Site Name: BookLikes
Tagline: Your reading life. Redesigned.
Founded: 2011 in Poland
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BookLikes
I first heard about BookLikes while watching a video by Sabrina from About Happy Books (check out her BookLikes page here). I was immediately drawn in by the style and design of the profiles I was browsing through and quickly decided to join. The site is still in beta and is by invitation only (click here to request an invite). However I received an invitation within a few days.
Upon registering, I created my username and password. You can also select your language (BookLikes supports English, German, and Polish) and whether you want to link to Facebook and Twitter. Then you can begin adding books to your shelves or blogging.
There are three blog themes to choose from and they are all quite clean and beautiful. I really hope they come up with more because this is the element which drew me to the site in the first place. It seems they are planning to expand this as there was a recent post asking for suggestions for new themes.
When you go to begin blogging, all the work is done for you as you instantly choose what you want to blog: text, quote, photo, video, or URL. Just click on your choice and start typing or linking to photos without worrying about HTML or editing. It’s also incredibly easy to link books to a post and have the covers show up right in your blog.
To add books to your shelf, simply type in the book title or author into the search bar at the top. BookLikes searches Amazon, Book Depository, Google, and Powells in the US as well as many other bookstores in France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and the UK. You can even buy books directly through the BookLikes website!
After you find the book you want, clicking on it will pop up information about that book without causing you to leave the page you’re on. From the pop up window, you have the option to 1) create a post around that book, 2) add the book to your bookshelf, or 3) purchase it. Once you’ve finished, the window closes and you’re back at your original page without have to click the back button on your browser. This is really convenient!
Once you’ve added a book to your shelf, you can break your shelf down into many categories. All the books on your shelf are displayed on vibrant shelves which are very visually pleasing with all your beautiful covers facing out.
Unfortunately the search can take some time, especially if you’re looking for an unpopular book. And there isn’t a huge selection of different editions or book covers to choose from so you might not always find the exact book you’re looking for. But I’ve yet to have a search come up empty. Sometimes it helps to search for the author instead of the book title, and vice versa.
BookLikes strives to make reading a social activity. Similar to Twitter, you can Follow people on BookLikes to read their blogs or see their bookshelves. There’s no need to request an invitation in order to view someone’s page.
When you see a blog post you like, you can “like” it by clicking on a heart icon, or even re-blog it on your own blog. In order to leave a comment you have to create an account on Disqus and fill in your username under blog settings.
In researching this post I came across an article that said BookLikes is attempting to “out-suggest Amazon.” There is mention of a “highly sensitive algorithm” which gives the user new reading suggestions. This feature isn’t currently on the site but will be back with the new and redesigned BookLikes.
Still, if you are active on the site and follow people with similar taste in reading, then you’re bound to encounter some new books and get suggestions from simply browsing around.
The explore section of the site allows you to search popular posts which are divided by book genres. The popularity of a post seems to be calculated by how many likes and re-blogs a post has received.
Running along the top of the page are thumbnails of the newest profiles on BookLikes. You can see a photo and short description of a person’s account, along with the option to check out their blog. Because of this you’ll constantly be clicking around the site, moving from profile to profile and discovering new people and books.
The downsides to a site like this depend entirely on your goals and what you want the site to do for you. If you’re looking for a fast search engine and lots of options as far as book editions, this isn’t the best site I’ve seen. It’d also be great if there was an option to import your books from Goodreads. I had to spend quite a bit of time adding in the 75+ books I’ve read so far this year and I’ve yet to find a faster way to do it.
I also saw a video about BookLikes stating there was an app for the site. So far I haven’t been able to find it though, so maybe it’s not out yet?
The team behind BookLikes consists of 5 people who are actually visible on the site and seem to be using it themselves. They also like to read and have added books to their shelves and are also blogging on the site.
There are also some minimal grammatical errors presumably due to the makers of the site being from Poland and not speaking English as their first language. For example, the horror genre is called “horrors” and the about page has some other mistakes which are very minor and can easily be fixed through editing.
Do I recommend this site?
I was so excited to join this site and now that I’ve joined, I’m not going anywhere. I love visually beautiful layouts and this site definitely has that. I like being able to post things there and see all my books in one place. I’m not sure how I’ll use the blogging feature because this site is my primary blog. But I definitely want to check out other profiles and blogs and sift through book collections. I could easily get lost in this website and spend several hours perusing it.
So, if you’re looking for something fun and new to try, then yes, definitely join BookLikes! If you’ve got time to add all your books in, that’ll only enhance your experience on the site. And if you want to start a blog but don’t want to put much effort into it, this site can be the perfect starter platform for you. Or maybe you have some better ideas about how to utilize the site and make it supplement your main blog?
I think BookLikes is only going to get better the more they work on it. If you do end up joining, feel free to follow me there! Or, if you’d like an invitation to join I can send you one.
What do you think? Have you heard of BookLikes? What is your impression so far? Would you like to join? What do you think is the best use of this site?