I woke up this morning to find Twitter ablaze (actually, more than likely just my bookish corner of Twitter) with the news that Amazon has acquired Goodreads. To those not in the know, Goodreads is a popular book review website with a lot of community chatter. I also rely on it to give fairly accurate, non-biased ratings to books I’m thinking about reading. I also post reviews to there, discuss with other bookish friends, look for recommendations, enter giveaways, read reviews, vote in the Goodreads awards…the list goes on.
Now that Amazon has bought the business, I’m really not sure what to think. I don’t mind Amazon, although as an Australian who doesn’t own a Kindle; it doesn’t play a role in my life. I’ll occasionally browse, and in the old days before The Book Depository, I used to buy some hard to find books there. The Book Depository brings me to another point – it was also acquired by Amazon. Since then, I have found their customer service to still be second to none, but prices have gone up and I know now not to believe entirely in the ‘usually shipped in 24 hours’ phrase – it’s usually around 72 hours. However, this is based on my recent experience. I have had books arrive in less than a week, and I can’t complain about free shipping! Is this something we blame on Amazon? Or it is just a hugely successful business growing with the times?
The Goodreads acquisition worries me that it will become a Kindle focused, book buying site. I have tried to love a Kindle, but I still prefer my Sony Reader (which I bought three years ago and has become as essential as my car keys). The Kindle…I don’t like being locked in to Amazon and US currency (good at the moment but does anyone remember when $1AUD = $0.71USD or worse?) One petty thing I don’t like is the percentage read rather than page numbers (I’m not sure whether you can change that). So increased links between the Kindle and Goodreads are as useless to me.
I’m also worried about the reviews we write – do they become the property of Amazon? Will they be used in Amazon’s marketplace to promote books?
Kobo recently started using Goodreads’ rating data to tell potential buyers how well a book was received. Seeing that Kobo is a competitor in the eBook/eReader department, will this be pulled?
Would this cause you to change social book sites? Will you still use Goodreads?
There are several other book sites where you can post reviews, discuss books, have online book clubs etc. Here are a few that I’m part of, and others I’ve found out about:
- The Reading Room
I’m liking The Reading Room more and more. There’s no limit to how many books you can have, you can review and discuss books, find likeminded readers, have a book club and enter giveaways for new books. You can also preview new books (very helpful if you’re undecided). TRR also has a regularly updated news section and items for discussion. It links to book reviews from The Guardian newspaper. It is independently owned.
Unlike Goodreads, you can only have 200 books as a free account. What I like about this site is the clean home page, the tags for each book, how alike your tastes are to other users and the top wish lists/currently reading lists. You can see from below that don’t always read popular books that are worthy of a cover image though! The SantaThing Secret Santa for books is always fun.
- Bookish – I don’t use this currently, but it claims to help you find the ‘best reads’. There’s new releases, bestsellers, articles about books, an online shop (only in the US) and recommendations. I tried the recommendations feature, but it didn’t recognise The Rosie Project (my review coming soon), which was originally published in Australia. It is owned by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster I believe.
Are there any other social book sites you would recommend? Do you use them?