Find Great Books with Goodreads

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I don’t use a lot of social media (I won’t bore you with all the reasons here),
but one of the sites I actually do love is Goodreads. Goodreads is a great site
for readers, helping participants keep track of what they read and to find
suggestions through other readers.

There are other book lover’s cataloguing sites out there – Library Thing and Shelfari
being two of the most popular – but I have been using (and enjoying) Goodreads
for awhile. And, instead of writing a long page of pros and cons, I’m going to
be lazy and make a bulleted list for the highlights.*


Things to like as a Reader:

  • It’s completely free.

  • You can be as active as you like. If you just want to keep a list of books, without
    rating or reviewing them, you can. At the other end of the spectrum, you can rate,
    review, send specific recommendations to friends, comment on friends’ reviews,
    participate in live chats with authors, and even arrange for book swaps.

  • They have an app, keeping you connected on virtually any device.

  • The reviews actually mean something. You can get reviews from Amazon or
    B&N, but half the time, those reviews are more about the retailer (or the
    other reviewers). For the most part, reviews on Goodreads are useful when I’m
    trying to decide what to read.

  • The recommendations engine is pretty decent. They take a look at your ratings
    in standard genres and will give you somewhat personalized suggestions. (And
    this part might get even better if they continue to work with the booklamp.org
    guys, who literally scan books for their DNA.)

  • You can see what your friends are reading. And, sometimes snarkily (I’m sure
    that’s a word) comment on their choices.

  • They offer book giveaways, and authors have their own pages/blogs so that you
    can get first-hand information on what’s new. There are also groups you can
    join who want to talk about books on specific topics.

  • You don’t feel as if you have to log in everyday! Or get sucked into the time-suck-warp (I’m looking at you, Pinterest).

  • They have some interactive features like the never-ending book quiz, reading
    challenges, and the year-end best books voting activity. And you can ignore
    these features or go hog-wild.

  • You can tie Goodreads into your Facebook or Twitter account.


Things to like as a Librarian:

  • You can keep track of what I’ve read. You know the feeling – a patron approaches
    and asks you for a good book in a certain genre and you go completely blank.
    This way, you can quickly scan through your shelves for a good suggestion.

  • Patrons can keep track of what they read. Anytime I see a patron with a
    notebook full of scraps of paper with book titles, I sweetly mention Goodreads.

  • You can create a page for your Library. Last year, we used our Goodreads Group
    page for Summer Reading, where people could post their reviews instead of
    filling out a physical form. In the future, I want to experiment with doing a
    Book Club online. You can also post videos or create polls on your Group page.

  • If you have NoveList or NoveList Plus, results are linked into Goodreads. And
    if you have NoveList Select, those Goodreads reviews can be linked to your
    catalog.

  • Because authors are using Goodreads for promotion, you have even greater access
    to them – in fact, some will even chat via your Group page.


One caveat:

Like every other social media, there are people on Goodreads who probably
should follow the old adage of keeping quiet if they can’t say something nice. Generally,
I think most people post appropriate, relevant, and/or constructive things, but
there are a few bullies out there. (And this goes for reviewers and authors!)


If you haven’t joined, at least check it out. I can’t promise you won’t get drawn in, but at least you’ll be doing
something you enjoy and might actually use at work. Find my info at
goodreads.com/jhills.



* I do realize that I probably will have written just as much in a bulleted list as I
would have in actual paragraphs, but this is one of those fibs I tell myself
when I need to get something done.