Despite spending numerous hours each day at my PC, and despite utilizing a fair number of so-called Web 2.0 services, I haven’t come across a local Hong Kong service . . . till last week. The site in question is called aNobii.
Situated in Hong Kong, aNobii offers a useful book tracking service. Users register for a free account and immediately start entering books and various details like whether they have started reading or finished the book. The usual social networking features are present – one can invite friends, create and join groups with specific topics, as well as explore neighbours, i.e. users with similar bookshelves. Other expected features include tagging, rating titles and numerous ways to sort the bookshelves. You can also see how many users own a title and how they rate it (if they have finished reading the book).
Where aNobii distinguishes itself is in ease of use. Even non-techies should have no problems with this site. Entering books is very simple – just type in the ISBN codes at the back of the title or do a search which yields very decent results – and the site will generate the rest. I entered books I read recently (most of them in 2007) which amounted to 70+ titles and the database managed to recognize all of them via ISBN codes. Impressive.
The site is well designed too. Layout is clean, simple and easy on the eyes. The major downside at the moment seems to slow loading pages and occasionally outages. Then again the site is in beta like nearly all Web 2.0 offerings, so hiccups are expected.
As I book lover, I really liked the features aNobii has to offer. I used to compile a timeline to monitor what I’ve read – which is work because I have to input book titles, authors, date started and finished data into a XML files as well as upload images manually. With aNobii, all this is made simple. I’m giving aNobii a very positive thumbs – and highly recommending it for people who love to read.