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RIP GoodReads


Regardless of how optimistic GoodReads claim that being incorporated into Amazon will help grow the site and invest more in the things that the members care about, I look at this sale with much dismay. Let’s be honest here, the scope of Amazon and GoodReads are completely different. Amazon cares only about sales. GoodReads is a user-generated platform functioning as a book recommendation engine. GoodReads is social media for book lovers so the reviews posted there could be more honest and commendable. Whereas Amazon controls and censors what books you can purchase and their feedback. GoodReads CEO Otis Chandler said the site will remain “an independently controlled subsidiary of Amazon” and noted it will keep “full control of editorial content and the recommendations.” Okay, but they skirt the subject regarding intellectual property. When you submit a review to the Amazon site, it becomes Amazon’s property–their corporate asset. I won’t be surprised if the reviews would be cross-posted on Amazon. Based on Amazon terms, reviews will be censored, altered, edited, or removed without notice, just like what happened to my review of a GLBT fiction 9 years ago. As for the Kindle users, they are most likely be able to integrate that device with their Goodreads accounts. To make a long story short, why should a greedy corporation care about what you read? This is devastating news for readers and authors because Amazon, which has already acquired Shelfari in 2008, is forming a hegemony that boxes readers into a corner. With bookstores closing, Internet sites have become critical places for informing readers about books they might be interested in. This deal further consolidates Amazon’s power to determine which authors get exposure for their work. I am sick to the stomach that Amazon claims itself to be the best place to buy books–and thus making it the perfect place to discuss them. That could be true if you’re into the popular crap and bestsellers.


7 Responses

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said in your post. I’m angry that goodreads is compromising the great INDEPENDENT discussions and reviews found on their website. Opinions from people who take their book-reading seriously! We can expect crappy ignorant reviews to seep in now. Ratings won’t be dependable. The Amazon logo will be on every page and ads will be the in-your-face variety.
    I stopped buying at Zappos.com when Amazon bought it. In fact, I try to avoid everything associated with Amazon.
    It just makes me sick. Is there ANYTHING that Amazon won’t touch?

  2. That is sad news indeed. Yet, considering the success of goodreads, it’s not a total surprise that Amazon decided to take over it. Clearly, Amazon is trying to operate as a monopoly, which will cause it serious problems in the long run because corporations like this thrive on competition. Wonder what they’ll acquire next!

  3. I share your concern about Amazon, and though I’m a big fan I worry about how much media they control at this point. I didn’t realize they had bought Shelfari too. But I have to say, I see exactly the same reviews on both sites anyway. And since Amazon has an incentive to sell all books, not just a few, I’m not sure how much this will impact Goodreads.

  4. See you in http://www.anobii.com/ 🙂

  5. I completely agree with everything you said in this post. The beauty of Goodreads was that it was predominately user-generated content. Gah the last thing I want is to be inundated with advertisements and Amazon’s suggestions for what they think I will like. I hadn’t even considered the IP ramifications for a merger. Yikes. I’m sure things will become more clear in the coming weeks, and I’m hopeful that it won’t be as awful as I fear it will be.

  6. Which is why it continues to be important that you continue to do what you’re doing. I love reading your reviews! And even though I’m an author on Amazon, I do get dismayed at how reviews are done and populated on their site. I love being on Goodreads so that real readers can find my books based on recommendations though some, who may not like my content, are free to express their feelings, which is okay too. Amazon’s free publishing tool is a joke as well as it does nothing for the author at all, though they’d like to believe it does.

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