Are you a bookworm? If you are, you probably don’t read in some dark and dusty corner. With the rise of e-books and e-readers, reading has become closely tied to the Internet. If you want to track your reading habits, get tailored recommendations and connect with other bibliophiles, check out these online tools and communities.
Goodreads might be the most popular tool on this list; so much so that the others are often referred to as “Goodreads alternatives.” You can register for a free account with an email or your Google, Twitter, or Facebook credentials. Then you can edit your profile, connect with friends, join groups, take quizzes, participate in reading challenges, save your favorite quotes and write reviews.
Your profile contains a timeline with updates about completed books and those you’re currently reading. Friends can comment on your posts, but it’s possible to keep your profile private. To add new books to your collection, use the search function or click the green “Want to Read” button on others’ profiles. Your books are organized into “shelves” – add as many as you wish or just use the default ones. Goodreads can integrate with Facebook, and there’s an app for iOS, Android, and Kindle. With apps, you can scan barcodes on books to add them to your library. Goodreads offers stats about your reading habits, automatic recommendations, and the option to export your library as a spreadsheet.
Shelfari requires an Amazon account – it pulls information about all books you’ve purchased there and adds them to your shelf. There is only one shelf for books on Shelfari, but you can organize them with tags and default categories (“Read”, “Favorites”…). Shelfari provides reading stats and lets you import books from other services, as well as export all your data.
An awesome feature is “Read First Chapter Free”, which lets you peek into every book. If you’re passionate about book trivia, you’ll love Shelfari, because the “Book Extras” feature lets you edit the description of every book with various facts about the plot, characters, author, and more.
LibraryThing is big on statistics – their “Zeitgeist” page presents detailed information about the entire community. Your books are organized into collections, and you can add them manually via search form or import them from other services. You can connect with other users through the “Talk” system and modify book and author pages. The “Local” feature shows you book-related events, bookstores and libraries in your area.
LibraryThing has a simple, mostly text-based interface, which is great for users who dislike clutter. The only downside might be the fact that the free account lets you add only 200 books – upgrades cost $10 or $25.
Libib is not just for books – it’s a free tool that helps you organize music, movies, games… You can add up to 100,000 items to 100 libraries, which should be more than enough. Books (and other items) can be tagged and grouped, and you can add them using a barcode scanner, manually, or import them from Goodreads.
User profiles sport a clean, modern design. You can write reviews, add notes, include your friends in the discussion and publish links to your Libib profile on social media. Libib offers apps for iOS and Android to help you manage data on the go.
Unlike other tools that have a simple rating system, BookDigits offers both letters and a numeric scale, as well as several aspects (“Writing Quality,” “Re-readability,” etc.) on which you can grade every book. It’s more focused on challenging you to read and rate books than on cataloging them.
In true gamification fashion, BookDigits awards you with badges and ranks for your reading achievements. If you diligently rate your books, it calculates custom, specific recommendations to help you discover new ones. BookDigits is perfect for readers who seek a stronger sense of accomplishment in finishing a book.
BookLikes is aimed at writers and book bloggers. It combines the best of a blogging platform and a book tracking tool, plus it’s free. Register for an account and you’ll get a profile/blog address like username.booklikes.com, but you can also use your own domain. You can create new shelves, make custom reading statuses, and import books from Goodreads. However, the main attraction is your profile, where you can post reviews, updates and quotes.
Your profile offers a stylish Timeline mode, and the blog’s appearance is highly customizable. You can connect BookLikes to your social media accounts and add widgets to your blog. Other users can follow you, and you can all get together in “Discussion Rooms”.
Anobii is fast, simple, and free. It makes book organization easy with tags and shelves, and lets you add multiple books at once. You can track other users’ shelves, and connect with them either as “Friends” (if you know them) or as “Neighbors.”
The most interesting feature is “Taste compatibility” which should be familiar to anyone who’s used Last.fm. Anobii emphasizes similarity between you and other users based on books you like and makes it easier to get recommendations from people whose judgment you can trust.
What Should I Read Next?
WSIRN is different from other tools in this article. You can use it to get quick reading recommendations – just type the name of a book you like and it will list some suggestions. Each suggestion has a tag cloud. By clicking these tags you can explore other similar books and dig deeper into the recommendation system. This is all possible without an account, but if you want to save your favorites, create book lists and get better recommendations, you’ll have to register (don’t worry, it’s free).
How do you organize and track your books? Share some tips in the comments below.