Goodreads Blog
blog posts (showing 61-70 of 447)
What Shakespeare Play Should I Read? An Infographic
Posted by Jessica on April 23, 2013 603238

Happy birthday, William Shakespeare! In his honor, try our helpful infographic to find out what celebrated play you should read next.

Where did you end up—comedy, history, or tragedy?
Live Video Chat with Gillian Flynn, Today at 2pm ET/11am PT
Posted by Patrick on April 09, 2013 175283

Join us on Wednesday, April 10 at 2pm ET/11am PT for a live video chat with bestselling author Gillian Flynn. We'll be discussing her runaway hit novel Gone Girl, as well as her previous work. Where does this incredibly talented author find inspiration for her dark, addictive novels? The chat will last a half-hour, and if you can't make it, don't worry, we will record it.

To watch the chat or ask a question, click here.
Exciting News About Goodreads: We're Joining the Amazon Family!
Posted by Otis on March 28, 2013 1

When Elizabeth and I started Goodreads from my living room seven years ago, we set out to create a better way for people to find and share books they love. It's been a wild ride seeing how the company has grown and watching as more than 16 million readers from across the globe have joined Goodreads and connected over a passion for books.

Today I'm really happy to announce a new milestone for Goodreads: We are joining the Amazon family. We truly could not think of a more perfect partner for Goodreads as we both share a love of books and an appreciation for the authors who write them. We also both love to invent products and services that touch millions of people.

I'm excited about this for three reasons:

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.

It's important to be clear that Goodreads and the awesome team behind it are not going away. Goodreads will continue to be the wonderful community that we all cherish. We plan to continue offering you everything that you love about the site—the ability to track what you read, discover great books, discuss and share them with fellow book lovers, and connect directly with your favorite authors—and your reviews and ratings will remain here on Goodreads. And it's incredibly important to us that we remain a home for all types of readers, no matter if you read on paper, audio, digitally, from scrolls, or even stone tablets.

For all of you Kindle readers, there's obviously an extra bonus in this announcement. You've asked us for a long time to be able to integrate your Kindle and Goodreads experiences. Making that option a reality is one of our top priorities.

Our team gets out of bed every day motivated by the belief that the right book in the right hands can change the world. Now Goodreads can help make that happen in an even bigger and more meaningful way thanks to joining the Amazon family. (And if you want to be part of this, please check out our Jobs page for open positions. We've got a lot of hires to make!)

This is an emotional day for me. Goodreads is more than a company to me – it's something that Elizabeth and I created because we wanted it to exist. Since then it has grown a lot and become a place we love working at, full of incredibly smart and passionate people who also believe in our mission. I feel a little like a college graduate – happy to come to this milestone, nostalgic for the past amazing seven years, and incredibly, incredibly, excited for the future.


P.S. For the more official version of the announcement, here's the press release that went out today.

P.P.S. Please let us know – what integration with Kindle would you love to see the most?

Live Video Chat with Lawrence Wright, Today at 2pm ET/11am PT
Posted by Patrick on March 20, 2013 175283

Join us today at 2pm ET/11am PT for a live video chat with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright. We'll be discussing his new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Don't miss this chance to ask a question about one of the world's most mysterious organizations. And if you miss the chat, don't worry, we will record it.

This chat is over. Please click here to watch the archived recording.
Now It's Even Easier to Show Off Your Love of Books on Facebook
Posted by Brian Rosenblat on March 13, 2013 6415645

Good news today for our members who love to share their Goodreads reading activity on Facebook!

Facebook has made improvements to timeline to organize and showcase activity from apps with a new feature called sections. Goodreads is among the apps that can share into your new sections on timeline and the About page. This is being rolled out on Facebook over the next few weeks so don't worry if you don't see it on your timeline yet—it's coming.

The Goodreads app for Facebook is already the number one book—related app on Facebook—more than 2.5 million of us are using the app. And in the last four weeks alone, we shared more than 20 million books on Facebook. That's a whole lot of book love!

Of course, we've made sure to give our members complete control of what you share via the Goodreads app on Facebook. You can edit your settings at any time.

Every day, the Goodreads team wakes up, comes into the office, and focuses on one mission: to help people find and share books they love. The Goodreads app on Facebook is another great way for you and your friends to connect over a shared passion for books.

If you haven't signed up for our app on Facebook and would like to try it out, please go to your Account page on Goodreads (go to the top right corner of Goodreads, click on the drop-down arrow, and click on "edit profile"), click on the Apps tab, and follow the instructions under Facebook.

As Facebook rolls the new timeline out to a broader audience, we'll follow up with an additional post to give more details.

Books are better when shared with friends. Happy sharing!
What's Going On with Readers Today? Goodreads Finds Out
Posted by Otis on February 25, 2013 1

What makes someone decide to read a particular book? Do people read on their cell phones? Is there really a "walled garden" or do people shop around for e-books? And how many readers actually want books in serial format?

These are all questions we tackled in our presentation at February's publishing industry conference, Tools of Change. This year, we decided to do something a little different. We asked publishers what topics interested them, and then we surveyed the experts—the Goodreads community. The results were fascinating.

Book Discovery

"Discovery" is a huge topic in the publishing industry, especially as more and more books are published each year. For this presentation, we took a different tack. Rather than just ask a general "How do you discover books?" question, we went to recent readers of two popular books on Goodreads and asked: "What convinced you to read this book?"

The two choices were Gone Girl (which was the most reviewed book on Goodreads in 2012 and the winner of the Mystery & Thriller category in the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards) and The Night Circus (a debut novel from 2011, which was a finalist in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards).

A recommendation from a trusted friend was the clear winner for both books. This reinforces other industry studies and also underlines something we've long believed: Books are one of the strongest social objects that exist.

From our earliest days, humans have always connected over stories. We see remnants of those tales in cave paintings dating back 40,000 years. The power of a story—and the desire to share and talk about that story—lives on today, even in a world turned increasingly digital. In fact, if you look at the graphic above, several of the top answers (Everyone Talking About It, Book Club, On "Best" Lists) all go back to one powerful need: wanting to be connected with our "tribe" through stories.

E-Books Escape from the E-Ink Reader

With 75% of our members reading books in e-book format at least some of the time (see slide 19 "Which format do you prefer to read in?"), publishers are interested in which devices people use to read. There have been industry reports, for example, that tablets are outselling dedicated e-readers. Publishers want to see how this impacts the choice of devices for e-book reading.

  • 37% of our survey respondents read e-books on their cell phones. Of these,
    • 72% read e-books on their cell phones while commuting or waiting in line
    • 13% say that their cell phone is the only device they use to read e-books
    • A surprising, but still small, number of people noted in the "Other" response option that they use their cell phone as a backup device. For example, one member wrote that she uses her cell phone to read e-books "when my child has my Kindle." We think if we'd given this as an option that we would have seen a high enough percentage to have included "use as backup e-book reading device" in the top responses.
  • 86% of survey respondents who own a tablet read e-books on the device. Of these,
    • 74% use their tablets to read around the home
    • 68% read e-books with their tablets in bed
    • Almost a third (32%) say that the tablet is the only device they use to read e-books

E-Book Readers Take Down That Wall

We also took a look at how locked in people are to their e-reader devices. Surprisingly, we found that almost three quarters (73%) of e-book readers shop around for the best price at least sometimes. And 20% always shop around for the best price.

That then opened up the question: Were some e-book readers more likely to shop around than others?

A surprising 18% of Kindle readers also read on Apple iBooks, and 15% also read in the Nook format.

Nook and Apple iBook readers appear to be less locked in to their formats than Kindle readers.

It's important to note that we didn't ask respondents what their primary format was, so this data should only be taken as an indication of the level of experimentation that's taking place. But it does open up some interesting questions. In particular, as tablets increasingly become the e-book reader device of choice for more and more people, does this also mean that they are reading across different e-reader apps? A question for a future survey, perhaps.

Please, Sir, I Want Some More

Everybody's favorite example of an author who had success publishing his books in a serial format is Charles Dickens (author of, among other classics, Oliver Twist). With the rise in e-books, there has been an increasing rise in people experimenting with the serialization of books.

We asked Goodreads members whether they would be interested in reading a book in serial format instead of waiting six months for a complete book. We also asked them to rate their interest for both an author they knew and liked and an author they did not know.

The contrast in responses was clear. For an author that they knew and liked, almost half (49%) said they would be interested in this concept. However, for an unknown author looking to use this technique to gain readers, the data is not as encouraging. Only 17% said they would be interested and more than half (55%) said they are not at all interested. That's not to say that you shouldn't experiment with this option if you are an author looking to grow a fan base. After all, a certain successful book with the word "fifty" in its title originally started as a serial. Just be aware that the barriers for unknown authors are higher than you might realize.

For even more nitty-gritty from the world of readers, please take a look at our complete presentation:

Is the Book Really Better Than the Movie?
Posted by Patrick on February 22, 2013 175283

Half of this year's ten Best Picture nominees are based on books: Lincoln (adapted from Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals), Life of Pi (from Yann Martel's novel), Silver Linings Playbook (from Matthew Quick's book), Les Misérables (Victor Hugo, by way of Broadway), and Argo (based on both Antonio J. Mendez's autobiography The Master of Disguise and Joshuah Bearman's article from Wired). But the jump from page to screen isn't always so successful. Too many times we leave the theater sighing and saying, "The book was better." Of course, the opposite is sometimes true. Occasionally a story is so well adapted that it will outshine the original source material. Ever hear of the 1979 thriller Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp? It spawned the movie Die Hard, which has gone on to become one of the most memorable movie franchises of the last 30 years. "Yippee-ki-yay!" indeed.

Here's the big question: Is the book really better than the movie? In our search for an answer, we looked at more than 300 books and the movies made from them to determine whether the adaptations generally received better or worse reviews than their counterparts. For the books, we used our average rating (found on every book page on Goodreads). For the movies, we used the Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating.

In general, people liked the books in our sample set better than the movies, giving the books an average rating of 3.94 stars while rating the movies just 3.59. This makes sense, though, as one would imagine that relatively few unpopular books get adapted into movies.

By analyzing the movies to see which ones had higher ratings than the book they were based on and ordering them by the size of the difference in ratings, we were able to calculate exactly which adaptations were significantly better on the screen. The results are somewhat surprising:

Two of the top 10 adaptations from our list are nominated for Best Picture this year— the movie version of Life of Pi outpaced its book source material by a considerable margin and Argo trails only The Social Network for highest ratings discrepancy. Even though only one of the adaptations on our list won Best Picture (despite eight of the ten being nominated), we're betting on Argo to beat the odds and take home the big award.

And then there are the adaptations that maybe should've stayed on the page. When it comes to book-based movies that have disappointed us, the lesson seems to be "Do not mess with our childhood memories!" Either that or "Do not mess with Dr. Seuss!" Children's movies dominate the list of worst adaptations.

Do you have a favorite book-to-movie adaptation? How about one you'd rather forget ever happened? And who do you think will take home Oscar gold?
Live Video Chat with Kim Harrison, Today at 2pm ET/11am PT
Posted by Patrick on January 29, 2013 175283

Join us today for a live video chat with bestselling author Kim Harrison. We'll be talking about her new book Ever After, the 11th in her popular series The Hollows. Don't miss this chance to ask one of the hottest authors on Goodreads a question!

Click here to watch a recording of the chat!
Behind the Scenes at Goodreads
Posted by Elizabeth on January 29, 2013 5

Yesterday, we marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice by hanging a giant poster of Colin Firth's head in our "Pemberley" conference room. That symbolic gesture also hailed the completion of our decor at the new Goodreads offices in San Francisco. Yay!

Many months in the making, we hoped to make our office as cozy, welcoming, and bookish as possible. Our team sits in brown and green chairs in front of light wood desks; custom chairs double as bookshelves; the picnic area is where were all lunch together; photos of Goodreads employees holding their favorite books hang near the kitchen. We even created a mellow Mad Men-style lounge area where people can play chess and board games, read books from the communal shelf, or sometimes take a nap on the sofa.

Where the Magic Happens
Only One Duplicate for Favorite Book! Catch-22

Wanted: Book Lovers

Coding or Chilling, Amar?

But, back to Pemberley. In each of the conference rooms we hoped to create an atmosphere that reflected a different book from a different genre. Everyone in the office threw out ideas, and in the end we ran a poll and used a little hocus pocus to come up with five special environments.

Emily Savors the Shire

The Shire: Artist Helen Bayly spent hours creating this swirling mural of
J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy, The Hobbit. Note the friendly little hobbit curled up with his latest good read.

Max and Michael, a Perfect Pair

Land of the Wild Things: Hipster icon, kid-book illuminatus, we hope the wildly inventive
Maurice Sendak would have enjoyed our little shrine to Max, the boy who throws on his wolf suit and sparks a wild rumpus in Where the Wild Things Are.

Arrakis: This one caters to founder Otis' tastes. He's a big fan of Frank Herbert's '70s science fiction tome, Dune. In his review, he called it "an epic tale of intrigue, religion, and human nature." Difficult concept to pull off, though. We settled with three posters from the movies. Perhaps in the future we can add a sand pit.

Seth Takes a Well-Earned Break

Sherlock Holmes Library: Move over, dear Watson, we'd like to take a seat. The library is a fun place to ponder big questions from the safety of comfy brown chairs and prop your feet up on cushy footrests. We solve the latest challenges for Goodreads in this book-lined sanctuary.

Ready, Set, Blast Off!

The Great Glass Elevator: We took this oddly shaped little room in the far corner of the office and transformed it into a space-age take on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Weird candy-colored chairs, a spider-like table, and decal buttons leading you wherever you'd like to go!

Misty Falls in Love, One More Time

And the final piece of the puzzle: Pemberley.
We wanted a female author who has captured the hearts of thousands of readers; Jane Austen was an easy choice. The iconic Pride and Prejudice has been immortalized by Bollywood, reborn as a spoiled Beverly Hills teen, become part of the canon of many actors' serious work—Olivier, Firth, Knightley—rehashed on YouTube, even spawned a whole new subgenre of the zombie thing with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And well, a lot of us in the office are true-blue fans. The Pemberley room boasts a few hunting reproductions, a portrait of the lovely Ms. Austen, a reproduction of a romantic scene from an old version of the book, and a giant poster of Firth’s head—with his co-stars in the background.

We've just settled in, but let's face it, we may be moving offices again soon. Any ideas for an additional set of conference rooms? What fabulous environments from books would you like to escape into? We're looking for magical places that can help us dream up big ideas for Goodreads!
Live Video Chat with Timothy Ferriss, Today at 2pm ET/11am PT
Posted by Patrick on January 21, 2013 175283

Join us today at 2pm ET/11am PT for a live video chat with bestselling author Timothy Ferriss. We'll be discussing his latest book The 4-Hour Chef.

Click here to watch a recording of the chat.