ShelfariI love to collect books. Especially those reflecting my interests and books that serve as tools for my work. After several years my shelves are full and although I’ve tried to develop my own home-grown personal libraries using various software tools, I finally found a new service that clears the picture and I can’t wait to stock the shelves…online.

Shelfari is new web service application that lets you add your own virtual library. Enter authors, titles or ISBN numbers, attach books to your Amazon Account, write a review and build an impressive visual library on the web for free and it’s great fun for any bilbliophile.

My life is becoming absorbed in several online services. From Google, to eBay, Myspace, my Blogs and handful of other bill payment services, the list continues to grow and this latest one answers a problem I’ve had for sometime. I’ve always wanted my own personal database to keep track of my books and this new service is just what I wanted.

Shelfari is a solution developed by Tastemakers – a software company with an impressive management group with several former principles from RealNetworks. Together with their designers they have developed an interface that’s fun and easy to use.

Try this application out if you have a book collection. It’s free and you can create your own personal links too. Here’s my library. It’s still new, but I plan on spending plenty of time here over the next several weeks. Their innovation also includes a social element allowing users to find users who share their books and their own unique profiles. I was surprised to find several people with one of my favorite old books – Flatlands.

You can important your own databases from a text file too. More importantly, you download your information back to your computer at anytime. I was wondering about this and emailed their customer support this weekend and was surpised to get a response from their president, Josh Hug on Sunday (that is truly impressive). He thanked me for my feedback and explained they understood the importance of content their users were contributing to this service. I was even more impressed to know they have a special feature downloading the information back to your computer should you want to backup or treat the data otherwise. Among other tools, you can create a link to include in your blog, so this will become my own personal library available via a link from my personal blog.

The user interface is extremely useful with excellent looking images which you can reduce or enlarge thumbnails and even sort them in lists of top tens, reading lists and more.

Not sure where this will go in the long run, but I love it. Reading books and book collecting is not the hip hobby, but it’s one of my favorites and I look forward to helping these folks build a new service and get to know other bookworms in this useful application. Besides, it’s a great place for bookworms to hand out. So come in and visit my new library. You can click this link or browse the service by visiting my blog. Unlike most libraries though…you don’t have to be quiet and shirt and shoes are optional.