Not sure why it took me so long to finally dive into Library Thing but, despite the imminent demise of books as we know them (smile) I got hooked in maybe 27 seconds. In fact, I might say that I found LT to be among (if not the) most intuitive, easy to use, fantastically fast interface of any social site I’ve seen yet.
Basically, Library Thing allows you to easily catalog all of the books in your personal library which, in turn, leads to all sorts of social goodness. I can easily find out who else is reading the books I have, see what’s in their libraries, and start conversations with them about what they are reading and recommending. Of course, I can tag the books in my collection, rate them, write a review, add comments to the listing, and access all of the Library of Congress information about the book in an instant. (They just added their 9 millionth book to their database.) There are widgets to add (scroll down and see mine in the right hand column) and it has a great zeitgeist page that gives an overview of all things…um…Library Things. (For instance, the largest collection is 14, 954 books…whoa!)
Obviously, this is a great way to not only track what you’re reading but find other stuff to read (although one look at the stack of books next to my bed and I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.) But I also thing it’s a wonderful example of the social potential of Web 2.0 in a very concrete way. I mean del.icio.us is a powerful tool, but I’m not sure how many people really “get it” without some bit of brainwork. This is easy and obvious, and let’s face it, everyone has a library…right?