Recently Amazon announced that they are purchasing the social reading website, Goodreads. In case you missed it, the press release can be read, here.
Goodreads is a website that I actively use and love. As a readers' advisor, it is my go-to resource for keeping lists of recommendations, while also organizing my personal reading. However, my relationship with Amazon is a bit...rocky might be a good word to describe it. So when I found out about the purchase, I was not only shocked but disappointed.
While I do not fault the creators of Goodreads for wanting to make money off of their product, I do have several concerns, first of which is a privacy issue. I worry about the collection of reader data, when Amazon already collects so much from the public. Amazon has no reason to keep any of our reading information private from any institution requesting it, and we know for a fact that they use this collected data in many ways - probably many that I cannot even imagine. As another blogger so eloquently put the issue,
I can’t think of anything nastier right now in the book world than the prospect of this behemoth acquiring even more intimate knowledge of my buying habits than it already has. Enough is enough.
And more importantly, I worry a great deal about what I see as a monopolization of reading resources on the internet. You can read more about my opinions on the matter in this Library Journal piece about librarians considering a switch from Goodreads, written by Molly McArdle. Read it, here.
As I told Molly, I am looking at alternate options to Goodreads. At the moment, LibraryThing is still independent, although Amazon is a stake-holder in the company. Exactly how much of a stake-holder is unknown but according to a post by LibraryThing owner/creator, Tim Spalding, it is under 40%. To add more than 200 books to a LibraryThing account, you pay a small fee, but the company is offering free accounts until this Friday. If you're also considering the switch, read more about this offer, here.
Will Amazon look at Librarything for its next purchase? It certainly seems possible. But until then, my online book organization business is moving. Sorry, Goodreads. It was great while it lasted.