Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Bookclub with Attitude": ConnectViaBooks.com

Received an email from Flemming Madsen (subject "Social Networks meet Books (ConnectViaBooks)"). Thought it was spam but lucky for Flemming (I don't know him personally) I decided to read rather than junk it.

So he says he's put up a site for people to make lists of books they like and then connect with others who enjoy the same or similar books. He also says he'd love to have his site listed on my blog, as well as receive my comments on his site. He also included a press release statement (dated 13 June 05).

Flemming, I'm flattered that you want me to blog about it. You must think I get thousands of hits. I don't :)

But anyway, I checked out your site and woah! You've got more than a site! I like what your press release says:
Book club with attitude
"Book clubs serve a slightly different need," says Madsen, "ConnectViaBooks isn't just about sharing the latest novels. People may have favourite books on cookery, dressmaking or something more esoteric like Japanese prints." Whatever your hobbies and interests, you can now find others who have been inspired by the same writers. It's a book club with attitude.

I'm going to use that name for a bookclub that I want to setup!

Ok folks, the site is at www.ConnectViaBooks.com

Step 1: Registration was a breeze, though I wish my date of birth age was not a compulsory field. Not that I mind publicising my age per se, but I do mind giving out my actual birthdate. Maybe it allows the system to connect to people of the same age. Or maybe sell the info. Anyway, I didn't put in my real age, so there.

Step 2: Created my first booklist. I had better luck keying in the ISBN than using the keyword search. I typed "To kill a mockingbird" and got spark notes (not want I wanted). Keying in the ISBN got the right title.

After adding to your list, you could rate the book (though it's not clear if a higher rating meant a better rating. I presumed it was so).

BTW, if you want to add "Lord of the Rings" to your list, you might be better off searching "J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings" to reduce the search results.

Suggestion for Flemming: It would be nice to limit my search to "Bookcover Image only", 'cos I prefer to have book cover images for my booklist. And while you're at it, maybe you could let users limit by formats (e.g. Books or DVD/ AV)

Here's my booklist (you gotta have an account to view it).


Step 3: "Tell about yourself" (shouldn't it be "Tell others about yourself" or "Write about yourself"? I selected "Singapore" and was puzzled to find another option for "Johor", "Riau" and "Other (No) Region". You blokes got us mixed up with Malaysia. :)

There's also a "I am interested in talking to people about the following":
  • Job offers to me
  • Contract or consulting
  • Relevant ventures
  • Discussing books I have read or their topic
  • I will answer questions about books I have read
Really? Job offers? Did I mention that I'm a librarian? We don't get paid very much. Anyway, I checked off only the last 2 options.

Oh, I decided to upload a photo too. A nicer one... Hmm, I'm at the edit profile page and it says "Profiles with pictures are more likely to be contacted by others." Maybe in my case I'd want to take down my photo! Seems the site administrators review the pictures and About Me text. For filtering spam and porn, maybe?


Search for people: Once my registration was verified, I logged in and searched for people based on my booklist (under the "Search" Tab at the top). There were 5, but none in Singapore yet.

Suggestion -- instead of naming the tab as "Search", would it be better to call it "Search & Connect" or "People Search"? The word "Search" alone gave me the impression that it was to search for more books to add to my list, rather than search for people. Maybe it's just me.

Ok, Flemming. Hope this was useful, and good luck. If I do get to connect with people (in Singapore) who share the same reading interests, and we form a bookclub that way, then you can be assured I'll promote your site like mad!


More excerpts from the press release:
So how does it work?
Once you have registered, which is free for a basic membership, you can then draw on a huge database of 50 million books to create your own personal book lists. A book list may include books that you have read or would like to read. You can create multiple book lists to match particular interests or create lists consisting entirely of textbooks and other learned publications - thus making the site a practical tool for academics and researchers who may find it difficult to find others interested in their field.

And because it's possible to see if someone lives in your area, gardeners, clock restorers or academics for example, can arrange to meet.*

Having created your book lists, you then tell the system to track down members who have chosen the same titles. As a further refinement, members whose lists match the greatest number of your own choices are ranked highest in your list of potential correspondents. From that point on, it's down to individual members to pursue the dialogue. Membership is international though initially most interest is likely to come from Europe, North America
and Japan.

Hey Flemming, how come you didn't mention "librarians"? : )

3 comments:

  1. Hi Ivan,

    Thank you for the posting regarding ConnectViaBooks.com. I truly think this is an excellent site!! Loving it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ivan, thanks for the info. I blogged about your post at It's All Good. http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2005/06/long-tail-service.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks whosoever & Alane. BTW, Flemming clarifies that the link to my booklist won't work (not for now I think).

    ReplyDelete

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