/ Books

Pssst - LibraryThing keeps getting better

I’ve written about LibraryThing a couple of times already, and somehow I just can’t stop. In case you’re still unfamiliar with the service, the basic premise is that it gives you the ability to catalogue your book collection online. The exciting part of it is that you can actually then interact with all the other people who’ve done the same. You can look at other people’s libraries, you can write reviews, you can communicate with other users by leaving comments in their profiles and so on.

Lately they’ve added the “Pssst!” feature, which translates into a recommendation service. These recommendations come equipped with different algorithms, based on either tags or the people who share similar books or something dubbed “special-sauce recommendations”. The special sauce recommendation is really quite interesting, as it lets you click a little “why?” next to the recommendation, and then tells you, well, why. Here’s what I got for wanting to find out why the service would recommend The Confusion, by Neal Stephenson (not that I could have guessed that myself):

Because you own: Quicksilver. Volume one of the baroque cycle., Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book), Zodiac, Idoru, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Kuckucksei.

Isn’t that neat? I do wonder though how Getting Things Done got in there? Is it because Neil Stephenson wrote “The System of the World”, and LibraryThing actually reads and comprehends books, and so knows that “Getting Things Done” is essentially about a system? Well, I guess not. Nevertheless, it’s a nice new addition, and most of the time it’s dead on.

By the way, I noticed that all the links to Amazon have the librarything referrer code. I wonder if they can pay their bandwith bill with their associates paycheck….