Replacement for Visual Bookshelf?

Post Published on June 16, 2010.
Last Updated on November 29, 2017 by davemackey.

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 thoughts on “Replacement for Visual Bookshelf?”

  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?

    1. 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. 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. 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. Hi,

    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.

    1. 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

    2. 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…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.