Thursday, March 28

Amazon Is Acquiring Goodreads

Amazon Is Acquiring Goodreads
Amazon is acquiring Goodreads.

This news shocked me. I hope the wonderful book culture that has developed over at Goodreads doesn't change.

Why Goodreads Wants To Join Amazon

Otis Chandler, Co-founder of Goodreads, says he is excited about the development. He writes:
1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.

2. Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we're looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.

3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture. (Exciting News About Goodreads: We're Joining the Amazon Family!)
The folks over at The Verge point out that ...
Amazon already owns Shelfari, a social and information network described as a "community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers." Together with Goodreads (as well as its own lightweight / somewhat anemic social notes network) Amazon will soon own the major online recommendation and commentary engines for new and old books. (Amazon to acquire Goodreads, a social network for book recommendations)
I guess, also, Goodreads represents a wealth of data on readers preferences and reading habits.

This story is still developing so stay tuned for further news.

(Thanks to +Andy Goldman for mentioning Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads.)
Question: What do you think about this merger? Will it be good or bad for readers and writers?

Other articles you might like:

- Janice Hardy Teaches Writers How To Be Their Own Book Doctor
- How To Write Description
- Mark Coker, Founder Of Smashwords: Six Ways To Increase Book Sales

Photo credit: "The dawn of freedom - digital-art" by balt-arts under Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs 2.0.


  1. Brilliant move on Amazon's part. A pity that Apple didn't think of doing this. You'd think with opening up stores in 50 countries, they'd be interested in acquiring a large and popular community under their wing...
    Oh, well... live and learn. ^^

    1. Yes, I can certainly see the appeal for Amazon. At the very least, looks like they'll get lots of data on reading habits.

  2. I just started using Goodreads... seems a bit soon for me to see it go under new ownership. Hopefully I'll still get the Goodreads experience.


  3. What shall become of Shelfari?

    1. No idea. Perhaps it will continue on in much the same way it has been?

  4. I've not hit my stride on Goodreads yet, though I am trying to maintain a presence there. I think this is a brilliant move for Amazon, and whether or not it is brilliant for current Goodreads users remains to be seen.

    1. Agreed. I don't see a downside for Amazon.

      I'll admit that I was a bit concerned when I first heard the news but hopefully this will give readers and writers most tools, more resources. (cross fingers)

  5. Oh no! They're not going to get all gung-ho on my goodreads reviews are they??

    1. Good question; I don't know what they're planning to do with the reviews, whether they'll be used on the Amazon site. Though if they are I imagine the author of the review would have to give permission.

  6. Back in February, I mentioned to my Partner KD McLean, that it would not surprise me in the least if Amazon bought out Goodreads. The NY Times had done an article about them, and the point of it was that GR aids readers in discovering books.

    When I grew up in NYC, and as a young guy, I looooved a bookstore in lower Manhatten. I don’t even know if it’s still there. It was The Strand Bookstore. They had over 1M titles in stock between new and used. All the staff were avid and knowledgeable readers, and loved discussing books. There was no latte bar, no comfy chairs, no do-dads and gee gaws by the register as impulse items. If a book interested you, you stood in front of the stack and perused it. It was book and reader focused, unlike the large B&N store a few blocks away with the large displays of hardcover best sellers as you walked in, and all that other stuff.

    Both The Strand and B&N were retailers, yes. But it seems to me that they approached the same goal from two different perspectives. B&N, and this was back in the 70’s, was a homogenized corporate experience built around getting a customer to buy something. The Strand was more ad hoc- and was centered on books as the experience in and of itself. I can’t say that any better; but if you have a large used bookstore in your area, I think you know what I mean.

    I think that this merger (Absorption? Assmimilation? Buy Out?) has the potential of being a very good thing. I believe that GR’s focus on readers as readers, not customers is an important voice to have at the table when Amazon is planning strategy. I hope they’re listened to.

    I can’t help but think of the history of the automotive industry. If my understanding’s correct, General Motors came about as a result of consolidation in the car industry. Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Cadillac and so on were separate companies at one point. Ditto for Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge and Ford/Lincoln/Mercury right?

    This consolidation is a natural progress in business I think. It has risks, sure. But if they don’t get it right, I think Smashwords will be more than happy to take advantage of any shortcomings. Honda and Volkswagon sure did.

    1. Excellent points!

      "I think that this merger (Absorption? Assmimilation? Buy Out?) has the potential of being a very good thing. I believe that GR’s focus on readers as readers, not customers is an important voice to have at the table when Amazon is planning strategy. I hope they’re listened to."

      That's plausibly optimistic. I hope so too.

      Good point about Smashwords. Yep, they'd be more than happy. ;)


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