What better way to introduce bookish social network Goodreads, which launched in January 2007, than in their own words?
Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Our mission is to help people find and share books they love.
What can you do on Goodreads? Again, in their own words:
- See which books your friends are reading
- Track the books you’re reading, have read and want to read
- Check out your personalised book recommendations. Our recommendation engine analyses 20 billion data points to give suggestions tailored to your literary tastes
- Find out if a book is a good fit for you from our community’s reviews
So basically Goodreads is heaven for voracious readers! When you surf to the website as a new user, you are greeted with the tagline “Meet your next favourite book.” Creating a new account is very easy. You can either put in your name and email address, or you can just link up to Facebook.
And it is as easy as that! Next you can start setting up your account. Firstly, find your friends also on Goodreads by connecting to Facebook or your mailboxes. Secondly, set yourself a reading goal for 2016 (you can find mine here). And then it’s time to start letting Goodreads know what kind of books you like to read. Start by choosing the genres you like to read and let Goodreads propose you a whole array of books in those genres.
I suggest taking a bit of time to get this part right, because Goodreads learns about your personal tastes from your ratings. What do you need to do? Rate the books you have read, between one and five stars, and indicate the books you want to read. That way Goodreads will get an idea about the books you like and what you have already read. Based on this, the site will propose new books for you to read. You need to rate at least 20 books to get personalised recommendations.
Meet your next favourite book.
And that is it. You can now start enjoying the bookish awesomeness that is Goodreads. You can make as many virtual bookshelves as you want. You can catalogue what you’ve read, when you’ve read it and whether or not you own a copy of the book. You can also rate and post reviews of the books you’ve read, and sort them onto your bookshelves. And of course, you can also start your To-Read list, and keep track of what you are reading right now. Last but not least, besides the bookshelves, you can also make book lists.
And of course, you can share all of this with the entire Goodreads community (and look at all they’ve done too). In the set-up process you can already find friends you know that are on Goodreads, but you can also connect with anyone else you want. You can become Goodreads friends with authors, other readers, form an online book club, anything you want. And Goodreads also has a chat feature to stay in touch with your new Goodreads friends. If you’d like to add me, you can find me here.
Now, which books are on Goodreads? Well, basically all of them. Yes I’m kidding, but there really are millions and millions of books on the platform. I haven’t often searched for a book that wasn’t on there. And even when this happens, you can add the book yourself. You can search by title, author and genre. You can also find all the books that are part of a series, and check out everything an author has written on his or her author page.
But those are just the basics. What else does Goodreads have to offer?
- Goodreads hosts Choice Awards once a year, which you can vote in.
- You can find a list of new releases per month, sorted by author or by genre
- You can join Groups around every subject imaginable and also create groups of your own to discuss books, authors, new releases, characters, … The subjects are as wide and varied as you can imagine.
- Another feature of Goodreads I really like, is the Quotes-section. You can save quotes from your favourite books on your profile and share them with friends. But they aren’t just quotes from books, also from writers and other famous people. (and yes, you can add quotes yourself)
- And then there are the Q&As: Ask the Author, because Goodreads is not only meant for readers, but for authors as well.
- You can find a whole bunch of news and interviews there too, and millions of fun facts as well..
- There are also millions of bookish quizzes on Goodreads: knock yourself out and test your book knowledge against other users and your friends.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” (Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey)
Now there are two features which I would like to talk about in more detail. Because Goodreads also has a great blog where you can find interesting articles about everything to do with books. Some of my recent favourites are:
- 15 of your biggest grammar and punctuation pet peeves
- 12 things to never, ever say to a book lover
- 24 books (and series) with truly satisfying endings
And, besides the blog, Goodreads also does… Giveaways, where authors and publishers give away books to members. These prizes are usually prereleases, that you get for free! It is an unspoken agreement that you, in turn, rate the book on Goodreads and write your thoughts down in a small review. If you don’t feel like doing it, that’s okay too. But authors sometimes choose who wins their books, so if you already have a lot of reviews on the site, you are more likely to get chosen (and no, they don’t all have to be good reviews – the Goodreads community values honesty in reviews).
And like I already mentioned, Goodreads isn’t just for readers, but for writers as well. So there is an enormous section of Creative Writing where everyone can submit stories, poems, writings, and everything they want. Other users can then read the stories and comment on them. As you can guess, most of what is on there is fanfic, but there is also quite a lot of original work. I really like scrolling through the stories and have found some interesting things already.
There is one other feature of Goodreads that I haven’t yet talked about: the Upcoming Events. These can be both real-life as online events, and can be hosted by authors and users alike. I haven’t really used this feature, since it’s not really developed in Belgium. What can you find here? Author appearances, book club meetings, book swaps and so much more. Feel free to browse and discover it for yourself.
Now, what is it that I like about Goodreads? Well, basically everything! I love the recommendations, especially since they get better and better the more you add to the platform. I also love the giveaways, because, well, who doesn’t like to get books in prerelease for free? I have also collected a number of quotes from my favourite books and authors and I love the search tool. It doesn’t happen often anymore that I don’t know what to read. I’ll just go to Goodreads and look in my recommendations. Then, I will look at a number of reviews to get an overall feel of the book, which helps me decide whether or not to read the book. Because once I start a book, I will finish it, no matter how much I might hate it. And if it’s a series… if I’ve committed to the first book, I will finish it (because you know, it might get better later on!). And believe you me, Goodreads has saved me a whole lot of time and frustration with their search function.
So, that is it. Now you know Goodreads. Only one thing left to do: go there now and create your account and enjoy the bookish awesomeness. You’re welcome.