As someone who has around 300 books in their personal collection, I find sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing to be very useful to say the least. I have been using Goodreads for around a year and a half now, and although I had a Library Thing account for just as long I am just now coming around to using it again. Why? Glad you asked!
Even before I started my MLIS degree I was looking for a way to organize my books as well as a way to keep track of what books I have read and what I thought of them. I came across Library Thing first and played with it but for some reason dropped it and found Goodreads instead. I am not sure why I did that at the time, but now that I have been playing with them both here is what I think of both of them.
To get straight to is, I like Goodreads (GR) for their social aspect. I have it linked with my Facebook account so whenever I update my status on GR it updates on Facebook as well. I also have it set up so that when my Facebook friends create an account on GR they are automatically added to my friends list. It makes finding and following friends much easier.
I created this account for the sole purpose of helping me remember what books I have read and to keep a running tally of books that I want to read. It has a great, easy to use interface that is very welcoming to the new user. I won’t waste a ton of time here discussing how to use the website because a quick trip over there and five minutes of playing and you will just about be a pro! Within a few minutes of playing around you can add all the books you remember reading as well as adjust the edition of the books so that it reflects the exact copy you read (admittedly this is a bit gimmicky but also very fun).
When you select your book’s edition and add it to your “Currently Reading” list you are able to update your reading progress so that you can track how much you have read and when. Then when you have marked the book as “Read” you can write a review and rate it (5 star rating system) so that your friends can read it, or even the public if you have your settings programmed that way.
I love GRs for tracking my reading progress, however I don’t find GR very good for cataloging my own library. This is where Library Thing shines.
When I first playing with Library Thing (LT) I didn’t care for it much. I didn’t like the layout and the HTML feel of the site nor did I see a way to do what Goodreads did which was updating reading progress. However, now that I have gone back and looked through what LT offers it meets different needs. Although I still don’t see a way to notate reading progress (which may be there, but I haven’t played enough to find it) but what I do see, is a way to catalog a personal library.
This may sound unexciting, but it was a problem I had been facing for a while. As I stated above I have around 300 books and no real why to keep track of them. I tried to create an Excel spreadsheet which worked OK for a while, but it was very time-consuming (especially because I had to look up the call number I wanted to use which took quite a while) and very annoying to update. But LT is quite easy, again I won’t go into all the details because it is easy enough to play and figure it out.
When you search for your book you can choose the edition and all the details, but the best part is that you can choose how and what details you want shown. You can choose to show the Title, Author, ISBN, LC Call number, reviews, etc. etc. It also links to various book sites like Worldcat.org, amazon.com, google books, and Audible.com. This doesn’t make for good social sharing but it does help a Bibliophile like myself organize what I have at home!
So basically, both sites are great! They help users document what they have read and interact with fellow readers.