buys Shelfari

by Rob Lewis

John Cook of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer just got the exclusive on's acquisition of Seattle's Shelfari. No transaction details were announced but Shelfari is blogging about it. This acquisition is right on the heels of their acquisition of Victoria’s AbeBooks a couple weeks ago.

Techcrunch's Mark Hendrickson pointed out an interesting side story at the time in a post titled Shelfari and LibraryThing: Awkward Bookends to AbeBooks-Amazon Deal.

AbeBooks held a major (although not majority) stake in a site called LibraryThing, where literati can list their favorite books and discuss them. Coincidentally, Amazon has put a reported $1 million into Shelfari, one of LibraryThing’s direct competitors (which also include GoodReads, BookJetty and many others). So it might not be surprising to see Amazon try to join the forces of these two modestly sized startups.

But if the history between LibraryThing and Shelfari is any indication, we’re more likely to see Amazon either place its bets on one and divest its shares in the other, or simply maintain a minority investment in both.

The ‘history’ that Hendrickson is referring to is that LibraryThing’s CEO Tim Spalding publically denounced Shelfari last year for using dirty marketing tactics such as astroturfing blogs and spamming email.

Speculation about Amazon supporting one or the other or even merging the two services didn’t make sense as they serve different types of communities: Shelfari is focused on the casual reader that is interested in talking about what they're reading while LibraryThing is much more focused on serious bibliophiles that love cataloguing their personal libraries. Think “social reading” versus “social cataloguing”.

Today's Shelfari acquisition confirms that consolidation of this space has started with GoodReads being the only large independent player remaining.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection., Inc., seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. and other... more

Seattle, Washington, United States

Based in Seattle, Shelfari introduces readers to our global community of book lovers and encourages them to share their literary inclinations and passions with peers, friends, and total strangers (for now). Shelfari was the first social media site focused on books, and will continue to innovate as it brings together the world's readers. Our mission is to enhance the experience of reading by... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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