I missed the news reported in The Christian Science Monitor that librarything.com has linked up with Random House to supply books to Librarything users in exchange for reviews.
Random House will send free copies of five new fiction titles to 95 LibraryThing members in exchange for short reviews. They'll ship another batch in July. Come October, LibraryThing anticipates opening its "Early Reviewers" program to other publishing houses. A half-dozen have expressed interest so far.
Goodreads and shelfari are other sites that have been able to generate collective interest in books and the social aspects of reviewing, sharing recommendations and simple inquisitiveness regarding others reading interests. What is apparent is that these sites and the success of others like them will lead to an accelleration in the migration of publishers advertising dollars away from newspapers and trade magazines to sites of book interest. As the article comments:
The potential for websites like Goodreads, LibraryThing, http://www.whatsonmybookshelf.com/, and http://www.shelfari.com/, to reach readers across all demographics is certainly promising. LibraryThing has 205,000 members and 14 million books catalogued. (Mr. Spalding likes to say that if it were a bricks-and-mortar library its collection would surpass Yale University's.) Shelfari, which was launched last year and doesn't disclose numbers beyond saying its users are in the tens of thousands, recently received funding from Amazon.com.
The sources of influential book reviews from the likes of NYTimes and Publisher's Weekly may become marginalized unless they adopt some of the same types of social and interactive technologies that these innovators have done. Woe that they come up with something a step beyond what some of these small innovators have done.