Off The Shelf: Book And Reader Resources


With Amazon’s upcoming acquisition of GoodReads I wanted to take a moment and talk about book and reader resources.

I’ve been a part of GoodReads since October 2011, and honestly wish I had found this site much sooner than that, and I have absolutely loved it. Not only does it allow me to keep track of the books I have read, the progress on the book(s) I am current reading and what I want to read in the future, but it also has a great community of readers. I can’t even count how many books I have added to my to-read list because of this site. Seeing other people review books, give recommendations and discuss books was the big appeal here. I joined a number of book clubs on GoodReads and while I am not actively posting in these clubs I do read a large majority of the book discussions and through that add more books to my shelves.

Another great part of GoodReads is that I am able to interact with authors. This in itself makes the site just amazing. I don’t go to author signings, or book conventions, or book releases, so being able to “talk” with an author via GoodReads is an amazing experience. It also allows me to actively keep track of authors future releases through a single site but I can also access author sites from it as well.

Now, to jump over to Amazon. I’ve been a customer of Amazon for probably around six years. Living in a small community I do a lot of shopping online and the majority of that has been through Amazon, this is for books and other things sold through their site. I haven’t had any negative experiences from them directly and overall I don’t mind the company even if some of their policies are a bit off and they have recently decided to buy a number of other company’s with various results.

About a year ago I discovered that Amazon ran the site Shelfari, which is in a way a book resource site somewhat similar to GoodReads. I was quite excited about this, but then upon going to the site I found it quite lackluster. The navigation was terrible, a large number of books weren’t even added there and attempting to add one was a royal pain. I do still use the site, strictly to post reviews but I find even that simple task to be a pain.

With the announcement that Amazon will be acquiring GoodReads there was a huge amount of discussions about it on Twitter and GoodReads and likely elsewhere. I don’t know if this is a good thing. If Shelfari is any hint to what Amazon will do to GoodReads then I worry about how long the site will last. I will not be abandoning GoodReads just because of this buyout, even though a number of people have already stated they will be doing just that, simply because doing that can only hasten the sites collapse if it is to come to that. However I will be backing up a lot of my information from the site in case Amazon enacts certain policies and deletes reviews or content. I also worry about what this means for user data. amazon is known to collect data about it’s users through it’s site.

Outside of these sites I do tend to keep lists both in a notebook and in Microsoft Excel to help me keep track of books, mostly series so I know what I have read, what I need to read and if there are any books in the series I need to buy still. While these systems may be a bit more involved to keep up to date and less than perfect when compared to GoodReads, or to a lesser extent Shelfari, however I think they are a useful way to keep track of books.

How do you feel about Amazon buying GoodReads? Good or Bad I’d love to hear your opinion on this but please respect others opinions. Are there other resources you use as a reader to keep track of your books?


4 thoughts on “Off The Shelf: Book And Reader Resources

  1. My main concern is the loss of an independent community where all readers and authors are welcome. Amazon and Goodreads are saying that Goodreads will continue to be such, but it’s hard for me to believe. Maybe you could start one?

    • I agree, the community part of it is the big key to Goodreads and that may disappear once Amazon takes over. Granted it may not but until we know what changes they plan to make, and witness any previously unannounced changes to the site, we are stuck in a waiting game and hoping that things remain as close to what they are now. I don’t think I have the knowledge or skill to start something like that, though I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that can and perhaps will if things on Goodreads take a turn for the worse.

  2. I keep my own records in a spreadsheet, but Goodreads is much nicer visually, and of course great for the social aspect. This is what I will truly miss if I do leave… and whether or not I do will depend on what changes Amazon makes, if any. I discussed more of my thoughts on the deal in my own blog post this morning, but basically what it comes down to for me is, “wait and see.”

    • Spreadsheet is a great way to keep track of things but I agree that Goodreads as the appeal of visually pleasing with a social aspect to boot. I’m the same way, while I doubt I’d fully leave Goodreads even if it took a turn for the worse I’m currently just sitting back and waiting to see what will happen with it.

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