I never thought I would join Goodreads. It’s a website where you can rate, review, recommend books, plus interact with other book lovers and some authors too. I felt that I didn’t have the time for it, as the more online platforms I’m registered with, the more I feel – to quote Bilbo Baggins – like butter scraped over too much bread.
This blog will always be my number 1 priority for book reviews and other content. I go through phases of using Twitter a lot, as it’s easy to connect with other book lovers and writers and to promote my blog posts. Instagram I never used as much, although that might change since I recently discovered I can upload to it from my computer instead of my phone. Some of my reviews can be found on NetGalley but only perhaps 1 or 2 a month. So where does Goodreads fit in?
When looking for advice for soon-to-be-published authors, I read that it’s worthwhile joining Goodreads, where you can then have an Author Page and interact with other users. Currently I’m on there as a regular book lover. Even before I joined, I knew there were various issues and controversies with the platform. However, as with Amazon (the owner of Goodreads), such a huge source of reviews cannot be ignored and it’s realistically one of the first places that people will try and it does come up very high in search engine results too. Moreover, as I will be publishing my novel through Amazon, I can’t be hypocritical.
After about a week of using Goodreads, I seem to have got the hang of the basics. Here are my impressions of the pros and cons – which of course, if you’re a practised user, you may be able to comment on, or add some of your own:
- You can add any books to any lists that you create. I have added nearly all of the books I own to a list that I’ve called ‘owned books’. I see that other people have created lists of their favourites, or themed lists.
- The ability to connect with and make friends. Currently I have some friends on there I already knew from other platforms. If I see someone I know, I can send them a friend request.
- Recommendations based on what you’ve read. It’s always useful to have these and it’s easy to mark them as ‘want to read’.
- It’s interesting to see what other people on there are reading – which is not necessarily the same as what they are reviewing or featuring on their other platforms.
- The site seems clunky to me and not very user-friendly. It’s annoying to get the ‘captcha’ so often when submitting reviews. I’m fed up of clicking on the parking meters, bridges, etc.
- When searching for a book, it often appears under the American title and cover design. This shows up how patronising these are and just irritates me because they are not exactly the same as my copies.
- Ratings. I never use ratings for the reviews on my blog, although I of course have to use them for NetGalley and Amazon. I feel that ratings are not always that helpful and the interpretation varies.
- It’s difficult to find people on there in the ‘find a friend’ search box. If you want to find me, you have to search for ‘nsford’ because ‘N S Ford’ won’t return a result, I don’t know why.
I’m adding a small selection of my book reviews from this blog to Goodreads, particularly for books without many reviews on there, but the blog is where you’ll see new reviews first.
If you’d like to be friends on Goodreads, here’s the link to my profile.