Shelfari: 34% More Delicious

Delicious Library isn't particularly delicious and is definitely not (It's a virtual bookshelf for all your books, DVDs, CDs, etc., for the uninitiated.) When it came out a few years back it was heralded for its slick, albeit non-standard, interface and for the novel ability to import, well, novels, by scanning their barcodes using your Mac's camera. Flash forward to the present and it still looks pretty slick–Apple's taken some cues from their original interface and applied them to its own programs, which might make it standard but more likely makes Apple non-standard. Importing items via camera scanning is still pretty novel and still about twice as time consuming as just entering the UPC/ISBN by hand, given the amount of time it takes to line up a good picture. And Delicious Library remains a niche piece of eye candy because it never supported the next obvious step once you've inputted everything you own: sharing that information with your friends over the Internet to prove that you've got better taste than they do. (Hint: don't scan in your Dan Brown collection and no one will have to know about it.) Delicious Library's reach never extended beyond your OS X desktop.

Enter Shelfari. There are probably other social-networking-bookshelf sites, but Shelfari is the one I happened to come across yesterday, and I've already entered about half my bookshelf, so I think I'm set on using it. (This is similar to how I've no interest in re-entering my friends in Facebook or My Space; yes, Friendster sucks, but I'm lazy.)

Shelfari definitely has its faults. Its searches are slow, at least until it deals with the uptick in traffic its getting after its launch (or until it migrates off of ASP.Net...). It's hard to find the correct edition of the book you want in its search results, and many common book covers are missing. There's no RSS feed of a contact's bookshelf, though they do have a Flash-based badge for webpages to share your own bookshelf (look to the right on 34, with the other countless badges).

Still, it's a fun concept. You can check out My Shelf (updates still in progress) and if you sign up yourself, add me as a contact.

Oh, and if you for some reason did import a large library into Delicious Library already, you can export that and import it into Shelfari. So there is some use for it, after all.


  1. Is there a feature to automatically import all of books from CC and Lit Hum? That way I could easily appear to be really smart over the interweb in the same way I do to the vistors to my actual home.

    Hopefully it allows for double posting to accomodate the book collections of people like Mike and Ann or Sharon and myself. You can never have too many copies of the Lattimore translation lying around.

  2. Shelfari sucks too I was banned from Shelfari for politely disagreeing about the historical accuracy of “The Book of Mormon”. They were mad that I pointed out flaws in its history and so they contacted an admin, Amanda, and she banned me just because they had the majority. She said my comments were inflammatory but they were much more polite than what was being written to and about me.


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