when are we going to rise against goodreads?

Let’s be real. We readers deserve better than Goodreads.

First of all, IT DOESN’T WORK. It is widely accepted that the search bar on Goodreads is an actual joke. More often than not, it comes up with books that have literally no relation to the book you’re looking for. Sometimes this can come up with hilarious titles, but a lot of the time it’s just frustrating. The ‘recommended titles’ part of the site is also horrendous – I literally don’t know anyone who uses this function. I also feel like it doesn’t work because there are bits that I just don’t realise are there. I’ve never once gone into ‘Quotes’ or ‘Ask the author’. Maybe that’s just me not exploring the site, but I’ve never once been told why I should explore it, or why these functions might be cool or useful.

Secondly, as a social media platform it just fails. One of the most annoying things is that there’s a friend limit (you can only have 5000 friends, which might seem like a lot, but if you’re looking to friend a blogger or author with a big following, you’re probably out of luck). I’ve also found it really difficult to have conversations with people on there, either through commenting on someone’s review, or by the messenger function. They’re both clunky, and when having a conversation under a review, it insists on quoting the previous person’s comment.

Screenshot 2019-10-22 11.16.14

Because of this, I find it really hard to have a meaningful discussion on Goodreads, and I usually just end up going to Twitter to do so.

Also, I’m fairly sure that the site is owned by Amazon! That’s why there’s the button on there that allows you to immediately go to Amazon’s site and buy the book you’re looking at. Other than the fact that Amazon is actual trash as a company, surely we should have link options other than Amazon? (And Book Depository, because they’re owned by Amazon too.) I would love to see a book site that sent you straight to the publisher’s website, or even just one that gave you different filter options, like by searching by price or location. Also, I think that some of the reason why Goodreads is so clunky and annoying to use is because it is owned by Amazon. I’ve always got the impression that the company doesn’t care about Goodreads at all. It would be so much cooler to have a site that was actually run by people who loved books, and wanted to help people discover new ones and have discussions about them.

So, on that note, when are we going to eventually band together and create our own site? I’ve tried a couple of different ones, such as LibraryThing (verdict: even clunkier than Goodreads) and Bookly (verdict: you have to pay, so I’m not using it). But they just don’t work the way that I need them to. I wish that I had the coding skills to be able to do this myself, but unfortunately I just don’t. However, if anyone was to try and create a book site that had features like a proper instant messenger, a way to actually get good recommendations, and wasn’t run by a megacompany like Amazon? I’d be THERE. Need data entry or marketing help? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.

If you know of any bookish websites that could replace Goodreads, leave them in the comments! One of my goals for 2020 is to move away from Goodreads and Amazon, and try supporting different book websites/companies, so that would be a great help.

4 thoughts on “when are we going to rise against goodreads?

  1. Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical says:

    Goodreads is a weird site – I like it, because for what I use it (keeping track of my books) it works fine, but at the same time, it could be so much better. The worst part of goodreads is 1000% the search bar, imo; the way it “functions” – if we can call it functioning – is atrocious. And the recommended reads sections, wow, so inaccurate. Besides what you said, there could be a place for trigger warnings that could be suggested by the community, and lots of other cool/useful things.

    I remember a few years ago there was a blogger and web-designer who did a fundraiser for a site that would be similar to goodreads but better – unfortunately, she never reached her goal, and so it didn’t happen. (I’m pretty sure I remember who it was, but don’t want to say it in case I’m wrong.) I was sad, because she had some great ideas – e.g. searching for books based on genres – we could have selected multiple sub-genres + topics and found books that fit them, which isn’t something goodreads allows.

    Anyway, this was a great post!! 🙂

    Like

  2. colorfulbookreviews says:

    Goodreads is such an interesting site. I was around in the very early days when everything was Goodreads vs. LibraryThing and honestly preferred LT in so many ways. Then GR incorporated many of the best features of LT. Then the corporate takeover happened and innovation was replaced by commercialization. I use both to some degree. Most of my personal/family library is cataloged in an unlimited LT account. Then I use GR for reviews, series information, and cover checks, since it tends to have more. For Amazon, I do use their wishlist feature quite a bit but now that they are up to some shady business with removing/reordering items I’m starting to move those elsewhere. And I continue to order books from them occasionally in order to keep the Look Inside feature because so many titles aren’t on Google books or don’t have publisher previews.

    Like

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