Goodreads: A book-reader’s delight

I’ve known about Goodreads for some 3 years and often marvelled at this book readers’ resource. I was introduced to it by a friend who sent me an invite to join it in 2007—I promptly did that, posted some quick reviews of my reads early on and then sort of stayed off it. In my defence, I saw that this friend hardly posted reviews of her own reads and I didn’t know anyone else who was using it. I made an attempt to lure readers in my extended family to the site but gave up when I didn’t succeed in that one try. I did subscribe to its monthly newsletter then and it kept me informed of new books and authors with its enticing book cover thumbnails and author interviews. See, how pretty the April newsletter looks.

Then, recently when I logged into my account after almost 2 years, and read my 10 or so book reviews posted on it initially, I was surprised to be reminded of those thoughts about those old reads. At that time, I resolved to post short reviews of my future reads so at least I’d be able to track them.

On a more recent visit to the site, I saw a familiar name ‘following my reads,’ and I liked to be able to scan the list of this young reader’s books and take tips on what I might read in the future. On that visit, I created a virtual shelf of my ‘to read’ books too. I searched and found another familiar name and started following this other friend’s book shelves. He’s a big reader so I know that there would be much to learn from his reviews.

So, you get the drift. Goodreads is a social networking site for book readers. Don’t let that daunt you though…you don’t have to chat or mingle with other individuals on the site unless you’re desperate to do so…wait…I don’t know if you can even do that for I haven’t exchanged a single message with the 2 friends on the site yet. If you’re a reader, you know the importance of leaving another reader alone…so, for starters, make the site a tracking tool of your books and read millions of reviews of any book published this far to make up your mind about your future reads. Then, only if you should want to, you can follow anyone’s virtual book shelves, make friends or join any active group. All these years, I’ve found it so difficult to decide what I should read next that knowing what acquaintances are reading, it’s become less onerous to decide one’s own reads…even if we can see a clear difference in our reading preferences and do not want to read everything others are reading.

Just a few days ago, I also downloaded Goodreads’ free app on the iPod Touch and now I’m able to search and read book reviews much faster than I do on the busy website. The app would do well with a couple more features but for now I’m glad to see it available to us.

Check out the site and you might thank me for this lead.

2 thoughts on “Goodreads: A book-reader’s delight

  1. Good one, Jyoti. I started off on GoodReads too during the early days, but have dropped off. It also makes me wonder that does the presence of FB lure one away from all other social activity online? While communities exist on FB of course, dedicated sites like Goodreads offer a different, more thoughtful experience. It would be a pity if FB swallowed everything else.

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    1. Hi Aparna…use of niche social networking sites would depend on our own awareness of their presence, directions and navigation, and of course our ability to align our interests to those spaces. Regular readers would see the stark difference between FB and Goodreads–one is for conversing with friends or brands and another an extension of our personal technologies, helping us track our reads and broaden our reading horizons. These purposes being different will fulfill different needs. We’ve to see how many of us increasingly get comfortable with online spaces–relying on only FB is not a comforting scenario. For now, I’m happy to see Goodreads updating its libraries regularly and available on our mobile devices too. It’s gotten easier to use it now.

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