Feb 9, 2011

[Social Networks] Why I'm Still On Shelfari

I've been a Shelfari user since 2007 and surprisingly, I'm still a pretty active user. I didn't think that I'd remain on such a specialized social network since (1) I kinda figured sites like this were fated to die in the wake of Facebook and (2) Facebook. But I'm still on Shelfari and I've given up Flixster, which was another specialized social network that I had signed up for at the same time I joined Shelfari.

In 2007 Amazon invested heavily in the site and about a year later they completed acquired the site. It took a while before we really started to see proper integration or enhancements to the site since then but in recent weeks we've finally come full circle.


Shelfari - Amazon Sign-In


As announced their official blog, Shelfari started allowing users to sign into the site using their Amazon logins. But this is more than just an excuse to get rid of one more login - it's opened the doors to much tighter integration between Amazon and Shelfari and who knows what else in the future.

Once you've completed the integration of your Amazon login with your Shelfari account, you'll see a new option on your home page under "Your Content" that reads, "Add More Amazon.com Purchases".


Shelfari - Amazon Import


This will bring you to another screen where you can now directly import your Amazon purchases into your Shelfari account, thus making the whole adding process easier. Plus this will help make sure you add the correct version of your book to your virtual shelf, eliminating a lot of the busy work when you try to select the correct cover for your book. This works for physical book purchases and Kindle book purchases on Amazon.com, thus really making the process very Amazon-centric. But hey, when you own a social network, why bother pretending it's an independent site, right? Embrace full integration!


Shelfari - Amazon Kindle for Web Previews


Other Amazon-centric features that have been on the site in recent months is the ability to view Amazon Kindle for Web previews of the first chapter or so of select titles. The availability of the previews seems to be independent of the regional settings of your Amazon account, which means that even users like me in the Philippines get access to more book previews despite my country. I've did a few comparisons between Shelfari and Amazon and there have been a few cases when Amazon won't show me the Kindle preview because of regional restrictions but you can still view them on Shelfari. I'm not sure if this is just a glitch or something that'll remain to stay but for now it's made Shelfari an even better tool for the savvy book shopper wanting enough information before purchasing a book.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...Cover via AmazonAnd for Kindle Users, in case you ever wondered where your Book Extras come from, well here's your answer. In recent years, Shelfari has evolved to have a more wiki-style approach to book content with users getting promoted to "librarians" based on the number and accuracy of their edits. And these details include everything ranging from listing the characters in the book, the first sentence and themes discussed. Thus not only is Shelfari getting upgrades thanks to Amazon but Amazon users have also been getting additional content from the Shelfari community.

So as I wait for my Kindle 3 to get here, I'm even more excited about the doors that my Shelfari account has opened for me. In case you're curious, you can view my profile here or better yet, why don't you join the site yourself?
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