March Apps Mania – Books (25)

March 24, 2008

To kick off March Apps Mania, we would like to introduce our first guest blogger! Bryan Jones, of Main-Popular Materials, will introduce this weeks apps.

Did you first consider working in a library because you loved books? The Internet has enhanced the way book lovers interact with books. The web is a great place to buy books and access your library’s catalog from home. Now there are many more book-related web applications where book lovers gather to share, swap, and talk about their favorite books.

Besides nurturing our bibliophilia, these web applications can help us with readers’ advisory. Let’s take a quick overview of some book-based web applications and see what fun and useful things they can do.

Goodreads

goodreads.jpgGoodreads is a social network that lets you keep track of all the books you have read, are currently reading, or want to read in the future. You can rate the books you have read and write reviews. You can create your own categories to sort your books; e.g., nonfiction, genres, graphic novels. By becoming online friends with people you know, or others that have similar reading interests, you can find out what like-minded people are reading. Because you can write reviews and comment on books, dialogues form about the books you love, or perhaps more fun, books you hate. Goodreads also keeps track of what books are most popular, most unpopular, and most reviewed. You can also start or join groups about specific authors or genres. If you are a private person, your profile can be totally private, and be used as a way to sort your personal library.

LibraryThing

librarything.jpgMuch like Goodreads, LibraryThing lets you catalog your personal library or connect with other readers. You can keep track of all the books you own, rate them, and organize them by keyword (tag). LibraryThing markets itself to those with slightly higher standards of bibliographic control. When you add your books you can import entries from 252 bibliographic databases, including the Library of Congress (Goodreads relies on user data and Amazon.com). If you choose to make your profile public you can join groups and share recommendations. You can tag authors as your favorites and then be given read-a-likes.

BookMooch

bookmooch1.jpgFor those more interested in physical objects than electronic ones there is BookMooch, an online book trading site. When you register with BookMooch, you create a list of books you are willing to give away, and a list of books you want sent to you. When you give a book away you get points added to your account. When you request a book you get points taken away. All you pay in this transaction are the shipping fees. It is a simple, brilliant idea. If you choose, you can also give your points away to the many charities that have BookMooch accounts. This helps put books in the hands of people that need them the most.

SwapTree

swaptree.jpgSwapTree is a lot like BookMooch, only you can trade music, movies, and video games as well as books. Start by making a list of things you want and a list of things you are willing to trade. SwapTree automatically matches the items you are willing to trade with people that have things that you want and want what you have. You can add items to your willing to trade list by entering the UPC or ISBN number. A list of matching trades is instantly generated. SwapTree also lets you create or join groups of traders that live/work in the same place or have similar interests. Why pay shipping when you can exchange items in the break room at work?

LibriVox

librivox.jpgToday we’ve talked about where to go to catalog your books, meet people who like the same books, and trade books. You might be asking, where’s the free stuff? The free stuff is on LibriVox! LibriVox offers free downloads of audiobooks created from texts that are in the public domain. Generally, this means anything published in the United States before 1923. All of the files are available in .mp3 and .ogg formats, which play in nearly all portable media devices. The organizers of LibriVox are attempting to systematically create recordings of all books in the public domain. Volunteers read texts which are then uploaded to the site. If you want to volunteer, just sign up and see what texts they need readers for. Editors oversee the project for quality control.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but some of these applications may be more familiar than you think. If you shop at Amazon.com you can use the account you already have to create a profile with functionality similar to Goodreads or LibraryThing. If you find you like one site better than another, it is easy to import all your books to and from.

– Bryan Jones

LibraryThing | Goodreads | BookMooch | SwapTree | LibriVox

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Try out one ONE of the Book apps (Register, if necessary).
2. Take the survey.
3. In the comments, tell us how libraries might use book apps.

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    7 Responses to “March Apps Mania – Books (25)”

    1. Jai Says:

      It’s a great way to get create a community of book lovers who can then use the library as a central locale.

    2. B.N. Jones Says:

      In the short time I have been using it, I’ve found Goodreads to be a great bibliographic tool. It’s an amazing help when creating bibliographies and displays. Because users determine the content to a great extend it offers a lot of insight into read-a-likes and genres. Just browse the groups and you’ll see what I mean.

    3. Phil K. Says:

      Thanks for your informative guest blogging Bryan – I’ll definitely check into these as I was completely unfamiliar with them.

    4. Lisa Says:

      Cant say enough good things about swaptree.com. Not just for books but for cds, dvds, and video games.

    5. Drew Says:

      SWAPTREE: Awesome….TOTALLY AWESOME!!!

    6. A.J. Says:

      I can’t wait to sse what I have to trade at home! I adore manga, but buying it all the time can get expensive and the library may not have all the stuff I want. I think our young patrons who also enjoy manga might love to be able to swap stuff they’ve already read for new things!


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