LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.
In April 2013, LibraryThing staff and members collaborated to write What makes LibraryThing LibraryThing?, a blog post outlining what we see as the key elements of LibraryThing.
What software does it require?
None. If you can read this, you can use LibraryThing.
What does it cost?
Zip, zilch, nada! LibraryThing couldn't be happier to go free to all in March 2020 (blog post here). Whether you're an individual or an organization, you can catalog any number of books for free. See here for more info about organizational accounts.
What information do I need to give up?
None. Setting up an account requires only a user name and a password. We do strongly encourage you to include your email address when you sign up—this is very helpful in case you ever forget your password. You can also edit your profile to make yours a "private" account. With a private account, nobody else can see what books you have.
What else does LibraryThing do?
LibraryThing offers powerful tools for cataloging and tracking your books, music, AND movies, with access to the Library of Congress, six national Amazon sites, and more than 2,200 libraries worldwide. Edit your information, search and sort it, "tag" books with your own subjects, and use various classification systems (including the Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal, or other custom systems) to organize your collection. Use the LibraryThing iOS App to scan books to your library from the palm of your hand.
Social Aspects, Community Projects, and Free Books
If you want it, LibraryThing is also a great social networking space, often described as "Facebook for books." You can check out other peoples' libraries, see whose library is most similar to yours, swap reading suggestions, and more. Sign up to win free books through our Early Reviewers program. Or, find the best book recommendations for your next reads, based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.
If you're looking to turn your library into a real online catalog for visitors, patrons, and friends, then check out TinyCat! TinyCat is perfect for schools, classrooms, religious libraries, community organizations, and any library with 20,000 items or less. TinyCat is completely free for personal use, with subscriptions starting at just $3/month for professionals. Get a free trial at librarycat.org/signup.
Who is behind LibraryThing?
LibraryThing was created by Tim Spalding, a web developer and web publisher based in Portland, Maine. Tim also runs www.isidore-of-seville.com and www.ancientlibrary.com. Since becoming a "real" business in May 2006, LibraryThing now employs a number of talented people. More about the rest of the team on the Who we are page.
Where does LibraryThing get its information?
LibraryThing uses Amazon and over 1,000 libraries that provide open access to their collections with the Z39.50 protocol. The protocol is used by a variety of desktop programs, notably bibliographic software like EndNote. LibraryThing appears to be the first mainstream web use.
But where do I get the t-shirt?
Right here! And other cool swag!