Everyone who has been on the Internet for awhile now is probably a member of some social site or another. But, worse than that, everybody who is a self-proclaimed Internet guru has an idea for yet another social site concept. With such an influx of mediocre concepts, it’s tough for a user to figure out what’s to be used and what’s to be trashed, unless they end up wasting a considerable amount of time navigating a particular Web site.
Luckily, there are sites like Shelfari that make the search worthwhile. The people at Shelfari have come up with a very unique idea and that is a social media Web site for book lovers. Sound confusing? Not very fun? No clue what’s in store? Well, I say, “no problem!”
The idea is not to share books among people or help people write books. Rather, the idea is to share opinions about different books, give and take recommendations, see what other people are reading, make book lists of your own and of course, the ability to be able to discuss books with other members of the community. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?! And on top of all that, it’s absolutely free of cost! Shelfari makes money when users buy the books from Amazon or any other similar online service. When that happens, Shelfari gets a percentage of it.
The basic idea of Shelfari is to find new books that might interest you. It’s ideal for people who love books, but may find it hard to find people or friends around them who are interested in literature as much as they are. So, not only do you get to read your favorite books, but you can also talk about them with other people on the Internet and even find more books that you might like to read.
Signing up for Shelfari is easy. It works on most of the Web browsers, including Firefox and Internet Explorer. Once you are signed up and signed in, you can start adding books to your bookshelf. To add books to your shelf, you can use the Search box in the upper right corner to search for the books that might interest you. Once the results show up, you will be able to see a button, which says Add to Shelf. Clicking on that button adds that book to your shelf. Similarly, to remove a book from your shelf, just click on the Remove Book button next to the book. Once you add a book to your shelf, it shows you other people who have added the same book to their shelves. Similarly, you will show up on their lists too. Don’t you wish you could do the same thing in real life when you wanted to make friends with like-minded people?!
You can also add the book or books on your shelf to a list. This list can be a “wish list” or a “currently reading list” or even a “worse five books ever” list. The possibilities are endless. To add a book to a list, simply click the book and select the Add/Remove From List option. This will take you to a page where you can choose which list you want the book to appear on. Similarly, you can remove the book with just one click from any of your lists.
Since organization of your bookshelf plays a big part, this site also has options to tag your books. Simply said, tags allow you to group books with any similarities together. Once created, the tags appear below the bookshelf. A book can have as many tags as you want. Selecting a tag displays all the books associated with that tag. A conventional way to tag a book is according to a certain genre. For example, fiction, horror, comedy, books my wife wants me to read, etc.
Finally, if you are one of those “I can’t go through a day without a book” people and have all of your books already organized in another library catalog, you can import all the books from your software catalog to Shelfari. You can click Build Shelf (on the top left) to import the books from your library catalog application.
Now, Shelfari wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for people in and around your friend list. There are a few different ways in which you can add friends to your list. You can find friends by Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail. Otherwise, you can invite your friends by using e-mail. If your friends are already members of Shelfari, you will be able to add them right away and if they’re not, you will be able to send them an invite to Shelfari. Once they join, they will automatically be added to Shelfari.
Sounds cool, huh?! With so many books being published every year and so many from the past left unread, Shelfari is a small step in opening a mine full of interesting literature that you might like. If books are your soul food, Shelfari is where you can eat to your heart’s content. Give it a spin today!
Check Shelfari out for yourself right here.
~ Yogesh Bakshi
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