November 16, 2006
By David Darlington
Part flickr, part-Amazon.com, LibraryThing allows registered users to create an online database of their personal library for easy management. Books can be added by title, author, or ISBN, and LibraryThing will track down the appropriate information from the Library of Congress, Amazon, or 60 other libraries around the world. One’s personal library can be viewed as a list, or as a “virtual bookshelf” featuring cover art, if available. Personal libraries can be sorted by title, author, publication date, publisher, Library of Congress call number, ISBN, rating of the book, date it was entered in to the library, or by any tags the user specifies (such as “world history”).
Once users create their libraries they can share them with other users, create groups of users based on similar reading interests, write book reviews, link their library to a blog, and get suggestions for additional readings based on what users with similar libraries have read (much like Amazon’s “Customers who bought this item also bought” feature). LibraryThing also features the book “UnSuggester,” which gives the user the diametric opposite of a book entered.
Users who choose a free LibraryThing account can add up to 200 books to their library. Advanced users can add unlimited books to their library for $10 annually or $25 for life. Launched in August 2005, LibraryThing now has over 100,000 users and approximately 7.1 million books on file.