Thursday, December 16, 2010

The end of Book Army .

Sadly I received an email the other day...

As some of you may be aware, we have some rather sad news to share with you.
Two years ago, was launched with the aim of becoming the go-to social networking site for booklovers. It has had a great community from the beginning; book enthusiasts who have given great reviews and recommendations, and livened up the forums and groups. However, the decision has been made to close the site, after facing strong competition from similar sites and fewer advertising opportunities in such a tough economic climate. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for all your fantastic contributions to It's been a great
couple of years, and the team here will miss the site - particularly all of you - immensely. Should you wish to join another book site (sob!) then we've made it easy for you. There is now an Export function on your main profile page, which enables you to take your book lists and upload them to Library Thing , Shelfari or Goodreads . The site will be closing down on Tuesday 21st December, which we hope gives you plenty of time to get your content.
Once again, thank you for all your support.
The Bookarmy Team

...So, what was I to do? I looked at Library Thing and was shocked to read...

WHAT’S GOOD?... Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

...Well, that is not on and it goes against the principal of all information being free on the internet! So onto goodreads and I found that the user book reviews are not shown in chronological order. That annoys me as Book Army always showed the latest reviews of a book first. That in my opinion should be the format for all book clubs as it gives a time line and perspective to the whole website. That left me with considering shelfari . Well, shelfari passes my simple test, all user book reviews appear in chronological order and are rated using the same 5 star voting system that I found so appropriate on Book Army.

I have now made the switch and have become a member of shelfari which I will use in the same way that I have used Book Army. It is not the biggest online book club, that is clearly goodreads, but shelfari gives me just what I want in a format that I approve. It is a big shame that Book Army stopped, I was surprised the website closed considering it was run by HarperCollins, the well known book publisher. Still, nothing stays the same on the internet and everyone has to move onto the next thing going. It was good that Book Army sent out that email to it's users rather than simply pulling the plug. If they had quietly pulled the plug without notice there would probably have been a backlash on the internet and sales of HarperCollins books would have suffered as Book Army users went into a sulk and voted with their pockets.

I have now exported the list of the 65 books that I have rated on Book Army onto my shelfari profile. It is nice to see what the average reader actually thinks of the books they have read because there is a lot of choice in the market and something for everyone. There is no need to stick with the top selling authors with their large marketing budgets, take a gamble and try something different. You could be pleasantly surprised by the quality of other authors who may not be in the best selling charts.
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