Friday, June 17

Your Online Bookshelf

Organising your bookshelf can be a crazy thing. It can also be a lot of fun and quite satisfying. It's a prime way to procrastinate and still feel like you're doing something important…which you are.

Sorting through all the books you own is one thing…but what about all the books you've read? Or all the books you want to read? What a task! Very efficient, though.

I have a journal with all the books I want to read written down in it. When I read one, I cross it out and put little star ratings next to it. I've had if for a few years now and I still love it. It hasn't got all of the books I have ever read inside it or even all the ones I want to read but it's pretty neat.

However, if you don't want to lose something… If you want to trust that you won't misplace a journal or have a word document deleted…turn to the web. There are a few brilliant websites where you can get an account and create your own virtual shelf, sorting through all the books you've read, are reading, want to read, own and more. It isn't just an organisational thing, it's a community. You can connect with your friends and fellow readers and see what they're reading and what they've thought of books you like or are interested in.

Unlike your bookshelves at home, you don't have to choose one way to organise your books. Alphabetical isn't the only way. You can categorise your books into as many shelves as you want. Genre, setting, hot male protagonists. Anything that pleases you.

So, what are these websites I'm talking about? Well, I'm going to give it to you straight. I'm pretty new to the whole scene myself, so I'm no expert but I'll tell you what I know and you can check it out for yourself.


I've had the most experience with GoodReads, although it took me a while to wrap my head around it. I've only recently rejoined after deleting my account a while back because I was in such a muddle with it, too focused on adding friends and not enough with organising my shelf and personalising my networking. It was nothing to do with the site itself, which I love. It was just a personal choice I made as I wanted to start over when the time was right. I have now and I'm looking forward to getting my real kick out of GoodReads.

You can follow people's reviews on GoodReads, add them as friends and shelve your books in all different categories that you choose. You can make and take quizzes, join groups and even share some of your writing on the site.

One of the most interesting things about GoodReads is that a lot of authors have their own pages on the site. This means that they are very well connected to how their books are being received by readers. There is a fair chance that if you write a review of a book, the author might see it. There is nothing greater than writing a review of a book you like and receiving a notice saying that the author liked your review.


Shelfari is a site I am new to but already I'm keen on it. It is very useful to use, although the set-up is somewhat different to GoodReads. Shelfari is owned by Amazon. That means that you can link your Shelfari account to your Amazon account, so that purchases you make from the Amazon website can go onto your shelf.

Just like on GoodReads, you can connect with friends and join groups. Shelfari has a really nice and simple layout that is easy to manage. It took me no time at all before I was able to launch into sorting out my books with all the right tags and my desired choice of covers.


Now this is a website where I could use a bit of educating. I have no experience with it, only what I know by word of mouth from members.

LibraryThing is another website where you can efficiently catalogue your books, posts reviews, edit your profile and join groups and discussions. It is above all a place for you to network with other readers.

Reviews are key on LibraryThing. Members like to network with other active members who have plenty of content on their shelves that shows they are more open to discussions of books and may have good reading recommendations. So, unlike GoodReads and Shelfari, which are primarily brilliant places to sort through all your books, LibraryThing is really a kingdom for the book lover, who wants to share their enthusiasm for books they read and network with other serious readers and reviewers.

These are just the websites I know and the little I know of them. I look forward to learning more in the future.

Are you a member of GoodReads, Shelfari or LibraryThing? How do you find out about it and what are the key aspects of the site that drew you in as a member?

1 comment:

The Torg said...

One of my favorite books is Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. The protagonist Rob has all these interesting and obsessive ways of organizing his record collection. What you're saying about your books reminds me of that. I look forward to hearing from you here.