I’ve been reading that Amazon announced last week that it is acquiring Goodreads. My initial reaction was oh great, Amazon will take over another site and ruin it for indie authors. But as I thought about this, and read more on the acquisition, it’s hard to say. Amazon is certainly zealous to take over everything is bothersome, but is there a silver lining in all this?
Amazon, Goodreads And Indie Authors
Right now Goodreads boasts a membership of over 16 million. Quite a lot of readers. And based on user comments on some of the reports I’m reading, Goodreads users like the site because they feel the reviews are more accurate (written with a critical eye), the site is based on love of books (not love of selling books), and they like the community feel of Goodreads. Amazon, as far as I can tell, is all about money. Will they care about the Goodreads community?
Amazon And Goodreads – The Nuts And Bolts Of The Deal
Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.
He also says:
Our mentality here is to first do no harm, and make sure that if we’re going to do integrations, users genuinely find it to be a big benefit.
The Goodreads blog shared a few details on why they think the move is a good one:
- With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.
- Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we’re looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.
- Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.
Goodreads has a nice site, overall (as an author, I’m not overly impressed – I think it’s hard to navigate to add my books, I also don’t like that you can’t sort reviews to see only the text reviews). But users like it, and its social feel is something Amazon has wanted to expand on. But will Amazon improve the Goodreads site, leave it alone, or make it worse? Only time will tell…
For an interesting interview of Grandinetti and Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler, read this post.
How Does Apple Fit In This?
Amazon seems to be in a dual with Apple over ebooks (and e-content in general). And the acquisition of Goodreads certainly gives Amazon the advantage because Apple does not have the social component at this point. Apple is trying to get indie authors on the platform, featuring a Breakout Books section. If this will catch on remains to be seen. In the meantime, Amazon continues its quest for total dominance…
What Will Happen To Goodreads?
I love the Huffington post article. After sharing the news, it said that Twitter was abuzz with the news, mostly with negative reaction. I wonder if Amazon is aware of this…or if they even care. Some thoughts I have on this:
- Will Amazon monkey with the review system and hurt indie authors (like they have on their own site)?
- Will Goodreads become a vehicle for Amazon imprint books and authors Amazon chooses to promote, leaving other publishers and authors out in the cold?
- Will Amazon improve the Goodreads site? Will they leave it alone?
- Will Goodreads users leave the site (some are saying folks are going to My-Bookclub.com, Booklikes, and Libib)? For as many people as there are who love Amazon, there are many haters.
- Will indie authors be able to give away paperbacks on Goodreads (like they can now), or will indie authors have to sell exclusively on Amazon in order to do this?
- Will Goodreads change and indie authors will only be able to sell books through Amazon?
Amazon wanting exclusivity with their authors is the biggest concern I have. Who knows if they’ll try to implement this on Goodreads or not…again, only time will tell. Is there a silver lining? It will depend on what kind of changes Amazon makes…
What are your thoughts on Amazon acquiring Goodreads? Is it good or bad? Will it matter?