For the past few months, I’ve been using the Books application on Facebook. As soon as I finish a book, I search for it, add it to my list of completed books within the application with a two or three line review, and a rating (on five stars). This is then broadcast to all my Facebook friends.
The obvious disadvantage with this is that it is broadcasted to only my Facebook friends. And only within Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get an RSS feed of completed books. Which is sad, because I’d like to have one, and push it onto the blog for permanent archival and suchlike.
Other Facebook apps like iRead which do the same thing also don’t offer RSS feeds.
Shelfari does let you keep a list of books on your blog, but this seems to be in the form of a Shelfari widget, and poking around their FAQ didn’t seem to reveal any way to get a pure feed. Besides, Shelfari spammed me at unmitigated levels back in August or September, earning my hatred (and the dubious honour of being added to my GMail spam filter).
But there is something which seems to meet all my requirements, and it’s a little-known Google service: Google MyLibrary.
This is an add-on feature to Google Book Search. And besides ratings and reviews, there are three extremely cool things which MyLibrary has:
- an RSS feed. So now, as soon as I finish a book, I can add it in MyLibrary, and display it in a WordPress widget or in the GOAT feed.
- labels. Which allows great scope for taxonomisation and categorisation. Such joy. Such joy.
- searching within the book, and reading the whole book, copyright permitting. Yay!
This weekend, I’ll probably be tinkering with feeds and widgets and whatnot.