As many of you already know, on March 28 Goodreads announced on its blog that Amazon bought the extremely popular book review site. As Goodreads fans reacted and Twitter almost exploded with the news, all I really wanted to know is: How will this affect me, the reader?
There’s some speculation as to what will actually happen (and you never really know), but there are a few things we know for now, and I have a few of my own predictions as well.
How Will Goodreads Change?
My first initial thought on hearing the news was that Goodreads was going to be absorbed into the Amazon website or become some grotesque mash-up of the two entities. In reality, it doesn’t seem like either is going to happen.
According to the Goodreads blog post announcing the news, “Amazon supports us [Goodreads] continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.”
I interpreted that to mean: when you go to Goodreads.com, your profile, friends, book reviews and friend’s recommendations will all be exactly the same. Amazon is leaving Goodreads the way it is.
Which even includes leaving in links to sites like Barnes and Noble and Indiebound.
Russ Grandinetti, the VP of Kindle content, said in this article, “It’s incredibly important to us that Goodreads remain a platform for all kinds of readers to use, whether they’re reading paper or on their Nook or Kindle or whatever. We always want Goodreads to be a place for people to share and talk about books…As for specific design of [the links], we’ll see, but we really think about it from the user perspective. If users really want those links [to other retailers], then those links will probably still be there.”
In fact, the only big change that was formally announced was better integration of Goodreads on Kindle. “You’ve asked us for a long time to be able to integrate your Kindle and Goodreads experiences. Making that option a reality is one of our top priorities.”
I imagine this to include being able to quickly view on Kindle what Goodreads friends had to say about a book. I’m ALL for that!
I think a lot of us are very protective of Goodreads. It has been a fairly book seller neutral place that fosters an environment of reviews we can trust. I am hesitantly optimistic and will wait to see what happens.
What I’d Like To See Change
With a backer like Amazon ($$$$), I think a few things can and should be updated/refreshed with Goodreads. Maybe I’m just picky, but I definitely think Goodreads could use an updated design. The book “newsfeed” stream is not the prettiest thing to look at.
More so, though, I would LOVE to see more functionality on Goodreads and increased social features. Like, being able to sort your to-be-read books by publication date (which is not even an option at all right now).
Also, it would be really cool to see a book-for-book comparison with Goodreads friends. There is a bit of that now, but how awesome would it be to see every book you and your friends have both read and check out what you both rated it?
Enough about my thoughts.