|Website review: Goodreads|
Monday, 12 December 2011 12:00
Give the traditionally anti-social activity of reading a social touch this summer holiday.
The holidays are very nearly upon us and what better way to spend them than lazing around in the sun with a good book? With the tagline “find your next favourite book”, Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com) promises to be a handy friend this summer.
Launched in 2007, the site has over 6 million members – making it the biggest reading social network in the world. Users can add books they’ve read, are reading or intend to read to digital bookshelves where they can give books ratings out of 5 stars. Once the site has collected more than 20 of these ratings it can recommend other books the reader might enjoy. Users can also build up a network of friends or use the site to organise book clubs with readers with similar interests. There is an entire section of the site dedicated to forming groups with other readers around reading habits or tastes.
As a side effect of having so many books and reviews uploaded onto the site (over 220 000 000 books, the site claims), Goodreads has become a vast database of book knowledge. Every book has its own page with reviews, quizzes, quotes, trivia and any other details the user might seek. The users themselves become a huge recommendation engine – categorising the books according to genre, adding them to lists (“YA Books Far Better than Twilight”) and tagging them with comments such as “felt-obligated-to-read” or “could-not-put-down.” If you’re looking for more statistical inspiration then the site also keeps a running record of popular titles, top reviews and latest releases in your favourite genres.
Activity on Goodreads is also highly share-able – the site encourages you to post your reviews, opinions, quotes or word goals on other social networks and blogs. This is more than just a little enticing for anyone who loves sharing opinions with those on other forums but loathes tiresome copying and pasting.
Sites to document and review what one reads abound, but no other site I’ve found offers the sheer variety of book-related activities in such an user-friendly and engaging manner.
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