Review: Litsy, the New Photography + Tracking App for Readers

This article was published May 14, 2016. Click here to read my more recent posts.

When I was introduced to this iOS application by a professor of mine, I was intrigued. I had never looked into any social media network that was so new, but despite any apprehension, I decided to just jump in with both feet and try it out.

So what is Litsy?

Brenna Clarke Gray from Book Riot wrote that Litsy is like if “Instagram and Goodreads had a beautiful, perfect baby,” and I can’t describe the app any better.

Basically, users take photos similar to Instagram, edit them (with a much better photo editor than is offered on Instagram), and then share them with followers on a timeline similar to IG. But here’s the catch: every photo is linked with a book.

Finding a book on the database is fairly simple – just type it in like you would on Goodreads, then you can caption your photo with a review of the book, a quote from the book, or a “blurb” – where you can write virtually anything.

The notifications and profile tabs are remarkably similar to that on Instagram, although there is the timeline profile view only (no three-column grid option).

Similar to Goodreads’ shelves, you can add books to “stacks” as well, presumably to help you keep track of what you have read. These are tracked as tabs on your profile, for easy access. Additionally, Litsy keeps a “Litfluence” count of your connections (likes, comments, books, etc.), similar to Yik Yak’s Yakarma.

Overall, Litsy is a photo app for avid readers to connect with other book lovers. My favorite parts of the app are the photo editor – which is better than most of the photo editors I have used on my iPhone – and the usability. It is simple and easy to learn, especially if you are familiar with Instagram’s layout.

Litsy is rather new, and still constantly improving and expanding, so there’s definitely promise for this app to be a great compliment (or even replacement) to Goodreads for us bookies – but currently, there are some things missing that would greatly improve quality if they were added in the near future:

One of the first things I noticed when using Litsy was that the in-app camera doesn’t save photos to your photo reel like Instagram (and many others) do. This is especially frustrating since the photo editor is so exceptional; I wish there was a way for me to get my photos from the app to save them.

Secondly, as many have complained, Litsy is currently iOS only. Because of this, the number of users is essentially cut in half. I recently bought my first iPhone, but if I hadn’t gotten that upgrade, I wouldn’t be able to use the app at all! Connectivity would start to grow exponentially if the developers created an Android version (as I am sure they are working on), which would make the app much more dynamic and fun!

Finally, the book-tracking method is a bit lacking for me. When I use Goodreads, I like the ability to see every book I have read/want to read/am reading in a list (shelves). It is really stellar at helping you know what you’ve read and suggesting similar things. On the other hand, Litsy allows you to create lists, but they aren’t easily viewed and the layout is awkward. It is also time-consuming to create them, and it doesn’t seem worth it since that’s not the focus of the app. It doesn’t accomplish what I like to use Goodreads for in this sense, so I don’t think it would ever replace that app for me, but it does allow for more creativity than Goodreads ever could!

If you’re looking to share what you’re reading with others in a new, creative way, Litsy is the app for you. It is still in the works, but it’s improving every day, and it can only get better with more time and users.

Have you tried Litsy yet? Let me know your first impressions in the comments below!

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