Amazon gobbles up Shelfari book-sharing biz
August 26, 2008 | 9:53 am
A third Amazon item this morning, groan, groan, is that Jeff Bezos and friends are buying the Shelfari book-sharing business. And Shelfari’s innovative interface appears to be a major reason, according to Read-Write Web.
More from Read-Write:
LibraryThing is clearly worried about today’s acquisition. In the above-linked piece, founder and lead developer of LibraryThing Tim Spalding notes that "Amazon can make Shelfari the choice of casual book-lovers who see a button on Amazon.com and click on it." LibraryThing hopes to compete with this by being a superior service. However it’s very difficult to compete against Amazon’s bulk.
OK, gang? What do you think about the implications here? Brow-level debate aside, isn’t it rather interesting that one company, Amazon, will preside over so much social discourse about books? I know some would argue, "Who cares? We’re talking about many-to-many discussions. Will Amazon be able to control everything?" But remember, Amazon is the one who makes the rules under which discussion takes place. And it has the resources to make discussions happen on the level of many brows. Someday Amazon could well introduce some pretty sophisticated filtering schemes,
What’s more, what happens if Amazon someday tries to link social capabilities with specific hardware devices—directly or through possible licensing arrangements such as the one that Michael Arrington is speculating about?
More groans: I’m developing a possible fourth Amazon item for use today. Bear with me, gang. The Kindle has many fine points, and I’ll probably be an owner soon since the TeleBlog has its share of wonderful people who love their K machines. But, yes, I’d rather be writing about open linux gizmos reading DRMless ePub. May Amazon join the ePub ranks soon!