Amazon buy Goodreads: Good or Bad?

I read this article on the BBC News website about Amazon buying Goodreads.

I’m sure you know all about Goodreads, most blogs I visit tend to have one of their widgets somewhere to show what books you’ve all read over the last few months.

If you’re not familiar with the site then it is all about merging books and social networking. You can have friends, read book recommendations, write book recommendations and follow your favourite authors. It’s ALL about the books.

According to the BBC article:

San Francisco-based Goodreads was founded in 2007, has 16 million members and is one of the most prominent online communities for readers.

This is exactly the place for readers and authors to mingle in (perfect?) harmony.

If you have self-published, you can launch a book promotion and share this with your friends. Your page can include links to your books…

And, that is where things might start to get sticky.

Amazon have the KDP Select version of their publishing. One of the KEY components of signing up to this service is the EXCLUSIVITY of your books only being available through Amazon for the 3 months you are with KDP.

I’m not sure whether Amazon will continue to allow authors to promote their books with links to rival retailers. I know from the promotional emails I receive that at present, you can include links to buy your books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, amongst others.

What have Amazon said about this:

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” Russ Grandinetti, vice-president for Kindle content at Amazon, said in a statement.

The Kindle has revolutionised how I read books, I will give them that. I read more books than ever before and Goodreads has helped steer me towards a number of books. Want to read some reviews? Head over to Goodreads and see what other readers think.

For the self-publishing author, the e-reader has given us the opportunity to publish without needing to pay large volumes of cash to a vanity publisher. Goodreads helps provide the self-published with another platform to promote themselves.

Goodreads co-founder, Otis Chandler, said the deal would allow the company to move faster in bringing its user experience to more people around the world.

What do you think of this merger?

An inevitable marriage, bound to happen sometime down the road?

If you’re wondering how much this is costing Amazon and when is this happening, the article states:

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it is expected to be completed in the next quarter.

So, no mention of the cost of the deal.

Is it a good deal for the future of self-publishing or simply narrowing the options towards the one retailer? I know I will keep an eye on developments over the next few months.

Thanks for reading.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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33 Responses to Amazon buy Goodreads: Good or Bad?

  1. It will be interesting to see how that works!

  2. ioniamartin says:

    In my opinion, this was inevitable. It will be very interesting to see what changes happen on goodreads down the road. I will bet the amazon store will no longer be the last one in the list on the retailer tab. Sadly what I liked about goodreads was that it wasn’t itself a retailer. I may have to rethink my opinion if that changes. Great post.

  3. oliviaboler says:

    I did not see this coming! Thanks for blogging about this, Pete. A lot to think about for sure…Not sure how I feel. My initial reaction is that I like the autonomy Goodreads has had and wonder if it will be skewed more now to sending users to Amazon. I like that it’s been neutral, it’s own thing. Hm…I have my book available on Amazon, but through other channels too for readers who are not fans of A. Oh well. We’lll see how it goes. Thanks again!

    • Pete Denton says:

      You’re welcome, Olivia. I think many people will be feeling the same about this when they first hear the news. Time will tell over what Amazon decide to do with it, but many people will be watching with interest.

  4. robincoyle says:

    Amazon is taking over the world! Next they will own my bank, supermarket chains, and BBQ grill companies! I think Goodreads should’t be owned by a book-selling company. That is my opinion.

  5. Val Mills says:

    An interesting concept. As a reader I often check out books on Goodreads then wander over to Amazon to buy. I’ve not used either site as a writer yet, so will watch developments with interest.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Val

      I’m in the same boat. I have only clicked a link to a book once on goodreads and that was through to smashwords. I buy from Amazon anyway, but I’m not sure about this from a writing point of view.

  6. Clanmother says:

    I hope it does change anything (but then, change is all we know…oh well)

  7. Nanny_cool says:

    I have already read that the prices have gone up! Be interesting to see what happens x

  8. 4amWriter says:

    Gosh, this is pretty disturbing. I’m not sure I like that Amazon is in everything these days. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Everyone seems to be having the same reaction. Whether Amazon realise this or not remains to be seen. I’m sure they have a plan it depends on whether the 16m people using Goodreads will remain once they share it!

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    Hmm, my cynical side suspects this won’t play out well for those of us who prefer a more competitive marketplace. We appear to be heading for a monopoly in the publishing world….

  10. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I’m curious to see what the fall out will be. My concern is that reviews not be compromised. And that readers still have a safe space to talk about books.

  11. EllaDee says:

    I hadn’t realised this was happening. The word “reinventing” worries me. Sites like Goodreads are popular because they are independent and free but then attract Big Co.’s who want to use them as a platform. I like Amazon but not happy about this.

    • Pete Denton says:

      No. This does not seem like a good idea at the moment. I’m sure we’ll all be watching this carefully.

    • Michael MacDonald says:

      Honestly, my most recent experiences on this site have been pretty bad. The site itself seems to be backing bias in their reviews. They have mods, working for the site, trolling in the threads themselves. They are actively choosing who’s reviews they will support and won’t support. I’m not super familiar with the site, but I’m concerned that it may be because of Amazon buying them out?

  12. Vada says:

    Hi there, I check your blog like every week.
    Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

  13. Jawbone Era says:

    Hello there! I simply would like to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you’ve got right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

  14. Michael MacDonald says:

    I’m seeing tremendous amounts of bias being generated in the social network that makes up the site. I don’t know if this is because of Amazon or not, but it’s pretty bad, and concerning.

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