My love for LibraryThing has been well-documented here in the past. While the flame still burns, things have changed between us.
I still appreciate all that LT has done for me, don’t get me wrong. I got a paid, lifetime LibraryThing membership in 2008 to keep track of all the books I owned, whether I’d read them or not. Having my LibraryThing collection on my phone has saved me more than once from buying a book I already had. My preference for LT’s capabilities was only reinforced during the year or two I tried to maintain my account there in sync with one at Goodreads. (I learned my lesson and quit my two-timing ways.) And when I remembered to cross-reference reviews from the blog, it was a handy substitute for a review index.
But all relationships are prone to shifts over the course of time, and mine with LT is no different. Most of the changes in how I use LibraryThing correlate with changes in how I acquire books.
The Things I Keep From LibraryThing
When I started buying ebooks, I waffled over whether to include them in my LibraryThing collections. I didn’t really need them there for tracking what I owned–they all lived in apps where I could easily look them up. In the end, I decided I’d only catalog them in LibraryThing after I’d read them. When I started listening to audiobooks with Audible, I followed the same practice. This means my TBR collections live in several different places–it’s not always convenient, but it mostly works.
I’m an active book blogger/reviewer who has lacked a local bookstore since Borders closed. The books on my shelves are more likely to come from publishers rather than through purchases. However, I discovered during my big book purge last summer that I’m more likely to keep books I buy than books I get “for review consideration” and never consider. I removed stacks of unread ARCs from my house and dozens of titles from my LibraryThing catalog last year. That led me to change my methods for handling review copies. Unless I specifically requested a title, I don’t catalog it until I’m about to read it. Books that I don’t intend to read go straight to the “donate” shelf in the garage. There’s no record that they were ever here.
It’s Not You, LT, It’s Me
I moved the blog to WordPress last winter. The Ultimate Book Blogger plugin has review-indexing capabilities that meet my needs better than LT’s. And that’s turned out to be very useful. The biggest change I’ve made since the book purge involves a whole category of books that I don’t log into LibraryThing at all, ever.
When I opened my LT account, all of my books were mine–-I’d either bought them or been given them–and that was why I needed to keep track of them. But last summer, for the first time in years, I got myself a library card…and I have been using it. I have yet to check out a print book, but I’ve almost always got active holds on audiobooks and ebooks. The library has become my go-to for books I want to read soon but not immediately, and for books I want to read but am not sure I need to own. LibraryThing only finds out about my library books when I like one of them enough to buy a keeper copy and catalog it. (It has no idea it doesn’t have custody of all my book reviews since this time last year.)
I was on a break from paid reviewing until a few weeks ago, I’ve only been in bookstores a couple of times this year, and I’ve been reading library books. I spent a few hours earlier this week getting my LibraryThing catalog up-to-date, and if I hadn’t gone to BEA in May, the process would have gone even quicker than it did. I’m glad it’s done, though. Things may have changed between us, but I have no intention of breaking up with LibraryThing.