Shelfari Hopes to Bring Authors and Readers Together Over Wikis

Shelfari, the Amazon-backed community networked around books, has introduced editable author profiles in hopes that it can become a destination for not only biographical information but interactions between authors and their fans as well.

Each author’s page will feature an open wiki in addition to a message board and a list of written books. Shelfari hopes to set itself apart from other big name wikis (namely Wikipedia) by encouraging authors themselves to join the community and modify their own pages. Many sites tend to discourage this practice because of obvious bias concerns, but Shelfari believes the interaction to be seen between authors and their fans will compensate for this drawback.

With the introduction of these new profiles, Shelfari is poised to become a uniquely rich repository of literary information, and has the potential to become an IMDB for books. At the same time, the success of these wiki pages will rely heavily on author interaction, which will likely be difficult to establish. Without this interaction, users might as well head to Wikipedia to get the dish on their favorite authors.

Besides the new profiles, Shelfari offers book reviews, recommendations, and community groups. Members can browse their book collections in virtual libraries, and books can be easily purchased through links to external sites (Shelfari gets a portion of the revenue from these sales). The site was founded in October 2006, and received $1M in Series A funding from Amazon in Feburary 2007.

Competitors in this space include LibraryThing, Goodreads, and Delicious Monster”.