Goodreads is an online platform for book enthusiasts, originally developed for maintaining reading lists, sharing book reviews and eventually to build a network of readers. I’ve been a member of Goodreads since 2011 and I’ve used Goodreads regularly for a long time, but not anymore. There are features I love about Goodreads and things I don’t like about Goodreads. Nowadays, I still use it but not much often. Based on my personal experience with Goodreads, in this article, I am sharing 5 reasons why I like using Goodreads and 5 reasons I don’t like it.
5 Reasons why to use Goodreads?
1. Managing reading lists:
The core feature of Goodreads is maintaining reading lists. There are three inbuilt lists: to-read, currently-reading and read. Users can also create custom reading lists. This feature is pretty handy when it comes to quickly add a book you like to your Goodreads list so as not to miss it.
2. Book reviews
You can post a review and rating of a book you’ve read and look at the reviews and ratings other users have posted. Before starting a new book, I look for the reviews posted by other users. This way I can get an idea of the book and decide whether to invest time on that. Click here to read the book reviews on Writoscope.
3. Goodreads Reading challenges
I feel motivated by tracking the progress of the things I do. Goodreads has a feature where you can set up a reading challenge of the number of books you are going to read in a year. It keeps reminding how behind or ahead I am on my schedule for reading books I’ve targeted for the year. You can also see the challenges your friends have set up.
4. Integration with amazon kindle
Since Amazon owns the Goodreads, they have integrated the Goodreads app within Amazon Kindle, the ebook reader. Which makes it very convenient to track the books you are reading on the kindle. Though it doesn’t have all the features Goodreads provides, I love this feature because it does the job. You can also take a look at one of my article on ebooks vs printed books. Ebooks vs Printed books: 7 reasons one is better than the other.
5. Exploring new books
Goodreads have a huge database of books, genres and reviews. Their recommendation algorithm isn’t impressive but good enough to explore new books. Especially when it comes to finding other books written by a particular author I am interested in.
5 Reasons why not to use Goodreads?
1. Average Star ratings
Average Star ratings on Goodreads are highly misleading most of the times. A lot of users just rate a book without giving it a deep thought. You might hate a book with a high average rating and love a book with a low average rating. I wish there was an average rating for the books which had a properly written review. So do not rely on the average rating of a book, because mathematically, averages are often misleading. If you are looking for a book on Goodreads, try to read some detailed written reviews on it instead of relying on the overall rating.
2. Not all books can be organised in lists
You cannot organise the lists and books precisely. There are books which can’t be ever marked as read or currently-reading. There are non-fiction books like reference books, encyclopaedias, etc which you have in your collection. The ones you read once in a while by picking a random topic. But you will never read it from cover to cover. So, you cannot classify them in any list so they are not counted in your reading progress even if you have spent time reading them. Goodreads isn’t good at this.
3. Goodreads is buggy
Amazon owns the Goodreads, but if you look at the platform, it looks pretty old. It appears that Amazon didn’t put much effort into keeping it up to date with the latest technologies. Android and iOS apps are full of bugs. There are a lot of bugs on the platform. Especially one, which bugged me a lot was, every once in a while, it starts showing me incorrect counts on my lists and challenges.
4. Lack of community moderation
I realised that it is very hard to get quality content from the communities & groups on Goodreads. They are full of irrelevant content and spam. It is really hard to find or discuss something useful. So Goodreads doesn’t do well on moderating the content on the discussion groups.
5. Content Duplication
While exploring the books and adding them to your lists. Often, You’ll see a book appearing multiple times, differing in editions and covers. So without realising if a book is already in any of your lists, you’ll end up having multiple books of the same title in your list, thus affecting your reading progress and challenges.
Takeaway: Use it or not?
I’d say it is a great platform to look for the book reviews (not ratings) and managing your to-read list. But not for tracking the read or currently-reading list. Use it for exploring new books, what your friends are reading, but don’t stick to it for all of your reading goals. Try it yourself and see which features work for you and which don’t.
Do you use Goodreads or planning to use it? Share your experiences with us in the discussion section. You can contact us if you have any questions or requests.