So I learned the other day through a publishing-news email that Amazon.com is buying Goodreads. Since I read voraciously and use Goodreads as a simple way of keeping track of what I’ve read and want to read, this news popped out at me. On one hand, I thought, yes, it will be handy to be able to tie together some information from the two places because, yes, I do use Amazon a lot and I have a Kindle. But on the other hand, I did have to agree with some writers, like Rob Spillman on Salon.com, that this is not necessarily great news. As much as I do like using Amazon, I concur that I don’t want it pushing its way into the Goodreads community. Because that’s what Goodreads feels like: a cozy little reading community. It’s a library in which we can all mosey in and out, chatting quietly with each other about what we’ve read recently and getting and giving feedback. Now, it’s indeed going to feel like the Big Brother of Book Sales is going to be looking over our shoulders the whole visit, listening in and taking notes
(well, really, more like recording all our interactions via cameras on every wall, maybe in all kinds of other places, “Truman Show”-style).
Nope, I’m not thinking I’m liking this. Sometimes it’s still nice to have neutral places to visit and gather information (and people have to ask why I don’t watch any television news! ha!). And Goodreads has been great for that. Now, not so much. What’s also a little disturbing is that I don’t see any mention of this looming takeover anywhere on Goodreads. You’d think that the site would be sharing this news in a clear, obvious spot on its site, but nope. So I’m guessing most Goodreads users still have no idea this is happening. And that doesn’t seem quite right, either.
So. Time for someone to start up a new site that is actually neutral again? Any takers?
8 thoughts on “If you love Goodreads, what do you think about Amazon’s buyout?”
They bought Lovefilm now they are buying Goodreads – so from a business point of view, if a company is for sale, why not? From an ethical point of view – I don’t like it. I no longer have an Amazon account, although I still use the associates for now – I really want to support individual authors, small publishers and small independent retailers whilst still earning an affiliate living – if anyone knows how I (we) can do this, let me know.
Regarding this post more specifically, I think that when any discipline is run by just one corporation – the ability to be unbiased diminishes (look at news Corp as an example) – so as literary creative expression goes – the more independents the better, in my opinion.
Great post, thank you 🙂
I agree. From a business point of view, if someone wants to acquire a company, then fine. Of course, there are the possible issues of monopolies, which the government has to step in and do something about. But when it comes to the creative community, readers and authors alike, all this consolidating and corporatizing is NOT a good thing.
There were a bunch similar to Goodreads before Goodreads became the front runner (at least in some views). Wasn’t there one called Library Thing and another called something like Shelfsari? I for one home Goodreads stays much the same so I don’t have to relocate thousands of virtual books. 🙂
Yep, I was just looking at Library Thing the other day. Might need to start using it. I do hope Goodreads stays the same in use as well as in spirit because I’ve got a lot of books on there.
I have been using Shelfari.com for several years. They merged with Amazon last year, and I haven’t noticed any changes to the site or the community.
That’s good to know!
Goodreads did have an announcement in their blog, and a headline/link to it at the top of the home page, the night the news broke. I was surprised when I came back from a weekend away to see they’d already taken the link down. You’re right that it’s strange, and I do wonder how many casual users are aware of the buyout.
That’s interesting. I go on Goodreads usually at least every other day, so they probably had it up the day I didn’t get on there. But it does indeed seem strange that they didn’t make it more clearly known to all users. I searched for news about it on the regular website and didn’t see a thing. I guess we’ll just see what happens and what everyone thinks.