…Of books that is.
Two weeks, or maybe three ago I made the comment to my programmer-boyfriend that MyAnimeList.net was great. The only thing I needed now, was to make a carbon copy of it, and slap books into it rather than anime and manga. Him being the computer savvy techie he is, agreed with me 100%, and did a bit of research. Not as much as he could have apparently.
He returned to me with the already-existing LibraryThing.com and what a huge sprawling “thing” it is. I don’t think there was an ounce of thought put into its design at all. It does work, and serve its purpose but when you have to read every line of text [which there seem to be alot of on every page] navigating gets annoying, real fast. Ok I admit it, I like my websites to have a bit of style to them. I don’t like them to be overcrowded and disjointed. I prefer the layout and navigation to be intuitive. Better still I want its functionality to be powerful, and still easy to use. MyAnimeList.net was a prime example for the features, functions, and layout of what I wanted to see in a book site. After a bit of disparing I finally emailed the folks who run MyAnimeList.net to see what they had to say about this.
The Ugly [For shame!] Lets get one thing straight, I did NOT want a website that was selling me books, I wanted one to keep track of what I had read, and was Reading. AbeBooks.com was a sore dissapointment, within the first minute I was flodded with purchase prices, add to cart, and where and how to buy with absolutly NO sign of a tracking system like I wanted… BookGlutton.com was also not what I wanted. No offense to it, I am sure its a great site for something, but that something appears to be “reading online.” I might revisit the site later and figure out what it was all about, for now, it’s off the list.
The rest deserve a bit more than a once-over, so I made an account on each to see what they had to offer.
GoodReads.com, What it has: Ratings, Discussion, User-Reviews, Book-Shelves [Read, To-Read, Currently-Reading, Make-Your-Own, Edit, Delete], Detailed Book info, Editions… There’s more but these were key features I was looking for. The downfall, it’s not a terribly “Preety” page, it is functional, simple, and plain. It has prevalent advertisments on the right hand side seemingly all the time [ok, no big deal right?] Overall, it worked.
WeRead.com What it has: Interfacing with other services [ Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Hi5, Bebo?] Book-Shelves [Read, Reading, ToRead, WontRead] User Reviews, Friends, Discussion, “Stumble Upon a Similar Book” [How it goes from Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice I will never know]… All in all, yet another decent sight. Better laid-out than GoodReads, and overall not-half-bad. I’d use it… If I hadn’t found one that tickled me more.
The Runner Up, Anobii.com [too bad you have to sign up to see it! Downfalll!! Booooo!] At First glance: Friends, Neighbors [other readers of the same book], “Picks for You”, Discussion, “Similar Tastes”, Groups The Shelf options Include: When you got it, Reading Status, Notes, Comments, Tags, Lending, Privacy Options, Trading/Swapping [don’t want to keep a book around much longer? Attach a price!] and Margin notes… I almost chose this, but when I got around to “sorting and organizing” I realized something that would annoy me. Book-Editions, if you don’t select the right one, you have to go back and attempt to find the one you DO have, and then they both wind up on your shelf and you have to delete one. It wasn’t terribly efficient and it took me awhile to stock my-shelf than I had thought. On the other hand it has alot of nice options and the design isn’t that bad either.
My Winner, Shelfari.com yay. Simple, but Powerful. Yes, it doesn’t nicely link up with a billion other sites, and further more it has a few bugs. You’ll figure this out if you try sending them feedback and get server errors, and it strangely asks for your google so it can see if your friends are here, but trying to login gets the site to dumbfound itself and wonder why you aren’t putting in the correct info when you are. Maybe that was just me. So why did I choose it.
One, good layout, easy on the eyes, and easy to find your tools. Intuitive. Shelves are simple and good-looking, Planning, Read, Wishlist, Own, and Reading. You can have the same book on multiple, and if you “read it” and are “reading it” it will update and say “read twice” when your done. Swapping editions is easy, finding books, and authors is easy. Discussions, Friends, Groups… the whole nine. It’s there. Maybe not quite as many gadgets as Anobii or WeRead but nice. It works. It works well. My Favorite feature: “Should I read this Book?” — what do you know, people actually respond!! O-o So many responses prodding me onward, and the people are so friendly when they DO say yes/no for you. All they need to do is look at your shelf and see if you might like this book too. Answering is easy too, based on what you read a few “People are Asking” books appear towards the bottom.
Shelfari won for me, maybe you will like one of the other sites better. Its all personal preferance at this point. While I still think the design of MyAnimeList.net is the most powerful, I am forced to admit. There are more than enough really good sites for books out there already that a carbon copy of MyAnimeList.net just won’t compete… Well… it could with some improvments but I won’t be the one to do it I don’t think….
Go Ahead and Visit Me… http://www.shelfari.com/realitysyndrome