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Starting out with BookWyrm

20 August 2021 (2 minute read)

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100daystooffload technology

💯 100 Days to Offload

This article is one of a series of posts I have written for the 100 Days to Offload challenge. Disclaimer: The challenge focuses on writing frequency rather than quality, and so posts may not always be fully planned out!

View other posts in this series.

For several years I’ve been a user of Goodreads. It’s a very popular platform, and I primarily use it for keeping track of the books I’ve read, for receiving suggestions about new books, and for keeping up with what some of my friends are reading.

It’s a good service (though sometimes a little slow) - the website and mobile app are nice to use. However, as with any closed system, it’s always a worry of mine to think about what might happen if the service were to disappear or if I were to get locked out for some reason.

More recently I’ve been watching the progress and development of BookWyrm - a decentralised and federated (through ActivityPub) social reading platform. As such it can co-operate with other “fediverse” services, such as Mastodon. The platform aims to allow users to record their reading activity, reviews, and follow others.

The Join BookWyrm website advertises some known instances on the web. Although I understand the underlying technology project powering these instances is still in its relatively early stages, I was excited to try one out for myself.

I signed-up to the bookwyrm.social instance and set up my profile.

Importing titles from Goodreads

In the short time I’ve been using it, I’ve found the interface to be clear and focused (without all the extra bloat Goodreads comes with). I was even able to import my Goodreads data (after exporting it first as a CSV). The website scales nicely so that it’s also highly usable on my phone’s browser.

It feels safer to be using open-source software for managing another piece of my online data footprint, and it’s great to become more involved in the decentralised movement and community.

I’ve already discovered some ineteresting “to-read” books. I look forward to exploring more over the coming months, and to continue seeing how the project develops.

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