (also tag them “LibraryThing“). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them in the comments here.
    • Or, post your photos on WikiThing here.
    • Or, if all else fails, just email them to and I’ll post them for you.

    The deadline
    Get your photos in by Friday, August 15th at noon EDT.

    The prizes

    Labels: book pile, contest

    Thursday, January 24th, 2008

    Groundhog Day Book Pile Contest

    Photo credit: Flickr member x-eyedblonde; CC-Attribution

    In honor of being sick of the glorious New England winter, I hereby announce the newest book pile contest theme: Groundhog Day.

    Interpret it as you like! Extra points if you can raise the temperature in Boston. I’m cold.

    More about Groundhog Day on Wikipedia, and of course, the Bill Murray classic.

    The rules:

    • Post your photos to Flickr and tag them “LTGroundhog” (also tag them “LibraryThing”). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them in the comments here.
    • Or, post your photos on the wiki here.
    • Or, if all else fails, just email them to and I’ll post them.

    The deadline: Friday, February 8th at noon, EST.

    The prizes: One grand prize winner will receive a LibraryThing t-shirt, and one runner up will get a yearly gift membership (to keep or give away).

    Find inspiration in our archive of past book pile contests.

    Labels: book pile, contest

    Friday, January 11th, 2008

    Holiday book pile contest winners

    Now that the holiday season is behind us, voila, the winners of LibraryThing’s holiday bookpile contest. First prize winner, Teampoush, gets a LibraryThing t-shirt for the subtly cool “Joy to the world” photo (look at closely at the books in the background if you don’t see it at first).

    The two runners up are melannen with the impressive “New Year’s Day Bookpile” (what a way to start the year!) and SanityDemolisher with “Sleigh of Books”). Each will get a gift membership.

    See all of the submissions here and here.

    SantaThing report. I think SantaThing, while a little rushed, was a success! Almost 300 people picked out books for strangers, and had fun doing it. Next year, we’ll certainly make some changes*, but it was a good start. My sincere apologies to anyone whose books came after Christmas—we tried our hardest to get them in time, but it didn’t happen in every case. If you want to see what everyone else picked for their various Santa-ees, or if your Santa left you a personal message (most messages were transferred onto the Amazon order slip, but long ones didn’t fit in), go check it out!

    UPDATE: we fixed the SantaThing page so you can peek at the suggestions on your own page.

    The ordering process was actually kind of fun—I started to see themes of popular books. How many people got a copy of The Prestige by Christopher Priest? (Enough that I decided I should probably buy a copy for myself, if that many LibraryThingers recommended it).

    *I think we’ll start the whole process earlier to give everyone more time to pick out books, etc. We also need figure out the shipping and billing logistics better! We ended up stuck with Amazon billing us separately each time we changed the shipping address (300 times) which hit our bank account’s daily limit on the number of transactions. Who knew? Well after Tim and I ended up using up our personal credit cards and spending over a week clicking on Amazon links, we decided – next year, yup, we’ll do it differently 🙂

    Labels: book pile, contest, santathing

    Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

    Holiday book pile contest

    It’s been a while, but I hereby bring back the book pile contest. I want holiday bookpiles! Make of it what you will—they can be holiday themed (the picture to the right is the winner of last year’s Christmas book pile contest, by thelee — I’d love New Year’s piles, or Solstice, Kwanza, Hanukkah), books you received, books you’re giving, SantaThing books*—use your imagination!

    The nitty gritty:

    • Post your photos to Flickr and tag them “LTholiday” (also tag them “LibraryThing”). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them in the comments here.
    • Or, post your photos on the wiki here.
    • Or, if all else fails, just email them to and I’ll post them.

    The deadline:

    • Monday, January 7th at noon, EST.

    Grand prize winner will receive a LibraryThing t-shirt. Two runners-up will each get a yearly gift membership (to keep or give away).

    Find inspiration in our archive of past book pile contests.

    *Still a few days to sign up for SantaThing!

    Labels: book pile, contest

    Sunday, November 4th, 2007

    Twenty Million Books / Three-hundred thousand members.

    We recently hit another big milestone—20,000,000 books and 300,000 registered members!*

    The exact twenty-millionth book was All Day Every Day by David Armstrong (2002), added by BernardYenelouis last Wednesday night. BernardYenelouis, who gets a gift-account for his good luck, has a library filled with interesting photography books. In this case, he was actually the first to add the book.

    It’s an interesting light on the books members have. I usually stress how books bind people together. I once almost broke the system proving that while, as the idea goes, everyone may be six-acquaintances away from everyone, if you consider books as the connection, they’re more like three books away. But people’s reading tastes are also amazingly diverse. Over 1.7 million books are singletons on LibraryThing, and five million books belong to a work in ten or fewer members’ libraries. Sure we have a hundred-thousand Harry Potters, but the “long tail” of books is very long.** Chris Anderson has shown this in book sales, but the long tail of ownership is much longer.***

    Twenty million feels pretty big to us, but we’re not quite sure where it puts us on our—admittedly asterisked—climb up the global libraries list. We’re in the top five, it seems. The largest, however, the Library of Congress has 30 million books. That’s going to be a fun one!

    We’re also announcing the winners of the 20-million/Halloween photo contest. The Halloween winner is Bluesky1963‘s wonderful Oz-inspired photo (right).

    The Halloween runners-up was micketymoc‘s wonderful “Scary Stories.” (What sort of stories do books tell around the camp fire? Termite stories, of course!) Micketymoc‘s profile’s also great. As for the 20-million photos it was a tie between erelsi183‘s candles and the cake-and-numbers photo by white_Dandelion.

    I enjoyed all the others, but thought I’d post a few, including AnotherJennifer‘s “Annabel Lee, Shakespeare, and the devil celebrate Halloween together,” mekela05‘s Steven-King/spiders pile and Mojosmom‘s horror pop-up.

    Four more pictures deserve a mention. Abby and Sara invited Lisa, Liam and I over for dinner in Cambridge, and I brought along the bottle of champagne that my brother had given me in commemoration of LibraryThing’s one-millionth book. It was time to drink it, and it was good.

    The other two are the only costume photos we received. One Thingamabrarian who wants to be known as Christine submitted her MySpace profile costume. She gets ten points for originality and loses them for not going around as her LibraryThing profile! The other photo is just nepotism.

    *Of course, not all 300,000 are active, and a small number of our books are really DVDs or CDs—which are harder, but not impossible to enter. Against that, however, many records combine multiple volumes in a single entry, so the number of uncounted volumes may well balance out the non-book stuff.
    Around the same time we hit 26,000,000 tags and 600,000 user-contributed covers. Still, I spent half an hour trying to find the cover for my copy of the Complete War Memoirs of Charles de Gaulle, the one with him very tiny in a big white Cross of Lorraine, a cover I feel like I’ve seen in a thousand used bookstores! No dice, on LT or elsewhere. I don’t usually understand the desire for the right cover, but this one got me. Unfortunately, my scanner is non-functional. In related news, we’re going to announce something really exciting about covers sometime this month.
    **It seems to me that LibraryThing really comes into its own in the sweet-spot between very obscure and very common, perhaps 25 to 500 members. After all, there are ample real-world opportunities for discussing Harry Potter or the latest hot novel, and when only a few LT members have a book you can’t be sure any will be actively engaged with the social-networking side of the site. About eight million books belong to works between 25 and 500 members.
    ***And of library collections. I found a good quote in the short essay “The Long Tail and Libraries” by Tom Storey (in Developing Cyber Libraries, 2006, not yet in LT!). “If Anderson’s theory is correct, and all media are in the throes of radical change, libraries may be well-positioned for this new. The Long Tail is something they understand and have practiced for years.” (p. 238)

    Labels: 20 million books, book pile, contest, halloween, milestones

    Thursday, October 25th, 2007

    Photo contest: Twenty-million/Halloween

    Back when we had five million books!

    We’re about to hit twenty-million books cataloged. It should happen Monday or Tuesday. Then Halloween is coming up later in the week.

    So we’re doing a photo contest (see past ones)! Some ideas:

    • Make a spooky halloween book pile. Scary books and severed hands?
    • Make a twenty-million pile, or better, I’d love to get photos of people blowing out candles on books or whatever. Since we’re all virtual now, I’m going to ask all the LT employees to blow out something on a cupcake. Come join us and we’ll make a big montage of fire and puffed cheeks.

    We’ll give out a winner (lifetime account) and two runners-up (year’s account) for each of the two categories. And glory, lots of glory.


    • Post your photos to Flickr and tag them “LT20millionhalloween” (also tag them LibraryThing). If you make a new account it can take a few days for your photos to be publicly accessible, so post a URL to them here or do 2.
    • Or, post your photos on the wiki here.
    • Or, if all else fails, just email them to and I’ll post them.

    Contest ends MIDNIGHT Thursday, November 1.

    Labels: 20 million books, book pile, contest, halloween