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Book-Talk Monday: Do You Goodreads?

Monday, July 22, 2013


Okay, so maybe Goodreads won’t enter the vernacular as a verb the way Google did, but the question still stands—are you a Goodreads user?

I’ve been a “member” since 2008, but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve really figured out how I want to use it. Back when I first joined the site, I tried to go through and enter all of my books and, for a moment, I think I’d accomplished that. But as I’m constantly adding books to my personal library (especially now that I have a Kindle), and as I check a lot out from the library, I didn’t really know how to keep up with all of that. Plus there was the fact that I wasn’t doing a lot of reading those first few years I was a member. So really, it was just a site to catalog my books, and I didn’t really see the point.

Back in 2011, when I stopped editing for a living and was able to start reading for pleasure again, I started tracking what I was reading to see if I was meeting the annual goals for numbers of books read I was setting at the beginning of each year. Because I’m a visually oriented person and I don’t like the idea of posting reviews on Amazon—there have been far too many issues with them taking down reviews by people who are published authors, and it just felt weird to do it under my own name (as an author) when I didn’t like a book enough to rate it higher than 3-stars—I decided to start tracking on Pinterest. But because of the word-count limit there, I couldn’t always post my full thoughts on what I’d read and why I’d given it the rating I gave it. Plus, other than the few people who might see it when I pinned it, it wasn’t really getting out there. I know that it’s important to make sure that I’m as public as possible with what I’m reading (especially the stuff I really like) to help support the authors whose books I’m reading.

So a few months ago, I went into that unused Goodreads account of mine, cleared it out completely (yes, I deleted the hundreds and hundreds of books I’d spent so much time entering one at a time) and started using it for tracking what I’m actually reading. I’ve noticed that the reviews on GR seem to be a little more in-depth and honest than those I’ve read on Amazon. It also allows me to organize my lists of books the way I want to—and to be able to see my books organized by the categories I’ve set up.

Another great thing about it is the mobile app, which I can access on my iPad and Android phone, which allows me to keep track of not only what I’m reading but my progress and my start/finish dates without having to get onto the computer to do so. And, then, once I post my reviews of what I’ve read, I can go through and see what the people I’m “friends” with thought of it (those who’ve read/reviewed it), as well as others in the “community.” (Oh, and I do still pin it to Pinterest once I’ve posted my review.)

But, other than that, I haven’t really figured out the social aspects of it. I mean, I know how to click over to the page where all of my friends’ updates show up, but I’m not really interested in most of what’s posted there. I’m also frustrated by the notifications (even though they’re just on the site/app and not via email) of invitations, shared quotes, etc., that people send constantly. But it’s made me curious . . .

Do you use Goodreads?

How do you use Goodreads?

How often do you use it? What do you use it for?

Also, if you use it, share a link to your GR profile page if you’d like to connect. (Mine is linked to the banner at the top of the page.)

  1. Monday, July 22, 2013 7:53 am

    I use it to keep track of what I’ve read, and to review books, and sometimes to share or like quotes. It’s really great for those things. But I do find some of those features a little confusing! I never did figure out how to set up categories. And I wish it were a little more consistent — sometimes my GR updates show up on Facebook and/or Twitter, sometimes they don’t.


    • Ruth permalink
      Monday, July 22, 2013 8:11 am

      Gina, by categories do you mean setting up new “shelves”? Also, you might need to go and “refresh” your settings on GR…for a while my activity there wasn’t posting to FB, but when I re-entered the settings on GR that fixed the problem (honestly I think it was due to some changes FB was making, not GR).


      • Monday, July 22, 2013 9:25 am

        Good to know! Thanks! And yes, I meant shelves.


        • Ruth permalink
          Monday, July 22, 2013 9:29 am

          When you go to add a book, you have the option to put it on any of your existing shelves, or add a new one — or, if you just click on “my books” when you are logged into GR, you can add a shelf from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.


    • Monday, July 22, 2013 9:36 am

      Gina, I’m probably a little overzealous when it comes to categorizing my books onto “shelves.” I not only have genre categorizations, but I also mark if it’s an audiobook (since I listen to two or three a month) and by what year I read it (like my boards on Pinterest). Here are my shelves:

      all (83)
      read ‎(71)
      currently-reading ‎(2)
      to-read ‎(10)

      audiobook ‎(25)
      books-read-in-2011 ‎(21)
      books-read-in-2012 ‎(26)
      books-read-in-2013 ‎(29)
      classic-american-lit ‎(1)
      classic-british-lit ‎(3)
      contemporary-inspy-romance ‎(1)
      fantasy ‎(5)
      historical-fiction ‎(7)
      historical-inspy-romance ‎(5)
      historical-romance ‎(39)
      mystery ‎(1)
      nonfiction-general-history ‎(1)
      nonfiction-sociology ‎(1)
      nonfiction-tudor-era ‎(3)
      nonfiction-victorian-era ‎(2)
      sci-fi ‎(2)
      ya ‎(6)

      The first four are the defaults that GR automatically sets up for you. The rest are the ones I’ve set up as I’ve entered the books I’ve read. I’ve also tried to start making sure that I’m choosing the correct edition when I add a book (paperback, Kindle, audiobook, etc.). I don’t know if that makes a difference to anyone else, but when I go in to update my progress, it’s a lot easier when it gives me a % option rather than a page option for the Kindle or audio versions.


      • Ruth permalink
        Monday, July 22, 2013 9:49 am

        If I’m reading something on my Kindle I definitely want that edition on my “shelf,” too — the percent option makes so much more sense! 🙂


  2. Ruth permalink
    Monday, July 22, 2013 8:09 am

    I never ever ever go through the notifications on Goodreads. I clear them out maybe once or twice a year, lol!

    It’s interesting that you’ve noticed a difference in the tone/type of review on GR vs. Amazon, since I post the exact same thing on my blog, Amazon, and GR…I guess perhaps fewer people cross-post between Amazon and GR than I realized?

    As far as the “social” aspect of the site goes, I like checking what friends are reading as that is how I’ve discovered new releases by favorite authors (those often show up on GR before Amazon, or so I’ve found) and new-to-me books with different topics/settings of interest, as well as seeing how my opinion of a book lines up with other people I’ve connected with on the site.


    • Monday, July 22, 2013 9:38 am

      I think I’ve been looking at them because they’re much more in-your-face on the iPad app than they are on the regular website.

      I guess I should also have asked about friend requests. Do you connect with everyone who sends you a request, or do you cull them the way you would on FB?


      • Ruth permalink
        Monday, July 22, 2013 9:51 am

        Oh, I add just about everyone who sends me a friend request on GR. I’m only talking about books on that site so I really don’t have the privacy concerns that comes with day-to-day activities/personal photos that would go on FB.

        I will mark certain people as “top friends” so I shouldn’t miss their notifications, though.


        • Monday, July 22, 2013 10:03 am

          That’s what I’ve been doing, too, although most people don’t get the “top friends” rating. 😉


    • Monday, July 22, 2013 9:39 am

      Oh–also, I’ve noticed, just with my own books, that there are always more GR reviews/ratings (I know that the option of rating without having to post a review helps that number out tremendously) than there are on Amazon. And they tend to average half a star to a full star lower than on Amazon.


      • Ruth permalink
        Monday, July 22, 2013 9:52 am

        VERY interesting. It’d be interesting to see if there is an across the board, across all genres trend in that respect…


  3. Monday, July 22, 2013 8:31 am

    I use Goodreads to post reviews but I haven’t been able to keep up with all of them either. There are just too many sites to keep up with! I also like entering book giveaways and following my favorite authors.


    • Selina W permalink
      Monday, July 22, 2013 4:17 pm

      I have to agree with Shelly. Too many places to keep up with. I started using Goodreads, but it was just too much to keep up. On occasion, I’ll go to enter a contest, but I prefer to keep my own TBR list. Then after I read them I post them on Pinterest (my virtual library.) And as far as notifications -this is the first I knew there was any. lol


  4. Monday, July 22, 2013 11:48 am

    I have a GoodReads account…

    That’s about it…

    I should figure it out. I’d love to keep better track of what I read [rather than just posting reviews on my blog]. I tried posting on a special page on my blog, but only made it through February…


  5. Monday, July 22, 2013 5:56 pm

    I use goodreads to keep track of what I have read (although this year I am behind and not really reading much) I have different shelves also. I normally will put up a review of books read and I think more readers take note of Goodreads reviews more than amazon partly due to the fact many amazon reviews are paid for. I also am active on several of the goodreads groups and its great to interact with authors and readers. I like the challenge of how many books you will read in a year. I need to revise mine down to maybe 40! I seem to be taking around 4 weeks to read a book.


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