One of the great loves of my life is reading. When I was growing up, my idea of a great treat was to go to the library. There is just something about a library...I also like talking about books that I have read. Thankfully all of my family share my obsession with books. Being able to discuss books with my children is a favourite part of parenting for me. It is great when they discover a book I love or when they pass a book on to me. My daughter is especially good about passing books on. She recently recommended GRR Martin's Game of Thrones which is basically the War of the Roses with dragons. A tv adaptation is currently being televised in the US on HBO and in the UK on Sky Atlantic but the books are better.
Various websites understand that people like to talk about books with other people. My publisher Harlequin runs eharlequin http://www.eharlequin.com/ and the Mills and Boon sites www.millsandboon.co.uk which I enjoy. The Eharlequin site has been around for over ten years. But what if you want to talk about more books from other publishers? Or you want to list all the books you have read? And how can you connect with other people who love books?
Facebook is not really suited for that sort of activity.
The three main social platforms that allow you to do that are: GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/ , Shelfari http://www.shelfari.com/ and Library Thing http://www.librarything.com/. Each has its own advantage and particular style. You can take a tour at each site and find out which one suits your own personal needs best. All of the sites allow you to say which books you have read, put a review up or simply discuss the book. You can also see the books that your friends on the site have put up and enjoyed. You can also friend authors and other readers plus send them messages.
Shelfari, for example, now has an interface with Amazon. Authors have the ability to put character lists, themes and books that influenced the writing of the book on to Shelfari or books that are linked to that book as well their author profile. These are now integrated with the kindle network and when someone downloads a book on to their kindle, they can get the extras provided by Shelfari. You can also easily add all your Amazon purchases to your Shelfari book shelf and you can put your book shelf on to your blog etc.
Library Thing has the ability to list events and have local chats. It is actually the platform I know least about. But it does have a dedicated base and it does operate a lot like Wikipedia. Authors are allowed to use the RSS feed to put their blogs on Library Thing. Various publishers participate in the early reviewer program and it can be a way to get your hands on free books. Library thing also has author chats and lists local signings and readings.
GoodReads happens to be my fave at the moment. It claims to have over 4.6 million users. Among other things, it has that great procrastination tool – the Never Ending Book Quiz where you can answer multiple choice questions about books that other members have submitted. There are groups, author Q & A and then there is the giveaway section where it is possible to get free books. It is easy to become a fan of an author and discover when they are doing events, or having a new book come out. Like Library Thing, GoodReads allows a RSS feed of blogs, so you can follow a variety of author blogs.
So what do other people think of book social platforms? Do you have a favourite?