If you call yourself a bookworm, if you have an ever growing pile of unread books, if you can't resist the siren call of a bookstore, then this article is for you.
Goodreads is a social cataloging website that grants you access to a huge database of books and their reviews. It is kind of like a virtual heaven for the people who love books. Almost every book can be found on Goodreads, and with them come reviews, quotes, tests, and related reads to fulfill all of your literary needs. It also allows you to keep track of what you have read and what you would like to read in the future.
I have used this website for almost five years, and it keeps getting better. I am not a devoted as some people are (honestly, some of my friends' profiles are simply works of art), I don't post reviews often, or own dozens of "shelves." I merely use Goodreads to keep track of my books and motivate myself to read more, but in doing some research, I found some pretty amazing things about this website. Much like Spotify, there are some hidden gems we should all be taking advantage of right now.
This one is fairly simple, and it's the one thing that pretty much all Goodreads users do. Once you have created an account, you can add books to your shelves. The "default" shelves are: Read, Currently Reading, and Want To Read. Easy, right?
When you identify a book as 'Read,' a window will pop up asking you to write a review of the book. You don't have to, but it is always satisfying to read other people's thoughts about a book. Even if you don't actually sit down to type a formal review for the book the best thing you can do is rate it. This will help Goodreads know what kind of literature you are into, and it will be able to recommend you your new favorite book.
Once you outgrow this, you can create your own shelves and organize your books however you please (You can have the same book in more than one shelf). Want a shelf for summer books? One for your bookclub? One for the books you read before the movies came out? Anything is possible.
The amount of information available for every book changes too. The more popular a book is, the more editions are added and the more reviews you can access. But the true beauty of Goodreads is that you can build this yourself.
Every new year, you can decide to participate on the Goodreads' reading challenge. You decide your own goal, and by adding the books to your Read pile the website keeps track of how you are doing. Even when I have failed miserably the past few years, it has definitely motivated me into reading more books every year.
There is simply no way to convey my love for this app. Sure, it has its flaws, but you have no idea how much it simplifies book shopping. If you are wandering in a bookshop and you pull out your phone, you can actually scan the ISBN code of the book and it will link you to its page on Goodreads. That way you can make an educated guess about buying the book, or you can save it to your Want To Read pile for later.
If you are like me and mildly obsessed with lists, then this feature is for you. Goodreads allows you to explore lists of books that people have put together as well as make your own. I think about them as playlists in a way. There is something gratifying about seeing books being grouped in a way that makes sense for you, and it allows you to discover fantastic new reads.
News & Interviews.
Goodreads keeps you updated on what is going on in the literary world. Who is an up-and-coming author? Is that New Book Everyone Is Talking About any good, or nah? What is J.K. Rowling up to? Is George R.R. Martin actually writing that last GoT book or is he just messing with his readers?
There are also hundreds of author interviews in this website. They are witty and interesting and unique. Only a website that is devoted to books could generate this kinds of content. A personal favorite of mine is the interview with the incredible Carrie Fisher.
What?! You mean you can actually get free books out of this website? The answer is yes. With a simple click you can enter giveaways for pre-released books and read them before anyone else.
The great thing about Goodreads is that you can adapt it to your reading lifestyle. Are you very vocal about what you are reading and how you feel about it? Good, write an extensive review of every single book you get your hands on and let us all know if it's worth the buy. Are you mostly quiet and enjoy your alone time with a book? Valid, go make your bookshelves pretty, friend. Are you a firm believer in reading as a social activity? Cool, me too, let's be friends in Goodreads.
By adding friends on Goodreads, you give them access to your updates, meaning they get to see what you are currently reading and what you think of it. Personally, I love adding my friends on this website and keeping track of what we are all reading, encouraging each other to meet our yearly goals, and discovering new books together.
Alright, so maybe you don't want your real life friends to see what you are reading. Or maybe your tastes are simply too different. Goodreads allows you to join groups, in which you can create forums and discuss books the way you like it. Most famously, Emma Watson created a feminist reading bookclub on Goodreads last year, and more than 160,000 people are parts of it.
If there is something I will always praise about this website, it's the effort people put in to having good relationships with writers. Authors are encouraged to have their own profiles, review each others' books, and solve long-standing doubts about their own writing. You can follow the author's profiles to receive news on their writing on your dashboard. Also, in some cases, you can even ask them questions.
Book signings, book fairs, author appearances, workshops, book swaps, and readings. Everything you never knew you needed and more.
As I said earlier, not only readers but also writers can get a lot out of Goodreads. I will later write an article on how to exploit this website as an author, but for now I will let you know that you can publish your own writing here, and you can explore other's writing as well.
Are you bored? Then prove you know the complete name of Albus Dumbledore.
You can add your favorite quotes in here, which means there is a growing bank of amazing quotes in Goodreads. You can explore the quotes by author, book, or theme. Never will you struggle again to find the perfect Instagram caption.
P.S For the record, the full name of Dumbledore is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.