Getting my geek on
In: Tech Reviews30 Aug 2006
It looks like LibraryThing might finally have a real competitor in aNobii. Like LibraryThing, aNobii offers a virtual bookshelf for your tomes, and it covers the social aspect by recommending other readers with similar tastes. aNobii boasts a fairly powerful import feature that can add a list of books from any web page by either processing the URL, as does LibraryThing. However, aNobii can also parse HTML code that you paste in. (I used this method to copy my list from LibraryThing.) Adding a single book is simple at both sites, although I find that LibraryThing is much faster. (This might be because aNobii has a more graphical design.)
aNobii isn’t all brains and no beauty, though. The site has a beautiful, clean interface that’s obviously well-thought out and designed with the end user in mind. LibraryThing’s design tends to be on the clunky side, and while not counterintuitive, it’s not going to win any awards for usability.
Both sites offer blog widgets, rating systems, and tagging, and a host of social features, such as saving other readers as favorites. aNobii adds a nice touch, though, with the ability to designate the status of a book ( currently reading, not started, finished, unfinished) – a feature that is sorely needed at LibraryThing. In addition, aNobii lets users specify if a book is available for sale or swap. Finally, aNobii offers a wish list feature that lets users browsing the bookshelves keep track of future reads.
LibraryThing offers a mobile edition (very handy, that, when standing in a book store wondering if you have that book already) and an export feature that aNobii doesn’t seem to have. LibraryThing also has the advantage of time, having far more users – and shelved books – than aNobii. (LibraryThing just hit 5 million books on their “shelves”; in comparison, aNobii only has 8460 as of this writing.This is significant because the social aspects of both sites rely on matching readers with like tastes and books in common.)
Even without the mobile app and the export feature, aNobii still gives LibraryThing some stiff competition, and they seem to be pretty evenly matched. It will be interesting to see how this plot develops.
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