Monday, September 30, 2013

Goodreads, The Universe, and Everything

It's been over a week now and I've already blogged about this situation here and here.  After five days, my import CSV file finally uploaded to Booklikes.  Out of 956, 948 reviews made the transition.  Aside from some links, everything seems to be fine.  However...

... Booklikes just isn't Goodreads.  Worse still, the things I love about Goodreads are noticeably absent.  There aren't any communities, you can't compare books, and the feed, God, the feed.  With less than 1/20th of the people I follow on Goodreads, the Booklikes feed is already nearly unreadable.  Reblogging is responsible for most it.  You can filter on reviews but when every post takes up the whole screen, it's kind of tough to get through everything.  Things get lost pretty easily.

The protests are just starting on Goodreads this week.  Judging by the small number of people involved compared to Goodreads' total number of users, it's probably not going to amount to much but I wish them well.  It would be great if Goodreads would apologize or at least admit it handled the situation poorly but I don't see that happening.  No amount of flagging reviews or writing protest reviews is going to suddenly make Otis and company say "We fucked up.  Let's switch everything back."

The funny thing, funny-strange, not funny-ha ha, is that all the changes people are requesting are things that Goodreads already does really well.  In keeping with my analogy from the previous blog entry, it's like trying to shape your new girlfriend into something resembling your old girlfriend. Either enjoy Booklikes for what it is or suck it up and try to make things work with Goodreads.

In other words,

This is just like when Facebook makes unannounced changes and people bitch about it for a couple weeks.  People talk like it's the greatest injustice in the history of the world and threaten to delete their accounts.  Then everyone gets over it and goes back to their normal Facebook habits.  This is very nearly the same scenario.  Either quit Goodreads cold turkey and stop jerking poor Booklikes around and make an honest effort with her or shut up and wait on Goodreads' doorstep with a bouquet of flowers and see if she'll take you back.

As for me, I'll be staying, as I said before.  I'm planning on keeping my head down, writing reviews, and making sarcastic remarks when appropriate, as per usual.  The sky isn't falling and Goodreads isn't the second coming of Hitler.  Every relationship has its rough patches and I'm confident Goodreads and I are going to make it through this one.  To paraphrase Walter White:


  1. I found the same thing with Booklikes - not all that user friendly, no sense of community, and overwhelming to follow. Shelfari was a bit better, and definitely has some sense of community, but for another site owned by Amazon, I was amazed how many of my books didn't make the transition.

    Not that I have any intention of leaving Goodreads, I just wanted to cover all the bases and take the chance to see what was out there.

  2. Me too. Now that I've looked, I'm still firmly in the Goodreads camp.

  3. Well put, well written, and well thought out. I agree completely.

    1. Thanks! It's nice to know I'm not the only one with NO plans to douse Goodreads with gas and walk away as it explodes behind me.

  4. BookLikes is bound to evolve since my experience has been they actually LISTEN to their users

  5. I've watched the whole Goodreads thing unfold from a seat somewhere up on the sidelines. I've thought about writing a post about it on my blog, or responding to some of the threads on Goodreads but I haven't because I have the overwhelming feeling no one wants to listen to anyone else's opinion, unless it supports their own.

    Anyway, responding here because you've posted a nice and reasonable point of view that doesn't make my blood boil. :)

    Yeah, they could have handled this better. An email to the users saying, hey, we plan to do this, would have been better than nice. But, to be honest (preparing to be doused with petrol here), I think everyone is blowing it out of proportion. I've actually been shocked at the reaction of some of my Goodreads friends--many of whom I have known for over ten years. We moved there from a Yahoo reading group.

    When is a book review not a book review? And when did everyone become a critic, eh?

  6. I agree. It's been blown way the hell out of proportion. Only 22 people out of 20+ million users were affected and most of them already knew they were doing something Goodreads didn't want them to do.