The Big List of Bookish Social Networks

Trinity College Library, Dublin

As I mentioned when I discovered Wordie and Coastr, I’ve yet to find a book-oriented social network that’s inspired me to register. And it’s not like there’s any shortage of them. Here’s an alphabetical list of all the players I know of, annotated with deconstructive criticism. The bold-face names are serious contenders.

  • aNobii: Multilingual Hong Kong-based book-lister with a clean design.
  • Personable. Feature-rich. Unfortunate design.
  • Booktribes: Bookish social network with extremely busy pages.
  • BooksWellRead: Way too many ellipses…
  • Bookish community site for German speakers.
  • ChainReading: Aimed at reading addicts, but site activity doesn’t suggest an addicted user base.
  • ConnectViaBooks: Socializing, rather than cataloging, is the main focus of this London-based booklover site. Some real potential here.
  • Douban: Bookish community site aimed at some of the world’s 1.1 billion Chinese speakers.
  • Goodreads: Simple bookish social network that emphasizes book recommendations from other users.
  • GuruLib: For readers with a compulsive desire to catalog everything they own. Not pretty.
  • Media collection organizer in a precarious position.
  • LibraryThing: The most established bookish community site of the bunch, with active developers. They just hired Wordie’s John McGrath and they’re encouraging people to make Chuck Close-style mosaics of themselves out of book covers. One to watch.
  • Listal: Taggerific media-cataloging site with rich profiles, a surplus of content and widgets galore.
  • Established media-cataloging site whose best feature may be groups.
  • Reader2: As in “reader squared.” I found it difficult to browse.
  • German book and music social network. Seems pretty active.
  • John McGrath, who created Wordie, is the co-founder of this social collection organizer, so I want to like it, but I don’t.
  • Shelfari: Nicely designed bookish social network out to take out LibraryThing. They’ve got big widgets.
  • Lists are called shelves here but you can’t begin browsing them until you register.

I guess what I really want is a combination of Wordie, Flickr and Amazon, with the book information pages of Google Book Search (maps included!) and highly customizable widgets. Is that too much to ask?