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

    Friday, October 19th, 2007

    Pirates and haikus and contest winners

    At long last, the contest winners!

    Pirate book piles

    I’m giving out two awards for the Talk Like a Pirate Day book pile contest, so congrats to
    -Mr-Dustin-, with Treasure of Knowledge, and Emma*, for Here be Pirates—a delightful combination of books plus skull.

    See other photos on Flickr, under the TLAPDLibraryThing tag, linked to in the comments of this blog post, or here on WikiThing.


    Are pirate haikus
    truly art? Or attempts to
    bring meaning to bilge?

    The age old question. Well, I love the LT haikus. More than words can describe. Especially now that I get emails which start “The haiku told me to email you about…” Priceless.

    Here are a few of my favorites—gift memberships are winging their way to the authors of these gems.

    But no one must see
    all my birdwatching manuals!
    Hide all your books here.

    New to LibraryThing.
    The day is gone. Tomorrow,
    A new boss awaits.

    Though ye sail under
    many flags, your Tag Mirror
    shows yer true colors.

    Cutlass, cannon, argh!
    The never-ending battle.
    Splitters and lumpers.

    Common Knowledge is
    Uncommonly addictive
    Leaves lie yet unraked

    Look at all the LibraryThing Haikus on WikiThing—there’s help in haiku, general LT haikus, Library 2.0 haikus, and even Talk Like a Pirate Day themed ones.

    Look, even Thomas Jefferson approves!

    I delight, knowing
    That my library lives on,
    On the Internets.

    *email me ( – I don’t know who to give the gift membership prize to!

    Labels: book pile, contest

    Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

    Talk Like a Pirate Day. arrgh

    Arrr, make me walk the plank, because I only just remembard that today’s a ‘ery important day. Aye, Talk Like a Pirate Day, o’ course. Ye’ll ne’er get me buried booty! (Luckily, I found a useful pirate-speak translator).

    So let the fun begin with a couple of contests (as if the sheer glory of Talk Like a Pirate Day weren’t enough). This photo by Topper was last year’s winner of the Talk Like a Pirate Day bookpile contest, and we’re looking for this year’s! So, the first contest is a good old fashioned LibraryThing book pile contest.

    Book pile contest: the rules

    1. Pile up your books. Be creative.
    2. Take a photo.
    3. Post the photo. You can do either of the following:
    4. Wait for us to crown a winner

    the deadline: Wednesday, September 27th at noon EST (just over a week, so get cracking)

    The second contest is a a haiku contest. One of the greatest things to come out of the launch of WikiThing (in my humble opinion) was the creation of help in the form of haiku. Started by tardis (a genius), LibraryThing Haikus now holds a place of honor on WikiThing, and has expanded to include not only Help, but also general LT haikus, and Library 2.0 haikus.

    Haiku help contest: the rules

    1. Write a haiku. Or seven.
    2. Post them to the LibraryThing Haikus page on WikiThing.

    the deadline: well, you can keep adding them forever, but we’ll pick a few winners at the end of the month.

    Here’s a few for inspiration.

    How to create
    account? Put user name and password
    in green box on home page

    Can we have wishlists?
    Yes, they are coming to us
    with the winter winds…

    All the books you’ve read,
    an endless field of poppies;
    Try UnSuggester!

    Bonus points for combining haiku, LibraryThing help, and Talk Like a Pirate Day. Tim’s attempt (note he even respects the generic weather rule):

    When autumn seas change
    Scurvy dogs to lubbers, aye,
    Get a blog widget.

    PRIZES: Yes. There will be prizes, for both contests. Possibly in the form of buried treasure, possibly in the form of gift accounts.

    Labels: book pile, contest, haiku, talk like a pirate day, wikithing

    Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    Harry Potter book pile contest winners

    Thanks to everyone for entering the Harry Potter book pile contest, and providing me with yet another incredibly creative batch of entries (you certainly don’t make judging easy!)*

    The winner! j2.0 (janetmck on Flickr), with the aptly named “Parceltongue?” gets a $50 gift certificate to use at a bookstore of their choice.

    Second prize—and a lifetime gift membership—goes to ellen.w (et al.), with proof that reading is social 🙂

    And because there were just too many great entries, I’m also giving annual memberships to 5** runners up—pictured below.***

    amarie with the Weasley clock bookpile.

    Sabrinanymph with
    “McGonagall goes after the quill”.

    Jenglo with
    “…he who shall not be named…”

    Hogwarts student’s desk

    And lastly, playful, who reminds us that there is life (and indeed, books!) beyond Harry Potter…

    Stay tuned, we’ll announce the winners of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows review contest soon.

    You can see all of the entries under the LibraryThingHarryPotter tag on Flickr, and check out our own book pile archive for all the past contest winners.

    *I blame the delay in posting the winners entirely on J.K. Rowling. After finishing book 7, I had to go back and re-read 1-7 again (thus cutting into my nightly work hours).
    **For a total of seven winners—coincidence? I think not.
    **Email me ( to claim your prizes! Oh, and include your LT user names so I can update this post with the right attributions…

    Labels: book pile, contest, harry potter

    Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

    Harry Potter book piles

    Just a reminder, you’ve still got a few hours to post your photos for the Harry Potter book pile contest

    The submissions so far (plus some more listed in the comments of this blog post).

    Labels: book pile, contest, harry potter

    Thursday, July 5th, 2007

    Harry Potter book pile contest

    You probably already know that the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling will be released at 12:01 a.m. on July 21. (I love that so many bookstores have midnight parties).

    Of course, we’re going to celebrate LibraryThing style, with a book pile contest.

    So gather all your wizard and wizardry books (head to Diagon Alley for any supplies you’re missing), pile on the creativity, and take a photo.

    The rules.
    1. Take a photo of your books.
    2. Post the photo to Flickr. You’ll need a Flickr account to do this (it’s easy and free).
    3. Tag your photo on Flickr with “LibraryThingHarryPotter
    4. If your photo doesn’t show up right away on Flickr’s tag page (a problem if you have a new account), then post a link in the comments of this blog post. We’ll make sure to find it.

    The prizes
    First prize—$50 to use on Amazon or
    Second prize—Free lifetime membership on LibraryThing

    The deadline
    July 31, 2007 (so you’ll have plenty of time to actually read the book too.)

    And once your photo is submitted, don’t worry, the fun isn’t over. There’s plenty of Harry Potter games, discussion, and speculation happening in the Groups.

    Join the Hogwarts Express group to discuss all things Potter. Or check out the Watching Harry Potter 7 topic to weigh in on the following:

    1. How long will it take to break 10000 copies on LT?
    2. How long will it take to become number 1?
    3. How many copies are going to be listed in LT the day BEFORE the book is released?

    Enjoy! (And remember, if you’re sharing your copy, read fast so the second person doesn’t have to wait too long…)

    Labels: book pile, contest, harry potter

    Monday, July 2nd, 2007

    Book pile winner

    Sorry for the delay in posting this, I was trying to give the job posting as much time as possible on top. So go read it again. Forward to your friends and get $1,000 worth of books. Come work with us, we’re fun.

    Now that that’s out of the way, onto business.

    Once upon a time, LibraryThing had a bad couple of days. Bad for everything, it seems, except book piles. We got a *huge* response to our impromptu contest to find a new book pile to grace what we call “the down page”—what becomes the homepage when the site is down, for whatever reason.

    The sheer number of entries was astounding. Clearly the lesson to be learned here is that you all have a lot of free time on your hands when you can’t be on LT. Logically, we should bring the site down everytime we do a book pile contest in the future. Right? 🙂

    Without further ado, the winning pile, which will now live on our down page—here’s hoping we rarely see it!

    The Paradox of LibraryThing by adamallen

    A few other favorites, ranging from philosophy to dispair…

    The poignant Wish You Were Here by Lilithcat
    Oh so subtle
    From Blue Screen to Death Notes…
    Fix-it by Staffordcastle (let’s just hope that home plumbing never comes into it).
    A Series of Unfortunate Events
    And if there was ever doubt that a picture is worth a thousand words…

    You can see the rest of the incredible photos here:, and a colorful selection of them in this blog post.

    Make sure to check out past winners in the book pile archive. We’ll announce the next contest soon..

    Labels: book pile

    Friday, June 15th, 2007

    A selection of down-pile photos

    A small slice of the many photographs submitted for our “down” book-pile contest (see announcement). Many more can be seen at:

    I love all the variants. Despair, love, criticism, encouragement, piles, jumbles, structures, balls of yarn, cats, babies. You people are amazing. When I talk about LibraryThing I like to say that it’s 10% software and 90% the community that’s grown up around it. I just realized another reason that’s good—you people don’t go down.

    Labels: book pile

    Thursday, May 24th, 2007

    Cooking bookpile winners

    We had a lot of fantastic and inventive entries for the Cooking bookpile contest—thank you all!

    Our first prize winner, who gets $100 to use on is Featherbooks, with “Cookbooks on Ice“—did you have no food, or did you clean out your fridge especially to take a picture? Impressive either way…

    Second prize, and recipient of a free lifetime membership to LibraryThing is
    I heart cooking & Librarything!” (Who are you? Email so I can send along your lifetime membership!)

    And of course, a few more notable entries for your viewing pleasure… (All of them can be seen here).

    “Eating History”, by Selkie—oh, the wit 🙂

    “Which book doesn’t fit?” Um, can I guess “Game is Good Eating”?

    “I’m an eclecticook.” (A dinner party I’d certainly like an invitation to).

    Sing it with me: “I’m gonna wash those books right out of my shelf”

    A dream game of Clue: “Elmo in the dining room with a Sweet Potato”. Fantastic. In oh so so many ways. (There were two other ways that Elmo kicked it, also worth checking out).

    The oh so elegant “Afternoon Tea Cookbooks 2” by staffordcastle

    Cookbooks from around the world, by MMcM

    And last, but certainly not least… “Cook(ed) books” by tanja

    Labels: book pile

    Thursday, April 12th, 2007

    Cooking book pile contest

    Our newest book pile contest theme is cooking.* For something new, we’re teaming with Abebooks. They’re co-sponsoring the contest, and offering a fantastic grand prize—$100 to use on See their announcement of the contest here.

    Without further ado…

    The rules
    1. Take a photo of your books. Be creative and inspired! Remember, the theme is cooking.
    2. Post the photo to Flickr. You’ll need a Flickr account to do this (it’s easy and free).
    3. Tag your photo on Flickr with “LibraryThingAbeBooks”

    The prizes
    First prize—$100 to use on
    Second prize—Free lifetime membership on LibraryThing

    The deadline
    May 15, 2007

    Special note on Flickr—photos from new accounts don’t always show up on the global tag page right away. If your photo isn’t showing up here, you can always post the URL in the comments to this blog post, we’ll make sure to find it.

    Need inspiration? Check out the book pile archive for past winners, or Abebooks’ new “Books for Cooks” section.

    *Maybe it’s that my recent move unearthed all the fancy but long-forgotten kitchen tools, or maybe it’s that I just read Julie and Julia,** but I’m in the mood to cook lately.
    **The book that introduced me to the concept of aspics. Never have I been more glad to be a vegetarian…

    Labels: book pile

    Monday, April 9th, 2007

    Winners of the March bookpile contest

    Finally! Sorry for the delay in posting the winners to March’s bookpile contests*. The challenge was a pile to do with spring, Women’s History Month, or Small Press Month. And trust me, I needed the extra time, it was hard to pick from all the incredible pictures!

    And without further delay, the winner (who gets a $50 gift certificate to Abebooks) is…**

    Goodsoul (Flickr user PhotoSensate) wins for this mother-inspired book pile. It’s fantastic. I say no more, you must go read the description yourselves.

    The runners up, who each receive an annual membershp to LibraryThing, are:

    Runner up one. How could you not love Pesky Library’s contribution: Spring Chicks dig Chick Lit!

    For runner up number two, by vonlafin I loved this spring greenhouse photo—and nothing says spring like dirt!

    I’ve added a third runner-up, just for this last photo, about all the projects planned for spring, from dieting to gardening to learning Italian to reading in a hammock. I love it.

    There were just too many good entries to display just the winners, so here are a few more favorites.

    HerStory was very creative, and full of history!

    “What we call women” by roseread is a really neat look at book titles…

    And lastly, a shout-out to our only submission featuring small press books, by leennnadine.

    See most of the entries here, and the rest are linked to in the comments to this blog post.

    Be watching for our next contest, which is a big one…

    *I was dealing with my own personal book-piling (rather, piling boxes of books), since I spent the last week moving into a new apartment.
    **All winners, please email me so I can pass along the prizes! ( Actually, if I’ve posted a picture of your bookpile, email me with your LT user name, so I can include it in the blog post!

    Labels: book pile

    Monday, February 19th, 2007

    Book pile bonanza winners

    We had an amazing amount of fantastically great entries for the 10 million books / valentines / presidents book pile contest. That’s a lot of superlatives, I know, but trust me, it’s worth it. There were Valentine’s Day themed piles, President’s Day themed piles, and a whole bunch of people took us up on the “best damn book pile ever”. (See the entries here, under the Flickr tag “LibraryThing10mil“).

    Several themes emerged, and not just Valentines and Presidents. We had several variations on a heart, showing love from Harlequin to Latin. There was fun with numbers and words, sweet stories, and a surprising number of floating shelves (I’m covetous). Overall, a fantastic collection of book piles. You can see them all here (and several that hadn’t posted to Flickr yet are linked to in these blog comments).

    Without further ado, our grand prize winner. madinkbeard’s “We heart LibraryThing” was a stand-out. As an added bonus, you can see all 86 books that were used to create this red spine-d heart here. Madinkbeard will be getting one hundred dollars—to be spent entirely on one book.

    We also have five runners up, who will each get a year’s gift membership to LibraryThing.*

    Runner up. First, I loved parelle’s “Bookpiles and my love life”, which chronicles a relationship, from a bookstore meeting. The story starts here and is continued here.

    Runner up. “Presidents”, this wall of presidents by Pesky Library was beautiful, and, I think, entered by a small library?

    Runner up. jadelennox’s “Ten million books and counting” was one of our number themed entries—starting low and going up high. From zero to pi to infinity (and beyond?)!

    Runner up. “Books are love!” by j2.0 brings book piling to a whole new level (and also gives us our first nude photo blog post)!

    Runner up. And lastly, “Never Enough Time for Reading”, by Munzerr solves the all important question of having a “good body:books ratio” (as mentioned in the photo’s comments).

    There are a couple of other photos that we’d like to highlight (let’s call them the the honorable mentions, for lack of a better term).

    Honorable mention. Narrisch’sBabel in Translation” was fantastic (and extra points for using the phrase “book-a-ganza”).

    Honorable mention. skullfaced’s Skull stacking managed to combine natural history with Valentine’ s Day and Darwin’s Birthday, and all on a bathroom floor!

    Honorable mention. Kristy’s “Pursuit of Love Bookpile” I had picked as a winner, until I realized that she was John’s girlfriend, and that that probably meant she couldn’t win an actual prize.**

    Honorable mention. Lastly, we had a soft spot for the books in the truck, nicely packed into their “car seats”.

    *Will the winners please email me ( so I can send the prizes your way?
    **Even though we never explicitly stated it, I think that wives, girlfriends, and children of LT employees, though welcome to submit photos, can’t actually win. Hey, we can make up rules as we go along, can’t we?

    UPDATE For some reason, one of these photos that previously contained books now is showing up as a chicken salad (I think. The vegetarian in me isn’t quite sure). In the meantime, Flickr’s down page reports that they’re having a massage (I’m jealous).
    UPDATE part deux Apparently Flickr is having a cache problem, leading to “weirdness” (a technical term). So you might see chicken salad, you might see a book pile. Enjoy either way.

    Labels: book pile, contest

    Thursday, February 1st, 2007

    Black History Month bookpile

    I don’t want to knock John’s cool all your covers toy off the top of the blog (quick, everyone who hasn’t already, go read that post), but it is February 1st, so I have to announce the winner of the Black History Month book pile contest.

    So, congratulations to lilithcat (mojosmom on Flickr) for this fantastic music themed pile, which wins in my eyes for having both Eartha Kitt’s Confessions of a Sex Kitten and the Amistad opera libretto.* I mean, that’s range.

    I’ve also made up a page showing all the past book pile contests (an archive, if you will), so go take a peek at that. And as always, we’re looking for suggestions for future contests.

    The next one is going to be a presidents vs. lovers one—President’s day? Valentine’s day? All-in-one grand pile (lovers of presidents?)? You choose! As always, post your pictures to Flickr, and tag them “LibraryThingPresidents” and/or “LibraryThingLovers”. Get them in by February 21st at 3pm EST.**

    *My sister was a shipwright at Mystic Seaport when they rebuilt the Amistad, but I didn’t know there was an opera until just now…
    **UPDATE – deadline and contest has slightly changed. See this blog post for details. Basically, the prizes got better, and your photos have to be tagged LibraryThing10mil.

    Labels: book pile

    Friday, December 29th, 2006

    Merry belated Christmas and thanks for the votes

    Merry Christmas from all of us here at LibraryThing! Now that I’m full of good food and family visting, it’s time to get to the bookpiles.

    We didn’t get that many entries* in the Christmas bookpile contest, but this one was a clear winner. Great work, thelee!** My tree wasn’t as poetic looking as this one, that’s for sure. I particularly like how warm the light is – and a bookpile that goes from Leaves of Grass to The American Catholic Experience to Paradise Lost to Lonely Planet British Columbia, of course! As the photo caption aptly says,

    Though the books don’t necessarily have much to do with Christmas, some of them were Christmas gifts in the past, and Christmas is a great time to read, next to the tree, with a cup of hot cocoa, a fireplace, and friends and family doing likewise.

    In unrelated, but also joyful news, we tied for the People’s Choice winner in the niche category of Mashable’s Social Networking Awards. That is, of course, entirely due to you—thanks for voting for us!*** As Chris said, we did exceptionally well considering Dogster put their vote button right on their homepage, while our users had to find the blog to know about the award.

    *This isn’t all of them – some were were emailed to me because they hadn’t show up in the public Flickr pool yet.
    **who are you on LT? Email me to get your recognition and claim your prize! (update—the winner is thelee!)
    ***I’d like to thank the Academy…

    Labels: book pile

    Friday, December 22nd, 2006

    Hanukkah bookpile winner

    We might not have been flooded with entries for this one, but the ones we did get were fantastic (I want fried donuts. Maybe next time, winners will be selected based on whoever sends us the best baked good bribery.)

    Congratulations to cmlib* though, for the prize-winning photo. (Tim noted that he has Christmas stuff in exactly that style, also from Mexico.) Congrats!

    Up next—a Christmas bookpile contest. Start your piles and post them to Flickr with the tag “LibraryThingChristmas”. The deadline is the 3pm on Wednesday, December 27th (I know, that’s after Christmas, but time is flying by! This way you can include books you got as gifts too, right?) The winner, as usual, gets a gift subscription.

    *But that’s your Flickr user name, but not your LT one! Who are you? How will I know who to send the gift membership prize to?? Email me!**
    **Update: That was fast! Flickr user cmlib is our very own libros (the kitten picture on her profile slays me. I love it).

    Labels: book pile

    Monday, October 2nd, 2006

    Banned bookpile winner

    We didn’t want to knock our post about Squirl off the top, but we’ve got a lot to blog about. I’m a day late in announcing the winner of the banned bookpile contest, so without further ado…

    The winner (who gets a year’s membership to LT) is ellen.w . Congrats!

    As always, the entries were fabulous, and represented a lot of time, effort, and creativity. There were some great others, I really liked the ones organized around themes – children’s books, books banned for because of the occult and/or sex, books worth owning twice – and of course, the one with Nancy Pearl flying to the rescue!

    Labels: book pile