That’s not to say I’m done with book sharing sites. Simple fact is I’ve found GoodReads to be the best of the four (RedRoom isn’t even worth mentioning). The interface is cleaner, the author tools are much better, and the people on GoodReads actually engage in discussing books (which is the whole bloody point). I’ve actually learned more about certain books from reading the reviews on GoodReads and going back and forth with other users about my own reviews.
Shelfari has always been a clunky mess. The pseudo flash bookshelf design is on par with Hallmark e-cards. In spite of them now being owned by Amazon, they have never really done anything to improve the site, including the search engine which made it impossible to actually find a book without having to resort to an advanced search. It could possibly be the worst book social network, if it weren’t for WeRead.
As for WeRead, if they didn’t have a Facebook app, it’s doubtful they would have any users. That app, which started out as Books iRead, was a joke. Half the time, the reviews you posted didn’t actually log in the system. The search engine was actually worse than Shelfari’s. And the design looks more like they stole it from someone who used to own the site and stopped paying for the URL back in ’99.
Library Thing, in spite of Tim Spalding’s earnestness, has always been more of a cataloging site than an actual social network. Quite frankly, it seems to be for the lonely and isolated who enjoy logging their entire book collection. The entire site is designed to be more like a Wikipedia for books rather than a community. Endless text links. Endless. No really go look. Endless. And while that makes the site play well with Google, it doesn’t necessarily make for a great user experience. If you are a completist (i.e. Librarian or employee of the Library of Congress), it is the place for you. The final straw was LT’s free membership capping the number of books you can list at 200. Any more than that and you have to purchase a premium membership. Even though the annual fee was a measly $10, I actually thought, “Nah, isn’t worth it.” Especially when GoodReads is much better.
And so, I bid thee farewell my friends. In the future, you can find me here.