Yesterday Google Books quietly launched a My Library option in Google Books, which is nothing less than a frontal assault on LibraryThing. Both services allow you to easily create a list of books you own or books you like, add comments, create RSS feeds and all those things common to the web 2.0 era. LibraryThing is richer in terms of mash-up possibilities and, being around for a while, already has a substantial base of personal libraries that are already tagged, commented etc. However, Google Books has the strategic advantage of full text search for most the books in its database and full text reading availability for many older tittles. So that allows you to full text search your personal catalogue, making it easy to answer the question “I read that somewhere, but in which books was that?”And the good news is: both services offer export and import facilities, making it relatievely easy to switch from one to the other, or even maintain both and synchronise once in a while. That is bad news for Library Thing that is charging it users for catalogues larger than 200 items (US$25 per life).
A thing I would like see however is the possibility to create several lists or ’subcatalogues’ in your account. That would be very nice for sharing reading lists (even more if also available in Google Scholar, but now I’m stretching it a wee bit too far perhaps). If you want to compare, take a look at these two simple libraries: