Bookriot has a great series up detailing the differences between Goodreads and Library Thing. In Part 1, Amanda Nelson covers how to add books, the user interface and how each site handles recommendations, stats, user groups and discussions. In Part 2, Nelson covers reviews, author interactions and miscellaneous details.
Her conclusion? Library Thing is, on the whole, more the ‘nerd’ site (more comprehensive stats, better handling of pre-ISBN books, a more refined recommendation engine) and Goodreads is more a ‘Facebook for books’ (more popular groups, more social interaction with authors and other users). In the end, the feature set you prefer will come down to personal preference.
I tried Library Thing a few years ago and it was fine, but I was scared away by the requirement that you pay for premium features. I have no problems paying for upgrades to services I really use (Netflix, Evernote and Dropbox, for instance). But I was in that curious middle spot where I cared enough that the ‘free’ features weren’t enough (I have more than 200 books, which is the free limit) but didn’t care enough to shell out for it. It just wasn’t that important to me to catalog all my books.
But then Goodreads came along—for free—and I needed a place to stick my reviews. And the recommendations aspect interested me. And so I was back in the game again. But … that comes with a caveat. Goodreads is fun enough, but they have not made themselves so essential to my life that I would pay if they asked me to. There just isn’t a niche they fill in my life that I couldn’t give up if pushed. I don’t know if it’s the specific feature sets these sites have pushed so far or if it’s simply the nature of the type of service they offer, but for me, it’s an easily dispensed with thing if the need should arise.
As for the Amazon issue, they are involved in both sites now, so it’s a wash in that respect. But it doesn’t bother me to use a site they own. Somebody owns every site, don’t they? That fact alone won’t cause me to change my behavior. But we’ll see what they do with it. I am all about the feature set, so if using the site becomes cumbersome or invasive or irritating, I’d be out no matter who owned it.