Short Shelfari Life?

Published on August 26, 2008
by John Paczkowski

Amazon (AMZN) racked up its second acquisition of the month today, announcing the purchase of Shelfari, a social-networking site for bibliophiles. This just three weeks after the retailer acquired AbeBooks, an online marketplace for rare books that happens to hold an equity stake in Shelfari’s chief rival, LibraryThing. Which makes for an awkward situation, given the bad blood between the two. LibraryThing has been a vocal critic of Shelfari, denouncing it as a “bad actor” that’s built its business through astroturfing and spam. But now that bad actor is owned by one of LibraryThing’s own investors. “LibraryThing is clearly worried about today’s acquisition,” Richard MacManus writes over at ReadWriteWeb. “… Founder and lead developer of LibraryThing Tim Spalding notes that “Amazon can make Shelfari the choice of casual book lovers who see a button on and click on it.” LibraryThing hopes to compete with this by being a superior service. However it’s very difficult to compete against Amazon’s bulk.”

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