BookLikes (and Legimi), is this really all you’ve got?

The site is live and running again. No other features are planned in the nearest future. The performance will be looked into depending on the problems and the availability of resources. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Comment on BookLikes’ Facebook page, last night (July 13, 2020).


Sorry, but that just isn’t good enough.

Not any more.  Not by a long shot.

It’s not about “new” features.  It’s about fixing problems that have existed for years — in fact, ever since Legimi acquired BookLikes four years ago –, that have grown progressively worse over the course of time, and that have been brought to the attention of BL management time and again, always (as we all know) to no avail whatsoever.

A serious commitment to fix those problems would require immediate action: no ifs or buts.  Not “depending on the problems and the availability of resources.”  Not just “looking into” the performance of the site.

Not just a canned response that couldn’t possibly say “we really don’t care” any clearer if it had shouted as much in neon letters a foot high or higher.


After last night’s statement on behalf of BookLikes, I won’t create any content here anymore.  In fact, if that statement had been posted about 45 minutes or an hour earlier, I wouldn’t even have created the new post(s) I did still create last night.  I will instead continue to do what I already started doing when BL crashed for several days back in January of this year; namely, back up and salvage all that content of my BL account that isn’t already backed up elsewhere anyway (such as, fortunately, most of my blog posts, my library and most of my book-related data).

To those who want to stay in touch, as of now you can chiefly find me here:

WordPress: This is where I will continue posting my reviews and other blog posts.  In the past, my WP blog has been primarily — though not exclusively — my back up site for BookLikes posts, so it will take some tender love and care to be made truly presentable, but some projects are already under way; and other than salvaging my BL content, that will be my focus over the rest of the summer.

Librarything: Far and away the best online library system; you can really tell that the site was created by people who are librarians (and techies) first and foremost.  LT’s book database — and librarian / editing features — were superior to those of BookLikes by a magnitude of several galaxies even at the best of times: I’ve been willing to put up with the standard that BL had to offer for the sake of its blogging features and, most importantly of course, the BL community, but … no longer so.  There is no question that LT’s social / communication features are unwieldy and in need of a serious overhaul.  And no, I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that Amazon holds an indirect minority ownership interest in LT, which it very likely could increase to direct / sole or majority ownership at any time if it so chose.  But at least LT (unlike BookLikes) lets you export your book data — and I am not planning to post any reviews there –, so if it ever comes to that point, it will be easy enough to pull out.  And its social features are “learnable” and, like everything else, get easier to manage with increased use.

Goodreads: I left GR behind as my main book site back in 2013 and have no intention of reversing that decision.  However, I understand that not all of my friends from the BookLikes community feel comfortable creating a blog elsewhere or navigating Librarything, and at this point many have already made the move to the Outpost and / or (Mostly) Dead Writers Society groups on GR.  So to the extent that discussions and community activities are hosted there, I’ll participate.

Twitter: This is not an account I use to actively participate in any discussions, at least not outside the rare book-related convo or other; but I can be reached by PM there if necessary.  If you do have a blog or a Librarything or a Goodreads account, though, those are the paths of communication that I prefer.


Buddy Reads
There are two buddy reads to which I had been looking forward here on BookLikes in the near future.

For Hannah Arendt’s The Origin of Totalitarianism, BT has already created a thread in the Outpost group. (@ Mark, I hope you’ve found us there!)  As she said in her first post, please join us — everybody is welcome!

As for the planned second French buddy read (and possible “buddy watch” of the TV adaptation of the Nicholas Le Floch novels), @ Tannat and @ Onnurtilraun, please let me know your preferred venue!  You can comment on this post — I’ll still be around for a while, so there is every chance I’ll see it — or reach me on any of the above-mentioned sites.  (Tannat, I know you’re on GR, LT and WP … not sure about Onnurtilraun, though?)


Like so many others who have posted something similar in the past couple of days and weeks, it breaks my heart to be making this decision.  The BookLikes community is, without question or comparison, far and away the best book community I’ve ever belonged to.  The basic setup of BookLikes — a blogging community with an integrated book database — is, as such, unique in the online world.  But while I’ve always said that I’ll be here until the end, I feel the end has now indeed come — not because the community has given up on the site, but because its owners and administrators have.  Their statement on Facebook couldn’t possibly make that any clearer.  So:


(You didn’t really think I could do this without a cat meme, did you?)


Original post:

0 thoughts on “BookLikes (and Legimi), is this really all you’ve got?

  1. I guess I’ll be following you here from now on then.

    It’s a shame about BL. It wouldn’t have taken much effort to keep what we had going. With a little investment and curation it could have attracted a lot of people. Just look at how many book bloggers there are.

    1. Or “… there were” — once upon a time. It’s a crying shame about BL, but there we are.

      I’ll be around there until I’ve copied the remaining data, and there won’t be many new posts here yet while I’m doing that. But, yes, here’s to future communications here and elsewhere! (Are you on Librarything, btw?)

          1. I’m finding myself drawn to the accuracy of LT. It takes books seriously. It expect people to care about which edition they have of a book. And it’s not trying to sell me anything. Nevertheless, just figuring out how to send a friend request was a challenge.

  2. I’ve “liked” this post in commiseration, not because I’m happy BL has circled the drain. My only advice is don’t be afraid to strike out and find new friends. What I have here at WP is quite different than what I had at BL during my time, but I am still satisfied.

    I know we’ve talked about this, but while you seem to be a very strong blogger, it doesn’t seem like everyone else at BL necessarily is. I hope they follow your lead and at least get on WP and follow you, just to stay in touch.

    Good luck for the rest of the year as things shake out.

    1. Thank you! I think at this point most of those who feel comfortable setting up a blog elsewhere have done so. I’ll divide my time (and my content) between here, Librarything, and — at least temporarily — the two groups on GR where most of the others have congregated. As I said in my post, I’m not planning on making GR any sort of book site of mine — I won’t be using any book data or links in my comments, nor anything else that allows them to harvest any book-related data from me (or anything else they might be interested in). But there are too many people now who aren’t comfortable blogging, for whom those two groups are the only place where they are reasonably certain to meet the majority of friends they made on BL, and with whom I’d like to stay in touch, too. So I’m going to have to bite the “minimum impact” bullet, I think, much as it irks me … while firmly blaming BL and Legimi. That said, I certainly will be active here, too. I have been, on a sort of low-key level, ever since I first created this blog, and I have no intention to change that … much to the contrary. And, incidentally, thank you for staying in touch throughout the past years, too!

      1. I’m currently using GR for rating purposes to see if the year end stats are worth it. Definitely not putting actual reviews there.

        LT is nice enough, but once again, the groups don’t work for me and so it is kind of a backup for a couple of people who don’t use wordpress.

        You are welcome. When I left BL I certainly didn’t intend to turn my back on the people. But with the majority of them staying firmly at BL, there wasn’t much I could do. The few I have followed are the people who have either gone to WP or to LT (even if they did stay at booklikes).

        Good luck in your future endeavors where-ever you end up 🙂

  3. It has taken me hours to post a review on BookLikes, and I’m having no luck trying to locate a book either, so I totally understand (there are quite a few I haven’t bothered with). Let’s hope we can keep in touch here. Take care.

  4. I wanted to reply to this last night but reasons got in the way (I’ll pm you on GR).

    This reply will be showing/linking my WP blog but I don’t actually use WP as I’ve got blogger for my main book blog and my JAFF so the link will be probably be dead or empty. My other blogs are still covered in dust sheets as it’s been forever since I updated so I’ll get round to tidying them up in time. I took all my stuff from BL so I’ll go through what’s worth keeping and decant it all to those other blogs.

    I’m thinking about doing something with my WP placeholder one though as I think it has better features than Blogspot. I just think WP is a learning curve to get it how I want it and I maybe don’t have the time right now. Oh well, I’ll figure it out.

    I’m going to try to keep in touch with as many BL friends as I can find throughout blogland too and put them in my feed Reader so I can try and re-create the Dashboard experience 🙂 I also have accounts on probably every book site known to man and I really need to try and tidy them all up and whittle it down to a few I can keep up with. My LT catalog is an absolute mess after trying umpteen times to export/import my shelves in a triangle excercise in futility between GR, LT and BL when attempting to get my BL reading challenge to sync last time. I managed to get 7 of 7 read so left it at that and won’t ever think about it again. Really need to sort out the devestation left behind though.

    Stay safe in the meantime and keep in touch 🙂

    1. Sigh. Tell me about that “I wanted to reply immediately” thing … 🙁

      Re: WordPress vs. Blogspot, I agree; WP has the steeper learning curve — particularly for those who know little or no html — but by and large, it’s got the better features. Or at the moment it still does, at least … I hope they never make the block editor compulsory; I’m perfectly happy editing off my old admin dashboard from when I first created this blog back in 2016;. Generally, things forced on me by someone acting in the interests of those perceived unable to walk on their own don’t really work all that well for me.

      Btw, while I can link to your Silverthistle gravatar page, when I try to open “bookshelvechronicles” here on WP I get ” … is no longer available. The authors have deleted this site.” What’s your Blogspot URL?

      And, yeah, I really have to get serious about using the WP Reader. I love that it lets me add non-WP blogs, and I agree, it’s actually fairly close to the BL Dashboard experience — but I admit that so far I’ve chiefly been using the WP mobile feed, which works off notifications for the WP blogs where you’ve selected that option, but not for non-WP blogs (nor for WP blogs where you haven’t turned on notifications).

      Ugh. The sheer horror of even imagining an attempt at triangulating GR, LT and BL. I stopped using GR as my book catalogue back in 2013, but even just a straight CVS sheet import off Calibre (i.e., de facto off BookLikes — I started using Calibre as my backup back in 2016, when BL first started acting funny) produced a major nightmare on LT … I can only imagine how bad it must be getting once you start to synch all three sites. The nice thing about LT, though, is that once you’ve familiarized yourself with its librarian options (that learning curve again), it’s got an absolutely *fabulous* setup. My LT library was a complete disaster zone after that import way back when and I hadn’t wanted to go near it ever again, just out of the sheer horror of the amount of work it would take to clean it all up … on BL that would literally have taken years. But lo’n behold, when I decided to tackle it after all earlier this year, the big things were sorted in a matter of days (weeks at most) via bulk editing, and since then I’ve basically been tinkering on an individual book-by-book basis; and even that was light years quicker than it would have been on BL — not even taking into account additional obstacles such as BL’s slowness and performance issues.

      Good to see you in “The Outpost”, in the interim!

  5. You mirror my feelings about this entire situation exactly, right down to the finest detail. But I’m trying to adapt to the new reality. I found a paid plug in for wordpress that allows you to build a book database, with reading tracking and some impressive stats. It’s not perfect (I can’t bulk upload), but it’s far and away better than anything I’ve found to date, and it’s making the transition to WP easier, if not more palatable.

    1. Also – how did you get the ‘like’ functionality on your WP blog? I see a lot of plug ins to do it, but would like to know what you use, if anything (maybe it’s built-in to the stuff?).

      1. It‘s built into the setup, yes. I wouldn‘t even begin to know how to create it otherwise — in a way so as to interface with both the PC/laptop *and* the app at that!

        1. Found it! Because I use the .org WP, I had to dig into the JetPack plug in. Thanks – you gave me a starting point. 🙂

    2. Do you know whether it interfaces with existing book collections (Calibre, LT)? Where do you source the book data you’re using with the plugin? (Not BL?) I don‘t much feel like paying for anything — I‘ve been thinking about using LT‘s „Tinycat“, which is free if used for an individual library — but I might take a look at a WP-accessible plugin as long as I can use my already-curated collections with it.

      1. No, sadly, it doesn’t interface with LT or Calibre, although there’s another plug in sold by the same mob called Ultimate Book Blogger that does allow Google Books API, but that doesn’t store your books in a database, and there are no reading stats.

        The seller is called Nose Graze, and both plug ins are fairly extensively explained. While not perfect by a longshot, they are far and away better than anything else I’ve seen. Though now you have me wondering if TinyCat could be integrated somehow…

    3. Sigh. Forget it; the Noze Graze plug in only works with self-hosted WP blogs, not with the free format I’m using. Oh well. Librarything / TinyCat and Calibre it continues to be, then!

      1. I’d just about finished my comment when I wondered if that would be the case, but dismissed it because it didn’t make sense that .org and .com would be built so differently. Shows you what I know. :p

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