Link: Library Thing
The Fall have a song called Telephone Thing that I’m fond of and I like Library Thing too. Not that they’re in any way related, but I’m liking "Things". Though book things are very different artefacts from images or URLs and as such Library Thing may struggle to replicate the kind of success that flickr and del.icio.us have enjoyed, unless that is they understand the nature of the medium and have a strategy that looks to roll with what connects us to "books" [as opposed to just any old media that you slap tags on to which may seem harsh but people seem to be slavishly adopting this model without much thought].
Books are inherently highly ‘social’ – from the subject matter to the shared meaning, community gathering [book clubs] and even distributed networks [e.g. Book Crossing] – but I’m unsure how their "nature" as predominantly material things will translate into an online ecosystem around sociality. I mean what would compel you to catalogue your book collection [and well, your entire material life?] when there are existing tools to assess relationships between authors and people such as Amazon’s "people who bought this" etc. Some odd people do do this I know – even it’s it’s by size, colour, whatever on their bookshelves. I just don’t understand it.
There are perhaps parallels with music in that you have authors [artists], books [albums/tracks], editions [compilations / re-releases] and publishing houses [‘record companies’]. It’s a bit like musicbrainz in the sense that it could serve to add a layer of useful metadata over formal classification systems to allow you to search horizontally as well as vertically [and just about any direction at all actually]. So where could it go beyond classifying books? Library Thing
doesn’t satiate any need state particularly. You’re left wanting more. What could be developed on top of the service in the way that last.fm allows you to stream profile radio? As most books are not actually digitised [yet] it’s hard to know where you could go with it apart from extending services around ‘book clubs’ and such like that bring bookish people together via geography [but Libary Thing doesn’t even collect such data] or niche communities around books.
Another important fact in the ‘nature’ of books is that they are slower than images, URLs and music. They take time to ‘digest’. They require more effort and in that sense our relationship with them is often stronger but it means that the frequency with which you can engage with a book ‘network’ would be somewhat more limited than for other mediums [think book clubs vis a vis going clubbing or eating]. It wouldn’t be as fresh, current or frankly as predisposed to the kind of activity that currently defines most online sociality – which is based on new ‘things’ [that’s a huge generalisation and I don’t intend to back it up].