Why do I use Goodreads?

This is sort of a response to Lena (Justkissmyfrog), Rincey (Rinceyreads) and Sanne (Booksandquills) from YouTube. Lena made a video about why she doesn’t use Goodreads, and it was really good. Then Rincey and Sanne made videos about why they do use Goodreads. And it was really cool, and I thought I’d give my two cents, about why I use Goodreads. Also, I think Lena was completely justified, she had some very good points. Because I’m me I can’t guarantee that I’ll be very coherent. Unlike the very coherent and eloquent ladies who made videos, so watch those.

The nerdy stuff 
First and foremost I love to quantifying my life. I don’t know why, I just really like listing stuff, and making myself into this big list of; this is me. I have no idea what it is, I just really like structure. I am also a child of the Internet. My family had Internet really early, because my dad is a nerd. So it might just be genetic. I always thought making lists would be good, and Websites usually have easy ways to organize, and if I used say excel it would be less dynamic. I’m an organization nerd, but also slightly lazy, with my own stuff, not at work. I’m weird.

Anyway. I used to use another website, Shelfari, and I can’t remember why I didn’t like it so much. I think it was just less user friendly, or more annoying. Goodreads was more user friendly and it appealed to me more, there are lists and stats and I like it. Shelfari was more sort of swanky and flashy, and it was okay, but I prefer simplicity.

A very important reason for me to catalogue what I read is that I have, on more than one occasion, bought a book I already own. There is sometimes a semi-valid reason for this. I collect editions of the Hobbit, so I have more than one copy of the Hobbit obviously. But there are other times where I’ve stood in a bookstore and looked at a book and gone; why haven’t I read this? It sounds amazing. I buy it, and go home, and lo and behold, I already own it. I’m an idiot. It’s easier for me to remember my extensive library when I have it catalogued somewhere.

I like that I can make shelves with my books. I like that I can make a wish list. In theory people can go and check my wish list and just buy books off there. They should, except I’m not good at updating. I’m lazy. This is the take-away from this discussion.

One thing Lena mentioned was the currently reading shelf, and not liking that people can see what she’s reading, and what she doesn’t finish. To me it’s mainly for me. I have for a long time been the kind of person who reads a lot of books at a time. And I don’t really care that the list is there, I know I’m a scatterbrain, and the list is there for me. I only have it for me. The reason I read more books at a time has some weird logic, the Rory Gilmore logic of; what happens if I’m not in the mood for that book? I’ll just read something else, and then I’ll go back and forth. This also causes me to bring like five books if I ever go on holiday, so it is a bit insane. And that works for me, sort of, I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I like it.

If you set a challenge on Goodreads, and register when you’ve read a book, it will tell you if you’re on track, or behind schedule or whatever. The first year it freaked me out, because I felt like the site was judging me, but now I really like it, because I’m simple enough to find it deeply satisfying to be ahead of schedule or on track.

There are stats so I can see what kinds of books I generally read and maybe I can change it up and read some other stuff. Which is really cool.

The social(ish) stuff
Goodreads is also a social site, you join groups and you make friends, and it’s a good place for me to follow BookTubers, which I really like. I love that I can make friends on Goodreads who are as passionate about books as I am. When I was growing up I honestly felt a little different for loving to read so much. It wasn’t necessarily something we talked about in my class, and there was pretty much only one girl who I knew liked to read as much as me, because she would bring books to school. But now I know there are people out there who love books as passionately as me. And I like that.

I’m not necessarily a huge part of the social stuff, because even online I am awkward. I am trying though. I am getting better at joining discussions in the groups I am in. Especially when there’s someone discussing a book I really love. I really want to tell them how awesome it is and tell them to read it right now.

I like the fact that there are recommendations. I can look up a book I’ve loved and find a book that is similar, or a book other people who read the same book have liked. That’s a confusing sentence. It’s also great to have friends on Goodreads, and you can see what they read, and get recommendations that way.
Things I don’t really like
Goodreads was bought by Amazon, and while Amazon are obviously the devil and I know it made a lot of people leave I don’t want to leave over that, so I stay. I think they own my soul anyway.

There are certain things that bother me, one being something nerdy and pedantic. Because the users are the ones registering books the metadata aren’t necessarily correct. That makes me annoyed. I’m reading a series and I couldn’t remember what the second book was called, so I searched for the first book to find the series, and find book number two, but because whoever put in that book didn’t write the name of the series the right way I couldn’t find it, and it annoyed me. I realize that for someone to moderate that and fix all the little snags it would take A LOT of time, so I don’t expect it to be fixed, but it bugged me.

It also bugs me that the search is a bit weird. I realize I’m pedantic, but the search isn’t very convenient. I have searched for stuff sometimes and there are no results because of one typo. Not even a: “were you looking for?” question. And other times I have searched for the correct and pretty unique titles of a book and it’s number 15 on the hit list after books that are presumably more popular, but only have like one word from the search string I put in. I’m an annoyed person.

In conclusion
I really like Goodreads, I think it’s cool that there is this huge community of readers online that have their own platform, which is nice. I like that I can categorize and catalogue, and I like that I can download my book list as a spreadsheet, so I’ll have it even if Goodreads suddenly implodes.