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Author Topic: Goodreads vs. LibraryThing
Chris Bridges
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After seeing it suggested by Icarus in my column thread I checked out Goodreads.com. Cool little library indexing site that allows you to connect to friends and see what they're reading. I entered some books to see what it was about. Fairly easy interface, adding and rating books was simple enough.

However, it didn't seem to have something I really wanted, which was suggestions based on the libraries of people with similar tastes. Enter LibraryThing, a site that does just that. The notion of suggestions based on what I own, as opposed to, say, Amazon's suggestions based on what I've bought (which is often for other people besides myself), is highly appealing for someone who is fairly particular about what to buy next.

However, LibraryThing doesn't have the social networking. It has groups, so you can get threaded messages based on certain topics, but that's about it (as far as I know). And the book adding isn't as easy, although I ordered a CueCat to speed things up.

Anybody use either? What do you think? I ain't gonna maintain both...

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ketchupqueen
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I like GoodReads (there are lots of us on! Join our friends lists!) much better than LibraryThing, which I use occasionally for recommendations but I find what other Hatrackers are reading and what they thought of books much more interesting for the most part.
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theCrowsWife
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That's strange, I think that LibraryThing's book entry is much easier than Goodreads.

I'm using LibraryThing to catalogue our entire library. It was getting a bit cumbersome trying to keep track of which books I'd read using tags. Also, I read a lot of library books, but didn't want to enter them in LibraryThing because then it looks like they're part of our personal library. So now I use Goodreads to keep track of books that I read.

LibraryThing = Complete personal library
Goodreads = Books that I've read, whether owned or not.

They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I'm pretty happy with the way I've been using them.

--Mel

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rivka
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I've never tried LibraryThing, but I adore GoodReads.

The recommendations thing is something they they plan to add, but it is not clear when. (So probably holding your breath would be bad. Although entertaining for me.)

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xnera
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I'm interested in everyone's opinions, too. I've been a member of LibraryThing for a while, but only recently started entering books. Then I heard about GoodReads and went to check it out, and had pretty much the same reaction as Chris did.

I think at this point I need to decide what it is I'm looking for in a book catalogue site. I'm very interested in cataloguing all the books I own. I keep forgetting whether I have a particular volume of manga, and it'd be nice to check that online before I head to the bookstore after work so I don't mistakenly buy two copies (done that a few times) or decide not to buy an issue because I'm just not sure if I have it or not. I'm not really sure I'm interested in the social aspects. Sure, it sounds nice, but I think at the moment I'm more interested in having good control over my library.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bridges:
After seeing it suggested by Icarus ...

Hmmph.
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Chris Bridges
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Eek! My sincere apologies for not checking.
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Icarus
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In the short time I've been on Goodreads, they've added all sorts of things. They are constantly tweaking the site for the better--sometimes I've noticed changes during a single session. They're also very responsive to user suggestions--more so than just about any place I've seen. You could suggest what you have in mind, and I bet it would come along before too long.
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Chris Bridges
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At the moment, I'm going to try using LibraryThing for my catalog and GoodReads for current reading habits, and see what happens.

Me at LibraryThing | GoodReads

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bridges:
Eek! My sincere apologies for not checking.

Forgiven. [Smile]

Icarus is absolutely right. They are extremely responsive to requests and suggestions. If it's a simple change that no one objects to, you can expect it to change within 24-48 hours (weekends excluded). However, I have had them tell me about several things that changing them would be complicated, and therefore might not happen for a while (if ever).

The recommendations issue is one that has come up in the Feedback group repeatedly, and they say it is on the to-do list. The problem is there are a LOT of things on that list, and as far as I can tell, most of these changes are being done by one or two people. When they say "it will be done in 2-4 weeks," it quite possibly won't be. Just because there are too many such things, and they can't possibly work fast enough. (When they say "It will be done later today" it really will be, though.)

If Otis has a day job, I'd love to know when the poor guy sleeps. [Wink]

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rivka
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Chris, do you really have two copies of Princess Bride? (And if you do, wanna sell one?)
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Chris Bridges
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I think I have three. The first one I hunted like crazy all over Florida to find, a few years before the movie came out and it was suddenly everywhere. The 25th Anniversary version, with the chapter from "Buttercup's Baby." And the 30th Anniversary release with the additional material (Goldman's research visit to Florin).

And nope, I'm keepin' 'em. But if you're looking for a copy I can find one for you. I'm practiced at it now [Smile]

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Chris Bridges
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(By the way - anyone cruising my library should keep in mind that it's horribly slanted at the moment. It contains a ton of works by a few specific authors whose names I entered to see what came up, and all the books near my desk. The rest of my books will go in after I get my CueCat.)
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rivka
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[Big Grin]

I mostly wondered why it was on your bookshelf twice. I don't think there is any book that I (deliberately, anyway) own three copies of. Well, unless we count religious texts.

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rivka
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What's a CueCat? [Edit: Googled it. I have one of those! Somewhere . . . (as in, I don't think I've seen it since 4 moves ago . . .)]

And I'm glad 400+ books is only a small fraction. Friends with lots of books for me to peruse feed my obsession. [Wink]

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Chris Bridges
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I have multiple copies of several books, either because each edition has something exclusive, for sentimental reasons, or because I have signed or otherwise valuable editions and I also want a reading copy.

Over the last few years I've been working on building up my e-book library and letting my shelves dwindle so I'd have (finally) room to start getting nice hardback editions of beloved books.

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Chris Bridges
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Cuecat at Wikipedia.

It's a handheld scanner that plugs into your computer and reads UPC symbols. They produce encrypted code that can be made legible with software or by opening one up and snipping a connection. RadioShack used to hand the things out. LibraryThing allows you to use a CueCat to enter book ISBNs by scanning the barcodes (and they'll even sell you one if you can't find one), making the entry of large amounts of books MUCH easier.

GoodReads doesn't have that, but you could use the CueCat to make a textfile of your ISBNs and then import that into GoodReads.

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Narnia
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I catalogued my entire library last summer on Librarything before I'd ever heard of Goodreads. Too bad I won't have the strength to ever do that again. For current reading habits, I use my facebook page. [Smile]
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rivka
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GoodReads can import csv files, and I think LibraryThink can export 'em. At any rate, I know people have imported from one to the other without too much bother.

GoodReads also has a widget for Facebook.

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theCrowsWife
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The last time I tried to import my library from LibraryThing to Goodreads, it got thoroughly mangled. LibraryThing has a lot of fields that Goodreads doesn't recognize, and somehow I ended up with about 300 books with a title of "1". After that I decided to just enter books as I read them, especially since there are a lot of books in our library that I'll probably never read (husband's old textbooks, for one).

--Mel

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Zalmoxis
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I was using the Books app in Facebook, but then I heard about goodreads from rivka.

I'm digging it. Yes, it's another thing I have to authenticate with, but because my library system also has a catalog search app, I can log in to Facebook and have a handy visual reminder to a) go through my list of to-reads and b) order the book from my library system (or see if it's on the shelves at my local branch).

It's been working great for me -- I have little interest in doing backfill work or cataloging my library, but I've been looking for a way to track what I want to read.

The one thing that would fantastic for using goodreads on Facebook is if you could order your to-read list like the queue on Netflix and then the Facebook app could show the top 2 or 3 in the queue.

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Chris Bridges
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Make it easier: after you export your library, open the csv file in a spreadsheet program like Excel and remove all the columns except for the ISBN. Or export just that column into a separate file. Then import that stripped down file into GoodReads.

Or just enter you new books [Smile]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Zalmoxis:
The one thing that would fantastic for using goodreads on Facebook is if you could order your to-read list like the queue on Netflix and then the Facebook app could show the top 2 or 3 in the queue.

Has been requested, and is on the to-do list. [Wink]
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bridges:
Make it easier: after you export your library, open the csv file in a spreadsheet program like Excel and remove all the columns except for the ISBN. Or export just that column into a separate file. Then import that stripped down file into GoodReads.

Someone came up with a slightly less stripped-down method: See message #6

No idea if it's worth it to any of y'all. But it is an option. [Smile]

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
GoodReads also has a widget for Facebook.

Suddenly, I'm interested. I'll have to investigate and compare it to the iRead Facebook app that I use for my current reading.
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rivka
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Widget
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pooka
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Wow. Yet another technological advance that I can resist.

Though curiously, I did stumble onto Narnia's Library Thing earlier today.

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Zalmoxis
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Thanks, rivka. That'll be awesome.

twinky: I was using iRead. Although it was nice not having to log in to yet another social networking site, once I finally gave in and signed up with goodreads I quickly decided I liked it a lot better.

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Icarus
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"To-read" doesn't mean the same as "to-buy." I wish they had a separate classification for "to-buy" that also did not appear on "read." All of the books on my "to-read" list are books I have already bought. I'd love a handy "to-buy" list as well.

At some point I might even care enough to suggest it over there.

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Chris Bridges
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A to-buy list that could be accessed with your phone or PDA would be wondrous. Just about every time I go to Barnes and Noble or Borders and suddenly remember there's a book (or, more usually, books) I desperately wanted to get but never got around to, but I can not under gunpoint remember which one(s).

By the way, the one huge drawback of using either GoodReads or LibraryThing? I just dropped $80 at Amazon after finding books I didn't know existed. This can only get worse...

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Icarus
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Well I currently actually maintain my t-buy list as an excel file on my PDA. I can also access Goodreads through my PDA, since I have internet. Is that what you mean, or do you mean some sort of text message-like thing?
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Chris Bridges
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LibraryThing has a stripped-down mobile version. I'd like to see a to-buy list available that way.
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porcelain girl
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Well, I am now completely addicted. What a neat site! Puffy Treat! You better get on there! I'm quite certain your list would overwhelm all the other lists like the Red Sea over the Egyptians.


What a great way to get the scoop on both books you've heard of and those you haven't.

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theCrowsWife
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I set up a to-buy shelf (tag). Books that I want to buy (regardless of whether they are read, to-read, or reading) get added to that shelf. Is there any reason that wouldn't work for you, Ic?

--Mel

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by theCrowsWife:
I set up a to-buy shelf (tag). Books that I want to buy (regardless of whether they are read, to-read, or reading) get added to that shelf.

I do this too. Except my shelf is called to-buy-beg-or-borrow, and includes books I plan to get from the library or cadge off friends. [Wink]
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Zalmoxis
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And then, of course, if you add the RSS feed of the to-buy tag to a reader that works well with whatever mobile device you own (esp, if displays the headlines even if you aren't connected and you can display as much of the feed as you want), then you're all set.
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xnera
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Does Goodreads allow you to re-read books? Because there are some books I constantly reread (the manga, for instance), and I wouldn't mind having a list of how many times i've read a particular book.
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rivka
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At the moment, it is only possible to list one date you read a given book. However, I know there was a request for multiple read-on dates just a couple days ago. You might want to chime in on that request.

I can't find the thread, but you can always just start one in the Feedback group area.

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Icarus
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quote:
Originally posted by theCrowsWife:
I set up a to-buy shelf (tag). Books that I want to buy (regardless of whether they are read, to-read, or reading) get added to that shelf. Is there any reason that wouldn't work for you, Ic?

--Mel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe books on such a shelf would automatically be added to my "Read" shelf. But the books I want to buy are generally books I have not read. I am under the impression that only the "To-read" and the "Currently-reading" shelves are exempt from the "Read" shelf.
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ketchupqueen
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As long as you don't rate them or date them, can't they go on a shelf but not show up as read? Maybe I'm mistaken.
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theCrowsWife
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quote:
Originally posted by Icarus:
quote:
Originally posted by theCrowsWife:
I set up a to-buy shelf (tag). Books that I want to buy (regardless of whether they are read, to-read, or reading) get added to that shelf. Is there any reason that wouldn't work for you, Ic?

--Mel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe books on such a shelf would automatically be added to my "Read" shelf. But the books I want to buy are generally books I have not read. I am under the impression that only the "To-read" and the "Currently-reading" shelves are exempt from the "Read" shelf.
No, it works. Read, To-read, and Currently-reading are all mutually exclusive: you can't have a book on more than one of them at a time. But all of the user-defined shelves are non-exclusive. Regardless of which of the built-in shelves a book is on, it can also be on any combination of user shelves. Personally, I find it more intuitive to think of the user-defined shelves as tags, since only the built-in shelves actually act like real bookshelves.

Actually, kq, you can rate and date books in "currently-reading" and "to-read" shelves and it doesn't change the shelf to "read". I just checked it with a couple of books I hadn't yet moved to the proper shelf. I suspect you can even add reviews without it changing.

--Mel

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rivka
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There are three default shelves. Every book must be on one of them. (There is some discussion about adding a fourth shelf, most likely called "Other." But they really don't want there to be a whole bunch of default shelves.)

If it's a book you plan to read and want to buy, I would shelve it on to-read and to-buy. Works for me.

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Icarus
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Got it.
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rivka
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Ok, now I have "Into the Woods" stuck in my head, and it is totally y'all's fault! >_<


[edit] . . . or the fact that for over ten years I had misheard "to find" as "to buy." O_O

Ok, so it's my fault.

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Icarus
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quote:
Sorry, only users with librarian status can edit book & author data. If you'd like librarian status, please contact us.
How do I make it see that I am a librarian?
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rivka
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How odd. You actually don't seem to be -- there's no third line under your picture.

Better email them. How bizarre!

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Tatiana
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Oooh, I'm on goodreads. I'm tatiana. Friend me! (those who haven't yet)
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Strider
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is goodreads down for anyone else?
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Leonide
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i am having a devil of a time uploading my librarything csv file to goodreads...even after i stripped it down to just the ISBN. i entered a few of my older books under their library of congress numbers...is that somehow messing it up? It keeps telling me i'm missing the "ISBN" column, but that's the ONLY column i'm offering them!
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
is goodreads down for anyone else?

It was for a couple hours this morning, but it's back now.

quote:
Originally posted by Leonide:
i am having a devil of a time uploading my librarything csv file to goodreads...even after i stripped it down to just the ISBN. i entered a few of my older books under their library of congress numbers...is that somehow messing it up? It keeps telling me i'm missing the "ISBN" column, but that's the ONLY column i'm offering them!

How weird. You're using their sample file as a template?

I guess send 'em an email, or post in the Feedback group.

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Strider
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Hey, I'm on goodreads now. i've added a bunch of Hatrackers that I pilfered from Chris's friend list, but there were some names that I wasn't sure who they were. So if I didn't add you and you're on goodreads, feel free to add me. Link
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