My Feelings About Goodreads

(If you don’t know what’s going on with Goodreads, this post from Ashleigh Page of Birth of a New Witch has some great background information and screencaps – yes, it’s a biased post, but I think at this point the majority of readers are biased against Goodreads, so I’m including it anyway)

Before I say anything, I want to get one thing straight: I do no agree with what Goodreads has done in the past week. I don’t agree with the censorship or the very poor way they’ve handled it. I applaud the people who have left Goodreads due to their personal beliefs and such. I sincerely hope that Goodreads will realize how stupid they were and will return to their former policies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t happen.

Despite all this, I am keeping my Goodreads account. At least, for now I am.

I’ve had a Goodreads account since December 2010, if I recall correctly. It’s not quite as old as my blog (when it was on Livejournal anyway), but it’s been a huge part of my blogging experience. I’ve discovered so many books, both old and new, on it, and I’ve used the reviews of people I’m friends with or follow or complete strangers when deciding whether I want to read a book or not. I made a shelf of all my uncovered books on my to-read list so that I would know if there were any new covers just by checking it. I loved reading the status updates of various books from the people I followed, since they were important when trying to decide on a book but they don’t always make it into the review.

I’m much more of a watcher on Goodreads. I update my shelves all the time, but I don’t comment on other people’s reviews and statuses much (not because I don’t care, but because I’m busy with plenty of other things and I just don’t always have anything to say) and I’m much more content with following all the Goodreads account of people whose blogs I also follow rather than trying to make friends. I’d love to make friends, but I’m very shy, even online. So, the Goodreads scandal didn’t really affect me. I’ve only recently been making more shelves, and even then they have more generic titles, like “Uncovered Books,” “The Reading Shelf” (the books I currently have in my possession to read), “Debut Books,” and such. I don’t have anything about authors and I rarely write about authors in my reviews unless it’s to say something positive.

However, I really liked the various shelves that were about authors specifically. It was really helpful to check out “authors behaving badly” and such to know if I wanted to steer clear of an other. I want informative reviews, and sometimes that means that authors need to be addressed in the reviews. Does that mean I support personal attacks on authors? Absolutely not – but most of the reviews I read about authors weren’t personal attacks. If you call an author out for being fat or ugly or something similar, then that is bullying and personally attacking the author and something that you shouldn’t do. However, most of the time it seems helpful when it comes to deciding what to read.

Many of the people whose reviews I like reading are leaving Goodreads or at least heavily cutting down on their participation. And this definitely makes me sad and less likely to spend so much time on Goodreads, but I don’t plan on leaving.

I have a lot of books on my Goodreads account. I have loads of books that I read before joining it, books that have moved from my to-read list to my read list, and over a hundred books on my to-read shelf. I’ve begun adding various other shelves that make me even more organized, and I love going on it to check out new reviews and see if books I plan on reading have covers yet and such. I’m going to try and use BookLikes more, but I don’t like it’s setup quite as much as Goodreads. I also have a PowerPoint that I put together and decorated because I love messing with the design of PowerPoints, and this PowerPoint basically has all of my Goodreads information, but it’s still not quite the same thing. So, I’m going to remain on Goodreads, but I’m either going to stop cross posting my reviews or only put excerpts that lead here.

So, this big, long post basically has one point: I’m not happy with the way Goodreads is handling things and censoring its users and I applaud the people who feel that they don’t need it anymore, but I’m going to stick around because it’s a very convenient place for me to have all my bookish information. In the future, I might change my mind and delete my account or something, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.


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