Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Welcome to Goodreads

Contrary to popular belief, librarians do not sit around and read books all day. The fact is that being a librarian cuts into quality reading time BIG time! To boost our personal reading stats, we tend to pick up children’s picture books that we can breeze through in a couple of minutes. My most recent favourite picture book is Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin. This is a great book with a great message and, if you happen to overhear me singing, “I love my white shoes. I love my white shoes…”, it’s because the little ditty in the book has been stuck in my head for the last week. You can listen to Pete the Cat on the Internet at: It’s well worth the 3.5 minutes. (And I apologize in advance if the song gets stuck in your head.)

One of the best picture books - EVER!

Now that I’ve squeezed in that little promo for Pete the Cat, let me get on with my original purpose in writing this long-overdue blog today…

If you are a Facebook user and you love reading, you may be familiar with the app Visual Bookshelf, a place where you could track, rate and review books that you read. Readers could log-in to their FB accounts, click on the Visual Bookshelf icon and instantly access a complete list of the books they have read – both the good ones and the duds. They had access to reader reviews, so they could get an opinion before reading. They could see how books were rated by other readers and see what other their Visual Bookshelf friends were into. It was a mini-social network within a social network – all dedicated to book lovers.

Alas, Visual Bookshelf is no more! The people who created and maintained it have decided to scrap it.

“It's not you. It's us. You see — about two years ago — we tried a new idea, which has taken our team and company in a new direction. This community needs tools and products that are fully supported and continually improved, and unfortunately, this is something we just can't support right now.”

(Way to break up with about a million app users!)

Being dumped by an app is almost as crappy as being dumped by a lover, only worse, because the app disappears completely and there is no chance of reconciliation. (There are no stalking opportunities either, but that may be a good thing.)

The good news is that the Visual Bookshelf creators – Living Social – are not that cruel. They have been kind enough to provide an alternative social network for readers called Goodreads, which can be found here:

Goodreads has all the great features of Visual Bookshelf and more! You can join the Goodreads Book Club and share your thoughts about a featured recommendation with literally thousands of other Goodreads users. You can participate in polls and answer trivia questions. You can join or form groups and connect with like-minded readers to discuss favourite genres, authors or styles. You can connect to Facebook so your FB friends can still see what you are reading and know what you think about it. You can see what your friends are reading and find out what they think about it, too. You can set a goal for your reading by taking the Reading Challenge.

I have to admit that I was aghast when I clicked on Visual Bookshelf and read the break-up announcement. How could they do this to me? I had a couple hundred titles entered and reviews written for most of them. Eek! But then I saw the silver lining: a link that imports all my Visual Bookshelf information to a new Goodreads account. Well, most of my Visual Bookshelf information…

My list of books zipped right over to Goodreads without the ratings and reviews. But there’s more good news! You can save your ratings and reviews in an Excel file for future importability – as soon as they perfect the transporter for it. Or you can manually reenter everything. I guess that depends on if you have a life or not. And if your current book is good or not.

Anyway, readers can rest assured that their Visual Bookshelf information has a good home waiting over at Goodreads. I hope to see you all there. Send me a friend request – I’ll look forward to seeing what is on your bookshelves!

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