Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Networks and Catalogs

Among other things, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing are:

• Social networks
• Online book catalogs
• Venues for readers to connect with other readers
• Publicity tools for authors
• A way to find new books
• An avenue to rate/review books

I’m not a fan of social networking in general, but I do like Goodreads. I use Goodreads to find new books through other readers’ recommendations/ratings, to keep track of the books I enjoyed reading, and to promote my own books. I also enjoy reading the other members’ profiles and looking at their “profile” photos: cute pets, adorable kids, funny sayings, cartoons, or smiling faces. It’s interesting how people choose to represent themselves as well as to see what they’re reading.

Last month an advertisement for a book appeared on the sidebar while I was cataloging one of my reads. I’d been on the hunt for a women’s fiction selection for my book club, and the advertisement seemed to promise a novel to fit the need. We’re discussing Alice I Have Been next month thanks to Goodreads.

Publicity is a necessary evil for selling books. I friend the mystery readers on the site and ask them to check out my books. Many of them respond positively. I also have offered giveaways on the site prior to the release of my books.

In 2009, I started out cataloging and rating every book I read, like it or not. But after receiving a couple tactless reviews of my own books, I decided to rate only books I like to avoid offending anybody.

I registered for Shelfari in 2009 but never could figure out how to navigate around the site. Other people seem to like it, though. LibraryThing is also popular, but one book social network is enough for me.

So, do you belong to these book social networks or to different ones? What value, if any, do you see in them?


Dru said...

Hi Lisa,

I only belong to Goodreads and I like them. I'm in a discussion group where we talk about books and I've discovered a lot of new-to-me authors and even genres I don't normally read through some of the members recommendations.

Alan Orloff said...

I "belong" to all three: Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing, but like you, I only really participate in Goodreads. For some reason, the other two aren't quite as user-friendly. I like using the "compare" feature to see how my tastes stack up to other people's.

Lois Winston said...

I do Goodreads and Shelfari but pretty much ignore Shelfari now. I had too many problems with guys from India wanting to friend me.

Like you, Lisa, I only post ratings for books that I've liked. I don't review books because I'm afraid of backlash, even when I like a book. I've seen where a minor criticism in an otherwise good review can be taken out of context and really hurt an author. And I've seen too many mean-spirited reviews by other authors or writers who are trying to get published. I guess they don't believe in Karma.

Darrell James said...

Thanks for the "reiview" of these sites, Lisa. I plan to use Goodreads to promote my book. I may consider it in my book buying as well.

Beth Groundwater said...

I only belong to Goodreads, and I use it to keep track of my own reading, find books to recommend to my book club and to read myself, and chat with other users about mysteries, especially in the mystery-oriented groups I belong to.

Promotion-wise, the key is to keep it non-blatant and follow the Goodreads policies. I have an author Q&A group that's active now, to answer questions about my new Deadly Currents release. Also, I ran a giveaway contest for a free pre-release copy to generate buzz.

G.M. Malliet said...

I'm going to try LibraryThing.

Shelfari and Goodreads confused me (it doesn't take much).

Keith Raffel said...

I used Visual Bookshelf, a Facebook app, for three years simply to track what books I was reading. Now I can't get my book list out of there. I switched to Goodreads.

Lisa Bork said...

Dru - I see your posts all the time. You are a voracious reader.

Alan - I will have to try the compare feature.

Lois - Sometimes honesty does not pay.

Darrell - Definitely check Goodreads out.

Beth - Your Q&A will be great with all the research you do for your books.

Gin - I'm easily confused, too, and not very patient.

Keith - Visual Bookshelf is new to me.

Alice Loweecey said...

I belong to Goodreads and LibraryThing. I use the former a bit more than the latter. I did a book giveaway on Goodreads and got more than 850 requests! Hopefully that will turn into a few sales.

I post reviews of books I've read, too.

Lisa Bork said...

Alice - Awesome, 850 requests! I think lots of times people put their name in for the drawing then add the book to their "to read" list, so you gain readers regardless of who wins the giveaway.

Cricket McRae said...

I'm only now becoming active on Goodreads as I work out systems for how to juggle all the social media and promotion -- also because Beth recommends it so highly. Really looking forward to connecting there and discovering new books and authors as well as readers. And I'll be doing a giveaway for my July release on Goodreads, too. (850 -- that's fabulous, Alice!)