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Social Media for Books: Goodreads and Beyond

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Social Media for Books: Goodreads and Beyond

Social Media for Books: Goodreads and Beyond

Social Media for Books

One of the best things about finishing a book is talking about it with our friends, family, or book club. Whether it be to gush over favorite lines or to hear someone else’s perspective on a plot point, the input of others can shape our reading experience. Websites like Facebook and Twitter help us stay connected virtually, but there are also social networking sites made specifically for book lovers. These sites, known as “social cataloging,” allow you to browse thousands of book reviews, catalog your personal library, and discover new books. It’s a virtual way to share your thoughts about the novels you love and keep up with the reading activities of others with similar tastes. This article will introduce you to two of the most popular social cataloging sites, Goodreads and LibraryThing, as well as a few standalone online book discovery tools.

Goodreads & Library Thing

Goodreads is the most widely used social cataloging site on the web, with 90 million members spanning the globe. Creating an account is simple and free; you will just need an email address and a password. A good starting place is to search for a book or author that you know you like. Once you click on a title, you’ll see a section called “Readers Also Enjoyed…” This will link you to related titles which you may enjoy based on the activity of like-minded readers. You can also explore new titles in the Listopia section, which is made up of user-created book lists by subject. The social aspect is Goodreads’ greatest strength, however. You can follow your real-life friends and or meet new ones online by liking and commenting on each other’s book reviews, rating books, or joining online discussions.

LibraryThing exists on a slightly smaller scale; it tends to attract more close-knit communities and is more focused on the “cataloging” aspect. If you have a personal library at home that you want to keep track of, this site is ideal. You can create a detailed personal library by creating virtual shelves and hand-picked tags to describe individual books. LibraryThing is also great for narrowing a book search to specific or older editions, since Goodreads will combine most editions into a single search result. LibraryThing has a social aspect as well, you can still write reviews and interact with other users, but it’s a bit more focused on accuracy than Goodreads.

Discovering Your Next Great Read

If you’re not looking for the social media aspect, but want to discover your next great read, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. Novelist* is one of the most powerful discovery tools. You can access it through the Citrus County Libraries online catalog. Once you pull up a specific book, you’ll see a list of titles called “Read-a-Likes” on the right side of the page which point to you other books you’re likely to enjoy, similar to Goodreads’ feature. Literature-map.com is a fun and visually-based tool. You simply type in an author’s name and it will appear in a web of interconnected authors, based on their similarity and writing styles. And then there’s Whichbook.net, which lets you browse books by geographic setting, plot, or mood (Are you in the mood for something funny or serious? Optimistic or bleak?)

For further information on current services, visit your local branch of the Citrus County Library System and ask about our free technology classes. Classes are held throughout the county on a wide range of topics including Getting Started with Computers and Getting Started with Libby. Additional classes and resources can be found by visiting www.citruslibraries.org/classes/technology-education or you can get more information by calling your local branch.

*Novelist is no longer available. For reading suggestions check out our Reader’s Advisory Section.

Olivia Sperry

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