LibraryThing vs goodreads?
November 10, 2017 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Do you use LibraryThing or goodreads or both? What do you like or not like about each of them, aside from goodreads being owned by Amazon which I imagine most people dislike?

Mostly I want to keep track of books I have read or want to read, and write some (minimal) notes. I also somewhat like the idea of getting recommendations. I don't have a ton of social-networking interest, and I have no interest in cataloging what I own vs. borrow or read from the library. It seems that both can do what I want so I guess I am mostly interested in feedback on interface/usability/database completeness.
posted by 2 cats in the yard to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I use goodreads to keep track of "want to reads" and how much I liked the books I've read (via star ratings). Sometimes I read other people's reviews. It suits me well for those purposes. I have had no problems with the interface. I like that it sends you an email when the publisher is doing a giveaway for a book that you were interested in. I have not used LibraryThing, as I saw it more as, like you mentioned, a database of the books you already own.
posted by quaking fajita at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Goodreads user here; I have no experience with LibraryThing. I use Goodreads to manage my collection of ebooks and to scope out whether I want to acquire other books. I like being able to create my own shelves to complement their standard shelves, and the reviews from other readers help me decide whether to purchase additional books. Any time there's a special deal on a book I've marked as "want to read", I get an email from Goodreads. The search engine can be a bit difficult, sometimes returning hits that bear little relation to what I had typed in or requiring me to guess precisely how they have a title in their database (with respect to punctuation, spelling out numbers, and the like). But their author pages are helpful and I'm always able to find the information I want somewhere on their site.
posted by DrGail at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2017

I use Goodreads for pretty much exactly the reasons you've listed - what I've read or want to read, some notes on books, and for getting recommendations. I currently have it connected to my Facebook account before I have a lot of friends who are readers and I like seeing what they're reading, but I used the site for years without any social integration whatsoever and it worked just fine for me. My library as an "add to Goodreads" button in its online catalog, which I like, and you can set up custom store links on Goodreads (buy this book at Better World Books, for example, instead of just Amazon).

I've looked into LibraryThing a few times, and it seemed more focused toward cataloging a collection than I needed (I'm almost 100% a library reader), so I ended up at Goodreads.
posted by okayokayigive at 8:26 AM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Goodreads, for all the reasons people are saying. I couldn't care less that it's owned by Amazon.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:51 AM on November 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

I use GR because Library Thing has a limit of 200 on free accounts and I was unsure that I would use it enough. My TBR list is larger than that, so I stuck with Goodreads. I had been on Shelfari, but that was merged into GR. LibraryThing is partly owned by AbeBooks which is also a subsidiary of Amazon. I am a librarian on GR so I can make changes or add missing data. Audiobooks don't show the number of disks or the time measurement. Instead, there are conventions that these attributes should go into the number of pages field. I find that kludgy. I usually just shelve the hardback instead so I have a rough idea of the number of pages I heard.

It is great for recommendations because every book page has a Readers Also Liked section plua you can get suggestions based a whole shelf or yours and not just a single book.

Any time there's a special deal on a book I've marked as "want to read", I get an email from Goodreads.
This part is broken for me because Want to Read means I own the book. Wishlist means I don't own the book. Lots of other users had the same complaint when the emails started.
posted by soelo at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love LibraryThing for cataloguing. That's not your priority, though.

Goodreads is great for reading/want to read.

Regarding LibraryThing – I've used it since it came on the web way back when. I know the creator; actually got a free account because I helped out on a few things (implementation of Japanese and Chinese). As a result I really like it because I know the guy behind it listens to his users. It is indeed a very versatile site; you can do all sorts of nerdy cataloguing things with it.
posted by fraula at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2017

I like LibraryThing for cataloging my library and for the discussion boards. I only read a couple of boards but those are excellent.

I like Goodreads for listing what I'm reading and seeing what friends are reading. I like the fact that update progress on ebooks right from my Kindle.

I'm pretty sure I learned about LibraryThing right here on Metafilter.
posted by maurice at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

The community on GoodReads is terrific. It has an excellent shared pool of reviews and comments from thoughtful readers. Amazon is not a problem. GoodReads was independent for a long time and when Amazon bought it very little changed except now there's direct links to buy the books on Amazon.
posted by Nelson at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Goodreads has way more users, so it's good for getting a decent consensus on a book and it lets me know what friends are reading or have read. I only use it to shelve my actual reads, though. I find when I mix in the Want to Read, I get muddled.

I did shell out for LibraryThing's lifetime membership, and I think it was worth it because it's way more customizable than GR, even if you become a librarian on the latter. I like the tag system better than shelves, the rating system has finer distinctions (the lack of a half-star on Goodreads bothers me to no end), and the suggestions seem more robust.

That said, I think Goodreads will work just fine for your purposes.
posted by xenization at 9:44 AM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm on both but usually end up using Goodreads. It's probably just habit, so this isn't a recommendation of one over the other.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:50 AM on November 10, 2017

I've used both, but I switched from librarything to Goodreads a few years ago. While I don't have a ton of friends on Goodreads, I do have two or three and being able to see what they are reading and what they rated things helps me a lot in determining my next book. I did have to manually separate it from my Facebook account, however, because I really didn't want everyone on Facebook seeing every update I made.
posted by greermahoney at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2017

I have a really really weird thing about telling people lots of details about what I'm reading (it is like the not-actually true 'taking a photo steals your soul' thing.)

I like LibraryThing because I can track what I have (which is useful to me) and have a lot of tools for sorting things in ways that work for me (idiosyncratic tagging, etc.) without worrying about other people.

I had strenuously resisted keeping a list of books, but I started a couple of years ago doing a list on a personal (password protected) wiki, and I did some template coding so that it will auto-create categories for authors and genres and such, though it still takes some data-entry work. That's useful enough to me to keep doing it.
posted by modernhypatia at 1:08 PM on November 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you all. It seems goodreads is likely better for my purposes, or at least more of you are using it in that way, though LibraryThing would be better if I wanted finer control of the data. I didn't know about the giveaway or customizable store features - will have to export those.

@fraula, how cool that you helped with implementation of additional languages on LibraryThing!
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 4:08 PM on November 10, 2017

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