When I discovered Goodreads last summer I was intrigued. I hadn’t really thought about what the site was or how it could be used in terms of marketing books. My first thought was, “What a lovely site for book nerds to come together and talk about their favorite thing: books!”
I have since become a Goodreads user, emphasis on the word “user.” I don’t write reviews and I don’t contribute to book discussions. I rate books and mark them “to-read” or “read” for my own personal enjoyment. I have just two “friends” on the site. I’m never critical of a book I “star” because I wouldn’t finish reading it if I didn’t enjoy it at least a little bit. My minimum score is three stars. I often agonize over the fact that you can’t rate a book with ½ stars. What if I think a book really deserves a ½ star more, but I don’t think it deserves five? It’s my one, really BIG complaint about Goodreads.
When Amazon bought Goodreads in May 2013, there was a lot of shock, concerns, and jokes. What would the acquisition mean for this trendy little book site? Would Amazon completely change the platform? Would people have to pay a subscription? Maybe more advertising would fill up your screen or worse, you’d have to sign into an Amazon account to use it! I think my favorite tweet was:
@faitherinhicks: Amazon bought Goodreads? ... that's gross. :(
@FakeEditor: Amazon just bought Goodreads. And in other news, Barnes & Noble didn't.
In a recent interview with the Atlantic, Goodreads founders Otis and Elizabeth Chandler answered questions about the evolution of their online community and the backlash they incurred as a result of the Amazon purchase. Back in May, many users’ opinions were clouded by a strong dislike for Amazon and the theory that Amazon would take away crowdsourced reviews, along with everything else that could possibly be good about Goodreads. Another tweet:
@okgirl96: I don't view Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads as a positive. Inevitable, yes.