In January, my friend sent me an invite to Shelfari. I hadn’t heard of any book cataloging sites before then. I liked the idea, so I signed up. I love tracking my “To be read,” “I’m reading,” and “What I read” books, and I love being able to have a widget on my blog to show readers what I’m working on. There are some annoying things about the Shelfari interface, but even since I started using it in January, they’ve made some significant improvements. (One thing I’ve learned, though, is that if Shelfari grabs on to email addresses, even once, it takes over and keeps emailing, like spam. I am really annoyed, because it was under my name and I don’t want to spam people.)
I’m not very concerned with the social networking side of Shelfari. I might like to be a part of discussions, but (1) I’m not finding groups of people interested in discussing what I’m interested in and (2) I really don’t have that much time to sit and chat with strangers online. I’m busy enough blogging
Since I started book blogging a few months ago, I came across a number of other book cataloging sites. It seems most people use LibraryThing. Here’s my question for LibraryThing users: why does it cost money ($10 a year or $25 a lifetime)? I certainly want to catalog more than 200 books (which is the limit before it costs money), and that seems an oddly low limit. Why limit it? What are the benefits to that service over the others, since the others are free?
Which online book catalog service do you use? Why? What do you mainly use it for?
All that said, despite some annoyance with Shelfari, I like the attractive look of the Shelfari widget. I’m also a pretty cheap person; I prefer to read books from the library and online at Project Gutenberg over buying one. Besides, I just set up a free account in LibraryThing and I can’t figure out how to separate my books into shelves (to be read, reading, finished reading). Can I? If not, maybe I’ll just use it for books I own. I do like the view options. We’ll see.
If you want, spread the word about the poll above. I’m really curious about book bloggers’ online book cataloging habits.