Print is Dead: The Rise of Online Book Cataloguing Sites
In 2007, a bookworm named Egon declared that “Print is Dead” and the rise of online book cataloguing sites like LibraryThing and aNobii proved his point. These websites have revolutionized the way we keep track of our books, connect with like-minded readers, and even buy, sell, or trade our beloved tomes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at aNobii, a newcomer that has quickly risen to become a clear rival to LibraryThing.
Registration and Bookshelf
The first step to enjoying aNobii is a quick registration process that lets you select your language. While the English readership on aNobii is quite large, it’s clear that this site has a global presence. Once you’re in, you can start adding books to your ‘shelf’. This can be done either by title or ISBN. I was able to import my book list from my LibraryThing account, but you can also use an excel spreadsheet or a list from anywhere – a blog, for example – though the accuracy of those lists cannot be guaranteed.
Book Status and Reference
Now that your books are on your shelf, you can start having some fun. Firstly, check the status of each title – finished, reading, not started, or reference. Reference is an interesting feature, as it means you have the book on hand to gather information when required. However, aNobii offers a handy tool that stands out from competitors: the ability to add Margin Notes. Each note can be assigned to any page of the book, making it very useful for reference material.
One of the most exciting features of aNobii is the community aspect. For each title, you can specify whether or not it’s tradable. For every book you are willing to trade, you can set a price or a note to a willing participant. This is a feature that sites like LibraryThing outsource to a 3rd party. If you’re like me, you lend books out a little too much, but never fear – aNobii has that covered. There’s a Lending section for each book that lets you add the person whom you’ve loaned the title, and if it’s a friend on aNobii, they show up automatically. Tell it when you lent the book and when you want it back. Set a reminder, if you like, and enter the borrower’s email – no more lost books!
Making Friends and Swapping Books
Since we’re looking at a community of bookworms, finding like-minded readers on aNobii is easy. Users who have similar ‘shelves’ as you will be automatically selected, though you can adjust the settings for more or less similarity. When you find a person with books you like, you can keep track of their shelf on-site via RSS or even by email. With a growing database of users and the ability to specify your location, making friends to swap books with will be a breeze. While browsing books, you can add titles to your wishlist, hopefully attracting others to offer swaps.
Discussion and Buying
Each book’s page has descriptions and comments. A voting system keeps only the most useful or interesting comments at the top. Make new ones for each of your books, and they’ll show up on the book’s page with your rating. You can also start a discussion on aNobii’s forum directly from a book or message a user directly. Check out the Amazon info page or Google Books and see what other users have the same book or check more from the author. At the bottom of each book’s page, there’s a list of Amazon stores and the book’s price from each. From Japan or the States, which is cheaper? You can even set your currency and which stores you want to show up.
aNobii is a near-perfect online library that rivals sites like LibraryThing. While there’s always room for improvement, aNobii provides as much of a community library where you can realistically keep track of your collection – privately or publicly – as you’ll find anywhere. LibraryThing may have been one of the first in its field, but aNobii does everything right and looks good doing it. “Print is dead,” Egon said, but thanks to sites like aNobii, the passion for books remains alive and well in the online world.
Tags: aNobii, online book cataloguing sites, LibraryThing, bookshelf, Margin Notes.