Changing Amazon terms hits LibraryThing

LibraryThing has had to modify the way they link to their sources of data for their book pages.

Everyone at LibraryThing disagrees with this decision. LibraryThing is not a social cataloging and social networking site for Amazon customers but for book lovers. Most of us are Amazon customers on Tuesday, and buy from a local bookstore or get from a library on Wednesday and Thursday! We recognize Amazon’s value, but we certainly value options.

Importanly, the decision is probably not even good for Amazon. Together with a new request-monitoring system, banning iPhone applications that use Amazon data, and much of their work on the Kindle, Amazon is retreating from its historic commitment to simplicity, flexibility and openness. They won through openness. Their data is all over the web, and with it millions of links to Amazon. They won’t benefit from a retreat here.

Tim Spalding and the gang at LibraryThing have always struck me as being very clear-minded in their goals and the best way to help their users. I agree with their assessment.