Wednesday, May 7, 2008

LibraryThing vs. Goodreads

I already had an account with Goodreads, so for this program I signed up with LibraryThing. It's been interesting to compare the two. I think Goodreads is more intuitive to use at first, easier to add books, but I really like that you can rate with half stars on LibraryThing. It was really helpful to have a total stranger comment right away on one of my reviews because she's the one who told me about the half-star capability. That never happened to me on Goodreads! Well, to be fair, I set higher privacy levels when I signed up for Goodreads last year, so that could be a big reason why I rarely receive comments on my reviews.

I think I like LibraryThing's displays a little better, although I like the choices lots better on Goodreads now that Discover 2.0 helped me accidentally stumble across them. :) I do not, however, like the way you add tags on LibraryThing--I can never remember what ones I've used before, so I'm quite likely to have similar things NOT grouped by tags purely through faulty memory. I MUCH prefer the "bookshelves" concept of Goodreads. It's so much easier to choose from a list of options that I've created and can edit at any time. On the other hand, Goodreads' version of tagging that occurs at the bottom of the review, when you say who else would like the book is, well, not at all useful so far as I can determine. Where does that go, and what does it do?

I do like that both sites create "clouds" based on my tags/bookshelves. That's kind of a cool visual of what I like to read. And it's another way to find likely books to recommend for reader's advisory, which is the reason I joined in the first place--because my memory isn't good enough to keep track of what I've read for longer than a nanosecond.

I love that LibraryThing lets you add favorite authors to your profile--in a totally different manner than Goodreads, which just lets you list things about yourself. But I don't like that you have to pay (admittedly not very much) to add more than 200 books to LibraryThing. I know it's not unreasonable for them to charge for their services, but still...I like free. :)

I REALLY like how LibraryThing keeps track of who has similar libraries to mine and what my ratings statistics are, etc. That's very cool. But it's too many steps to add books from other libraries or from an author's profile page to my library. Once you're on a book's page, clicking "add to my library" should do just that, not make you go select the book from a search page, and especially not a search page that doesn't even come up with the right book at the top of the list, as happened to me once! What's up with that? Goodreads is much more streamlined and easy to use.

Bottom line? Each of the two sites has their moments of greatness, and both are useful in a library setting when you want to find something to recommend to a patron, but I think overall I prefer Goodreads purely for ease of use.

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