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.
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.