Seattle-based Shelfari is a book centered social network that launched last fall. There’s lots of competition in this space, including Library Thing, Listal, Delicious Monster and others. The basic idea is to tell Shelfari all of the books you own, and have an online visual representation of your library. Book fanatics and book clubs are the target audience.
Shelfari isn’t as big as Library Thing (key Library Thing stats here), but it is a better designed site and they have a great looking widget to show off the books you own. Shelfari also allows users to insert their Amazon affiliate ID and make money off of any books sold from people clicking on the widget.
Library Thing sold 40% of itself to ABEbooks last year, so they have essentially taken themselves off the market. An acquisition or further financing would have to be approved by them. But the space is interesting enough that venture capitalists and bigger companies are starting to take note, and Shelfari is a good platform.
There are rumors that Shelfari will be acquired or raise a round of financing soon. Perhaps then they’ll be able to hire someone to write those pesky FAQs.
Shelfari was founded by former RealNetworks employees Josh Hug and Kevin Beukelman. John Cook wrote a good launch article about them last year.