The news broke yesterday that Amazon have purchased Goodreads. Now, the independent book community is owned by mega corporation Amazon, and the whole Internet started to cry. Or did they? After all, there are some people who *never* go to Goodreads – ever – because of the atmosphere fostered there. Here are Ten Things About Goodreads & Amazon:
1) Perhaps Amazon will prevent the rating of books without providing some kind of review on GR? Sure, this doesn’t ensure that the reviews will be any good, and it doesn’t ensure that the review can’t be a lie, but the ability to just rate a book on GR without providing any kind of commentary is annoying. How do you know that person had ever read the book? Why is it allowed?
2) Amazon doesn’t allow for reviews to be posted before the date of publication. Will they introduce this into Goodreads? At the moment a book can be slated prior to release on Goodreads. It can be useful to see early reviews of books, but I can’t imagine that authors appreciate low ratings before their novel is even out – especially when those ratings are not accompanied by any kind of review.
3) Where will Amazon sit on the use of gifs in reviews, hmm? One of the best things about Amazon reviews is that they have no pictures, nothing to detract from the words. Would anyone want to see that introduced to Goodreads?
4) Will the naming of shelves on Goodreads change? At the moment it is easy for readers to name their shelves, and some of these names are downright horrible. Will Amazon want to be associated with shelves called: “sucks-so-bad-i-didn’t-finish’ or ‘a-whole-new-level-of-boring’ or ‘this-shelf-can-die’.
5) Will Amazon do anything about the rampant bullying on Goodreads? There was a whole website set up and dedicated to naming and shaming the bullies from Goodreads – it’s a continual problem, and makes authors frequently cry. Again, will Amazon be pleased to have their name on this sort of thing?
So, this is all a bit GR-bashing. The fact is that Amazon are very unlikely to have any sort of say in the running of Goodreads – both the owners of GR and the Amazon representatives have made it very clear in their statements that GR will remain an independent book community. And, if they do have any say, I could see it being more in the realm of removing purchasing links to other sources of books, or taking out Nook references. If they’re not planning to do that – and they say they’re not – then it seems *very* unlikely that they’ll do any of the first five points.
6) How will advertising change on Goodreads? In terms of pricing, amount of ads etc? Will it still be something that debut/indie authors can afford, if they wished to take it out?
7) The worries about Amazon wading in and taking over seem to be a real knee-jerk reaction, in all honesty. How many people know that Amazon also own imdb.com, hmm? Because they do. And the independence of that site has remained clear.
8) I think publishers would cheer if reviews were cross-posted between Goodreads and Amazon. It must be painful to see only a handful of Amazon reviews, while Goodreads shows many, many more. BUT many people just don’t want to use Amazon, or be part of Amazon – will they be able to opt out of any potential cross-posting of reviews?
9) Will Amazon use the data from Goodreads to offer up more pertinent recommendations to those who use both sites? I mean, surely that is what Amazon have purchased Goodreads for, right? To access all of those millions of users and their reading data. Imagine their joy in being able to hone recommendations, thereby getting closer and closer to the guaranteed sale. Like, you’ve just finished this novel by George R R Martin – would you like to buy the sequel immediately? And how about trying novels by this seven other authors who compare favourably to GRRM?
10) It could have been worse. Another company might have purchased Goodreads. A company that has zero knowledge in books and the passionate community surrounding them. Maybe a company who really would stamp changes all over Goodreads. But I guess we’re all in the wait and see zone.
Where do you stand on the Goodreads/Amazon mash-up?