Amazon shutters Shelfari
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post
Amazon owns Goodreads and Shelfari, and has a stake in LibraryThing.
I speculated this:
“…they might shut down Shelfari (another social reading site which Amazon owns), and fold it into Goodreads.”
Well, it’s happening now.
It was announced here:
Goodreads is much bigger, and the vast majority of people won’t be negatively affected.
However, my readers are not “most people”.😉
It wouldn’t surprise me if some of you are Shelfari users…as am I.
In terms of the books, they are making the transition pretty easy. There’s a tool where you can merge your Shelfari books with Goodreads, and you can also export the informationy as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file, if you like. With the CSV, you can import them into Excel or many other spreadsheets, if you prefer. You can, of course, do both.
Be aware that the export might take a while…they are saying it could be a couple of days. They plan to complete the transition by March 16th of this year, so you do have some time.
However, I haven’t found anything addressing the continued survival of my favorite part of Shelfari: the “Book Extras” entered by users. This is what I noted about them before:
- Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis
- Characters (35 of them listed)
- Popular Covers
- Settings & Locations
- Organizations (in the book)
- First sentence
- Table of Contents
- Themes & Symbolism
- Series & Lists
- Authors & Contributors
- First Edition
- Notes for Parents
- Popular Tags
- Links to Supplemental Material
- Movie Connections
- More Books Like This
- Books Influenced by This Book
- Books That Cite This Book
- Amazon Customers Who Bought This Book Also Bought
There are also sections which are hidden by default: Errata; Books with Additional Background Information; and Books That Influenced This Book. I’m not quite sure why those are hidden. There is a “hide spoilers” checkbox which is selected by default (I really appreciate that!), but unchecking it didn’t make them show up.
As a database person, I love that! I contributed a bit to, for example, the A Princess of Mars page.
Goodreads has user-editable character descriptions and settings, but that’s about it…and they aren’t as rich at this point.
I’m going to write to
to see if there are plans to migrate that.
I really hope they do!
While it would increase the size of Goodreads, and therefore might slow down some things (particularly on mobile), I think it would considerably enhance the value of Goodreads…and a lot more people would contribute to the Book Extras.
Heavy, long time users of Shelfari may have greater concerns.
They may be more concerned with what happens with the “Community” features, especially groups. Will those migrate?
Those people may be particularly passionate, however, when we look at actual numbers, they just aren’t that big for a company at the scale of Amazon. This is the “most active” group under genres:
YA Books that Adults Should Read
4868 members | 1575 group books | 8507 discussion posts
I never want to see anything that anybody has written disappear. I honestly emotionally feel that when I put something on the internet, it will be there forever.
Logically, and experientially, I know that’s not true.
I’d put a lot of time and effort into the Sci-Fi Channel’s (now Syfy) community pages years ago…I was pretty proud of some of my writing in certain areas. That got shut down…I tried to save what I could, but some was lost.
For example, I’d written a nice piece on what I call the “Discovered Destiny” genre…where the main character finds out that they have some unusual nature, powers, and responsibility. Harry Potter is an example, but there are lots of them.
I’m going to try to get more information about what will transition here, as I mentioned, and I’ll share it with you if I do.
I completely understand Amazon doing this…that’s why I predicted it. It makes more sense to have one site rather than two, even when they are complementary. Like most people, though, I always want the best of both worlds.
What about LibraryThing?
I think it’s safe for now.
It’s ownership is in a different class, and it has a lot more members than Shelfari did.
I checked and there hasn’t been much news coverage on this…I wanted to make sure you heard about it, so you can take appropriate action.
What do you think? Were you a Shelfari user? Would you care about having the data features I mentioned on Goodreads, or would that make it too busy? When you write something on the internet, do you think it is forever, or ephemeral? If the latter, do you back it up yourself? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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