My foray into Goodreads

My foray into Goodreads

www.goodreads.comI wrote this article for the ARRA newsletter last year when I discovered Goodreads.

A few weeks ago, I succumbed to the inevitable: I signed up for Goodreads.

My bookshelf is the most packed it’s been since my early uni days when Mills & Boon invaded my bedroom and multiplied while I was asleep. I needed a way to organise my titles, to keep track of what I have, what I’ve read, what I’ve lent out to friends, and, okay, what I’d like to buy.

I could have used a spreadsheet, but I’m lazy and I want someone else to do most of the work for me. I had so far resisted the lure of online bookshelves. I’m already saturated by social networks—Facebook, blogs, Twitter—on top of all the other technology designed to keep me connected and distracted. So I was reluctant to sign up for yet another time-sucking thingamajig. But when I asked other readers how they kept track of books, most of them sent me a link to a virtual bookshelf.

Deciding which bookshelf to use can be a bit of a stress. What if I spend a week entering all my books and ratings only to find that the application sucks? The risk! The commitment! So I brainstormed a series of tests I could use to evaluate which book tracking application would suit me best.

The first test was that it had to look good for the blog. Yes, I’m shallow. Immediately I narrowed the list down to three: Booktagger, an Aussie product; Goodreads, which most of my Twitter friends seem to use; and weRead, which I was using on Facebook. I used a number of search terms for some favourite Aussie authors and recent releases to see which application would find the books with ease. Eventually, I picked Goodreads.

And I haven’t looked back.

To be honest, I’ve become a tiny bit obsessed. There’s something incredibly satisfying about ticking off all the books I’ve read. I’ve also begun feeling competitive about the number of books I’ve listed and about other people’s ratings (Five stars for that horrible book! Or worse: How dare these people give my favourite book one star!).

But by far the most nefarious thing about online bookshelves—especially those like Goodreads where you connect with friends and can see what each other is reading—is the huge impact it’s had on my wishlist.

I think I’ve found a solution to this dilemma, though. When my family asks me what I want for my Christmas, I’m sending them a link to my Goodreads wishlist!

This is an edited version of  an article that first appeared in the ARRA Newsletter in March 2010.

Kat Mayo is a freelance writer, podcaster, Twitter tragic, and compulsive reader. Her reviews have appeared in Books+Publishing, and she was the winner of the 2014 RWA Romance Media Award. She believes in happy endings, and kills fairies with glee.


  1. Kat says:

    Hi Kat,
    Good choice. I used to use WeRead on FB, but I found they just wanted too many personal info permissions when FB changed over its privacy structure. Compared to Good Reads that just wanted the basics.

  2. Kat says:

    I had similar issues. In general, I prefer to keep my FB profile totally separate to other stuff I do online. Now if Goodreads would only release an Android app…

  3. Kaetrin says:

    Hi Kat. Happy new year. *waves*.  Just got back from holidays (in Qld would you believe – no rain where we were though, well hardly any) and I’m doing the rounds to catch up.
    I’m on Goodreads too.  I know what you mean about becoming obsessed.  I am pretty good at putting all my new purchases on straight away but I still have a lot of books I haven’t catalogued yet.  Sometimes it feels a bit daunting.  Then again, I’ve managed to while away hours putting books on GR!    I’m a member of Library Thing too but I found most people I knew were on GR – plus Carina Press started letting me have their books from NetGalley after I became an active member so that was a plus too!

  4. Kat says:

    (Belated) Happy New Year, Kaetrin! @katydidinoz on Twitter recommended using a barcode reader and free software. Hers can automatically export to Goodreads (or maybe Goodreads can import). It would be useful if you have heaps of books. I don’t think my collection is nowhere near as huge as most other romance readers’!

  5. Kaetrin says:

    I have a cuecat which I was using on Library Thing and I imported all my LT books into Goodreads but I haven’t had a chance to do much more than that for a while.  So many books, too little time!
    I tried to “find” you on Goodreads but had no luck.   What is your GR name? (you can email me if you’d rather not put it on the blog if you like.)  Us Aussies must stick together!

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.