2011 was another big year for social networking – it seems like now the whole world and its granny is on Facebook, Twitter and any other number of online networks (if you’re social media savvy and haven’t already ‘liked’ or followed TRO then what are you waiting for?). What’s been missing is somewhere for book lovers to gather online; as reading is becoming increasingly technological – no fewer than one in 40 adults found a Kindle in their Christmas stockings – and as books are clearly at the heart of many a community, virtual or otherwise, it seems like a no-brainer that there should be a literature-based social networking system.
As if to answer our pleas, along comes Anobii. Established in 2006 but revamped and relaunched in December, Anobii is a social network and ‘book discovery platform’ for readers the whole world over. It works very much like an endless virtual bookshelf and a huge online reading group combined, allowing users to compile and keep track of what they’ve read in the past or are reading now with a few clicks.
A major feature of the site is its focus on allowing users to discover a new book and find reading inspiration from others; having books recommended by a personal seal of approval and word-of-mouth (or should that be: word-of-mouse) rather than by computer-generated suggestions. Users can follow readers who have similar literary tastes to their own, browse topic lists of books for their next read – amongst those currently featured are ‘Books for the commute’; ‘Books That Are Better Than The Film’ and – rather intriguingly – ‘Guilty Pleasures’ – or create their own lists. It may feature technology that is the latest in-thing (you’re also able to access Anobii through iPhone and Android apps) but its methods are all about getting back to basics – connecting people with books and with one another on a really quite personal level, which is something we’re always keen to advocate.
By the way, if the name has left you scratching your head (as it did with me), then you should know that ‘anobii’ is Latin for ‘bookworm’ – another tip of the hat to something altogether traditional.