02197: The Inevitable Death of Shelfari

When the news broke that Amazon had purchased Goodreads, I'm sure I was not the only Shelfari user who could see the writing on the wall. There was no reason for Amazon to maintain two separate book-centric social networks after all. And as much as Shelfari's database had already been leveraged in supplementing the Kindle experience by providing book extras in terms of information and the like, Goodreads was still the larger social network.

Last week Shelfari added that large red banner announcing the inevitable merger with Goodreads. The Learn More link leads you to a page where one can manually trigger a migration of all your Shelfari data over to Goodreads. Expected turnaround time is 1-2 days but it has already been a week and my data still hasn't been migrated. Plus Goodreads Support doesn't seem to want to answer my follow-up emails. It must be getting pretty crazy over there.

I wish they had just announced an automatic migration date and provided people with time to export their data and close their accounts. This manually-triggered migration may seem like a good idea since it's a respectable opt-in option given to users, but it seems to be creating chaos on the backend. Plus the same platform seems to handle the migration and the manual export process, so both are seeing significant delays right now. Latest quotes warn that it may now take 1-2 weeks to migrate and/or export your data. Sheesh.

I know Shelfari was never the most popular option. At the time it was the pretty one that was free while Library Thing was starting to charge beyond 200 books in your library. My Shelfari library in terms of books owned and read is already over 1800 titles. So yeah that wouldn't have worked out. And Goodreads may be socially savvy and perhaps easier to use, but it also doesn't support a lot of features that I like in Shelfari. One of the best examples of this is the fact that Goodreads does not support tracking of multiple readings of a book, whereas Shelfari allows you to easily track as many re-reads as you need. Shelfari offers an insane amount of documentation down to when you purchased a book and for how much and whether or not you've lent a book out. And yes, I totally use those fields on a regular basis.

A lot of chatter in various groups on both Shelfari and Goodreads also bring up Leafmarks as a more robust option for die-hard Shelfari users. I'm not sure how things will go but I'm still waiting for my manual import of my Shelfari export file before I come to any conclusions. However I'm sure they're dealing with a spike in new users as Shelfarians continue to seek out new homes. Just today their option to import a Shelfari TSV file has changes to supporting Shelfari CSV files, which is the new default when you trigger the manual export on Shelfari's Goodreads migration options page. It's a bit of a mess all around.

And I just want to be able to track my books in peace and know how often I read something and whether or not I manage to read 250 titles this year like how I did last year. Unfortunately, we're not off to a great start.


  1. Use LibraryThing, it's pretty much the same except they actually will help you if you have any probs, it has a $25 LIFETIME registration fee if have and I see you do, over 200 books, Lifetime fee is the way to go, we did it that way. I like that you can chat w/ others as well, lots of free books in various medias and it's fun all around. I enjoyed seeing your pics you have downloaded on this RockySunico.com, is your lil' white dog a Havanese? I have one....good reading and keep blogging :)


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