I’ve always been a book-lover, but until I became a book blogger, I had no idea how many book resources are available via the old interweb. If you’re interested in getting more involved in the book community without blogging yourself, check out these sites below. All are free unless I’ve noted otherwise.
- Goodreads – This is the best way I’ve found to keep track of what you read and organize it in a way that makes sense to you. First, Goodreads makes it super-easy to find books and add them to your virtual shelves. You can then organize books by Read, To Read, and Currently Reading.
Beyond that, you can organize books into your own categorical shelves. For example, I sort my books into Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance (Regency), Historical Romance (Non-Regency), and so on. You can organize shelves by author, genre, theme, appropriate age level – anything that works for you.
Goodreads users also form an important social network for book-lovers. You can add friends based on shared interests, join groups that appeal to you, or follow some of your favorite authors on their Goodreads blogs.
There are other sites out there that offer some of the same services Goodreads does, but none of them are as comprehensive or user-friendly.
- The Book Depository – I can’t believe more book-buyers don’t know about this site. The Book Depository is an online bookstore that ships almost anywhere in the world for free. Did you catch that? Free shipping worldwide. How does the site stay in business offering such a deal? I haven’t the faintest clue, but I’m just going to go with it.
The site also offers discounts on many of the books. For example, as of this weekend, One Night in London by Caroline Linden was $6.99 at The Book Depository and $7.99 at Amazon.
- Audible – This is my go-to resource for audiobooks. Audible has a wide selection of books, and the site is organized in a way that really helps the user. For example, in addition to the regular title, author, etc., search, you can search by narrator or browse abridged and unabridged titles.
It’s extremely easy to download the books right onto your iPod or other MP3 device (I have all my books on my iPhone) and you can burn the book to CD if that’s how you roll.
Here’s my favorite part about Audible, though: You can sample the books before you get them. It’s incredibly useful in helping me decide which books to buy. Audible has even increased the length of the sample to 5 minutes per book (it used to be a stingy 45 seconds) so you can really get a feel for the book. And some people *cough, cough* even choose to listen to the sample and then check the audiobook out from the library.
You can download books without becoming a member, but if you do opt for the membership, you can download one or two books a month for a reasonable rate. If you don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, it’s probably not worth it to you, but if you listen to one or more a month, Audible seems like a must to me. NB: Audible is owned by Amazon, if that makes a difference to you.
There are plenty of other bookish resources out there, but these should get you started. As I come across more, I’ll make sure to keep you posted!