Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thing 54 : Bookjetty vs. LibraryThing

This discovery exercise explores Book Jetty and other social book tools, primarily LibraryThing which we covered in Thing 11. It was simple to create a free account on Bookjetty, just make up a user name, password and have an email account. My local library was not included in BookJetty's supported libraries so I sent them an email requesting that it be added. They responded the same day and said that they would add it within about a week if the library's catalog had a z39.50 gateway. The closest libraries to me that were available were all academic libraries, not too good if I wanted to get the latest sci-fi or fantasy NYT Bestseller for book club. It does have that sparse minimalistic interface like Google and Facebook. That's good so that the site doesn't look too busy, but sometimes it's too sparse. You have to figure out how things weave together on the site yourself. Both BookJetty and LibraryThing give you tours but LibraryThing goes into more detail on what is on their site and gives descriptions. BookJetty's tour is only screenshots that you have to figure out yourself. With LibraryThing you can catalog with Amazon, Library of Congress or 690 World Libraries. With BookJetty you catalog only using Amazon. BookJetty has 300 libraries in their library listings. They are mostly academic libraries. Both are adding libraries and bookstores all the time but LibraryThing is certainly in the lead.

BookJetty's claim to fame is that it will immediately let you know the status of books in your collection at the libraries you have selected in your preferred list. But what if your library is not available to add to the preferred list? You would have to email BookJetty to get all of the individual libraries that you wanted added to BookJetty and that is only if they have a z39.50 gateway. LibraryThing will also let you know what libraries have the book available and instead of adding libraries individually to a preferred list they use Worldcat instead. Worldcat, a union catalog of materials held in libraries world-wide, will let you see what libraries have it and you can link to their catalog to see if it's available for checkout.

LibraryThing has become so popular, 470,000 users, that it now needs to charge for accounts that have over 200 books. I assume this is to be able to provide the server space. After 200 books you can either pay $10 a year for unlimited uploads or $25 for a lifetime membership. I did not see a book limit on BookJetty although it did mention that if you upload more than 100 books that starting with 101 they will be put in a queue.

Since I have an active science fiction and fantasy book club I am always looking for discussion question ideas for the books we are reading. I have had very good success on the discussion forums in LibraryThing. I compared the discussions on titles we have read on BookJetty and there simply aren't as many discussions on the titles I like to read. Here are some examples: Storm Front (BookJetty), Storm Front (LibraryThing); Guilty Pleasures (BookJetty), Guilty Pleasures (LibraryThing); Dead Until Dark (BookJetty), Dead Until Dark (LibraryThing), Anathem (BookJetty), Anathem (LibraryThing), Neverwhere (BookJetty), Neverwhere (LibraryThing).

So far as sharing books with my social network, I tend to use the Facebook app - Visual Bookshelf but for bookclub purposes I like to use LibraryThing. BookJetty has some innovative ideas and if they add some other cataloging sources and boost their user base they will do fine. I think that both BookJetty and LibraryThing will appeal to bibliophiles everywhere. They just offer different styles to appeal to different users.



blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online