Reading and Ranting: Et Tu Goodreads?


This week I wanted to touch on the recent ‘drama’ with Goodreads and how I ‘deal’ with stuff like this. I also wanted to give some site recommendations to those who find themselves wanting to move on to a new site. For the record I’m not attacking, insulting, or picking on anyone. These are just my thoughts on the matter, pure opinion and that’s that. If the post becomes a problem I will not respond to those who chose to be uncivil, nor will I agree with those who attack others on my behalf.


So there was a recent announcement on Goodreads in the Feedback group (located here: Regarding Review) that has received some major ire from a lot of Goodreads users.

Some of this has kind of irritated me to be honest, because in my opinion this post isn’t shocking or outraigious. In fact I pretty much see where they are coming from. In the past year Goodreads has constantly exploded as an epicenter of author/reviewer and reviewer/reviewer fights, and it was honestly getting incredibly ridiculous. I remember when it was rare and I was actually interested enough to get upset with everyone else, but now I see it happen, I roll my eyes, and I move on.

People would say it’s because I’ve never had someone attack me over a review or I’ve never dealt with an unruly author, but the thing is I have. I dealt with it in a calm manner even when the author was not so calm and throwing accusations, I treated them with respect even when they gave me none. Life is short and I don’t have time to spend on petty review related drama, even when it’s centered around me. But at the same time I can look at my reviews and know that I haven’t crossed the line into being disrespectful or deliberately hurtful and I haven’t taken the time to single anyone out. I haven’t given anyone ammunition to single me out as a bully or an instigator. I understand about having opinions and wanting to voice them, but it’s important to remember that there is a human on the other end of this and you don’t know how they respond.

I digress, back to Goodreads. While I don’t entirely agree with everything they posted it is their site and their right to do so. As a Goodreads user I know that I’m borrowing space on their servers and each review I place on there is on borrowed bandwidth. I’m not entitled to anything. Yes I’d be pissed if they deleted my reviews without letting me know beforehand, but at the same time I know that if I did something that went against their TOS I’ve lost the right to complain. It’s the whole reason most sites make you click ‘I agree’ before you get the chance to fully access anything.

The same thing goes for shelves made to single people out. I will admit I keep track of authors who behave badly BUT I do not do it on Goodreads, I have a notebook. It’s a tiny cheap notebook I keep in my desk that has two purposes, to tell me which authors are acting like crazy people and to tell which books are re-worked fanfiction. Just so I have a heads up if I ever decide to read that person’s book in the future what I may deal with. It works for me because:

  • It’s convenient and I can carry it to the store.
  • No one but me knows who is on that list
  • Drama free!
  • No one can delete it. (Unless someone throws it away…in which case I can complain because I paid for the notebook).

So at the end of the day I know I’ll still be using Goodreads. I also use other book sites, but I don’t plan on deleting or moving unless they become cruel tyrants…which I don’t see happening really. So on to site recommendations:

Sites I’ve used:

  • Book Likes: It’s kind of like a mix of Goodreads, Shelfari and Tumblr. You have a ‘blog’ that people can follow, where you can review books or make general posts. It’s linked up to Amazon and Kobo, maybe a few others but I’m not sure which. It also allows you to have personalized shelves. This site is growing fast and I really enjoy it.
  • LibraryThing: I find this one to be really restrictive because it has a paid service and a free one. So you can kind of guess the free one only allows for so much use. It’s set up kind of odd as well, so it might not be for everyone.
  • Shelfari: This one is more of a social type book site that really pushed group use. I’ve been using this one for a very long time and I like it but it’s not my favorite set up. It was bought out by Amazon aΒ  year or so ago.
  • Riffle: This is a social media connected book cataloging app. It has a shelf system and you can connect with other people. I think it’s okay but I’m not really all that into it.

Sites I just found:

  • This is a home library management app. I’ve never used it but I’m going to check it out just because I enjoy lists and catalogs.
  • aNobii: It seems to have a shelf system as well as groups.
  • The Reading Room: Another social book site that seems to have a bookshelf system and focuses on book clubs.
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22 Responses to Reading and Ranting: Et Tu Goodreads?

  1. Christy @ Love of Books says:

    Word. I agree with everything you said, Michelle.

  2. Great post and you know how I feel about drama and how I deal with issues. I have tried several of the sites you mentioned but I like GR. Like you I keep my little black book off site. Mine is actually a folder on my pc and smartphone but like you it’s for my eyes only . My motto is : life is too short and my tbr pile to large to deal with drama. I state my opinions in a respectful manor and censor how I react to outlandish behavior. Peace, Love and Books πŸ™‚

  3. Lauren says:

    Nice post. I also see where Goodreads is coming from but I do not like the way they have gone about it. Deleting content is censorship.

    Have a great week.

  4. Great post Michelle, I love how your one is all like “Keep Calm and Carry On” lol. I’ve read a few rants from other bloggers about it and I can see where they are coming from, but when it comes to Internet Drama I tend to stay out of it. As much as I can, anyway.

  5. Susanna P says:

    I don’t really understand this issue with GoodReads because the few times an author has commented on what I’ve posted, it remained perfectly respectful. Then again, I don’t actually post a whole lot of reviews on the site.

    What I actually wanted to comment about, though, was LibraryThing – you mentioned that you enjoy cataloging, and it’s the best site I’ve found for that. Yes, the fee is a bit annoying, but the one-time “recommended” price for a life-long, never-expiring membership is only $25, and I’ve found it well-worth my while. I thought it was the easiest interface to use for cataloging, especially given the amount of information that can be displayed on the page for each book without junking up your screen.

  6. Very tough issue. Goodreads is so popular, but I see both sides I guess. I just joined Booklike yesterday

    • It is. I understand where everyone is coming from but at the same time it’s just borrowed space. I like Booklikes it’s really easy to follow and keep up with everyone. I’m importing all of my books now, which is going to take like a week…

  7. I use Goodreads, but I tend to stay away from drama. I do use Booklikes, and started importing books. It seems to be user friendly. πŸ™‚

  8. Jessica says:

    I agree with everything. When you sign up to a use a site, you agree to their TOS. I still think Goodreads could have implemented a private shelf option. I think most of the anger comes from the fact GR still hasn’t addressed the issue by emailing users and instead it was left to users to get the word out.

    The thing with LibraryThing is that most people who use it are librarians. I prefer LT over GR. I have gone over the 200 books limit, but I bought a lifetime membership which helps them with server costs, staff, etc. They also have a common knowledge feature where you can include facts about a book or author, like character names and awards. I like the local area where they list information based on your location regarding upcoming book signings or info on local bookstores and you can add events not listed.

  9. I mostly agree with you but I think it’s wrong they just deleted reviews without warning. I really love using GR and don’t want to move anywhere else. Like you I have had my own (small) issues with authors but like you I kept them quiet as that is my way of doing things. I don’t track authors anywhere but I have a memory like an elephant so I know who to stay clear of in the future!
    All the drama is very negative and be a bit draining so I tend to avoid it where possible. I do feel GR are firmly on the side of authors though and as a reviewer who loves the site that makes me a bit sad.

  10. Lucy says:

    Goodreads is a hard habit to break. I don’t like the stunt they pulled but I can’t pull the plug completely. I think I’m following you on Booklikes- still learning how to use that site! I don’t use LibraryThing enough, but their Early Reviewers program is great.

  11. I agree that It’s Goodreads right to do what they want. Though I would not want my review taken down without warning.. I do hope they change that part. I don’t think I really have anything though that I am in fear of disappearing so maybe that’s part of why I don’t care so much.. Thanks for sharing about Booklikes! It’s super pretty haha. I set up a profile and figured out how to transfer over my books from goodreads.. though now there is ALOT of editing to do haha. I do hope they make an App like goodreads, I can’t access the web page on my phone because of the giant video blocking the login screen haha. But ANYWHO thanks for your honesty and for sharing new sites to check out!

  12. Vilia says:

    I can see why Goodreads has taken the stance they have and I understand the reactions that people have had. I do think however that Goodreads could have been a little more upfront with their policy change. Emailing everyone might lead to huge numbers of people bailing but they could have at least put a link up on the site saying updated TOS. 95% of people probably wouldn’t bother clicking on it but Goodreads would have discharged their duty to their users.

  13. Belle Read says:

    Oh my goodness! I know! I too keep a notebook. I am free to make my own choices, but see no need to make everything public. I wish that I could get to the place where I could shrug it off when I see these things. I admit to feeling a little bit of stress. At one point I even stepped back from blogging because of the nonsence. Although I was never involved, it just seemed to take a bit of the pleasure away, replacing it with stress. It just shouldn’t be.
    Great post. Thank you for the bookish links. I will have to check them out.
    -Dilettantish Reader

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