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LibraryThing offers local book search


Anyone who uses LibraryThing will know that it is constantly evolving. Tim Spalding and his team are regularly pushing through new initiatives and the latest one is particularly interesting from the perspective of AbeBooks and secondhand bookstores in general.

LibraryThing’s latest innovation, introduced yesterday, is a ‘local book search’. Basically, when you come across a book on LibraryThing that you would like to purchase from a local bookstore you are presented with a ‘local book search’ tab on that book’s details page. By clicking through, you are presented with a list of your local bookshops and details on whether they have the book or not.

For Unless by Carol Shields, I can see the book is stocked by Grafton Books and Renaissance Books down the road in Victoria (our hometown here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada) and Beacon Books just up the highway in Sidney among others.

For Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, I can again see that Grafton has a copy and Beacon Books, and Ten Old Books up the road in Duncan.

LibraryThing lists AbeBooks’ booksellers that have physical bookstores and that’s something we are happy about even though, to some extent, it gives book-buyers the chance to ‘go around the AbeBooks system’ and simply walk into the bookstore and buy the book without using our site (so we miss out on earning commission). We’re very aware Internet searching for local services and products is something everybody does, but we’re also aware LibraryThing’s local book search is another method of exposing AbeBooks’ sellers and their listings to the book-buying public. LibraryThing attracts a community of passionate bibliophiles and bibliophiles are AbeBooks’ target customers – this was something we definitely wanted to be part of.

It’s still early days for this new service on LibraryThing but Tim Spalding is already reporting decent interest. Local book search will improve as more booksellers go to LibraryThing and create a venue for their bookshop. We’ll be encouraging more AbeBooks sellers to create LibraryThing venues. LibraryThing is deeply committed to supporting independent bookstores of all shapes and sizes, and AbeBooks is nothing without the thousands of professional independent sellers who list on our site, so we’re looking forward to seeing how this service develops.

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