Monday, September 01, 2008

Amazon + Shelfari = ??

I wanted to give the dust a bit of time to settle before I discussed Amazon's acquisition of Shelfari, which was announced back on 25 August in a Seattle Post-Intellingencer report. Word of this purchase, for an undisclosed sum, comes just three weeks after the news that Amazon acquired ABEBooks (and with it, ABEBooks' 40% share in LibraryThing). Not being a Shelfari user, my only interest in this acquisition is in its impact on LT. So far, what we're seeing is that this acquisition will only serve to make LT better at doing what it already does so well.

Lots of links to add, most notably the major LT talk thread about this news, which includes nearly 350 posts of discussion and responses from LT users. Here's Shelfari CEO Josh Hug's blog post on the acquisition, and further posts/articles from Book Patrol, TechCrunch, Mashable, The Millions, Marketing Vox, O'Reilly radar, the New York Times, Library Journal, &c. A followup report in the Post-Intelligencer focuses on the LT criticisms of Shelfari.

As a strong LT partisan, I don't think anyone will be surprised that I firmly believe LibraryThing has the best system in place now and the most potential for growth moving forward. Tim lists LT's openness, dynamism, and independence as its major positives, and I think that's just about right. I have no doubt that LT's vibrant and active user community, along with Tim, Abby and the rest of the staff over there, will be up to whatever challenges this new development presents, and I look forward to continued involvement there for many years to come.

For anyone interested in the full implications of this, do check out the LT talk post, and feel free to add suggestions and comments there.