January 3, 2006

A reader’s social network from China, Douban

I have been trying out various reading list social tools — the kind where they let you input the books you have reading, write a review etc. and based on your list the service generates recommendation on books on similar topics and people who are like you.

I like this new site from China called Douban.net. The service has very good user interaction design.

douban

As soon as you log in, you are given this page where you enter the book that you are reading or finished reading. You are also shown some book reviews from people who have similar reading habits as you.

douban

After you have typed in your book name, Douban.net pulls out the book data from Amazon. You are given this screen where you can type in some tags and a short description. You can rate the book too. If any other douban.net members have this book then there are also listed.

douban

You have your own personal page listing what you are reading and what you have read. Douban works with music also. You can add albums you have listened to along with ratings and reviews.

douban

The discussion area on Douban.net is a great place to get further recommendations.

If local libraries opened up their database (of course only for the members who opt in and also they can decide what info they want to make public) then it would facilitate building of Douban.net like services that use the library’s APIs in addition to amazon API. While discussions with far away people is nice, services like meetup.com have shown that people dig specific interest based local networks too.


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