Late with Tuesday Thingers again. My excuse is that I was already past a deadline for a short story, and was trying to get it finished so I could send it out to my crit group. Anyway… this week’s prompt from Boston Bibliphile:
Why did you choose to open and maintain an LT account? Do you/did you use other online cataloging/social networking sites, like GoodReads or Shelfari? Do you use more than one? Are they different or do they serve different purposes?
I wanted a catalogue of my books for insurance purposes. Yes, you need to separately list anything with serious value if you want your insurance covered, but there’s also the problem of insurance companies refusing to believe that anyone owns several hundred paperbacks. Having a list of what you’ve got, plus some photos, makes it easier to persuade them that you’re one of the mutant freaks. I’ve had to claim on shipping insurance after a long-distance move, and the company paid out without a murmur on the detailed list I provided of water-damaged books, with notes on whether they were a total loss or whether I was just claiming the reduction in their value. At least there I still had the books, but sometimes you get complete loss. I was also running into the problem of buying duplicate books because I could no longer remember what I already owned.
I already had a small database on my own computer, but I wanted something that would let me just type in the ISBN and let it look up the details of the book online, rather than having to type in all the details by hand. So I asked around my friends, and someone suggested LibraryThing.
Tim knows what he’s doing with that free account covering up to 200 books. It’s a big enough number to let you think you can do something useful with the free account even if you never upgrade, so it’s worth your while putting in a few books to try it. I had my credit card out half an hour later. The system is easy to use, and it’s fun. And even in that half hour I could see all sorts of other ways it could be useful.
Since then I’ve got involved in the social side of the site. You don’t need to ever go near this to get a lot out of the system, but it’s a good place to talk to like-minded readers.
I don’t use other book-orientated social networking sites, although I can see the appeal of something like BookCrossing. One is enough of a timesink for me, and LT’s facilities suit me extremely well.