Thursday, July 19, 2007

Booknook Perhapsness

When LibraryThing launched, I signed up, but did nothing. When Shelfari launched, I did the same. When Goodreads launched, I did more, and I'm trying to figure out why.

It might have been because a friend who'd added a lot of books invited me to Goodreads, so when I joined, I added a handful, too. For the others, I was friendless and didn't have that inspiration or model to follow. Now, I have a couple of friends in Shelfari, but no books. And I have one friend who actively used LibraryThing, but no books.

I've put my energy into Goodreads. This introduces a quandary -- and a possible solution.

When this happens, this happens a lot. And in this age of Web 2.0 creativity, the chances of being introduced to similar services in short order increases. What to do? As things are, we must choose. Which platform do we choose? Why? Is it because of how many friends we have there? How many books we've listed? Personal preferences for the features and functions?

The possible solution might be something akin to the Friend of a Friend project. Just as we're struggling with how to keep our social networking service friends lists consistent -- which, honestly, I don't think is all important, we might want to keep our other shared lists consistent.

In the case of books, versus friends, I think the need might be stronger. I haven't taken the time to look into whether the three bookshelf management tools I've mentioned offer list export and import options. If they don't they should. That begs the idea of list consistency so exports and imports can include similar data fields and, therefore, consistency.

Are switching costs so high -- or value of service exclusivity so high -- that this is a bad idea? I don't think so. If I could export and import my lists at will, I'd maintain all services equally. I'd probably, as I suggested tonight to my friend who's a LibraryThing fiend, maintain one predominately and consistently... and then update the others occasionally. There's little downside to anyone following this approach, just upside.

Is anyone working on this? Does anyone else perceive it to be a problem and opportunity? Which one of these services do you use?



Joe said...

I finally pushed out the post that led me to some of the questions I asked you...

Joe said...

PS will anyone else reading your blog recognize the pun behind the title?