The best part about social networks is how they allow us to keep in touch and to make great discoveries through our friends. Most of us have gotten to know a band or a movie because someone we know talked about them – and, well, sometimes we get out of spending some hours of our lives on something we wouldn’t like because we were advised not to read/watch/listen to whatever it was we originally intended to.
That is one of the best reasons to keep a virtual bookshelf. Our actual, made of wood or plastic, stuck-to-our-walls bookshelves are of course prettier and nicer to look at, but, much like websites for keeping track of tv shows watched, these social networks might help you control what you have read, what you are reading and what you want to read while looking at what your friends themselves are reading. Another positive side to it is finding out about books you didn’t know or that perhaps never interested you: you can read reviews, meet people with a taste similar to yours or even, depending on the website, tell others that you would be quite delighted to receive a particular hardcover or paperback as a present.
That said, I present you the virtual bookshelves that are, in my opinion, most interesting:
- Skoob – This is a Brazilian website and the first one I found out about. It’s brilliant to say the least. Very simple, organized and easy to use, it’s perfect for us who also read in Portuguese and want to add Brazilian or Portuguese literature to our lists. The only downsides are the fact that it has no version in English and that, for that reason, sometimes the user has to register a book (especially if not in Portuguese or English). I’m sticking to it, though, since it works just fine for me and some of my friends also have accounts on it. Here’s my bookshelf, in case you want to see it.
- Goodreads – First of all, I must admit that I love a good layout. Social networks and apps have to look good or they just won’t get me addicted. Goodreads not only seems to be the most organized and steady option for readers who don’t speak Portuguese, it seems to be the best of all these websites period. If I weren’t so happy on Skoob, I would most certainly migrate. The number of users (12 million, according to their website) reflects how thorough their website is when it comes to the book-sharing experience.
- WeRead – The best part of this one, as far as I’m concerned, is the possibility to read book previews from the website itself. It also seems well organized and steady, but, if I were to choose, I’d pick Goodreads.
- Shelfari – The best part of Shelfari is its connection to Amazon.com, which surely will be significant to users of the online store. For people like me, though, who do their purchases much more on actual bookstores, that doesn’t make it better than Goodreads from what I’ve seen. I haven’t registered, so maybe there is more to it, but unless you are an avid Amazon user, it doesn’t seem much more interesting than its competition.
I’ll continue to use Skoob unless something goes wrong with it, but the other websites also look very interesting. Do you use any of them at all? If so, what are your impressions? And if not, why not give them a try? You might surprise yourself at how easier your life might get!