G is for GoodReads

Goodreads is a social networking website for readers. I’ve been a member for years. I love the groups, the discussions, the monthly reads and the reviews. Also, it’s a great way to keep a catalog of every book I’ve ever read.

Amazon bought Goodreads. I don’t know how much they paid. Some people are saying 150 million, but neither Amazon nor Goodreads have released any details. I suppose this is a good move for Amazon. They get direct access to 16 million readers.

I don’t know how I feel about it. The Goodreads blog post says they are going to have greater integration with the kindle. That’s good for kindle users, but I have a nook. So nothing for the nook users? I feel kind of left out. Not that it matters that much. I have the Goodreads phone app. Helps me keep up with the group discussions.

I know what I want:

  • I want Goodreads to remain the same vibrant community it is now
  • I don’t want Amazon’s books (and buy links) to be favored above other places. Other places like the Big 6 publishers and all the small ones, who I have found through looking for excerpts and such.
  • I don’t want Goodreads to turn into a book seller
  • I don’t want Goodreads to turn into just another marketing channel for Amazon (or any other publisher).

At the same time, I have to say, I would only leave if Goodreads turns into a horrible experience. I mean, if I feel like it’s not a books focused social-networking site anymore. Than . . . yeah. I am gone.

That’s a key feature of Goodreads. I doubt, I seriously doubt, that Amazon would be stupid enough to mess with that. I mean, that’s why they bought Goodreads, isn’t it? So yeah. Amazon will just collect the data and use it to better market books (possibly acquire books, too. Wonder if they’ll provide any of the data to the authors?).

It’s disturbing, but no different from Google or Facebook or any other big site. It’s too much to hope for Goodreads to be different. I am thinking this is a result of a living in a world with Big Data.

If I had to leave Goodreads for any reason, I would probably move to LibraryThing. I already have an account there. Or Shelfari. But I like LibraryThing better and it predates Goodreads anyway.