Amazon to acquire book networking site

The online retailer is buying Shelfari, a site that allows users to create virtual bookshelves and share title lists with friends.

Amazon.com is buying Shelfari, the social-networking site for book lovers announced in a blog post to its users Monday night. Terms of the deal were not immediately announced.

In announcing the acquisition, Shelfari likened its mood to a spring day:

The rain has stopped, the birds are chirping and the biggest news of all--we are being acquired by Amazon.com.

We've got some big plans ahead. With more resources and Amazon's expertise in building a platform where people come to share ideas, there are a lot of new opportunities in the future that will benefit each of you.

The online e-tailer, which already owns a portion of Seattle-based Shelfari, helped fund the social-networking site in 2007, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Shelfari allows users to create virtual bookshelves and share title lists among friends.

The deal comes about three weeks after Amazon announced it would acquire AbeBooks.com, which specializes in out-of-print book sales. AbeBooks.com holds an equity stake in Shelfari's main rival, LibraryThing, the newspaper pointed out.

LibraryThing founder Tim Spalding has accused Shelfari of planting positive comments about the service on blogs and engaging in unethical spamming, for which Shelfari later apologized, the paper reported.

Spalding said he came up with more than 50 examples, writing in a blog post that "it's icky to...go on and on about how much you 'love' Shelfari without mentioning you're paid by them," according to the paper.

It's unclear what Amazon plans to do with the equity stake.

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