At one point in the interview, Tim asked me how I, Mr. LibraryLookup, as likely a person as there is to use and appreciate LibraryThing, could have gone so long without hooking up with it.
I think part of the answer is hidden in the first paragraph: I had to re-register for the service, which I had tirekicked a year or two ago. The friction of joining and re-joining online services has become a major barrier.
There’s also conceptual friction. LibraryThing is a deep application that does lots of things, but on the surface, it appears to be a mechanism for cataloging books that you own. In fact it isn’t only that, you can just load it with books that you’ve read, or might read, as a way to seed discovery and recommendation.
Finally, there’s data friction. There are bibliophiles who will obsessively catalog their own collections, but I’m not one of them. I do, however, maintain a list of books on my Amazon wishlist. I syndicate that list to the version of LibraryLookup that alerts me when books on the wishlist become available in my local library.
What I needed was a frictionless way to reuse that list. And on this go-round with LibraryThing I found it. Sort of. You can import your Amazon wishlist into LibraryThing, which is a great way to jumpstart the discovery and recommendation process. It doesn’t yet syndicate from Amazon, so the initial import won’t be refreshed, but Tim says that’s coming.
It turns out not to matter at all that list of books I’m interested in happens to be an Amazon wishlist. All that matters is that I can keep it in some service, somewhere, that can syndicate data to other services elsewhere.