Goodreads Blog
blog posts (showing 331-340 of 451)
bookclubs just got even better!
Posted by Otis Chandler on December 22, 2008

We just launched a great new feature for bookclubs: structure for easily showing off what a group is currently, has read, and is going to read.

Bookclubs have always had a 'currently-reading' shelf, but now they can add start and finish dates, a blurb of text about why they picked it, who the discussion leader is, and link to the discussion folder. These changes allowed us to change the group page to show more exactly what the group is reading, with a neat "upcoming" section. Similarly, the books the group has read now shows the date the group read them.

There are over 9,000 groups on Goodreads now, and 1,600 of them have the word book club in their title or description. One of them, the Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group, even got mentioned in the news recently!

For example, here's what the Sci Fi and Fantasy Bookclub is currently reading:

And here's what the Constant Reader group is reading:

December Newsletter and Holiday Gift Guide!
Posted by Elizabeth on December 04, 2008

Please check out our Newsletter and Gift Guide!

This month we interviewed Malcolm Gladwell, John Grogan and Dennis Lehane for our monthly newsletter, all interesting and influential authors in their own right. Goodreads member Andrew Lundwall contributed his poem "unscrew the moon".

We also had a blast putting together the Gift Guide for our users. Some fun ideas include book lover's pajamas, a quirky book light shaped like a novel, and a sensuous leather-bound journal. We took care to pick gifts at a variety of prices.

Hope you all have a happy December!
Goodreads hits 5,000 authors
Posted by Otis Chandler on December 01, 2008

We hit a fun benchmark over the holiday - 5,000 authors who have signed up for our Author Program!

The Author Program has grown quickly ever since we noticed lots of real authors creating profiles on the site, and gave them the ability to take control of their author profile.

We have been honored to have lots of popular authors sign up. Authors like Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho, Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, Michael Connelly, Chris Bohjalian, and many more have joined and been using Goodreads to connect to their fans. It's also a lot of fun to see what they are reading - just the other day I saw a book review from Neil Gaiman in my friend updates!

But the majority of the the 5,000 authors are of course newer, self-published, smaller authors - and we have been thrilled to give them the tools to start building a following for their books.

About the Goodreads Author program:
Goodreads has a new look!
Posted by Otis Chandler on November 26, 2008

Goodreads 2.0 is here! We're very excited to release a new design to you all tonight. We've been testing the new design for the past week and are really excited about it.

The redesign is focused on improving site usability and navigation. It contains only a few new features, but we have moved a number of things around to make them easier to find and use.

Key aspects of the redesign are:
* The site is wider (960px)!
* New header navigation that uses dropdowns to allow faster access to key areas of the site.
* The row of books in the header moved from hanging upside down to being right side up. Our designer pointed out that before it looked as though they were about to fall out of the sky! :)
* New "explore books" page that is a jumping off point to all explore books pages (listopia, popular books, most read books, etc)
* The grey boxes used all over the site have been replaced with a clean rounded brown header. This allows for less visual clutter and more space for content.
* The elements on the book page have been rearranged a bit to make the content people use the most more prominent.
* The wider site allowed us to move the bookshelves on the 'my books' page to a narrow column on the left, which really cleaned up the look & feel of that page - especially for those of us (like me) who have a lot of shelves.

We also launch one fairly significant new feature - a new comment digest system! This allows members to follow a discussion in a group instantly, daily, or weekly. Previously we just had daily. You can also now follow any discussion anywhere on the site, where previously only groups and review comments had email notifications. We expect this to be a significant improvement in letting members easily follow the discussions they care about!

Please check it out and give us your feedback, and help us nail any remaining bugs!
Nominate Goodreads for the Crunchies!
Posted by Otis Chandler on November 20, 2008

improved account settings
Posted by Ken-ichi on November 05, 2008

For those of you who don't follow Goodreads announcements, we've recently reorganized the account settings page, consolidating settings that used to be spread out across several pages. Here are some things you can do there:

  • change your name / email / profile picture

  • select what kind of email updates you receive from Goodreads

  • select what kinds of updates go in your update feed

  • connect your account to other websites like facebook and twitter

  • find widgets to embed in your blog or website

  • select and order book links that you see on every book page (e.g. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.)

So, no new functionality, but hopefully now these settings will be easier to find.

Goodreads makes Dewey a Bestseller!
Posted by Otis Chandler on October 21, 2008

Well probably not, but I'd like to think we helped. We are running an ad campaign this month for Dewey The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, and I just read an article on CNN about how it's on all the bestseller lists!

We have seen the number of people adding it to their shelves increase over 400% in the last two weeks. I'm sure the book is being advertised elsewhere too of course, but it is fun to see a book we are working with do so well.

Rebranding Books at Bookninja
Posted by Ken-ichi on October 21, 2008

[image error]The good folks at Bookninja have been running a contest: rebrand your favorite authors and books to appeal to a broader audience of supposedly simpler tastes! The finalists are hilarious. I found the rebranding of Cormac McCarthy's The Road particularly awesome.
October Newsletter: Rock the Vote With Goodreads!
Posted by Elizabeth on October 14, 2008

October Newsletter

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that these are important times. The rocky nature of the economy, the situation in Iraq, health care at home, all of these issues affect each and every one of us. It’s scary. We could be at the edge of a great abyss, or at the beginning of a meteoric ascension. It’s up to us.

I think we all know that this election is deeply important. At Goodreads we wanted to acknowledge the seriousness of the current climate with a newsletter that would help our members become as informed as possible by November 4th. That’s a tall order.

Right now there are major issues in the information world that make it hard for the average voter. First of all, whom can you trust? I think that with the decline in newspapers (and as a former member of the Los Angeles Times, I can tell you that newspapers have become quite a stressful place to work), consumers are becoming more and more wary of the information they receive. On the news production side, reporters know that their jobs are in jeopardy—why should they write something that will rock the boat? There are also fewer and fewer layers of editors to look over a story and eliminate any bias. Fact checking and librarian teams at media organizations are being cut or eliminated. Then you have blogs, which for the most part have no form of repercussion for inaccuracy and defamation. We have so much information available to us, but no idea what is really the truth.

When people watch the debates they feel the same sense of helplessness. Everyone has become such a good campaigner. But what will they do when elected into office?

Knowing what is right and what is important to you has become even more of a personal journey. We are now truly responsible for our own education. There is no Walter Cronkite to tell us what to believe. We have to actively seek out information and be ruthless when discarding falsities—just the thought of it makes me tired.

Luckily we have places like Goodreads. This site is about real people helping each other. The best place to start your re-education is to get on the site and start looking at political books from across the spectrum. If you look at enough reviews, you’ll begin to discern books that can help you learn about the issues that you care about. And we really encourage you to try and branch out and read something contrary to your values. Only by challenging your beliefs will you grow.

In our newsletter, we interviewed two political writers, one conservative, Dick Morris, and one liberal, Thomas Frank. We also let our readers decide which red, blue and purple books were the most important to read. In addition, we’ve provided a link to a user-generated list called Best Books to Become an Informed Voter.

It’s important to know the issues. And this is the year to do it. Check it out!

Good night and good luck,

Welcome to Ken-ichi!
Posted by Otis Chandler on October 14, 2008

We're happy to announce a new face at Goodreads: Ken-ichi Ueda! Ken-ichi comes to us from Berkeley where he made a really cool site for naturalists.

Here's a bio he wrote:

Once upon a time, Ken-ichi thought he would be a paleontologist. Then he thought he'd be a computer scientist. Then a biologist. Then a cartographer. Then an informaticist. Then a biodiversity informaticist! Now he is a web developer. But while his goals grew and shifted, he always knew he was a reader: from Dune to Pride &
, from field guides to programming manuals, Ken-ichi loves a
good book. When he's not breathlessly awaiting the next David
novel, you can find him exploring the land and see of California in search of spineless wonders!