Goodreads Blog
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At This Year's Oscars, Books Steal the Show
Posted by Patrick on February 24, 2012 175283

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.
Live Video Chat with S.J. Watson
Posted by Patrick on February 21, 2012 175283

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.

To watch the chat or join the discussion, click here!

How do books get discovered? A guide for publishers and authors who want their books to find an audience
Posted by Patrick on February 17, 2012 175283

We've all fallen under the spell of a truly great book. But where did we originally hear about it? How did we come to choose that particular book from among the literally millions of books in the world? Did a friend hand it to us and say, "You have to read this!" Or did we hear about it on NPR's "Fresh Air"? Or was it a Goodreads Recommendation that convinced us to give it a try?

From the publisher's perspective, discovery has always been shrouded in mystery, a sort of alchemical process through which readers find books they love. With a community of more than 7 million people and 250 million books shelved, Goodreads is uniquely equipped to shed some light on this eternal question. On Wednesday, our CEO Otis Chandler gave a talk at the Tools of Change conference in New York City presenting some data that helps get at one of the most pressing questions facing the publishing industry today—how do readers discover books?

What we found is that readers discover books in several different ways. While this may not seem surprising, it should serve as a reminder to authors and publishers that no one promotion or marketing technique is enough. To successfully promote a book, you have to reach out to readers in a variety of ways.

Below is a pie chart of the various methods Goodreads members use to find books on the site:

One of the biggest things we learned—or should we say confirmed—is the power of word of mouth. Searching for titles on Goodreads is the top way people find books for their to-read shelves. That means they first heard of it elsewhere—likely from friends or the media. Search represented the method of discovery with the widest distribution of titles, from the very popular to the very obscure.

Some of the methods for finding books, such as the registration process for Goodreads, favor very popular books. We want to make sure you see something familiar when signing up, so we show books that many readers have liked. But other methods of discovery, such as updates from your friends and searching for specific books and authors, are better for finding more obscure books.

Our Goodreads Recommendation Engine has been incredibly successful since we launched it last September. It was designed to show you interesting mid-list books (books that are neither best-sellers nor completely unknown titles) that you may not have heard of. As shown in the graph below, we succeeded. This makes sense, as nobody needs an algorithm to tell them about a best-seller. It's also worth pointing out that on the lower end our recommendation engine has a minimum threshold of several hundred ratings so we know enough about a book to be statistically comfortable recommending it. So authors, if you know of a strong comparable title to your book and you are able to market your book to those readers—and they respond by adding your book to their Goodreads account—our recommendation engine will notice this correlation and be even more likely to suggest your book to the right readers.

To find out more about where people initially hear about the books they read, we ran a survey of more than 3,200 Goodreads members, asking them how they discovered books. The results were somewhat surprising.

As you can see, most Goodreads members get book recommendations from their friends, either on Goodreads or off. Conversely, very few Goodreads members rely on Twitter and Facebook to hear about new books.

And, as we've shown previously, an appearance on a popular NPR program or The Daily Show can give any book a "pop" on Goodreads. It's worth noting, though, that maintaining that level of interest in the book relies on word of mouth. (In the graph below, the blue line shows the number of times A Slave in the White House was added after a member searched for it, and the brown curve shows the number of times the book was added because a member had seen a mention of the book in a friend's update.)

Discovery happens in a multitude of ways, and a successful marketing campaign should take that into account. But there are a few strategies that seem to work well.

Our best advice is to work hard to establish your core fan base. The more momentum on Goodreads you get, the more it will build. Encourage your readers to rate and review your book on Goodreads. This will not only help generate word-of-mouth buzz, which is essential for a sustained promotion, but also help get your books onto the appropriate book lists and onto the Goodreads Recommendation engine. Our Listopia lists are a great source of discovery for our members, including lots of mid-list titles. They tend to be specific, such as World War II Fiction or Pacific Northwest Books, so having your book on the right list can make a huge difference.

If you're an author who already has a following, be sure to promote your book heavily to your existing fans and fans of similar authors. Add a Goodreads badge or widget to your Web site or blog and encourage your readers to add your books and become your fan. If you're just starting out, reach the right readers with an advance giveaway.

For more interesting data on how readers discover their books, be sure to explore the full slideshow below. We look forward to bringing you more of this kind of in-depth information that could only come from the world's largest site for readers and book recommendations.

Happy reading!
Otis, Kyusik, and Patrick

Live Video Chat with Amanda Hocking at 3pm ET/Noon PT
Posted by Patrick on February 15, 2012 175283

Let's try this once more. We have finally rescheduled our video chat with Amanda Hocking, and it is happening today!

Join us today at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT for a half-hour live video chat with Amanda Hocking. The New York Times called Hocking a "26-year-old self-publishing wunderkind" when her series of self-published novels became surprise bestsellers. Now St. Martin's Press is publishing her Trylle series in beautiful paperback editions. Don't miss this chat, as we'll be discussing the first in the series, Switched, as well as Hocking's enormous success.

To watch the chat or join the discussion, click here!
Live Video Chat with Amanda Hocking - RESCHEDULED
Posted by Patrick on February 08, 2012 175283

Join us on Wednesday, February 15 at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT for a half-hour live video chat with Amanda Hocking. The New York Times called Hocking a "26-year-old self-publishing wunderkind" when her series of self-published novels became surprise bestsellers. Now St. Martin's Press is publishing her Trylle series in beautiful paperback editions. Don't miss this chat, as we'll be discussing the first in the series, Switched, as well as Hocking's enormous success.

This chat will now take place on Wednesday, February 15, at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT. To watch the chat or join the discussion, click here.
A Life in Books: Share Your Reading History on Facebook Timeline
Posted by Patrick on February 03, 2012 175283

Now you can showcase your entire reading history—all of your books and reviews—with Goodreads for Facebook Timeline. Our members are already using Goodreads to post what they've read and are currently reading, their reviews, progress updates, and quotes to Timeline. When we launched two weeks ago, Facebook only allowed new books to post, and Goodreads members quickly added more than one and a half million books!

Part of the joy of Goodreads is the ability to look back at what you've read over the years, and now Goodreads for Facebook Timeline allows you to share that experience. Pair your online world with your most meaningful books—from the books you loved as a child to your latest literary obsession. You'll see fun reading statistics for each month and year: How many pages did you read in January? Did you read more books in 2010 or 2011? Watch your read count grow in 2012. It's yet another way to highlight something dear to you, your books.

Goodreads for Facebook Timeline will show you which books you've read each month and year, as well as statistics for your entire reading history.

Remember the books you brought with you on that unforgettable trip?

Match books with the most important moments of your life.

You can post your entire reading history to Timeline in just a few clicks! To get started, click the link below:

Try Goodreads for Facebook Timeline and add your books.

You can also add Timeline whenever you're ready from the apps tab in the "my account" section. You can post all of your books, or customize your Timeline to show only the books you've rated or read by clicking "expand list" on the Add Books page.

To help get you comfortable on Timeline as quickly and as easily as possible, we've created this handy list of Frequently Asked Questions. Also, we welcome your feedback as we continue to develop and improve Goodreads for Facebook Timeline. Your ideas and comments are important to us, so please help us make this the best product we can! Of course, if you have a question and you don't see it answered in our FAQ, feel free to contact us.
Goodreads Transitions to New Data Sources
Posted by Otis on January 30, 2012 1

We're happy to announce that Goodreads has reached a new milestone: We are no longer dependent on Amazon for book information. Ingram, the largest wholesaler of books in the U.S., is our new primary data partner, and our agreement with them will ensure accurate and reliable information for the foreseeable future. In addition to Ingram, we are working with dozens of other open data sources, such as libraries, to find book records from all over the world (see below for a list). This is an exciting moment, and we're confident that this change will be better for the members of Goodreads and long-term success of the site.

What has changed? Not as much as you might think.
Fewer than 2 percent of our 7 million users have books currently affected. However, you may notice some missing cover images. We are still in the process of importing millions of images from several sources, so please be patient—most of those images will be back very soon.

Today, 99 percent of the transition to new data sources is now complete. For the remaining 1 percent of books without new sources, book records may appear blank: listed as "Unknown Title" and "Unknown Author." Once we've found a new source of data for those books, they will be restored. Please be assured that all of your reviews and ratings will continue to be available during the transition.

What can I do right now?
Here's what you can do to help make the switch as smooth as possible:

If you see a blank book record—one listed as "Unknown Title" and "Unknown Author"—and you know what book it is (for example, if you reviewed the book and can recognize it from your review), please report it in the Goodreads Librarians Group or apply to become a Librarian yourself. If you're a librarian and you see a blank book record that you can identify, please feel free to enter new information using one of the approved sources listed in this post.

If you see a book missing a cover, feel free to find a new one on the author's or publisher's Web site and upload it to Goodreads. While many of the missing cover images will be included very soon in our ongoing imports, we also welcome book information from Goodreads members.

Why did we do this?
Quality book information—such as titles, authors, publication dates, and cover images—is the life blood of a site dedicated to book discovery and literary discussion. Since its inception, Goodreads has relied on Amazon's public API for much of this information, and while Amazon data was free, it came with many restrictions. For instance, we couldn't use their information for our mobile apps or link to competing bookstores. If you have any additional questions about the transition, please feel free to contact us.

We'd like to say a big thank you to the many Goodreads Librarians and Goodreads Authors who have worked tirelessly to help with the transition over the past few weeks. Thank you again for continuing to make Goodreads the amazing and unique place it is. We look forward to providing you with the best, most accurate, and most all-encompassing book database in the world for many years to come.

Our sources of data
All Major American Publishers
Many Smaller American Publishers
The Library of Congress
The German National Library
The British National Library
Goodreads Authors
(And growing!)

Authors and Publishers, would you like to be a source?
We are very proud of the enormous community of authors on the site, and keeping your book information accurate has always been a priority of ours. We are most likely already importing a feed of data for your books (either from Ingram or directly from your publisher), but if you would like to confirm this, or offer us a feed of data to ensure that your books will always be available to the millions of readers on Goodreads, please contact us.

Live Video Chat with Kristin Hannah, Today at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT
Posted by Patrick on January 26, 2012 175283

Join us today at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT for a live video chat with author Kristin Hannah. We'll be discussing her new book Home Front, as well as her previous novels and her life as a writer. This is your chance to ask this wildly popular, bestselling author a question and have it answered live on video. Don't miss it!

To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here!

Quotable Goodreads: 2011's Most-Loved Quotes [INFOGRAPHIC]
Posted by Patrick on January 25, 2012 175283

How many of us have an old dog-eared copy of our favorite book, with unforgettable passages underlined and starred? I can't count how many times I've turned to my wife and said, "I just have to read you this sentence." Quotes are a major way we remember what we've read. They are so important that some of us even tattoo them onto our bodies. Naturally, sharing quotes is a favorite activity on Goodreads, where members liked more than 5 million quotes in 2011!

The Goodreads quotes archive contains hundreds of thousands of quotations and canvasses thousands of books and authors. Readers can save the quotes that mean the most to them and share them with friends. Our collection of quotes is diverse in nature, but the most-loved quotes deal with big ideas—wisdom, beauty, courage, defiance, adventure (through reading, no less!), love, and fear.

In 2011, we also launched our Quote of the Day feature. Every day we email subscribers a new carefully chosen quote. (Click the "subscribe" button on the right side of this page to get in on the action!) We also post the daily quote to our Facebook fan page and Twitter. Here are the top five most-popular Quote of the Day selections on Facebook in 2011:

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
Groucho Marx

"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation."
Walter Cronkite

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
Lucy Maud Montgomery

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."
Lemony Snicket

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always."
Mahatma Gandhi

Some deal with humor, some with gravitas, and it probably surprises no one that many of our most-popular quotes are about books and reading. What else would you expect from a site full of bookworms?

Do you have a favorite quote from a book? What's the quote you'd be most likely to get tattooed on your body?
Introducing Goodreads for Facebook Timeline
Posted by Otis on January 18, 2012 1

British playwright Alan Bennett once said, "A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot." At Goodreads, we completely agree. That's why we're excited to announce a new Goodreads app for Facebook Timeline.

Timeline—Facebook's redesigned profile—lets you easily track all of the things that are important to you across time. Goodreads members already share more than 12 million books a month with each other, and now with the Goodreads app for Timeline it's easy to share your books with all your Facebook friends, some of whom may not be Goodreads members—yet!

For book lovers, your Facebook Timeline is incomplete without sharing what you're reading. If you connect your Facebook account to Goodreads, you can share the books you're currently reading, as well as your new reviews, progress updates, and quotes, on your Timeline. It's a great way to share the books you love with everyone—regardless of whether you got the book from your library or you read it on your ereader.

Goodreads for Facebook Timeline displays your progress through the books you read.

The Facebook News Feed and Ticker create serendipity—such as showing you when two of your friends were reading the same article or listening to the same band. Now, with Goodreads for Timeline, you'll learn when two friends are reading the same book at the same time. Who knows, maybe you'll end up starting a new book club.

We also know how important it is to keep track of your reading. Facebook Timeline will help with this by creating interesting statistics on what you've read. The Goodreads summary will show which authors you've read the most each month and year, and also give you a roundup of your monthly books and pages read!

Timeline provides a summary of your monthly reading activity.

Starting today, you can add the books you're reading to your Timeline. In the future, you may be able to go back in time to add all the books from your Goodreads shelves that you've already read, so you can display your favorite books from all the important moments in your life. That would have made Louis L'Amour very happy: "Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you."

Adding Goodreads to your Timeline will give you a yearly report on the books and authors you love.

To add Goodreads to your Timeline click on this button:

You can also add Timeline from the apps tab in the "my account" section.

Here at Goodreads, we want to help people read more and discover great books, and we're happy to offer yet another way to do this with Goodreads for Facebook Timeline. As Chad Harbach wrote in his recent bestseller The Art of Fielding, "So much of one's life was spent reading; it made sense not to do it alone."