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Book fanatics may be familiar with social networking book sites (book-shelf sites, book-worming… whatever you call ’em!) but I don’t think they are as popular as they could be. If you fancy joining one, here are a few to get you started…
Librarything is the first book-social-networking-thingummy site I joined and I have a bit of a soft spot for this one. My favourite feature is its ‘early reviewer’ section where you can request a book to review. If you are lucky enough to win it, you’ll be sent the book for free. Thousands of books are released each month giving you a good chance of winning a freebie. As with the majority of book-shelf sites, you can add your favourite authors and titles and connect with other like-minded people. Another original feature is the ‘local’ tab which will pick up your location by your address and list events near to you (book signings, meet the author, Q&As). Librarything is a brilliant site for uniting book lovers but there’s certainly room for improvement. The design reminds me of a public library home page – slightly outdated and a bit higgledy-piggledy. And the logo could do with a bit of a retouch. They should also make better use of other social networking platforms, they already allow you to sign up through Facebook and Twitter but it would be even better if you could share your reviews on these platforms for friends and followers to see.
Shelfluv is only in its BETA version at the moment so there’s lots of room for improvement, but it does look promising. At present, you need an invite to join and you can only log in through Facebook. Hopefully the variety of ways to join the site will widen when the site goes live. I prefer not to log into sites through other accounts as they often gain access to personal information. Shelfluv follows the Twitter, Quora format – you follow people, they follow you, you receive notifications and you have a little feed showing your followers’ actions. There’s even a little, ‘What are you reading?’ status update type-thing. The best feature on Shelfluv is its interactive book-shelf (which looks rather similar to the iBooks book-shelf) where you can add books to different categories: like, own, reading, finished and wish list. The ‘like’, ‘own’ and ‘finished’ categories are all quite similar so I’m not entirely sure the category choices have been thought out thoroughly. There are a few more features Shelfluv could include to compete with Librarything but it’s not quite there yet.
And while we’re on the subject of books, I’d like to introduce you to a book-related crowdfunding idea, which I LOVE. Authors pitch their ideas on the Unbound website along with a target number of supporters needed to launch the book. Users can donate tens or hundreds of pounds towards their preferred pitch and depending on the donation amount, you receive special privileges. The benefits include access to the author’s private area and invites to launch parties – the higher the pledge, the better the reward. The site is fairly new at the moment but I’m hoping it takes off.