Last Updated on November 20, 2017
If you love to read books, then these social networks for book lovers will flirt with you, draw you in and never let you go. The phenomenon of social networking has really took the world by storm and changed the way we do things online – in the way we communicate, make friends and share information with others.
These days you can find social networking sites for pretty much anything you can think of. From the giant ones like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn which cater to everyone regardless of their age, gender or interests, to smaller topic social media sites that are tightly focused on one particular subject, there is something for everyone.
While forums and online discussion groups are still popular, more and more people are gathering on specialized social media platforms and websites where there is much more to do than just participating in forum threads.
Now book lovers can easily find book readers websites that are targeted specifically to them, those book clubs and online reading group that people will enjoy participating in due to their main hobby in life: reading books and sharing their passion with others.
So here are 7 best social networks for book lovers that are worth joining if you haven’t already done so. I promise you, by belonging to these sites your world will be so much more enriched, and you will invariably make lots of new friends – the right kinds of friends, those who care about the same things as you do: reading books, discussing about reading books, trading books and above all understanding why we need to get more books – even when we already have so many on our TBR shelf.
Goodreads is a site I’ve been involved with since 2008 and I’ve been in love with this site ever since. Every time I read a book, I journal about it there. I post to my account about my next book to read and let others know of some of my great book discoveries.
Goodreads is a typical social network site for book lovers. It is a social site that allows readers to find their next book to read, to discover new authors and see what their friends are reading right now, along with what they have just finished reading and what they thought about the book they’ve read.
I love Goodreads as it has a great rating system (that I personally trust more than that from Amazon – despite the fact that Amazon has recently purchased Goodreads). Whenever I want to start a new book, I always check out the reviews and star ratings on Goodreads first. I check out to see if any of my friends have already read the book and what they thought about it.
I can add books to my own virtual bookshelf and peruse bookshelves of others.I can split my shelf based on various sections that I create. For example I have a library section on books I want to read, books I’ve read (split per year), mysteries, non-fiction books, – you get the idea. Finally, I can join the many book lovers communities on the site and participate in discussions that interest me most.
All in all, Goodreads is my first site to got to whenever I am even thinking of what book to pick up next.
Shelfari, just like Goodreads, has also been bought by Amazon. Personally I find that Shelfari has less of a social aspect compared to Goodreads. It is really more of a bookshelf than anything else. Because Shelfari is owned by Amazon, you can easily import your purchased books to it, so you have it on your virtual bookshelf.
While I like the interface of Goodreads more, Shelfari is also easy to navigate and easy to engage with others about your next book to read. A great site overall, surpassed in my personal opinion only by Goodreads.
LibraryThing is the third on my list simply because after you add a number of books on your shelf (I think right now the number is 200), to add more you need to have a paid account. Since there are already other great free social network sites for book lovers, I don’t see the reason (especially in this economy) why I should pay money on another site for the very same thing. Especially that with over 2000 books that I have currently at home, I’d definitely need to get a paid account there.
Granted the amount to pay is not a lot – you either pay $10 per year and you’re allowed to add as many books as you want, or you pay $25 for a lifetime account. If I’d want to pay, I’d definitely go with the life account.
Otherwise LibraryThink is just like Goodreads and Shelfari in that you create and add books to your virtual shelf, check out what others have written about books you want to read and engage in discussions about books with other like-minded people.
Bookcrossing was pretty much the first social network site for book lovers that I joined years ago. It is a site with a difference: while there are tons of communities where you can talk with others about books, this is really a site that allows you to ‘release books’ so to speak, books that you no longer want to keep at home.
We all know how it is to have too many books, shelves overflowing and many of us end up with books in the attic (or basement) or thrown in boxes in a spare room. Not anymore. With Bookcrossing now you can leave books in various public places (and some people have some really creative ideas on where to leave these books) for others to find.
I remember my first book released – I left it on a bench in the city. I was so scared that someone might see it and call me back telling me that I forgot my book there! Each book that you release has a number on it (either written on the book itself or on a label that you stick to the book)that makes it easy to track the journey of the book – so others who find your released book can head over to Bookcrossing and journal that they’ve found it and when and where they’re going to release it next (or keep it on their permanent bookshelf – you can do that too).
I had some books that I released at home in Cyprus, and they continued their journey to Hungary, Germany, the UK, US, and even Australia and the Philippines. And nothing makes one happier than knowing that the book was ‘caught’ by someone who will read it and release it further in distant parts of the world.
BookObsessed is a site that I belonged to from its conception to so speak. It all started from Bookcrossing from a group of friends who wanted to trade book rather than just release them. So we started all site called Bookrelay. While that site is now long defunct, some members created a new site that is still up today and is going stronger than ever: BookObsessed.
This is a site with several purposes: here you can discuss with your friends about books. You can organize meetups in various countries, and finally you can trade books – but these trades are with a twist: these are book swaps that you participate in various genres, all in forms of fun games.
This is how many swaps work here: people decide which swap they want to join (e.g. a mystery book swap), decide which book they want to to enter the swap with while keeping quiet about their book so that nobody knows which book you picked from your shelf. At the end of the swapping game the books are revealed, along with who will get which book from whom, addresses are exchanged and everyone sends their book to recipient. Hence everyone ends up with a new book to read in their favorite genre.
While it is not your typical social networking site like Goodreads or Shelfari (it is actually setup on a forum), it is a great site to meet new friends, learn about new books and have fun overall while participating in online book games.
While we are on the topic of book swaps, BookMooch is maybe the best known book trading site all over the world. It is a site that again I joined right from the start, from the very first months when it went through horrible growing pains. Now it’s a wonderful site that caters to people all over the world to create their virtual bookshelf and trade these books for other books that they want to read.
Of course here you only add books that you want to let go of, since other people will peruse your shelf and if they like what they see, they can request the books from you. Once you accept their request, you get points, which allows you to request books from other people. The only thing you pay here (just like in BookObsessed) is the postage fee to send your book to the person who requested it.
And if you don’t want to send books internationally you can even restrict where to send your books to, in order to save on postage. It is a wonderful site, one that I am proud to belong to.
Revish is another social site for book lovers that is worth checking out. Similar to Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing, here you can write reviews of books you’ve read, you can maintain a list of books you’re reading and share that with your friends, and you can also keep a reading journal, which is something that I like here.
Revish also has book groups just like all the previous sites listed above where you can discuss with friends about books.
If you’re still looking to discover even more book readers websites, here are a few additional listed social network sites worth checking out. While they are not only top 7 list, they are good enough to warrant a visit or two and even joining them – they’re all free.
Bookrabbit – it is a site catering mostly to the UK crowd. From their website:
“BookRabbit is an online book community that dynamically connects readers, authors and publishers through the books they own. Using BookRabbit, readers can share their passion for books, make recommendations to other readers as well as creating their own personal bookcase and catalogues online. BookRabbit has a simple aim – to help readers to discover and champion books.”
Online Book Club – it is an online book club where you can discuss with other readers about your favorite books, you can add book recommendations, write book reviews. It is a bit smaller in scope than Goodreads or the other similar sites, but it is quite a strong community that makes many book readers happy to belong to.
PaperBackSwap – this is a site similar to BookMooch where users can trade books with others, except it is focused on US book traders only and does not allow international traders within. I could not join this site because I don’t live in the US, however many of my book friends belong to PaperBackSwap and they love the site.
Wattpad – here is a fun (albeit smaller) site where you can have “an unlimited, ever-growing library of free books and stories all in the palm of your hand! On Wattpad, millions of people are discovering great fiction, sharing stories with friends and following their favorite authors chapter-by-chapter.”
There are many others smaller sites aimed to book readers and book lovers and it doesn’t make sense to list them all since the smaller sites tend to eventually go away and new ones to pop in their place. However, I also wanted to point out something that I’ve recently discovered. The major sites like Facebook, Ning, Google+ and LinkedIn have book lover communities worth checking out.
For example, a favorite of mine, Ning has a great community catered to book bloggers and authors who want to connect with readers who will review their books, which might be something to look into if you not only read books but also have a blog (like the one you’re reading now) focusing on reviewing books you’ve read.
So there you have them – the most popular social networks for book lovers that you might want to check out and join if your passion is – like mine – reading books.
If you know of others sites (especially from personal experience) that are similar to the ones listed above, let me know in the Comments section below. I’m always up to learning about new book readers websites and communities for book lovers online that I can join and be a part of!