Web 2.0 for Book Lovers

Web 2.0 is defined as the interactive web, where surfers can not only view information, but can take part in discussing or contributing to the information. Because of this interactive nature of web 2.0, many sites have developed around particular topics or hobbies. This month we will take a look at a couple of sites dedicated to reading. April's post will feature music sites and May will focus on movie and TV sites.

One of the first social networking sites for readers, LibraryThing has grown in both number of users and quality of content over the last year, making it a giant online book club. The site allows you to list, rate and review the books you have read and share those lists with friends and family. Readers can also join groups based on a topic (i.e. science fiction fans), which allow you chat about books in the forum and meet other people with similar reading interests. The real value of LibraryThing, however, is the way the site connects readers to reviews, authors, and events. When you log-in, your start page displays area literary events, suggestions based on the books you have added to your list, and recent posts to any group forums. There are also links to LibraryThing blogs, book news, and LibraryThing Authors, which is an area for authors to join in the discussion of their work and share their reading lists. Finally, there is an early reviewer group that posts their reviews based on preview proofs of upcoming works, suggested reading lists, and tons of what’s popular and what’s new lists. Membership is free if you plan on listing less than 200 books or you can upgrade to a lifetime pro membership for a fee.

If you like the idea of having a place online to track your reading history and share your lists with friends, but don’t like the crowded space on LibraryThing, goodreads is for you. This site provides a clean interface that is easy to navigate and use. Members can list the books they have already read, are reading or plan to read. In addition to listing titles on the already read list, members can rate and review them. Other features include groups, discussion forums, and a book finder feature that lets you explore books by a variety of attributes, such as genre, popularity or “best of” lists. The site also allows members to link to their social networks pages, like facebook and has some fun social features like trivia and a quote gallery.

- Laura N.


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