Why I’m Moving My Digital Library To ThirdScribe


I used to have a pretty large library.

I started really collecting books in High School, regularly making trips to Waldenbooks when I had money, and to discount and used books stores when I was a little short. I’d found many great reads over the years and had kept them all with me, move to move, place to place. Towards the end, we’re talking over a thousand books.

I kept them on shelves specifically for that purpose and, to me, a house wasn’t moved into until the books were up on their shelves. Several times, to my wife’s chagrin, I set up the book shelves before some other more vital areas… The cost of being with a book lover.

I was never one of those people who organized their books in various obscure categories across the shelves. I stuck to alphabetically for the most part, with separations by fiction/non-fiction and mass-market paperback/hardcover. It wasn’t fancy, but it was comforting. I’ve read every book in that library, most multiple times. And, if asked, I could discuss the characters and plot points, however intricate, at a moment’s notice. I had gone through a few versions of shelving over the years, but finally settled on a durable, modular set from IKEA that I could easily take down and rebuild (sadly, no longer available).

Oh, No! There’s No More Room In The House!

During our last move, we finally ran out of room for books.

The spacial needs of family and children overcame the desire for a physical library. So, one sad day in September, I took all of my boxes of books to the local library. I told myself it was for the best (and it was), but it was a hard thing to do. I miss my books. Truly, I do.

After taking them all to the library, I consoled myself with digital. But, books on a tablet, however nice, just aren’t the same. Plus, I now have books across several apps, so none can provide the complete picture. I’ve tried GoodReads, but I can’t say I liked it. Their interface was counter-intuitive to me, and there looks like crap on mobile (where I spend a lot of time).

I built ThirdScribe to provide a platform for authors and readers. Mostly, since its inception, it was the authors who benefited. After all, they get a website or author page, book management system, and bunches of perks big and small. But, with the maturing of the platform, we are now able to bring more services to readers. This week, we opened up our book catalog to all members. Now, everyone can enter any book into ThirdScribe.

I’ve put in over 100 books the last few days. I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

Here’s why:


No Ads, Big Cover Images

Speaking of cover images, I like how my books show up on ThirdScribe a lot better than the way they do on GoodReads, LibraryThing, Booklikes, and Riffle. They’re big, bright, and not all shoved together.

Organized by Genre and Subgenre

My Book list on GoodReads is based on me making custom shelves for everything. GoodReads has built in filters for author and title, but not for genre, which is how I naturally organize books. I don’t want to have to keep making up “shelves” for books, it’s too much work and thought for me. I just want my books easily accessible and organized. Like I said, I never got that detailed on how I cataloged my books.

ThirdScribe automatically organizes my books by genre and subgenre, and then I can drill down a little farther by what was the newest entry, last active, most popular, or alphabetical.

For some, not having infinite custom shelves is a loss, but for me it is a relief. I just like to be able to see and find my books.

Easy to Post to and Talk About

With ThirdScribe I can make posts directly to the book, sharing pictures of my copies, signings with the author, or just talk about it. I can tag my friends so they can see and join in. I can write reviews, of course, but also post in forums — all right from the book. I can’t do any of that as easily using the other book services. From the communication/discussion respect, it’s more like a Facebook group than a catalog listing. It even works on mobile.

Affiliate Link Friendly

The purchase links for ThirdScribe aren’t controlled by ThirdScribe – they are entered by the user. That means whoever enters the books can set the links, and using affiliate links is allowed. For many, this has no meaning at all. But, for authors, book bloggers, and those with an affiliate account, there is a little extra money to be made.

I Can Easily Share and Invite Friends

ThirdScribe has an invite function to lets you invite current members to books, as well as non-members to books and ThirdScribe via email. Or, you know, you could just send them a message through the method of your choice. You can also share books directly via social media sharing links, which is pretty handy.

When I first started loading them up, I thought it was going to be a chore. Strangely, the opposite is true. Before starting, the techie in me was trying to find ways to integrate APIs to do it all automatically. Some way to make it effortless. A few books in, though, I found myself looking forward to the time that night to add books.

I guess it’s a little like reading, in that it does take some time (about a minute a book). But, it’s worth it. With each book I remember where I first bought it, how it made me feel, my favorite parts and characters. I started posting in each one, shouting out to my friends online which ones I thought they’d like. And, for each book I enter, that’s one more I can share with other like minded readers.

Like I said, I’m about 100 in. Going to do another 20 or so tonight, I think…

Here’s a few of my favorites so far:

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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