If you love books — and what genealogist doesn’t? — you have probably heard of latest blended family in the booklovers‘ social networking community. Last week, Amazon.com acquired 100% ownership of Shelfari, the upstart rival to LibraryThing. Both sites are aim to provide an online meeting place for book lovers: LibraryThing has been around since May 2006 and was created by Tim Spalding who holds the majority interest; Shelfari hit the net in October 2006 with Amazon investing in the company in February 2007, and completing a total buyout August 2008.
And this is where things get interesting. LibraryThing is fiercely independent and somewhat resentful (to put it mildly) of what Spalding calls Shelfari’s cloning of LibraryThing. In a recent blog post, Spalding notes that when Amazon acquires Abebooks, as it recently announced, the mega-bookseller will hold 40% ownership in LibraryThing and 100% ownership in its competitor. Doesn’t that constitute a monopoly, or is that just “business”?
What’s this all mean for genealogy and family history booklovers? I wonder. . . I have been planning to catalog my library on LibraryThing, but will it go away? Which site will have the most genealogy users? The time required to catalog at either site could be extensive, is the independent LibraryThing in jeopardy?
Fellow genealogists — what is your take on this? Are you a user of either book site? It seems that there are more genealogy groups on LibraryThing, but they don’t appear very active. If you are a member of either site, please ring in with your comments. I suppose the alternative may be to use both LibraryThing and Shelfari!