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?