Sunday, April 7, 2013

So Last Week Amazon Bought Goodreads

Last week Amazon bought Goodreads.  While I am excited for the monetary reward the creators of Goodreads received as a result of all of their hard work, I am also disappointed and angry.  I am angry because there is only one reason Amazon would have any interest in purchasing Goodreads, and that is data mining.  They want to know what we read.  They will use this information to market specifically to people so they can sell more stuff.  This tactic isn't really a problem.  That is what businesses do.  When I sign up for your site, I am giving you permission to use my data.  I fully expect you will do everything in your power to monetize my data, particularly by directly marketing products and services to me.  That is the way of the world.  However, knowing all of this, when you later tell me you are going to sell my data to a company that was heretofore not associated with your company, that is when I get a bit twitchy.

The same thing happened when Barnes & Noble purchased Borders Rewards information.  When you sign up for a rewards card, you can rest assured that the company is using that information to try to make more money.  If you would assume that your purchasing history would die with the company, you would clearly be wrong.  One of the assets Borders liquidated was my buying history.  They sold their rewards information to Barnes & Noble.  This includes purchasing history and God knows what else.  We were given the option to opt out of our histories being sold to Barnes & Noble, which I immediately did.  That is not what I signed up for.

Now the main issue I have with opting out of Goodreads is I really enjoy the site.  I love the shelf system, and to see what all of my friends are reading, and to be able to track and rate what I read in a year.  There are several other sites I have encountered as a result of my attempts to leave Goodreads, and take my data with me, thank you very much.  I think the one I enjoy the most in Booklikes.  It has most of the same functionality as Goodreads (although the inability to place the same book on multiple shelves is a bit of a downer) and also includes a blogging function which is nice.  If I can manage to get my entire Goodreads history to upload it's probably a no-brainer.  And magic of magics, it allows you to rate half stars.  I can rate something 3 and a half stars instead of having to decide between 3 and 4.  And they respond in live time to help requests.  That is amazing.  And there is the part where the site actually looks better than Goodreads.  It is more modern in appearance.

So Goodreads account deleted.  On to the next chapter.

Now to prevent Amazon from buying anything else I love.  There's the rub.

Do you have a Goodreads account?  Will Amazon's purchase of Goodreads make you delete it or otherwise change your social book tracking habits?


  1. Based on data at Goodreads, Amazon should come knocking at the BnB door as the next book business to buy. BnB segued on to the scene just as Borders bailed out.

    Book buying options are limited; go to B&N and get the corporate stacato or buy at BnB where people who work there seem to want to be there, and sell without the corporate insincerity, seem to enjoy earning their living helping book-lost readers nuture their obscure title fetish.

    Buy from Amazon, get a book; buy from BnB get a book and know its money in-the-future-of-books-bank.

    It's still a "nature or nuture" choice and no amount of collected data can change that.

  2. Hi, we've just added the multi shelve option :-) If you have any feature requests just let me know at

    1. Wow, you guys really are everywhere! Thanks a lot, your customer service is quite impressive!