Sunday, September 23, 2007

Free Online Books Cataloging Services - Your Very Own Virtual Library.

Being an avid reader and book lover, i must have collected hundreds of books over the years, with some dating back to more than 30 years ago. Overflowing my bookshelves, some are stashed, due to a lack of space, in the store room and i have lost count of both the quantity and type of books i actually had in my collection. It was with this in mind that i started looking for free online books cataloging services and it was a joy to discover that there are several free and comprehensive web-sites dedicated to helping book lovers gain order over their literary tomes, in essence, allowing you to have your very own virtual library for free.

Besides offering free books cataloging services, some of these sites also incorporates a social and networking element where one can share and connect with like-minded book lovers, thus further enhancing the experience for book lovers. The following are some of the more popular online books cataloging sites in recent years :
With more than 19 million books cataloged and over 280,000 members, LibraryThing is currently the most prominent of the lot. Launched in Aug 2005, LibraryThing allows members to catalog their personal collections, keep reading lists and meet other readers with similar interests. Organizing your collection according to your preference, rating of books, tagging, mini-reviews and chatting with other members are some of the other functions available. Nifty tools like their blog widget can pull books in your catalog and bring them into your blog or site. It's intuitive interface together with their massive data base, as a result of their collaboration with Amazon, Library of Congress and over 30 other libraries, makes LibraryThing an awesome and amazing experience for book lovers. The service is free for cataloging of up to 200 books or you can pay just $10 for unlimited cataloging for one year.
Launched in Oct 2006, Shelfari is a book centered social media site which allows members to create virtual shelves for their books, join groups, give recommendations and generally connect with fellow book lovers. As the service is totally free with an unlimited amount of books cataloging allowed, the Seattle-based Shelfari is fast gaining popularity with book lovers.
Hong Kong based aNobii, while a newcomer, has all the features that LibraryThing has and it's interface is just as intuitive and attractive. Other than allowing avid readers to create shelves to showcase their books and connect with others, aNobii also allows members to buy, trade, swap and lend the books they own. For every book that the member is willing to trade, she/he can set a price or a note to a willing participant. They can also enter details of the transaction such as to whom the book is lent to and when they want it back. Members can also purchase books online through The service is totally free to members with no limit to the quantity of books cataloged.

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