Discussion Day: GoodReads

8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion Day

GoodReads logoIf you’ve been around the book blogging world for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of a little site called GoodReads. I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently, prepping my miles-long TBR list for Amanda’s Unbreaking the Shelves challenge, and I realized I was saying the same thing over and over again: “I wish there were a way to…” I know one website can’t do everything, but there are a LOT of things I wish were different. Does anyone else feel like that, or is it just me? I know GoodReads isn’t going to consult me on their next big redesign, but if they did, I sure know what I’d tell them!

Some things I’d like to see:

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to mass edit? (If there is and I’m just a huge dunce and missed it, please tell me! It will save me hours I tell you, HOURS!) I must not be the only one who has ever decided to divide up a shelf (say “Classics”, divided into “classics want to read” and “classics should read”). If I could have a set of check-boxes to select multiple and then add them ALL to a new shelf it would be so much faster than going through and adding them one by one – and then one by one deleting them from the shelf from before! OR, say for example, you’re adding old books by your favorite author to your “read” shelf – wouldn’t it be nice if I could select an entire series at once to add, instead of doing it manually? Oh and while you’re at it, can we NOT have the “edit your review” box pop up EVERY SINGLE TIME I add something to a shelf? Sometimes I just want to make a minor change, or add something to my To-Read list! (Don’t even get me started on the fact that you can publish reviews before ARCs are even available!)

My next request? Multiple read options! I read my favorites over and over and OVER again. I want to be able to reflect that (because you KNOW it was good if I’ve read it 20 times). I’d also like to know when the last time I read it was, whether my rating was different, whether I actually FINISHED it or just read my favorite parts and how many times I’ve read it overall.

Since I’m asking for the impossible anyway, any way we could get an auto-publish feature that would allow me to set something on my GoodReads profile auto-publish reviews from my blog? Perhaps this would work better as a plugin, or third-party app like dlvr.it for Twitter. I could set up a template that would take a certain amount (say the first paragraph) of the review, set up a link to bring them back here if they want to read more. I’m certainly MUCH more likely to use that than their built in “publish this review to your blog!” feature!

Some things that need improvement:

Honestly? Inever use the social aspects of GoodReads, and that’s what attracted me to the site in the first place. I find the homepage interface far too cluttered and cramped so I hardly ever even look at it. I find my two little buttons on the side (my “what I’m reading now” and the yearly challenge widget) and that’s it! If there were options for how to arrange the newsfeed, or a way to make it feel less claustrophobic, I would probably use GoodReads for more than just a place to store my TBR list and to track my yearly goals. (Oh, and on an occasion a resource, if I can’t remember some info on a book.)

While we’re being picky, can I ask for half stars? I don’t like giving out star ratings anyways, because I just know I’m going to read something later that I’ll like just a liiiiiiiittle bit better than the one I rated 4 stars but not quite well enough to give it a perfect 5 score, but there won’t be any way of rating it differently. I eventually gave up on rating things on my blog, but to “improve GoodReads recommendations” it wants me to rate their books. Besides, if I post reviews there, to show up on anything but the last page of reviews it has to have a rating.


I feel sure I’m forgetting something, but you get the idea. There are so many little, and some not so little, improvements that could be made! There are also a lot of other options for these services – Shelfari, Library Thing and YABC (YA Book Central) come to mind. Of those, I only have an account on YABC, and even that I haven’t gone back to in months. Do you have an account with any of these services? Are any of them better than GoodReads?

If book bloggers were to get together and put together their own “facebook for book lovers” what features would you like to see? What features of GoodReads frustrate you? Is there anything you couldn’t live without? I can’t be the only one!

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8 Responses to “Discussion Day: GoodReads”

  1. In my personal Goodreads wishlist, I wish one thing:

    That Goodreads would stop giving me the rocking chair! Seriously, I’m clicking on one thing, you shouldn’t have to think THAT much.

    On your shelves, I thought you could do batch-edit, for when you want to change a bunch of books over to another shelf. Though, I get what you’re saying about adding books to your catalogue. Instead of clicking on every.single.book. to add them to your wishlist or whatever, it would be great to just click them all and add. POOF! DONE!

    YES! MULTIPLE READS! I actually just reread Harry Potter, BUT listened to the audio, so I added the audio to my books. I’ll usually tack on my last date of reading at the end of my review and change the dates in the drop-down to my current reading days.

    I use the main page to talk to people and comment on what they’re reading. I never go into discussions or anything. I think that’s what attracted me to Goodreads. I’ve changed my top friends in the last while, too, so I don’t see EVERYONE’S books.

    And yes! Half stars would be AWESOME!

    Great post, Anne — you’re not alone in your Goodreads woes!

    • Anne says:

      Lol, that rocking chair is pretty frustrating. At least it usually saves whatever you were doing though – I always have a moment of panic thinking it’ll just forget whatever I was working on and I won’t be able to remember either!

      I could do the review thing if I’d remember, but it would be so much easier to just mark a multiple read button and then have it drop down extra date selectors!

  2. You can batch edit on GR. When you’re on a shelf, go to the upper right corner and look for controls. You’ll find “batch edit.” I just found that this week. They also have a duplicate finder in the batch edit. But, I also think that goes back to the interface not being very useful.

    I agree with the half star ratings and multiple reads. That would be nice, especially with the GR challenges.

    I had an account with Library Thing, but deleted it. I have an account with Shelfari, but I signed up and never really went back. Library Thing is actually worse than GR, navigation wise, but it does have half star ratings.

    I avoid the social aspect of GR, partly because that’s where a lot of the blogosphere drama seems to start and partly because I just use GR to track my books…nothing more.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for letting me know! I doubt I ever would have found it without you telling me where it is – I finally went and looked for it and it’s really unobtrusive, which I suppose is good, but it’d be nice to be able to FIND it lol.

      I didn’t think about it that way, but that is where a lot of the drama starts! And, since I hate drama, it’s probably a good thing I’m not using it for that. Still, I think it would be nice to have a system that worked for having friends recommend books etc. I just don’t think GoodReads is it.

  3. Alexia561 says:

    Have to admit that I don’t really use many of the features on Goodreads, but like your suggestions! I have accounts with LibraryThing and Shelfari, but haven’t updated them in months. LibraryThing has a limited number of books you can add before they want to charge you, and Shelfari seems to be affiliated with Amazon now. I tend to use GR and Amazon for my reviews now. Gave up on B&N as I don’t think it’s very user friendly.

    • Anne says:

      It doesn’t seem like very many people have accounts for LibraryThing and Shelfari, so I have this sneaking suspicion that for all it’s faults GoodReads may have enough better features people just use that. Still, I was curious! Judging from the rest of the comments, you’re not the only one who hasn’t updated those accounts (or has given up on them completely!)

  4. Alissa says:

    I USED to be interested in the social aspects, especially those times when authors would pop on for scheduled chats/Q & As. But it’s too hard to navigate, and SLOW. Like you said, I hate that a box has to pop up EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    I just spend as little time as possible on GR now. All I do is track my TBR shelf, really.

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