Sunday, December 17, 2017

[Bookish Discussion] Quitting Goodreads?


There's been quite a lot of controversy around Goodreads, a social media site for us book lovers, and I just wanted other people's opinions on the topic. I want to know not only all the information about what's happening but also what my options were if I do decide to stop using Goodreads starting in 2018. 

Readers and authors alike are angry because Goodreads plans on charging authors money to host giveaways through the website. There have been many angry responses to this. By authors, but also by readers. In this discussion post I am going to talk about my feelings on the recent policy chance involving giveaways and other options other than Goodreads that I am considering switching to, if I switch.

The recent changes to Goodreads giveaways has made it so if you're an author who wants to host a giveaway of your books, you have to pay in order to give away books on their website. The standard package is $119 and the premium package is $599. These prices are absolutely insane. And it's for each giveaway. So if you are an author and you want to have a giveaway for more than one of your books you have to pay each time. There are so many indie authors and publishers who are just trying to get their books in the hands of readers in exchange for reviews and now their books are going to have less chance of being read by more readers unless they shell out $200-$600 which is baffling to me. If the cost is passed to a publisher, then I understand the author won't have to pay, but there are a lot of self-publishers or smaller publishers out there and they may not be able to afford such high costs. And honestly, they shouldn't have to.  It'll also be only open to US readers, despite Goodreads being available to readers outside of the US.Which gives anyone not in the  US a disadvantage and takes away their chance to even choose or not. Which is problematic in itself and makes it harder for readers to read more diversely.

It also seems like this whole thing Goodreads is doing seems to be to push small publishers or self published authors to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing because Amazon owns Goodreads. So it's a money hungry cash grab that once again makes it less about community and breaking down walls between author and reader/blogger/reviewer and more about giving big publishers/authors more privileges while backing indie authors or publishers into a corner where they either have to pay a lot of money and/or use Kindle Direct Publishing.

There are so many things Goodreads participants have asked for in terms of upgrades. One being the interface, it looks so old, one being reviewers want half star ratings, also for it to be more of a way for people to communicate. There are so many things they could be using their money on, but instead they're doing this. There are things that the giveaways could have improved on too, one being pushing the winners to review the books they received. I think that is one of the biggest problems with the giveaways, a lot of authors will put up a giveaway, pay the shipping so the winner can receive their prize for winning, and then the author doesn't get any feedback. The new update will have it so eight weeks after winning a book, you get an email to remind you to review it on Goodreads. I think this is something that is a positive, however it does not outweigh the negatives I am seeing.However,  you can't force someone to review a book, and from what I have seen in the conversations since this new update, authors often do not get reviews from giveaway winners. So I am not sure if publishers or authors who can afford the package prices will even bother with the giveaways at all. Which is just less giveaways and engagement for Goodreads. At least when it was free the authors and publishers would give it a shot and get their books out to readers, but now if there isn't a guarantee the reviews will happen and they have to pay, maybe the giveaways will be few and far between.

So, where can we go to instead? Honestly, there isn't much. I hear Litsy is a great app (on both Google Play & Apple Store) to use and although I wish there was also a website to pair with the app, it may be the one I switch to. It's going to be a long process of moving all of the books I've read, all the ones I own, etc over to the app, but I am willing to do it if it is the better option. Another thing I definitely plan on doing is buying a reading journal. I am going to list all the books I've read each year, and then start adding the ones I read in 2018. One reason why I do love Goodreads is that it's a simple way to see all the books you've read each year. So although this is a bit more manual, it may be my only option. Do you know of other book apps or websites that are similar to Goodreads? The more options the better because different websites/apps will work best for different readers. Goodreads has always been biggest book social media website, which is probably why they feel like they can do what they are currently doing.

It makes me feel like Goodreads has gone from this really great website I've been apart of for six plus years to a website that is not supporting the less known, less successful authors/publishers trying to get their stories out there. It just bums me out, because it feels like it's becoming about money and less about the book community. Goodreads, for me, is a place where I have a list of every book I have read basically in the last handful of years or so, a place where I can update what I'm reading with my friends, and a place where I can see what my friends are reading. It's basically Facebook for reading and I've always been here for it. However, now it feels almost dirty to keep using Goodreads, knowing they're doing something so problematic. 

As Dumbledore said, "There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right," and although this seems so minuscule, it isn't for a lot of indie authors/publishers. This could be really detrimental to what books are being talked about and what books are being pushed down and ignored. Indie authors and publishers already have a hard time being heard over big publishers, and this is just another obstacle. So although Goodreads has been an amazing website for so long, despite it's look and lack of updates it's been a place of a great community. If Goodreads changes it's policy back to normal, maybe I'll join back, but I am not even sure if I will because the fact that they thought it was okay in the first place feels insulting. We, as readers, reviewers, book lovers, authors, aspiring authors, etc. are so much smarter than this and I don't think the people making these decisions on Goodreads thinks we are. I feel like we need to voice our concerns. I know it's hard to let go of social media, especially one that revolves around something you love so much, and I am not telling you that you have to quit using Goodreads, but I am asking you to think about the impact of the policy changes and to spread awareness on what is happening.

So, in 2018, after I go through all the books I've read and not only transferred it to a new book app, and after I've made all the lists I need to make, I will probably be deleting the Goodreads app and stop using it on my computer. I am going to use it like normal up until January 1, because I want to have all the books I read in 2017 on my challenge, so I can go through it and write them all down once I get a good journal. It'll be hard, for me personally but for many readers who use Goodreads daily. It's something I have been using for so long that it'll be a rocky transition. But I think it's an important one if we, readers, authors, publishers, expect to be treated with respect. Us as bloggers need to make sure that authors, no matter if they're with a big publisher, small one, or self published,  know that we are here to support them. Especially if you want to be an author yourself one day.

Will you be quitting Goodreads?

Thanks for reading!


18 comments:

  1. GREAT POST! I've had my issues with Goodreads over the years as well. Now I just use it to follow my reading friends that don't have a blog and to categorize my books. I probably won't be quitting Goodreads until I find a site that is similar when it comes to the lists and ease of use there. I LOVE Litsy, but it's definitely not a replacement for Goodreads. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for new apps! I bet someone is working on one as well speak after this fiasco with the giveaways.

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    1. Yeah! I just feel like I can't keep using Goodreads, even if there isn't anything better, because my comfort and convenience shouldn't outweigh doing the right thing and standing with authors. I just wish there was something better. But hey, I'll just start doing things more manually. From Books I Have Read/Want to Read. I hope you're right about someone making a new one! That would be absolutely amazing. :D

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  2. I do agree that what they are doing is complete crap. But I won't stop using them... because half my audience and friends are there, and because I've been using them ever since... forever. What can you do.

    But Litsy IS great! Please add me as a friend :) @avalinahsbooks. It's fun and it's kind of like a chill Instagram, a lot quicker and simpler than Goodreads. Then there is also LibraryThing - unfortunately, they also only do giveaways to the US, and another drawback to using them is that they forgot to chance their interface since 1999, basically xD but you can move your Goodreads books there really easily! You just export your books from GR (it's a feature, Google it) and upload them there. Easy! Then there's also Riffle books. It's mostly foe creating lists and I hear it's fun. I have an account, and although I do, I can't juggle a million social accounts, so I don't know much about that network. But definitely do create Litsy :) there I heard there's also BooksAmino, but I didn't get into it too much.

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    1. I get it. I’m hoping more people will jump on Litsy and other apps so we can have a good community somewhere else. I’ll be bummed not to see what my friends are reading as much, but that just means I need to keep an eye on their blogs and maybe even talk with them more.

      I just heard of LibraryThing! There are so many good apps and websites I didn’t know about until today. I’ll check out Riffle books too! Thank you so much! I have a BooksAmino but I’m not a huge fan of the community.

      I added you on Litsy! Thank you again! :)

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  3. I agree!! I'm just kinda scared to leave Goodreads.. I'll have to see first, from others, if it's just as easy to work with.
    And my bookclub is on Goodreads and I don't want to use 2 different platforms, because that's twice the work...

    Hard decision and great post.

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    1. Hey I’m with ya. I’m kind of terrified to be leaving Goodreads. So much so that I felt a bit panicked even posting this, because that made it a final decision. There’s a group on Goodreads I don’t know if I’ll be able to completely cut off, so I may pop in to see how they’re leaving and then that’s it. Small steps, maybe one day I’ll leave it for good. I’m definitely using 2018 as a transition from Goodreads to other platforms. It’s gonna be rough, but I think I’m excited to see how it goes.

      Thank you for reading! :)

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  4. That sounds terrible BUT I have found some of my favorite authors have their own website/facebook and do giveaways from there, so apparently they can get around this new rule. I will continue GR because of the great friends I have made along with finding out what everyone is reading. I do like the suggestion for half stars though...we could use that.

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    1. I think as long as people who continue to use GR also lifts up self published authors who may be negatively affected by the new policy then it’s totally okay to keep using it. I just don’t want to use it anymore because it feels dirty. Sure, authors can do giveaways on their websites and Facebook but Goodreads is where they’ll probably have a lot more engagement. They will be affected by it.

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  5. I hate that Goodreads is making this change and that it's become a money thing. I will continue to use Goodreads only for reviews since many authors ask me to review there. Some new authors only have accounts on there and no website or FB to interact with fans.

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    1. That’s true! If I’m really into an author I try to find them on twitter or Instagram, that way you’re following them that way. And I agree, it sucks that Amazon has turned Goodreads into a cash grab instead of s community of bookish people.

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  6. I am new to Goodreads so for me to leave it isn't a big deal. I also use BookThinkers which is alot like Goodreads. They are new and still working on getting set. An app is set to release in Feb and the 2 founders are amazing. It's not often you can really talk to a site owner about suggestions and know that they honestly appreciate feedback.

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    1. From making this post is where I heard of BookThinkers! They’re definitely going to be the main site replacing GR for me. I am very excited for their app to launch in February. And I agree! The founders seem extremely nice and open to suggestions/feedback which is a great sign. Thanks for reading and commenting Tina :)

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  7. This has concerned me since I heard about it and lucky for me I keep a separate list of books I gave read and what I rated them on an excel spread sheet. I started this before I heard of good reads. And now that they are going to stop offering the contest to readers outside the US, we'll that just tics me off. As this effects me I will no longer use Goodreads. I will find other ways to get my reviews to the authors and readers.

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    1. Yeah the fact that anyone outside of the US cannot participate is ridiculous. I completely agree.

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  8. Thank you for all the ideas for alternatives to Goodreads! I’ll definitely be checking them out. I use Goodreads for reviewing and keeping track of books I’ve read, but as an author, I’ve found that some users can be a little vitriolic so I’ve never got as involved as I could have. I’ve given away books there in the past, and while I definitely won’t be doing so in future, I’ll continue to run giveaways on my website and Facebook :)

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    1. Of course! And I agree users can be a bit much and some reviewers can be really harsh and insensitive and on GR. There’s an website (app coming in February) called BookThinkers that is actually a great alternative! :) Great idea! I hope authors keep doing giveaways on their social media so that not only do they not have to pay a crazy amount of money but readers outside of the US can participate!!

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  9. While I totally am against he charges, I will still be using GoodReads because I have so many books on it, I have no where to transfer the thousands I have and I just like the format, and the reading challenge. I suspect the change won't last when they see no one will pay the outrageous fees!!

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    1. I recommend BookThinkers. It’s a good website and the app will be available in February. Although I agree, I hope GR changes their policy back, I doubt they will now that they’re owned by Amazon.

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