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    Social Networks Have Gone to the Books

    Kim Mattingly

    Social Networking is a way to build relationships among people with similar interests, activities or backgrounds. Facebook and Twitter are the most well-known social networks, but there are many, more out there. LinkedIn connects professionals. Myspace has become a music networking site. Even Google has jumped aboard the social networking train with Google+.

    Reading has always been my favorite activity, so social networking sites about books are a special interest of mine. There are many different sites out there, and I like to try them all. My two favorites are Shelfari and GoodReads.

    Shelfari (
    I became a member of Shelfari in 2009 as part of technology training for work, and I am a huge fan. The site has been around since 2006 and was acquired by Amazon in 2008. With Shelfari, you can keep track of the books you are currently reading, books you have read in the past, and books you would like to read. You may rate books that you have read, write reviews, and communicate with other users through forums or groups. You can even find people on Shelfari that share similar tastes in reading and “follow” their bookshelves. “Tagging” your books enables you to easily sort your bookshelf, or find books with similar themes.

    My favorite aspect of Shelfari is being able to contribute to book information pages. Users can update and/or edit book pages to add a description, ridiculously simplified synopsis, summary, character bios, covers, quotes, setting & locations, organizations, first sentence, table of contents, glossary, themes & symbolism, series & lists, etc. I love being able to add information to the page. The one thing that I do not like about Shelfari is that there isn’t an app available.

    Shelfari is a free site, and you may sign up using your Amazon ID. I would love to connect with new book lovers, so feel free to follow me at: . Follow the library too, at

    GoodReads (
    GoodReads was launched in January 2007, and was acquired by Amazon in 2013. Although I have been a member of GoodReads for as long as I have been a member of Shelfari, I just recently started using the site regularly. The two sites are very similar in that you may keep track of the books you have read, are reading, or would like to read. You may add reviews, participate in groups, discussions, etc. With GoodReads, you can also take quizzes to find out how much you know about your favorite books, authors, etc., and you may explore Listopia and vote for your favorite books.

    My favorite thing about GoodReads is that it will give you reading recommendations based on your bookshelf, which is helpful if you are running out of authors to read. Also, many authors are members of the site, and you can either Friend them or become a fan to receive updates on new books, blogs, etc. GoodReads does have an app available. Personally, I do not think that GoodReads is as user-friendly as Shelfari. It is not as easy finding or updating your bookshelf. It is, however, the more popular of the two with 20 million members as of July 2013.

    GoodReads is a free site, and you may sign up by creating a free account. You may friend me on GoodReads at: Find the library at .

    Next month, I will feature another popular site called LibraryThing, and two lesser known sites called Riffle and FictFact.

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