I first found out about LibraryThing from a friend who wanted me to post all of my books basically so that she could see them. On LibraryThing you can post up to 200 books for free. Well, I had well more than 200 books and couldn’t FATHOM the idea of posting just part of my library. LibraryThing is used for cataloging your books, and if I was going to do that, then I was going to do it all. I looked at the pricing for unlimited books: $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime, I figured for $25 I might as well hedge my bets that they would be around for at least 3 more years and I would get the better deal, so I bought my membership and set myself down to the task of entering my library.
This was all quite the procedure. The first, obvious step was to actually enter the books. Brian ordered me a bar code scanner online so that I wouldn’t have to manually input everything. So I sat down and scanned all of my books onto the computer (thank God for laptops so I didn’t have to carry all my books back and forth!). At that point I figured that it was all well and good to have a list of all of my books, but it wasn’t that helpful if it didn’t DO something. LibraryThing allowed me to sort by author, title, Dewey number, etc, but none of those quite fit my needs as far sorting books in order to organize my library.
This realization led to many a days (this was during the summer, before I got a non-teaching job) of sitting at the laptop and figuring out how I wanted to tag all of my books in order to sort them in my physical library how I wanted. I think I tag differently from many users, my tags are my sorting criteria, so they have to be in a certain order to be useful to me. It took a lot of trial and error to get the tags how I wanted them, but I did and then I spent about 3 days moving books around on my bookshelves in order to get them organized based on their LibraryThing sorting. Of course, now I need to almost re-do all of it, because I have a bad habit of not putting the books away when I finish them, or just putting them at the end of the shelf.
For a long time, I thought that housing my book catalog was all that LibraryThing was good for. I would mainly only visit it in order to add books I had bought, or just to look at my pretty library, or add some reviews. Then I was playing around with it one day and discovered the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. I immediately signed up to receive free, early reviewer books. Of course, the first month I didn’t win anything. I started reading the ‘talk’ group for the Early Reviewers to get a better feel for the program. Then I started reading a bunch of the other ‘talk’ groups in subjects in which I am interested. As a result, I received an early reviewer book and have added a ton of books to my wishlist. Not to mention that LibraryThing and some of the members thereon, inspired me to start this blog (Reading Around the World came from LT members too), which I am thoroughly enjoying.