Starting to like Booklikes

It took me some time to initiate this move, but I finally imported my booklist from Goodreads to Booklikes. And I am happy in my new home. You can check out my book log here: http://literarysara.booklikes.com/
For the moment, it defaults to a blog view, which is kind of funny, since I already have a blog–two, even! But I like that it highlights my short reviews, and you can always switch it to a timeline view or a bookshelf view.

Starting up was a little dubious. Booklikes had automatically followed a bunch of book blogs on my behalf, which I meticulously unfollowed until I can make my own decisions. And although the importing was spectacularly easy–export a .csv file from Goodreads, import into Booklikes, wait until it’s done–the import seemed to be going very slowly. When I went to bed, only 8 of the books have been successfully imported.

But when I woke up in the morning, they were all present and attractively arranged on this digital bookshelf.

This is how Booklikes stacks up against the list of functions I was looking for in bibliocentric social media:

  • I want to keep track, for myself, of the books I read and want to read.
    + Booklikes does this in more or less the same manner as Goodreads, with shelves and read/to be read designations.
  • I want other people to people to see my booklists and I want to see the lists of people I search or friend (if they make those lists viewable).
    + You can definitely see my book history. I could see yours if you have a page; your bookshelf is public but you can make individual reviews or books private.
  • I want to be able to give and receive likes and comments.
    + You can like, reblog, and comment. Booklikes can be integrated with a couple of other services, so in addition to the comment function available to other Booklikes members, you can add the option for friends to log in via Disqus or Facebook to comment. I really like that it’s opt-in.
  • I want to be able to create and maintain book groups or communities.
    – This doesn’t seem to be an option as yet, except by way of blog commenting. The only community I’m leaving behind is my Food Studies group, and I’ve been meaning to get all my food research bibliography onto the food blog anyway, so I will press on and see if this element is added in the future.
  • I want a book info page, not a book order page, that I can link on my WordPress blogs.
    – There is not quite a book infopage in the way that Goodreads listed the bibliographic data and promo copy of a book. But I can link to my review page if I need to reference something on the WordPress blogs, or I can link to Powells Books or similar.

A few unexpected perks:

  • You can rate with half-stars. I love that.
  • The blogging function is pretty sophisticated–just as functional as WordPress, a lot more slick than the HTML capabilities of Goodreads’ review window. If you keep a blog mainly for the purpose of sharing books you’ve read, this is a good option for you.
  • You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of the blog. It would be even more awesome if you could subscribe to an RSS of a particular shelf–say, my food studies shelf if you’re a fellow food scholar–but if you can do that, I haven’t figured out how.

Booklikes is still pretty new and somewhat in beta–users might need to add books that are not yet in their system, for example, and apparently early adopters struggled a bit with the import function, as the staff struggled to keep up with the sudden influx of Goodreads refugees. But it’s attractive, fairly comprehensive, and easy to use–and you needn’t get Amazon involved unless you wish, as the search options permit selection or deselection of various international affiliates.

Say hey if you’re a fellow user.

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