Friday, 5 April 2013

What's your view on Goodreads?

What a week it has been! 
I think one of the biggest things that rocked the publishing boat this week is the news that Amazon has bought out Goodreads!

Now I don't know about you, but my twitter feed was full of everyone's comments, shares and views on the news, with a very mixed reception!
For those of you that didn't know, Amazon announced that they are buying the reading social network Goodreads. Initially, I was disappointed as my first thoughts were that Amazon - such a global, corporate company - is going to swallow Goodreads up and make it all about selling their books rather than a hub for readers and authors to interact, review and recommend books. But the more I thought about it, and discussed it with my friends, I realised that it could be a good thing. Amazon are missing out on a large, successful social network which would make them stand out from Apple and Google books, and Goodreads could do with the expansion of publicity, coverage and functions on the site. As the founders of GR are still going to play an active part in the social network, I think it has potential to lead to greater things for GR and make books possibly even more accessible?

I think that Goodreads is a fantastic go-to place for books - either as an avid reader who wants to keep track of the endless books that have been read and to read, or as a browser who wants to know what's worth reading next. One of the (many, many) lovely things about bookshops is that you can guarantee that one of the booksellers will either be able to tell you about a book you're interested in or recommend you several you may like. Word of mouth when it comes to reading is invaluable and like I think I mentioned in my post about book clubs - one of the greatest things about reading books is then talking about them, or giving them to other people to read so they can experience the book too. But I think sometimes with online book buying, primarily these days with Amazon and the like, the beauty of verbal recommendations and discussions is lost slightly. Yes you can have written reviews, which are sometimes quite helpful, but I think something I read about the Amazon - GR merge, is that readers don't always trust the reviews on Amazon so much as on book-specific sites. Amazon reviews are by everyone and anyone - it could be their first reading experience, it could be their hundredth, but with a reading site, such as GR, you know that these are coming straight from the mouths of avid, readers, or even authors/writers. They're the kind of people you might want to discuss a book with at a book club or book shop, because even if your views on the book are completely different, you're still on the same page as readers! If you get where I'm coming from? I think Goodreads has alot more credibility when it comes to recommendations and reviews. 
An example for you: I went to this month's book club the other day and we were discussing what book to read next. One of the guys said that his (publishing) boss had recommended a book to him, but he didn't know what it was about/like. So he looked it up on Amazon to try and get a synopsis for us all, which simultaneously I looked it up on my GR app. After a few minutes he said he couldn't find a good summary, it was just all reviews from various people, whereas on GR I found a full length synopsis as well as more reviews that I could ever read. Goodreads is definitely the go-to place!

I joined GR a few years ago, but I wasn't particularly clued up on what it was or how to use it. Plus the thought of adding every single book I'd read or had on my bookcases (multiple bookcases!) to my Read and To Read lists seemed daunting. But now I can't keep away from it! I can't read a book without updating it on GR! As a result this does mean that I have hundreds of books in both my Read and TBR lists. 
A point of interest that has been floating around my head for a while - do you use your TBR shelf on GR to list every book you want to read, even if you don't have a copy, or just the one's you have? My TBR will always be never ending, there are too many books that I want to read and not enough time in the day to read them! But then I have a friend who will have maybe 1 or 2 books on his TBR list at a time - to me this seems almost surreal to not have hundreds of books - for me, a good reading period is when my 'Read' books outnumber my 'To Read' books (which at the moment they are by about 50 books!)

As you can probably tell, I am a massive GR fan - I think a social network for books is exactly what readers and authors need! I also love that there are so many readers there ready to share and discuss books or authors, anything book related, if I wanted it!
Do you use Goodreads? Is it something you use regularly, with every book you read? Or is something you just use for reference?
Or maybe even not at all? With 16 million users, there is still a massive amount of readers out there who don't use GR. Maybe Amazon's influence will change that and more people will be using it! Are you willing to try it? I think once you've got into it, there's possibly no going back!


  1. I love goodreads. I use it all the time as it is a great place to share my thoughts on books with thousands of other book lovers. I love the online book clubs that goodreads has though that is partially because i run one :)

    I don't mind the news that amazon have bought goodreads as long as they don't change too much.

    I can think of some great features that could be added now they are ran by the same company. I would love my goodreads and amazon accounts to be linked. I buy a book off amazon and it is atomatically added to my goodreads shelves. I mark something as read on one site and it also does it on the other. I would love things like this to happen.

    If anyone has goodreads feel free to follow or friend me :)

  2. I don't understand how anyone could think of this as anything as good! Anything that brings readers closer to the books they love and the authors/fans is a very good thing in my mind. Amazon are one of the biggest sellers of both books/ebooks at the moment so I don't see how they could make goodreads worse. If anything they can only make it better!

    I spend so much of my time on goodreads. I always look out for reviews (good or bad) and that usually tends to sway what books I read. Of course, sometimes I read the 'bad' ones just to see what they are like too.

    I agree with Laura, I really hope they can link amazon and goodreads accounts, it would make things soooo much easier.

    As for the apps, I have an app on my Kindle, my phone and my iPod so yeah, I'm a fully fledged Goodreads fangirl/addict!