Replacement for Visual Bookshelf?

I’ve been using Visual Bookshelf from LivingSocial for quite some time now, but have been disappointed with it for the last several months – and things only seem to be growing worse. I’m looking for a replacement. Can anyone recommend alternatives they prefer for managing a digital bookshelf? Here are a few of the features I consider necessary (some VB has, some it is lacking):

  • Fast.
  • Reliable.
  • Lists/Categories.
  • Facebook Integration.
  • Amazon Associates Integration.
  • Ratings/Reviews.
  • Recommendations.
  • Under Ongoing Development.

I’m willing to compromise on some of these, but you get the idea. 🙂 I’ve begun doing a review and here are my thoughts thus far:

  • LibraryThing – Only supports two hundred books in a free account, then $25/lifetime membership. I’m more than willing to pay for something good enough…but two hundred books doesn’t begin to handle the collection I just exported from Visual Bookshelf (around 1700)…so, unfortunately, I’m not going to spend time on LibraryThing…I’m unwilling to pay for it unless I know I’ll use it.
  • Goodreads– User interface is fairly nice. I like the “test” to see what kinds of books I like from the start. I’m not happy that there doesn’t seem to be an option like VB has “Not Interested” – one can rate or add to bookshelf.
    • Does the whole “reload entire page when you delete a page” rather than being AJAXian.
    • When you click “edit” to choose what “shelf” you want to place a book on it doesn’t auto-close the overlay window when you choose a new shelf.
    • You can’t mass edit the books (e.g. there is no checkbox to choose multiple books and delete them or to change their status from read to to-read).
  • Shelfari – Nice user interface, but not happy that they want me to change my csv into a tab-delimited in order to import my VB library. (redirects to Goodreads now)
  • weRead – A slightly smaller number of my “friends” on Facebook utilize this application than VB.

In case LivingSocial cares, here are the issues that have been driving me away from them:

  • The application is really, really slow and it doesn’t use AJAX on things like removing books – meaning there is a complete page reload each book removal…way too much wasted time.
  • The application lacks an easy way to operate on a large number of books at one time.
  • Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of broken images instead of book covers when using Visual Bookshelf.
  • Visual Bookshelf lacks full exporting capabilities – for example, one’s rating/reviews don’t get exported in the CSV.
  • It isn’t easy to sort my books by one’s I’ve read versus want to read, one’s I own versus want, etc.

7 Responses

  1. I’m in pretty much exactly the same situation and I stumbled across your posting. Did you end up going with one of the alternatives you listed, sticking with Visual Bookshelf, or did you find something else even better?

    • davemackey says:

      While still not particularly happy with Visual Bookshelf – it still has all the same flaws – its remained my mainstay. I was unable to find anything else which provided me with the same ease of use, etc. and was worth the effort of migrating. I didn’t want to begin keeping my library in two locations – and keeping it on Facebook was the more important for me.

  2. Andrew says:

    I’m pretty sure Visual Bookshelf now allows the export of lists… but in any case, “I’m Reading” seems to be a good replacement. Very quick and accurate. The only downside I see so far is the loss of your community (not very many users are on I’m Reading yet).

  3. DS says:

    Is there anyway to get visual bookshelf into goodreads and have it include the date the book was read. I exported but they all are being treated like they were read at same time.

  4. Mike Fatah says:


    Does anyone know how I can get list or something that has all of my selections that I had accumulated on Visual Bookshelf over the years? I don’t remember getting any notice of LivingSocial cancelling VB and one day found out the hard way through Facebook. I have email to Livingsocial about this, but no reply yet. Please let me know if there’s any way to recover the list.

    • Sandy says:

      I am in the same situation. I want to recover my 90+ list of books. What can we do? I wrote to the email provided on the website, no response yet. If you hear something, please let me know

    • Cheryl says:

      same 🙁 No notice, VERY UPSETING… i tried switchign all to goodreads but liked visual bookshelf much better… cant find anything i like YEt. hopeful someday something else will surface on FB for me…

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