We all have books sitting our shelves that no matter how enjoyable at the time of reading we know we will probably never look at again. However, it is too much, almost sacrilegious, some would say, to throw them into the green bin for recycling.
Another reason not to dispose of them as if they were yesterday’s newspaper is the thought that someone else, somewhere else might enjoy the book as much, if not more, than yourself. So, two questions arise, ‘Who are they?’ And, “Where are they?
The answer to both is Facebook.
Harnessing the power of the social network and the availibility of over half a billion users The Library @Facebook makes the sharing of books and just as importantly the thought and opinions about books that much easier.
Ian Lucey is the Founder of The Library @Facebook. He says it all began with a resolution he made to himself, “I decided I’d try re-educating myself this year. So, I said I would read a book a week for the year.
“I put a post up on Linkedin and asked, ‘What books should I read?’ A lot of people got back to me and said what they liked.
“About a week later I got deliveries of books into the office from people sending them to me. I thought, ‘That’s a very nice idea. We should build a community where we could encourage each other to read. Especially in the startup community.’
“I had about 70 odd books lying around the house and when I went through all of them there were probably six that I would have kept. I think most people are like that; they have a chunk of books sitting on shelves somewhere that they won’t read again.”
Ian also runs Lucey Technologies which has 13 staff and is based in Dublin, Ireland. It offers a cloud based collaboration software system which handles online payments for small and medium sized businesses.
“We hadn’t built anything in Facebook yet and I wanted to understand it a bit better. So, at the very worst it was going to be a very good training exercise for us.
“But the feedback on it has been great so far. It is great to see people you don’t know on book forums saying this stuff is brilliant.
“What we are trying to do is figure out, ‘Why can’t you build a global, online library where when you have finished a book you list the ones that you are happy to give away and just send it off to somebody.?’ It only costs a couple of euro to post it off.”
Working with Facebook has its own set of challenges and getting people to OK at the trust screen is one of the key ones. Ian says, “People are so worried about what these third party companies are doing with them on Facebook. Everyone’s heart stops when this setting comes up, ‘Will I trust my app with this data?’
But the advantage of working with Facebook over normal websites that offer similar services is the potential to be really social.
“One of the features that we are going to put into the next iteration and that we are getting feedback on already is that you will be able to give rolling feedback on your books as you are reading them.
“I can post a thought on a book but then, instead of writing a book review at the end, I’ll be able to click into someone’s book review and see their thoughts as they read the book.”