Posted by Patrick on April 12, 2012
We have scheduled significant upgrades to occur between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM PDT, and there will be some outages during this time. Beginning at 5 PM PDT, the site will be down intermittently and could possibly be down for an extended period of time. We're hoping the outage will be less than 30 minutes, but it could be as long as a few hours, depending on how things go.
We will be on hand working to resolve any issues that arise after we re-enable the site, but please be aware that further outages may occur as we release updates to fix unanticipated problems. After the site is back, please let us know if you encounter any problems using the site.
During this process, we will be posting status updates on Twitter and remaining as responsive as possible.
The updates will pave the way for some significant performance improvements which have become a little overdue. So there may be a little rough patch at first, but it should lead to serious improvements in your Goodreads experience. Thanks for your patience!
Posted by Jessica on April 12, 2012
Millions of people riding the Toronto subway this month will see something titillating—a mention of the Goodreads Choice Awards on the walls! Okay, okay, it's E.L. James's erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey that will be doing the titillating, but we're excited to see a Goodreads Author and Choice Awards Finalist capitalizing on her nomination.
When we dreamed up the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2009, our goal was to bring greater attention to books championed by readers. In the most organic way, it's readers who discover great books and share them with friends. Fifty Shades of Grey is a textbook example of a book spreading virally through word of mouth simply because people love it. That's how it earned its nomination in the first place.
When nominations were announced in November 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey had a reasonably sized (but not huge) readership of about 1,000 ratings. It hadn't yet found its magic momentum, but these readers fell hard for this book. The steamy story of a sexual affair between a college student and a wealthy businessman boasted a phenomenal average rating: 4.45 out of 5 stars—the highest average rating of any Goodreads Choice nominee in the 2011 Best Romance category. James ended up placing 2nd in the final round, which is a major achievement for a small press author, considering that the 1st place finisher was J.R. Ward, one of the biggest names in romance writing.
From the first day of its Goodreads Choice nomination, Fifty Shades of Grey saw a jump in readers adding it to their to-read shelves, and the growth never stopped. The to-read numbers continued to climb after the awards completed, and James even visited the site to answer fan questions. Then in March, the novel received mainstream media attention on the Today Show and more press followed. News outlets investigated how an X-rated book about sexual submission went viral. Fifty Shades of Grey is now a bestseller with a new book deal and a film adaptation in the works, and many more readers continue to discover the book on Goodreads. Its average rating dropped slightly as its audience expanded, with a current average rating of 4.14, the amorous novel still earns strong reviews.
We think this is yet one more example of how Goodreads Choice is designed for you—the readers! We also hope that authors such as E.L. James will be able to benefit from their nominations and wins as they market and sell their books. As we announced in February, the new paperback edition of Divergent features its Goodreads Choice win for Favorite Book of 2011 on the cover. So, dear all-knowing reader, what's the next big thing in books? Who is out in front for 2012?
Posted by Jessica on April 01, 2012
Goodreads is hiring for the following positions. Click to read more and apply on our jobs page:
Today, we'd like to spotlight our newest open position:
Hyperintelligent Pandimensional Mice
Goodreads, a US Top 150 site and the 10th largest social networking site in the galaxy, is seeking Hyperintelligent Pandimensional Mice to take charge of the Goodreads Recommendation Engine, the third greatest supercomputer in the Universe of Space and Time designed to answer the Ultimate Question of What People Like to Read Next. Qualified mice should be comfortable analyzing the mind-boggling 20 billion data points of reader likes and dislikes recorded in the Goodreads catalog to calculate the staggering improbability of reader interest in any given book.
Note: We will also consider qualified dolphins for this position.
- Proficient with SEP fields, bistromath, and complex functions involving telephone numbers.
- Knowledge of the Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler operating system.
- Ability to predict personality problems to ten decimal places.
- Quick learner, must be able to pick up frighteningly elegant new technologies quickly.
- Experience with protrusion into other reading dimensions a plus.
- Must carry own towel.
We Prefer Applicants Who:
- Are not prone to panicking.
- Come equipped with own Babel fish.
- If cybernetic, come loaded with pleasant GPP.
- Know better than to muck about in hyperspace.
- Our environment is highly supportive, friendly, and mostly harmless.
- We are the galaxy's largest site for readers, froods, and book recommendations.
- Our mission is to help people find and share books they love. Along the way, we plan to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the galaxy.
- Great location: Our office in downtown San Francisco, catty-corner from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, is always stocked with cheese and an infinite supply of ballpoint pens.
- Our office culture includes a Brockian Ultra Cricket league, frequent trips to Disaster Area concerts, and regular Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster happy hours.
Please submit your résumé. You can also submit the following additional information now, or if you would prefer, later in our interview process: A code sample and a paragraph or two about why you want to work for Goodreads. For a limited time, we are offering state-of-the-art digital watches as a signing bonus. Don't wait, come sass us today!
Update: As of April 2, 2012, the position has been filled. Thank you.
View our current open positions »
Posted by Patrick on March 21, 2012
Dystopian fiction is more popular than it has been in more than 50 years. Whether it's the result of political turmoil, global financial crises, or other anxieties, readers are craving books about ruthless governments and terrifying worlds. The new breed of dystopian novels combines classic dystopian themes of cruel governments and violent, restrictive worlds with a few new twists—badass heroines and romance. To mark the movie release of the most popular of this new wave of books, The Hunger Games, we examined the history of the dystopian genre to see how it has evolved and why it's so popular today.
Posted by Patrick on March 16, 2012
Join us today at 5pm ET/2pm PT for a live video chat with Andre Dubus III. We'll be discussing his memoir Townie, newly available in paperback. In Townie, Dubus explores the role violence played in his formative years. This is a rare chance to chat with a master storyteller and learn more about his work and his life as a writer. Don't miss it!
Posted by Patrick on March 06, 2012
Join us today at 2 pm ET/11 am PT for a live video chat with author Lisa Kleypas. We will be discussing her new book Rainshadow Road, as well as her previous work, and her life as a writer.
To watch the chat or join the discussion, click here!
Posted by Patrick on February 29, 2012
We are preparing for some major maintenance to the site today, around 6 p.m. Pacific time. This is work that will eventually make the site much faster and much more efficient, but it will require some down time. We anticipate about 15-30 minutes of downtime, starting around 6 p.m. Pacific time. We will be on hand working to resolve any issues that arise after we re-enable the site, but please be aware that further outages may occur as we release updates to fix unanticipated problems. After the site is back, please let us know if you encounter any problems using the site.
During this process, we will be posting status updates on Twitter and remaining as responsive as possible.
The updates will pave the way for some significant performance improvements which have become a little overdue. So there may be a little rough patch at first, but it should lead to serious improvements in your Goodreads experience. Thanks for your patience.
Posted by Patrick on February 28, 2012
Goodreads just got some real-world cred. This past December Veronica Roth's dystopian novel Divergent took home top honors in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction and went on to win the biggest prize of all, Favorite Book of 2011. Its publisher, Harper Collins, decided to celebrate the win by placing a special Goodreads Choice Winner badge on the paperback edition. The paperback debuts today, and here is the cover in all its Goodreads glory:
Hopefully, it won't be long before the Goodreads Choice badge is as common as the Oprah's Book Club sticker once was. Congratulations again to Veronica Roth for her win and to all the readers who voted for her!
Posted by Patrick on February 24, 2012
While some of us may be peeved that Bridesmaids wasn't nominated for Best Picture, what we can celebrate is that the literary world is well-represented at this year's Oscars. So, keep your eyes peeled for a few lucky authors on the red carpet. Then again, amidst all the movie stars, they might be easy to miss. They may not score interviews with Ryan Seacrest, but Hollywood still owes them a major debt for dreaming up most of the stories we enjoyed on the silver screen in 2011.
Literary adaptations dominate most of the major categories, including Best Picture. Of the nine nominees up for the big prize, six are adaptations and another, Woody Allen's valentine to the Roaring Twenties, Midnight in Paris, draws heavily from literature, featuring cameos from Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and others. Of the films to receive four or more nominations only The Artist isn't based on a book. Even categories like Costume Design (Jane Eyre) and Art Direction (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) feature movies adapted from literature. There are so many adaptations nominated this year, it's a wonder that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 didn't get a nomination.
In fact, there's a bit of potential history in the works. If The Help is able to win Best Picture at this Sunday's Academy Awards, it will be the most popular book (in terms of Goodreads ratings) ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture. With more than 260,000 ratings, Gone with the Wind currently holds that distinction, but The Help towers over the legendary novel with more than 300,000 ratings. For the record, Vegas doesn't love The Help's chances—it's currently running middle of the pack, with odds anywhere from 12/1 to 25/1. The Artist, one of the few nominees that has nothing to do with books, is the current favorite.
The other adaptations range from bestsellers to relatively obscure books. Here's a graph of the adaptations nominated for Best Picture in order of the number of ratings on Goodreads:
The Help is obviously very popular with Goodreads members. But raw popularity is probably not a great indicator of Oscar success (as we noted last year, relatively few very popular books have become Best Picture-winning movies), though one imagines it must help with the box office. After all, most readers prefer to read the book before seeing the movie. And an Oscar nomination may even give some future readers that extra nudge they were looking for. For instance, both The Descendants and the already popular Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close are currently enjoying a fresh burst of attention from Goodreads members.
Movie stars that bring book characters to life fuel new interest in these books as well. In the acting categories, stars like George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Viola Davis (The Help), and Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) play characters we first met in books.
One more exciting note: There are two Goodreads Authors with adaptations in this year's race. Congratulations to both Kathryn Stockett and Kaui Hart Hemmings! As an added treat, Kaui Hart Hemmings will be chatting with Goodreads members on March 13 about what it was like seeing her novel The Descendants adapted for the big screen. Who knows, maybe it will be a Best Picture winner by then.
Who do you think will take home the Oscar? This year, I'll be rooting for movies that were books first. And wishing that Bridesmaids had been nominated. Not that I'm bitter.
Posted by Patrick on February 21, 2012
Join us today at 2 pm ET/11 am PT for a live video chat with author S.J. Watson. We will be discussing his blockbuster literary thriller Before I go to Sleep.