March 05, 2009

Site for Chinese book reviews: aNobii

The most popular site for buying books in Taiwan is books.com.tw. That's the number one search result if you search for "books" in Chinese. So, I imagined that, like amazon.com, the site would be a good place to look for book reviews. It's not.

There is a great place for reading Chinese book reviews: anobii.com. It is a social site for readers, like librarything.com. Although the site originated in Hong Kong and is available in 14 languages, it appears that Taiwanese users make up the vast majority. For example, there are on the order of 300 users with the book Perfume in English, and around 3000 users with the book in Chinese. There are 197 comments in Chinese, 163 of which come from Taiwanese users. (Perfume is more popular with Taiwanese readers than American readers, so don't read too much into the single data point.)

You can filter the comments and users that are displayed by language and region. You can import booklists, create wishlists, join groups, etc. For more on features, see the Wikipedia page.

While librarything.com hasn't been able to recognize any of the foreign language books I've read, anobii.com didn't seem to have any problems pulling up the info for the Chinese language books I checked. Anobii supports importing and exporting book lists, so if you really like librarything or another site like that, you could use anobii to enter in your Chinese books and then export them.

The name comes from a type of bookworm, Anobium punctatum. They explain this on their blog, but they don't explain why they had to make the name look ridiculous by changing the capitalization to aNobii.

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