Talking Tech Friday – Goodreads

So, I’ve actually planned ahead and composed this post in advance to run on Friday.  Gotta love technology – while you’re reading this, I’ll be driving up through Utah to visit family.

Because I am lazy, though, I’m reviewing a website that I’ve actually been using for a while – Goodreads!  Some of you might not have heard of it though, so I hope this will be valuable.

What is it?

Goodreads is a social reading site, much like Library Thing.  The main difference is that Goodreads focuses more on connecting with your friends than Library Thing has in the past (though LT has been adding more social features lately).  You sign up with a name, email address and password.

How does it work?

Once you’ve created an account, you can add books to your shelf.  Adding a book is a simple one-click process, one of the features I particularly like.  You can browse collections by a variety of criteria, such as “Popular”, “Most Read”, or “Unpopular”, and rating a book adds it to your shelf.  Warning: this is a highly addictive activity.  You can also create different shelves, such as “To-Read” or “Currently Reading.”  The shelves function more like tags – if you add something to the “Fantasy” shelf, it tags the book as Fantasy.  You can also have a “shelf cloud,” which is just like a tag cloud, just different terminology.

Another fun feature is the discussion board.  Each book has a discussion board to which anyone can post.  If you’re interested in following a topic, you can subscribe to it, which is sent to your email.

The biggest strength of Goodreads, other than its simplicity of use, is the social networking.  You can invite and add friends both individually or through your web email contacts lists.  You can be notified when your friends add books to their libraries, you can comment on one another’s books, discuss books, leave comments, reviews, etc.  You can compare your collection and ratings with your friends as well.

Just as an example, here’s my Goodreads profile.

An interesting feature is that writers can share their work on Goodreads, allowing people to rate and review it.  This could be a great opportunity for budding authors to get feedback on their work.  Some popular authors are also on Goodreads, under an Authors tab, such as Neil Gaiman and Chris Crutcher.

Like many social sites, you can create your own group, such as the Books I Loathed group.  When creating a group, you can specify who can participate in the group – anywhere from everyone to by invitation only.

Finally, you can create a variety of widgets for displaying your books on other websites or blogs, as well as add it to your Facebook profile.

Possible Library Uses

Well, just about anything book related can be used for the library.  This would be great for library sponsored book clubs, discussion groups, as a way to highlight new acquisitions, etc.  I think in some ways this is a more user-friendly interface than even Library Thing which caters somewhat to librarians.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Library Thing!  But I do like how easy and quick it is to populate your Goodreads library.



~ by Anali on July 25, 2008.

One Response to “Talking Tech Friday – Goodreads”

  1. I like Goodreads because it focuses on what you have read, versus what you own. I don’t own a lot of what I read. I check it out at the public library. Many people ask about what they have read at the library and Goodreads is a good way to keep track of that. In fact, I turned my reading history on my Library account, I copied and pasted it to a text file then uploaded it to Goodreads. I think I have everything I have ever read listed.

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