Hook a nook to look at books!
December 20, 2007 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Need suggestions for an online collaboration tool for managing a reading list between friends.

A friend and I are starting a joint reading list for 2008. We're each picking a number of books across different genres and styles. We're trying to branch out, and we're hoping we can help motivate each other to read more. We'd like to discuss and review what we're reading as well.

This is an online (not local) friend, so we won't be meeting at coffeeshops, etc. So I'd like to figure out the best way to discuss and review our list online. I want to find a central place to go online for us to collaborate on our efforts and discuss them.

This is sort of open-ended, I'm just taking suggestions on how you'd do this. I know there is a nice LiveJournal group for readers (50bookchallenge), but I don't know that LJ is the best way to go about this. For that matter, his work firewall blocks LJ so he couldn't keep tabs during the day.

Ideas that would be nice to incorporate:
- Online calendar/schedule outlining what to read when
- Update total pages read
- Update total books read
- Comment on sections/chapters/books (discussion)
- Rate books

As of now it's just the two of us but there's a chance this could grow if a few more friends want to join up, so whatever solution we come up with needs to be somewhat flexible to allow for more users (an email chain, for example, is not optimal).

I have hosted webspace so adding some sort of CMS/hosted app is not out of the question, if it matters.

So yeah... with all the forums, blogs, CMS, and social networks out there, I figure there's gotta be something that will fill this niche. I'm open to any and all suggestions, not only to what type(s) of services to use but if you have any ideas about how to make this project even more fun.
posted by sprocket87 to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about Wordpress? You can grant access as necessitated by your group membership and you will have flexibility to add pages for whatever you like. The plug-ins available on WP allow customization and flexibility and since you're just getting started, that seems like a good plan.
posted by heathergirl at 10:32 AM on December 20, 2007

I'd be inclined to set up a Google group and restrict membership to invitees only. (Also, if you don't already know of it, have a look at Library Thing. You'll find lots of inspiration there.)
posted by davemack at 11:22 AM on December 20, 2007

I think Wordpress would be great for this.
You can have each person make a new post for each book they add to the list, and the discussions can take place in the comments section of the post. Tags can be used for genre sorting, as well as current book to read (give the current book the "currentlyreading" tag and remove it once done). If you wanted more indepth discussion on one book, simply make each chapter into its own post, and link them all together with a tag (the name of the book comes to mind). There's most likely a rating plugin for Wordpress that you can easily configure. For pages/books read, you could try to find a plugin, but I would go the easiest route and group all this information into one post per person that gets edited whenever someone finishes a book/chapter (tag them with "participant" or whatever so you can find them all at once). There is most definitely some type of calendar plugin. And I'm sure there's a nice book-related Wordpress theme somewhere out there.
posted by Meagan at 12:09 PM on December 20, 2007

Thanks for the replies so far. Meagan, I like the direction you're going with Wordpress. The biggest draw to WP, for me, is the ease of use. Setting up WP is cake and it's far easier to configure than other hosted apps I've used. I may go that direction.

Still welcoming any other suggestions about any of this!
posted by sprocket87 at 12:22 PM on December 20, 2007

After further thought, I wonder if Moodle might be the sort of thing you are looking for, if you are thinking of taking the hosted CMS route . . .
posted by davemack at 1:32 PM on December 20, 2007

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