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A privately run social cataloging website for readers.

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The Best Book Review and Cataloging Online Site!

  • Feb 17, 2010

is one of the best online book review sites I have had the pleasure to use. I've been a member for over a year and have seen the site improve during those months. The changes and options astound me. It's grown to more than just a book review site; it's a social networking site where you can meet and connect with other book lovers. I've even had the pleasure of adding some of my fellow lunchers as friends over there.

When you go to the site to sign up, you might get overwhelmed by all the options; I know I was! The first thing I did was create a profile page. It includes much of the same information that is now on my Lunch profile page (I copied the same data over here). I do have a different profile picture on my Goodreads page, though. The second thing I did when I joined was add books to my shelves. There are three default shelves that every user has when they join: To-Read, Currently-Reading, or Read. I used the standard ones first before I created my own shelves, which included:

  • in-Eureka
  • young-adult
  • fiction
  • fantasy
  • historical-setting
  • romance
  • england
  • manga
  • classic
  • mystery
  • science-fiction
  • america
  • suspense
  • in-Roseville
  • wishlist
  • children
  • picture-book
  • Christmas
  • non-fiction
  • Mexico
  • slavery
  • Spanish-language
  • first-reads
  • Swedon
  • auto-biography
  • goodreads-giveaway
  • in-storage

There is no limit to the number of shelves a user can create. In fact, if you are stumped about where to begin, you can see a list of common shelves and pick which ones you want to use from there. Since I have joined, there have been improvements to the shelf-listing. Goodreads now offers book swaps for users. So, you can include information for quality of a book, where you bought it, when you bought it, and book crossing id number. Even if you don't want to swap a book with other members, you can still indicate you own a book as well as the quality of the book. Now, you have a site where you can track the books you read and own all in one place!

Complimenting the "own" books section is the Goodreads Giveaways where members can list free books they want to give away. This feature is available to authors, especially new authors who want to advertise for their books and get members to rate them, and publishers. The higher the book rating the more often it will be featured or found by other users. However, if a general member wants to give away a book, she or he can use the Bookswap feature of the site. Goodreads Giveaways winners are randomly picked based on a variety of factors. The only negative aspect to this feature is the number of times a user can win. Since joining, I have only won a single giveaway book (I've entered hundreds). There are too many entrants to win more often than that.

Other features I enjoy include the trivia, quotes, and quiz sections of the website. Members can add trivia questions to the never-ending book quiz, and members can test their knowledge of books by answering them. Goodreads tracks data such as the number of questions answered, the number you have gotten correct, the number of questions you skipped, your ranking, your best and current streak, and the number of questions you have added. Some negative aspects to this feature is that you cannot restart your quiz score or get an answer changed if you accidentally clicked the wrong answer. Hopefully, the Goodreads staff with address these issues in the near future. I have been using the quotes section of the website since I first joined. Every time I finish reading a book, I save memorable quotes by author and title of the book. Other members read your quotes and rate whether they liked them or not. You can also specially arrange them in your favorite order. However, I have 50+ quotes, so I usually let it default them because it would be too much work to go through and edit the order manually. As for the quizzes section of the group, this is a new feature that was added within the past couple of months. I haven't used it much, but I find that it's rather useful when a member wants to make trivia questions all about one particular book. This is best used for book groups on Goodreads, another amazing way to connect with members.

I own one group on Goodreads, but I am a member of eight groups, not including my own. The one I own is called Cafe Libri; it has 62 members. I created it as a supplemental group for my Yahoo version. Most of the book discussions take place at the Cafe Libri Yahoo Group, but since so many of my members were also active members on Goodreads, I thought it would be fun to have a supplemental group there. So far, it's been very successful at connecting old members with new members who use Goodreads only. My total list of groups include:

  • Cafe Libri
  • Fantasy Book Club
  • Goodreads Feedback
  • Love Inspired Historicals
  • Poetry
  • Goodreads Librarians
  • Goodreads Author Outreach Project
  • The Riyria Revelations
  • Q&A with Katie MacAlister

One of the negative features about the groups is that some users of Goodreads can spam you with multiple invites. The only way to prevent this from occurring is by sending the user a message asking her or him to stop (which has always worked for me) or by blocking the user, which I am loathe to do. In the near future, I hope Goodreads will allow members to ignore book invites from a particular user. Each book group I listed has hundreds of members. My favorites include Goodreads Feedback, where you can offer advice for how Goodreads can improve their website, Poetry, which is where you submit poetry to be entered for publication by the monthly Goodreads newsletter, and finally Goodreads Author Outreach Project, where you can ask questions for many of the Goodreads authors, which include big names such as Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Lisa See, and Wil Wheaton, to name a few of my favorites. The groups themselves have a lot of features for the owner and users. You have a photo album, group book shelf, polls, and events listings. You can send out e-mails to all members of a group and create new folders and threads to keep your group organized. And of course, it is another fabulous way of connecting with other members of the site.

Even when you first join, there are some steps you take concerning your membership. First off, you have to indicate whether you are an author or a member. Authors have additional privileges than the regular members. After you have been a member for a while, there is the opportunity to become a Goodreads Librarian, which is my status. There is an application you have to fill out, and if you are approved, you will receive a message and be invited to the Goodreads Librarian group. Librarians can alter book entries, quotes, images, shelves, trivia questions, and even combine editions of a book. Librarians contribute to the site's continual growth as we are also allowed to add new books to the database. One of my happiest days with this site was when they approved my librarian status. I enjoy helping a website that I have invested a lot of time and effort into.

Overall, there are many features to explore once you join the site. The tabs at the top of your homepage make Goodreads a really user friendly place. When logging in, you always start at your "Home page" or "Home" tab. This is where you can see updates from your friends, your own reading progress, and your profile details, like if someone has sent you an e-mail message or is requesting to add you as a friend. People can also offer you book recommendations or invite you to events, which are all posted at your home page. There is also a mini-tab for quick access to your groups under the "Home" tab. The next tab on their site is "My Books." This is where you can view your shelves as well as the books you have most recently read. The next tab is for exploring and it's called "Find Books." You can browse by title, author, isbn, or genre. This section also lists the most popular read books, giveaways, recently reviewed, and ebook options. There is also a list of shelves that you can browser through to find new reads. Under the "Friends" tab, you can view data about your friends (such as books they have read or own) as well as friend requests that are pending. The tab with the most features is the "Explore" one. This includes the following list of options:

  • Books
  • Trivia
  • Quizzes
  • People
  • Authors
  • Videos
  • Writing
  • Quotes
  • Events
  • Swap

Most of these features I already explained earlier in this review. The only new categories include People, which allows you to see people who are online at Goodreads, Authors, which is a list of popular and recently online authors, Videos, which is a list of book related videos users can watch, and Writing, which is where members can write their own stories or blogs on their profile pages.

The final tab on a user's homepage is labeled "Groups." This one allows you to explore new groups you might want to join as well as viewing information about the groups you are currently in.

This website really has it all! There are so many features that you will never get bored as a member here. Plus, the owner (Otis) is constantly adding new features or improving on aspects that are already implemented but have slight complaints. The best part about Goodreads, and most social networking sites at this point, is the capability to connect it with other sites that I use often. Currently, I have Goodreads connected to my Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace accounts. I love that my updates can show up on all three websites at once.

It truly is astounding the number and types of websites available to the average online user. Goodreads is one of those gems that you won't want to let slip through your fingers.
The Best Book Review and Cataloging Site Online!

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September 25, 2010
Super review as usual, Adrianna! Be sure to go for your PhD! I stopped at an MS, which was a big mistake because a doctorate is essential in the sciences and very prestigious in the literary world as well!
September 28, 2010
Thanks for checking out this review, Pam! I know. I've been slacking too much with the Ph.D. applications. I hope to get a lot of work done on them this week. The doctoral is so important these days...I would hate myself if I gave up on my goal. Congrats on the MS, btw!
September 28, 2010
Keep chugging towards the PhD, Adrianna! I got my MS when I was 44 so you have a lot of time to get that degree!
September 28, 2010
Thanks. I need to keep remembering that. It's so easy to get discouraged through the whole process and feel like you will never get done. That or I get caught up with other things. Thanks for all the encouragement, Pam! I really need it! :)
July 04, 2010
So complete, I feel like I know more about Goodreads than I did when I signed up, several months ago. You're "The Manual That Should Have Come In The Box," as one series of computer books is subtitled. Beautifully done!
July 05, 2010
Thanks so much for the wonderful compliments, Tristan! I love the title of that computer series book. Quite catchy, lol.

I'm actually hoping to update this review in the next week or two once I finish some new book reviews. There's been new features that I want to mention as well as some new rules I didn't realize existed. I might lower my overall rating a little bit. I haven't decided yet, lol. The most difficult thing about Goodreads is that there is no tutorial!

I'm sending out a bulletin announcement to my friends once I edit this, so feel free to add me as a buddy if you want to re-read it once I've finished. :)
March 29, 2010
I am a member of Shelfari but haven't tried Goodreads. I attended a "tech night" at my local library a few weeks ago where a librarian went online with LibraryThing (her favorite) and Goodreads to discuss their various benefits. Maybe I will do a review of Shelfari for comparison purposes. :)
March 30, 2010
I might just have to try Shelfari now. I'm going to revise my Goodreads review and give them a slightly lower score. There's been some changes, or at least I noticed some aspects that I hadn't before, about the site that really irk me. I've never heard of LibraryThing. Maybe I should try that. I would love to read a review on Shelfari! It would help me to decide if I should use it or not.
February 25, 2010
Great review of Goodreads! I'll have to go and check the site out. :-)
February 25, 2010
Thanks, Pard! I think you would like this site if you checked it out. I don't remember how much you read, but it's a fun place to catalog and review books. You also get plenty of suggestions from other readers, and there are a TON of library people there. Loads of fun!
More Goodreads reviews
review by . December 09, 2014
Goodreads, good for the reader, good for authors
This is a book cataloging site that helps me to be organized and to discuss the books I've read.      One fun aspect of this site is in the groups it provides so many  choices to become involved with.   For instance, I am in the club read with a goal of 100 books in a year. There are also groups for giveaways, historical mysteries and many more.      The site is easy to use so that now since I'm in an outside book club, I can put the …
review by . October 25, 2012
I can't remember what my life was like before goodreads and, honestly, I don't want to. It's a lifesaver to track the books I've read and reviewed, what my mom has out from the library, not to mention what all of my friends are reading. Not thrilled with the latest site redesign but that's hardly enough to counter all of the other enviable features.
review by . September 25, 2010
Of the various sites out there for adding, cataloging and reviewing books, I have found that I like GoodReads over all of them. Perhaps it is the ease of use mostly since computer accessibility and utilization is important to me.      But I also like the displays, the ways to catalog and show books...      I have also found I like the interaction better...perhaps because there is a lot of activity there or because I know a number of members as clients...In …
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2010
This site is a must for all bibliophiles. Since I've started using it, I've not only found new books to read, I've also revisited books I haven't seen since I was a kid. I even got a free book from their giveaway program, and I hope to get more. An excellent and well-organized website.
Quick Tip by . September 30, 2010
Love Goodreads. My fav. for book networking and cataloging.
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
I love goodreads. I am very skeptical of reading a book without any prior knowledge about it so goodreads is a great means for me to see who I have common book interests with and what else they have enjoyed.
Quick Tip by . February 28, 2010
I've tried several social bookshelves, but goodreads has kept my attention. Clean interface and simple widgets won me over.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2009
Great for reading book reviews, but especially for keeping your personal library catalog with books you read/are reading/want to buy.
About the reviewer
Adrianna Simone ()
Ranked #18
MY GROUPS (AND COMMUNITY):      The following information was taken from the officialCafe Libri Website.   Cafe Libri (Yahoo Reading Discussion Group)is the original Cafe … more
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About this website


Goodreads is a privately run "social cataloging" website started in December 2006 by Otis Chandler, a software engineer and entrepreneur. The website permits individuals to sign up and register books to create their library catalogs and reading lists. As of December 2007 the site has over 650,000 members and over 10,000,000 books added.

The first year of the company was run without any formal funding. In December 2007 GoodReads received their first round from angel investors believed to be around $750,000.

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