Just discovered: Librarything.com

I must have been living under a rock all these days. I just discovered Librarything yesterday.

Librarything.com is your online bookshelf. It lets you enter just the ISBN of books , and will pull in all the rest of the meta info - even thumbnail cover images. If you have a bar code scanner, you can scan your hundred+ book collection in no time at all. For Indian prints, I use the US ISBN number of the original written in the inside pages next to the print information, and tagging the book “indian-edition”.

You can tag your books, and can even have a nice tag cloud showing you the kind of topics you like most. Every book which you add would also show how many people have the same book on their shelves. You can then go browse other people’s book shelf(if they allow that) and discover other books you never knew about. Fascinating. I get the same feeling at Flickr.

You can add upto 200 books for free. After that you can pay a very reasonable annual rent, or just sign up for the lifetime membership for less than Rs. 1000!

Based on your book collection, librarything can suggest you similar books using the suggester feature. Curiously, it also has an “suggester” service - books you are unlikely to ever have!

This hopefully will solve my problems of cataloging my book collection. The personal notes section of each books can be used to note whom I have lent it to - my biggest problem always have been lending and forgetting. Since library thing only needs the ISBN number(among other criteria) to pull in book data from amazon, library congress and over 250 libraries world wide, I don’t need to enter all the meta information as other adhoc library hacks needed.

I will be spending my next few weeks putting up my entire book shelf online. And of course, for the privacy freaks, you can keep your bookshelf private and still use librarything. Pity though if you really do that.

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