Aaron Rutkoff in the Wall Street Journal:
…for Tim Spalding, a computer programmer and bibliophile, listing a few titles in an online profile isn’t enough. He sought a way to catalog his entire book collection — and to check out what was lining other people’s shelves.
To satisfy his curiosity, Mr. Spalding created a Web site where members can create library-quality catalogs of the books they own and display their collection to fellow online bookshelf browsers. “When I come into someone’s house, the first thing I do is look at their bookshelf,” Mr. Spalding admits. “This is totally that thing — it’s books as mental furniture.”
He launched LibraryThing.com in August as a way to bring the organizational joys of the librarian to a wider array of book nerds. Ten months later, his concept has blossomed into a vibrant community with 47,670 registered members — some paying — and a user-created catalog that includes more than 3.6 million volumes. In theory, that makes LibraryThing the 58th largest library in the U.S.