The Cult of the Amateur, by Andrew Keen

BookTour, Please Add LibraryThing Support!

BooktourI'm a big fan of this new BookTour service Chris Anderson launched earlier this year.  In fact, I've probably recommended it to at least a dozen different authors in the past couple of months.  Although I also like the new feature Chris talks about here on his Long Tail blog, I think they need to add at least one more component to it: support for LibraryThing accounts.

The new feature I'm talking about enables BookTour to tell you when your favorite authors are coming to your town for a signing or speaking gig.  BookTour uses your Amazon purchasing history to determine your favorite authors.

I see two weaknesses with this.  First, I don't buy all my books on Amazon.  On the other hand, I do add every good book I've read into my LibraryThing account.  It doesn't matter whether I bought it at Amazon or at a brick-and-mortar store, all the ones I like appear in my LibraryThing list, which brings me to my second point...

I can't honestly say I've liked every book I've bought over the years on Amazon.  So if Joe Blow wrote a book I bought on Amazon, read 10 pages of and tossed, I really don't care if he's coming to my town.  Here again, the LibraryThing database is a better alternative.  If I didn't like a book I don't bother adding it to my LibraryThing list.

There's also a FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factor in this.  Regardless of the parenthetical point Chris makes at the end of that Long Tail post, some people aren't going to be too thrilled giving out their Amazon account info to a third-party.  These same people would probably have no problem giving out their LibraryThing account info; after all, there's no credit card information attached to a LibraryThing account.

I'm not suggesting BookTour abandon their Amazon account option.  I'd just like to see them add support for LibraryThing, Shelfari and any other library service.


Tim Spalding

This isn't directed against BookTour or Amazon, but I think a company like Amazon should make it a firm rule that sign-ins need to be manual and from the person doing it. I'm distressed by the idea of LibraryThing and its 30 competitors all adding an option to grab your data from Amazon. People are going to assume it's with Amazon's blessing—much as they assume "Amazon associates" are some sort of real business partners—and when the site leverages 1,000 credit cards and buys a million dollars worth of crap or when a site isn't careful and their data is hacked, there's going to be hell to pay.

Susan Helene Gottfried

I'm with you on this one, Joe. I buy very little on Amazon; I'd rather pay full-price and support my local independents (mostly because I trade for so much of my TBR pile). While I rate books on Amazon and use it as a resource when I want to know what's next in a series, or who published something (usually for a contest at my blog), actual purchases are rare.

I use my Library Thing only for the books I rave about.

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