Critical Linking: April 8th, 2013

 

Today we’ve added a way to mark places you’ve visited—in general or, by a simple “check in” button, the day you visit somewhere. You also get new lists of where you’ve been, and maps.

LibraryThing is clearly trying to make some noise in the wake of Amazon/Goodreads. But you would know what would speak the loudest? A design that feels this century.

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Beneath what seems like a reasonable feature request lurks the heart of technological conservatism: what was and is always shall be.

I’ve noticed that most serious readers are quite technologically conservative about the future of books. I guess that’s because books are a thing they like already, so any change seem more likely to produce harm than good, which is a logical fallacy.

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But the vapidity of Coelho is not his greatest sin. Nor is it the relentless self-promotion. At the heart of Coelho’s ostensibly encouraging philosophy is a brutal logic: If you’ve made it, your success is thanks to the mystical powers of positive thinking; if you haven’t, it’s your own fault for not trying hard enough.

Wait, wasn’t this sort of the idea behind The Secret?

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Frankly, these publishers would probably not have bought Goodreads even if it had been up for sale and even if they had the funds. It does not do what they want.

It was up for sale and some of the big houses could have found the money. So this logic makes a great deal of sense.

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