librarything change

LibraryThings Have Changed: I Still Love You, LT, But It’s Not The Same

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.

What system(s) do you use to catalog and track your books? Has the way you use them changed over time?

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4 comments

  1. I’m a two timer – I use both LT and GR but I never remove books from my inventory, even when I get rid of them. I don’t catalog e-books or audios until I read them and usually only on GR then. I like the end of the year stats they provide so I try to keep up with what I read on there.

    1. LT’s collections and tagging are a better fit with the way I organize my books than GR shelves, which is a big reason I went back. I’m glad to know I’m alone in not cataloging the ebooks and audios until I read them :-).

  2. I have a handwritten list of things read. I’m on my third volume now. Then there’s my book blog for longer thoughts about some of the books. I ready upwards of 400 books a year and post 365 or 6 reviews a year, so not EVERYTHING gets covered. Then there’s GR where I track when I read a book and where I got it from through different “shelves.” Finally there’s LT which I purchased a life time membership too when Amazon bought GR in case I found GR too repugnant to work with. I know LT is thinking of physical spaces of books but I still treat it more as a when read, rather then a where shelved, type catalog. Once upon a time, I also had my own home built SQL based catalog of books but I haven’t touched that thing in about four years (ironically since going to library school!)