Abebooks.com Buys Social Networking Site LibraryThing.com
By Ina Steiner
Abebooks.com, a leading online marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books, has purchased a 40 percent stake in LibraryThing.com. The site helps bibliophiles catalog their collections and introduces them to a vibrant social-networking community focused on books.
The site is part of the new generation of Web 2.0 websites where users create the content. Launched in August 2005 by Tim Spalding, who is based in Portland, Maine, LibraryThing has developed a dedicated global following among avid bibliophiles with 35,000 members who have catalogued more than 2.7 million books.
Members catalog their books in seconds using library quality data because LibraryThing accesses book information from the open access databases of Amazon and over 45 major libraries worldwide, including the Library of Congress.
The book lists form the basis of the content with users "tagging" each title with a word or phrase to describe it. Users can also write reviews, compile their own profile, and then examine the books, reviews and profiles of other like-minded bibliophiles who have similar tastes.
One of LibraryThing's most powerful tools is its ability to produce book recommendations for a member by analyzing the catalogs of fellow users who own identical books and then revealing titles that may appeal.
It is free to catalog up to 200 books. A paid account allows unlimited cataloging and costs (US) $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime.
"Like Abebooks, LibraryThing is dedicated to booklovers. The most exciting part of this deal is the unique information LibraryThing generates about books and book-buying habits," said Hannes Blum, CEO and president of Abebooks.com. "This data will help people find and buy more books on our site, and we're going to help LibraryThing by exposing the website to millions of Abebooks' customers."
The deal follows Abebooks' recent acquisitions of BookFinder.com (Nov 2005), a price comparison shopping service for books, and FillZ (Feb 2006), a book inventory and order management company that assists booksellers to offer their books through the world's Internet marketplaces.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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