May 31st, 2013, 02:38 PM
Amazon acquires Goodreads
I heard the news today from an indie bookseller that Amazon bought Goodreads. Obviously, she was not thrilled with the news. I immediately had a negative reaction too, as I really enjoyed using Goodreads to track my books and get other users comments. But now it seems Goodreads will just be marketing data for Amazon.
I don't have anything against Amazon; I buy from them frequently. But I don't enjoy the idea of them using my Goodreads account info to help fine tune ads they can send my way.
I'm curious, what do you all think of this? Will anyone be cancelling their Goodreads account? If so, what other similar program might you use?
May 31st, 2013, 09:03 PM
Cthulhu's Red Bucket
i'm old. i remember when the internet was practically infinite. everyone had a fan page. webrings were commonplace. everyone had a page of links on their site which was often of mammoth size. the internet felt huge and seemed to be constantly expanding. you could literally surf the net, not knowing where it would take you or what you would find. or what wonderful .gifs you might see. it was a creative melting pot of weirdness and fun.
nowadays, i don't think anyone really surfs the internet anymore. it's almost impossible to. if you really think about it, the majority of your time is often spent on a very few websites. i think these days we just stay in the paddling pool of facebook, twitter and wiki. google anything, and the top results will be wiki. all blogs pretty much look the same with only a few colour improvements and a banner. they're slick. clean. pasteurized.
everything started going wrong when businesses realised they could make money out of the internet and began buying it up. squeezing it out. wringing the very life from it so it could cut up the pieces and streamline them into a perpetual advertisement. websites are less and less being run by individuals and more and more by corporations. so quickly that one minute i was reading about some guy's garage experiments with physics on a geocities site, and the next he'd got himself a facebook page and focussed instead on what meal he was eating that night.
so, for me, i'm just surprised goodreads held out as long as it did.
i sound bitter. but hey. i'm old. study me.
June 1st, 2013, 01:10 PM
So long as the functionality of the site remains untouched and there aren't a plethora of new ads stymieing my enjoyment of the site, I'm not particularly concerned. It's not as though Amazon gains any particular knowledge about me that I would like to keep from them. I'm already bombarded with suggestions of what I might like upon visiting Amazon, most glaringly incorrect, so if this simply helps them fine tune those recommendations it may turn out to be a net positive.
On the other hand, the only other site I frequent that Amazon has acquired is Woot, and while things have not drastically changed there it does feel as though there has been a shift in overall direction (peaking, at least for me, in the removal of the BOC). I suppose we'll see overall, though I'll hold out optimism that things will remain relatively untouched.
June 2nd, 2013, 01:31 PM
Most of my books are purchased through Amazon (ebooks) or through Audible.com (now owned by Amazon). Perhaps Amazon will make it easier to add the books I've' read directly to Goodreads. That would be a very welcome change as I find myself a couple of years behind on my Goodreads page in listing and reviewing the books I've read.
June 2nd, 2013, 04:03 PM
This purchase happened a couple of months ago, if I remember. I have to admit I've not noticed any real change in how the site functions (unlike tumblr's recent purchase, which resulted in some very quick changes) so it's not really something I'm worrying about.
June 3rd, 2013, 09:38 AM
I also was an avid woot.com practitioner. It took a little while but amazon totally made woot it's outlet store. It is a shell of what it once was(*said in disgust*). While I actually love amazon for finding things to buy, they have great deals, and I buy all my books almost exclusively from them. I hate what they do to other businesses. Instead of buying a business and letting them continue what made them successful, they appear to take over and use them to further their own goals. Ya, goodreads hasn't changed yet. It's only been a few months. Give it a year or two and you wont' recognize it anymore.
June 3rd, 2013, 09:03 PM
I don't think that's really their plan for Goodreads. When a business is doing well in ways that Amazon feels is undercutting their market, they buy the business so that it comes under their umbrella and all that other business belongs to them as well, such as with Abebooks. In Goodreads case, Goodreads wasn't really undercutting Amazon's sales directly, but it had become the premier site for reader recommendations and PR. That means people were using Amazon for searches, reader recommendations and author info much less, which means they were less likely to buy from Amazon. That meant that advertisers would do less advertising with Amazon and more with Goodreads where the readers were clustered, while publishers were doing less PR with Amazon and more on Goodreads. And Goodreads held a treasure of data that then could be sold to advertisers and marketing firms and used to greatly improve bookselling businesses. So Amazon bought them, because Goodreads, like all businesses on the web, relies on advertising dollars and weren't getting enough of them.
Originally Posted by chris777
I think it unlikely that Amazon will try to control Goodreads' reviews; they're not that stupid. But what they will do is cross-reference the two in terms of ads, buy buttons, reader reviews at both Goodreads and Amazon, etc. It's probably not going to destroy Goodreads, though it will shuffle more traffic towards Amazon and Amazon will make use of the data (at least they'll try -- marketing data doesn't necessarily help with book sales.) However, it will be interesting if people pool in some other reviewer forum website, since a number did plan to leave Goodreads. I don't think Goodreads will drop out of the field, but the field may get wider. I will also note that people seemed to stop talking to me about Abebooks once Amazon bought them. But Amazon has a lot of reasons to let Goodreads run independently and not kill it.
June 3rd, 2013, 09:38 PM
To date, I haven't noticed any changes at Goodreads. It's very common for a big fish to swallow a smaller fish like Google buying Tumbler, Yahoo buying Broadcast.com, Microsoft buying Skype. It's easier to buy than to innovate, but it doesn't behoove them to change what makes Goodreads popular.
June 4th, 2013, 12:29 AM
It never entered my mind
The big issue is not with the targeted adds but with the ownership of the reviews. Amazon could lay claim to them at any time and use them on the main site for promotion without the writer consent. Or they could censor content that they find offensive or consider to hurt sales. Goodreads mai attraction is in its self-regulating nature that allows every member to express himself freely. I have seen a lot of the big reviewers switching to blogs and I plan to do the same and delete all my reviews if Amazon starts messing with them.
June 4th, 2013, 09:20 PM
They could, but it's highly unlikely. Bad reviews don't hurt sales; good reviews increase sales. And Amazon doesn't care about individual titles -- they sell in bulk. So there's no point in trying to shut down and control a review site. And Amazon doesn't limit bad reviews on its own site. As for moving reviews over, they are more likely just to have a lot of links between the two sites to prominent reviews. They don't want to diminish Goodreads' worth, now that they paid for it. They just want to own that worth and mine the data from them. It's the numbers of people who use Goodreads -- re advertising views, sales data, etc. that make it valuable.
Originally Posted by algernoninc
That being said, those who have a big following for reviews on Goodreads may be better off having their own blogs or starting review sites so that they get the advertising money, not Amazon. But for now, it's probably still a good platform.
June 5th, 2013, 12:51 AM
Yahoo! bought tumblr, and it has changed already.
Originally Posted by CarlAlves
June 6th, 2013, 09:35 AM
Riyria Revelations Author
Would I prefer to see goodreads independent - yes. Do I think Amazon will destroy it - no. I'll reserve judgement until there are changes but until then, I'm cautiously optimistic. One point though....especially to the publishers who are gnashing their teeth...why did't you all buy it first? You are spending money on mergers and buying up self-publishing companies like Author's Solution but you didn't see the potential in a site like goodreads? Shame on you. You spend years developing "Bookish" which launch very late and has so little functionality it'll never play in the "discoverability" market as it was supposed to.