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Leaving Goodreads, Embracing LibraryThing

>> Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I’m getting ready to close down my Goodreads account and completely switch over to LibraryThing.

Years ago I tried out both Goodreads and LibraryThing and opted to go with Goodreads for a couple of reasons. First of all the interface was a bit easier and secondly I couldn't put all my books in LibraryThing without purchasing a lifetime membership for $25 and well, free is a very good price.

I was fine with Goodreads and while I did do a bit of the social stuff there I pretty much backed out of most of that and just used it for tracking my books and reading. The only real exception was that I've been a part of the 75 Books a Year Group for several years. I also have enjoyed the yearly Reading Challenge for the past few years. I could set a goal for books I wanted to read and see at a glance where I stood in terms of progress toward that goal

However, when Amazon bought Goodreads I was pretty sure I didn't want to hang around long term. I opened up my long neglected LibraryThing account, purchased the lifetime membership and imported my data from Goodreads.

I've spent the past few months getting familiar with how LibraryThing works and while just like Goodreads it’s not perfect I’m discovering that in some ways I like it better.

It’s a little more difficult to get the right data for my books but once it’s there and the way I want it it’s not going to get changed by someone else. Goodreads book data I editable by pretty much anyone and even when I had books with the covers and other data to match the edition I read, there was no guarantee that someone else with librarian privileges wouldn't come along and change that data. With LibraryThing I can make any modifications I want to my book records and they remain my book records. I like that because I’m compulsive about things like having the cover match the book I read and page numbering being correct. I also like some of the additional data elements I can track such as where I got the book, date acquired, etc. I can see where it would be information overload for lots of people but I’m a data person. I have multiple Excel spreadsheets I use to track my To Be Read list and reading. So this detail stuff is right up my alley.

I still have a lot of data cleanup on the 800+ books I imported to LibraryThing but now that I've finished out this year’s 75 Books Group the only reason I’m tracking the rest of this year’s books is for the yearly Reading Challenge. I’m not bothering to post any links to my reviews or any detail information. Once the year is done I’ll work on getting any information I need to clean up the books I imported to LibraryThing and delete my Goodreads account.

I've found a couple of groups on LibraryThing that I’m going to join for 2014. One is the 75 Books Challenge which intimidates me a bit since it's such an active group but I'm going to give it a try when the 2014 Challenge opens up.

The other group I already joined is “Root- Reading Our Own Tomes” which is a group that encourages reading the books I already have on the shelf and not just new and library books. When I reorganized my physical bookshelves last year I put all my unread books in one section and I have definitely added more than I've read off those shelves this year. I’m hoping that by setting a moderate goal and having some accountability to the ROOT group in 2014 I can counteract my tendency to get distracted by the new and shiny rather than going upstairs and grabbing something that I still want to read but haven’t yet.

I've also joined the What Are You Reading Now group because that’s what I need like another hole in my head – yet another source of book recommendations and chat, right?

I’m looking forward to exploring the social side of LibraryThing as well as tracking all my reading and books with some additional detail that I couldn't track with Goodreads.

Anyway. It’s been fun Goodreads, but it’s time to say Goodbye.

Click on this logo to get to my profile on LibraryThing


Kailana 12/17/2013 10:28 AM  

I technically have both... I just never updated either very well and hate that they are so disorganized!

SuziQoregon 12/17/2013 9:03 PM  

Kailana: I 'technically' had both for a while but only ever updated Goodreads. I'm at the point where I like LibraryThing a lot more.

Raidergirl: I was so happy to find you in the ROOT group. Nice to see a couple of people I already know there.

Loranne at LibraryThing 12/18/2013 7:19 AM  

Hi Suzi! Welcome to LibraryThing! We're happy to have you. I also jumped ship from GR when the Amazon announcement came out, though I'd had a LT account for a long time as well. I haven't regretted that decision--I'm also a bit of a data nerd.

Just FYI: it looks like the link from the LibraryThing logo that's supposed to go to your profile is broken (it just takes me to the logo image).

Charleen @ Cheap Thrills 12/18/2013 7:23 AM  

Clicking that logo just pulls up a bigger version of the logo... but I found you on LT anyway.

I'm still on GR but have dialed my activity and the way I use the site WAY back. I still like it the best from a user functionality standpoint, but I hate some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that's been happening (whether it's a result of the Amazon thing or not).

I have accounts on LibraryThing and BookLikes as well, and I'm learning to manage them, but unfortunately neither can really replace GR for me.

SuziQoregon 12/18/2013 7:52 AM  

Loranne: thank you so much for the heads up - I fixed the link so that clicking on that logo really does take you to my profile now. Thanks for letting me know.

Charleen: I understand, the interface at Goodreads is easier but after spending some time setting up my library and really using LibraryThing I've gotten used to it. I managed to avoid most of the behind the scenes stuff but I've heard about it.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 12/19/2013 8:08 PM  

I have been on LT since 2006 and I love it. I definitely love being able to customize my lists, tags and covers.

Tif Sweeney 12/20/2013 7:32 AM  

I started out at Shelfari and eventually moved to Goodreads. I like that it is user-friendly and have all my books listed there. I know there has been a controversy surrounding Goodreads, but so far, I am still happy with it. Of course, I have not tried LibraryThing and I know that lots of bloggers swear by it. I just don't know if I'm ready to even explore it, in case I end up loving it and have to switch my entire collection of books over.

Meghan 12/22/2013 12:20 PM  

Like Melissa, I've been on LibraryThing since 2006 and invested in a lifetime membership years ago. It's definitely been worth it. The groups led me to become a book blogger about a year later. I do also use Goodreads, but mostly because it has an app I can update from my phone or iPad and keep track of dates read easily. Once LibraryThing gets an app I'll probably quit GR.

Beth F 12/23/2013 4:34 AM  

I sure wish LT had an app. I have an account but I don't keep up with it. I have GR account but NO books in it. I have it just to be able to use some data from it. One thing I like about LT is there are some private fields, so I can make personal notes without anyone else seeing them.

SuziQoregon 1/05/2014 8:51 PM  

Melissa: Exactly - definitely a plus

Tif: I never did use Shelfari and went with Goodreads because is was easy and free. Now that I've spent some time getting to know my way around LibraryThing I'm staying., There is an import tool from Goodreads if you ever decide to try it.

Meghan: Yes an app would be nice for LibraryThing.

BethF: I agree - I like the private fields for notes. I do use it on my iPad but yes it would be nice if there was an app.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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