Goodreads Blog
Goodreads Blog posts (showing 351-360 of 531)
Ways of Reading
Posted by Ken-ichi on December 28, 2009

Just came across these brief and beautiful pieces of advice on reading: Ways of Reading, from a working library, itself a charming set of contemplations on a life of letters. My favorites:
Reading must occur everyday, but it is not just any daily reading that will do. The day’s reading must include at minimum a few lines whose principle intent is to be beautiful—words composed as much for the sake of their composition as for the meaning they convey.

Every book alights a path to other books. Follow these paths as far as you can. This is how you build a library.

Happy Holidays / Site issues
Posted by Michael Economy on December 23, 2009

Currently a large portion of the internet is having dns issues (,, imdb, netflix, walmart).

While it appears our servers are ok, we host a lot of images on amazon's S3 service, so a lot of those aren't loading. Also doing a search on goodreads using amazon will not work.

Theres nothing at we (the goodreads team) can do at this point, but I'll continue to monitor the situation.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Update, seems to be resolved now.
Vote for your favorite books of 2009 in the first ever Goodreads Choice Awards!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on December 16, 2009

Vote now in all categories! »

Every year newspapers, magazines, blogs, and media outlets around the
world bombard us with "best of" lists. At Goodreads, it's all about
you, the reader, so instead of having our editors pick the best books
of 2009, we've created the first ever Goodreads Choice Awards! Using statistics from the site to select books in multiple genres, we compiled polls in Fiction, Nonfiction, Mystery-Thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance, Graphic Novels, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Series, Children's Books, and Picture Books. We also created an All-Time Favorite poll based on the top 10 most popular books (most shelved) on Goodreads in 2009.

Help us choose the five-star books of 2009! Support your favorite books and authors by voting. A total of 32 Goodreads Authors are up for awards this year (including Audrey Niffenegger for Her Fearful Symmetry, Kathryn Stockett for The Help, Dave Cullen for Columbine, and Alyson Noel for Evermore), so be sure to show them some love.

More than 20,000 votes have already been cast. Voting remains open until the end of the year. We'll announce the winners of the inaugural Goodreads Choice Awards in January.

Vote now! »

New funding to allow us to make Goodreads even better
Posted by Otis Chandler on December 10, 2009

We are announcing a new round of funding today (though the cat got out of the bag yesterday)! This is a very exciting moment for Goodreads, as it means we can really go after our goal of getting people excited about reading.

We've already made a few changes, planning out and buying faster servers to make the site faster. The next step is to add a few talented people to our team.

Lots more good stuff to come!


ps. Here is the press release:

Goodreads raises a new round of funding as they are becoming a major player in the online book space

LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8 – Goodreads Inc. announced today that the company raised a Series A round of venture capital financing of close to $2 million dollars. Led by True Ventures, a respected early-stage investor with deep domain experience in consumer Internet technology, the new funding will enable the company to expand the services and features of its rapidly growing social network for readers. With more than 2.8 million registered users, is poised to be a leader in the emerging online book industry.

Unique to Goodreads is the confluence of skills that the company member’s bring to the table. Founder and CEO Otis Chandler leads with a strong social network background, working at before it was bought by Monster Inc. in 2004. At Tickle, Chandler trained with founder James Currier and CTO Stan Chudnovsky, current co-founders of Ooga Labs, and Michael Birch, founder of Bebo (the 3rd largest social network in the world). All are advisers to Goodreads, as is the CTO of MySpace, Mike Jones. Co-founder Elizabeth Chandler brings a news and media background to the team as a former writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times. The company currently has a staff of seven.

Jon Callaghan, partner and founder of True Ventures, added "We’re thrilled to become more involved with Otis and the team at Goodreads. The company is the clear market leader in the book (new term) social networking market, and they are developing a tremendously rich group of book lovers across the world. The new capital will allow the company to expand dramatically in a number of important product and market directions".

A social network for members of all ages
Goodreads members are more diverse than the average social network and the site works as a cross-generational method for readers of all ages to communicate. The millennial generation is also a huge sector on the social network site. This generation uses the site to interact and socialize, learn and role-play through reading and trivia. Fifty percent of Goodreads members are older than thirty, forty percent are in their twenties, and seventy percent are female.

Goodreads – Helping authors reach readers
The book publishing industry, like many other traditional media industries, continues to undergo massive change as it interacts with the Internet. Goodreads has become a platform for authors to reach a massive audience of readers. Over 9,000 published and self-published authors have signed up for an author profile, from which they can promote their new titles by collecting fans and friends, writing blog posts, adding their favorite books, and responding to comments and messages from readers. Goodreads works with most major publishing houses to launch additional promotions, such as advance book giveaways and advertising campaigns. Goodreads offers advertisers the unique ability to target readers by what they have actually read, and also allows budgets of any size in its new self-serve advertising product.

The additional funds from True Ventures will allow Goodreads to improve the site and create more features around reading: better support for authors, additional fun features like trivia and quizzes, bookswap, and ebook support features—all elements that users on Goodreads are clamoring for.

Founder Otis Chandler says, "We’re very happy to have funding from True Ventures. The team there really believes in us and in our mission to get people excited about reading. The future of the online book industry is very interesting right now, and major changes are happening in the way books are being published, promoted, and even sold. Goodreads is already helping in some of those areas–-like our Author Program--but we are only at the beginning of what we can do."

Rapid, Exponential Growth at Goodreads
Goodreads membership continues to grow rapidly and exponentially, reaching 2.8 million within three years of operation. More impressive are the stats relating to unique visitors, pageviews, and time spent on According to Google Analytics, Goodreads achieved 6 million unique visitors and 30 million pageviews in September 09, with members spending 25 million minutes on the site.

About Goodreads
Goodreads is the largest social network for readers in the world. More than 2.8 million members have added more than 74 million books to their profiles. A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they've read and would like to read, form book clubs, answer trivia, and much more. Goodreads was launched in December 2006.

About True Ventures
True Ventures invests in promising entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in the highest-growth segments of the technology market. The partners at True have started over ten companies as founders, and True is designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. The firm clearly understands both opportunities and challenges in the earliest stage of development and provides young companies with a powerful, seasoned partner. True’s entrepreneur-centric approach and willingness to invest small amounts early, combined with the fire power of two funds totaling $360 million under management, provide companies with at winning combination.

Catalog books you own - and bookswap!
Posted by Otis Chandler on December 09, 2009

We're proud to announce two very big new features - the ability to catalog books you own, and bookswap.

Cataloging books you own is a big shift for Goodreads, which has thus far been all about what you've read. Though it was telling that the most popular shelf after the default shelves is the own shelf. Clearly people have a strong desire to distinguish what they own from what they've read — and now you can do both on your my books page!

We're really excited about bookswap, as now you can easily share books with your friends or other Goodreads members. There are plenty of bookswap sites out there, and we thought long and hard about just integrating with them, but in the end we felt that in order to make the best possible user experience we had to build it ourselves. And of course, once we built books you own it was just another checkbox on top of that! Well, maybe it's a little more complicated than that :) One unfortunate complication is that in order to properly do the shipping labels we had to restrict the feature to members in the United States. We hope to add global support over the next few months.

We have a theory with bookswap, and it's that members are more interested in getting free books and getting rid of books they don't have shelf room for than they are in participating in a credit system. Instead of credits, Goodreads works on honesty and karma. Members who request a book get a book for nothing more than the price of shipping & handling. Members who send a book get that good feeling of having passed literature on to another person—and they can feel ok about requesting a book from another member. All member profiles will show how books they have sent, received, and listed, so if someone is a mooch it will be apparent.

To get started with bookswap:

Here are some popular titles available:

We'd love any and all feedback in the Goodreads Feedback group!
December Newsletter!
Posted by Elizabeth on December 08, 2009

The December Newsletter!

For the month of December we wanted to do a newsletter with a focus on giving. It’s a pretty obvious connection, but the fact that both author interviews ended up being about girls’ education was a surprise.

Greg Mortenson got the ball rolling. He agreed to speak to us only a few days after being discharged from the hospital and also put us in touch with Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I would argue that what makes Mortenson powerful as a motivator and speaker is his ability to use stories to express the urgency of an issue. In a way, it’s a literary approach to development. His tale about young girls who read the newspaper to their mothers painted a vivid picture for me about mothers and daughters and that special bond.

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are crack reporters who seek to make a tangible difference. Their meticulous approach to journalism ensures that their conclusions are carefully researched and thoroughly thought out.

Please do check out Mortenson’s and Kristof/WuDunn’s charity organizations (Central Asia Institute, Pennies for Peace, and Half the Sky Movement) if you are interested in getting involved this holiday season.

On the engineering front, it’s been six months in the development phase, but we are thrilled to announce that we have launched Goodreads Bookswap! The new feature is a perfect complement to the holidays; our swap system is based on the enjoyment of seeing your books go to a good home. I for one would rather send the book I just finished reading (Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert) to someone who wants to read it instead of letting it collect dust on my shelf or dropping it off at the local Goodwill. The section is brand new, so please be patient with us and contact us about any bugs or feature improvements. Unfortunately, Goodreads Bookswap is only available in the U.S. at this time, but we are working as fast as we can to make global Goodreads Bookswap a possibility!

The rest of the newsletter is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We asked Garrison Keillor, host of the homespun radio show A Prarie Home Companion, to recommend his favorite “gift books” this month. For Lit for Lat we ventured to South America for a novel about the tribulations of war in Colombia. Our Author Snapshot is about Sheramy Bundrick, whose debut novel Sunflowers is about Van Gogh, and the winning Poem of the Month is The Parrot-Ox by Jane Ellen Glasser. Check it out!

On behalf of the entire team at Goodreads (Otis, Michael, Jessica, Ken-ichi, Louise, Dave, Ben, Leilah, Rivka, and Tessa), I’d like to say that we wish you a safe and warm holiday season. Hopefully you will find comfort among the people you care about, and enjoy a bit of rest, relaxation, and of course, good books!

Thanks again for being a part of Goodreads and enjoy the December Newsletter.


November Newsletter!
Posted by Elizabeth on November 16, 2009

November Newsletter!

Ever since we started Goodreads, Otis and I have hoped that the website would become a way to not only provide good reading recommendations, but also promote literacy and give back to the community—particularly to people with limited access to books or who have not yet learned to read.

Hence, this month we launched the newsletter feature, Do Good with Goodreads, a way to highlight a charity that promotes reading in some way. Room to Read is a groundbreaking organization, founded by John Wood, the author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children. They establish libraries, create local-language children’s literature, construct schools and provide education to girls. Please check the organization out. Mindful of the fact that our site is a global community, we hope to promote a variety of charities over time.

Our second new feature, "Author Snapshot," is also designed as a way to give back—this time to our members. We have so many official Goodreads authors, nearly 10,000, and many independent publishers and booksellers on our site that we felt that they deserved a spotlight as well. Each month, we’ll present an indie or debut author that is generating heat on the site. Gail Carriger, author of Soulless, a "stake-and-crumpets Victorian steampunk series” (to borrow the words of Althea), is our choice for the premiere issue.

The remainder of the newsletter presents some stalwart books and authors. Icons Barbara Kingsolver and John Irving both agreed to speak with Goodreads about their writing process. The answers, as always, are inspiring and unusual. I was particularly excited about “In Bed” with Jonathan Lethem, because we asked him for his favorite books about a subject that clearly drives his work, New York City.

For "Lit for Lat," we traveled to Israel this month, and our Movers & Shakers cover a swath of material, from vegetarianism with Jonathan Safran Foer, to alcoholism, garage bands, Thomas Cromwell and feminism post 1960. Hopefully there is something for everyone.

Finally, the winning poem this month is probably one of my favorites since we started producing the newsletter. Grassland by Goodreads Author S. Jane Sloat, was selected in the iPoetry! Group.

We hope you enjoy the November Newsletter!


new shelf chooser
Posted by Ken-ichi on November 05, 2009

We recently launched a small update to the way we shelve books on Goodreads. Now when you click on "choose shelves," you should see a widget that will let you quickly search through all your shelves, scroll and select with either your mouse or arrow keys, and add new shelves. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier to add books to shelves.

Welcome to Louise Yang!
Posted by Otis Chandler on October 22, 2009

We have a new team member! Louise Yang joins us as a Software Engineer and rockstar bug fixer. Louise will be helping out on various engineering projects, and even though she's new to Ruby on Rails, she's already made a few contributions: new group rules, new group settings, new search tabs, and new inbox compose page.

Here is a bit more about Louise:

Louise went to Berkeley to study Linguistics.
She also studied CS and picked up some tricks.
When she's not coding, she cooks.
Her shelves are overflowing with books.
If you find a bug, it might be something she'll fix.

Please give her a big welcome!
October Newsletter!
Posted by Elizabeth on October 06, 2009

This month we interviewed authors Audrey Niffenegger and Nick Hornby for our newsletter.

Audrey Niffenegger not only wrote the bestselling novel, The Time Travelers Wife, but also has a distinguished background in the visual arts. It’s unusual and exciting to talk to an author who is talented in disparate areas. Her new novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, sounds deliciously creepy.

Our second author, Nick Hornby, has a broad appeal as well. After all, his debut memoir, Fever Pitch, is steeped in his own soccer obsession. According to FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), more than 265 million people in the world play soccer and as many of you know, their fans take the sport seriously. I remember going to my one and only European soccer game in Bologna, Italy. Since I was rooting for ACF Fiorentina, I sat in a chain-link cage while Bolognian spectators threw glass bottles at us. It was terrifying and well…a little bit exciting. Hornby’s later novels, High Fidelity and About a Boy, also garnered high marks. His new one, Juliet, Naked, explores rockstar fandom.

We also got "In Bed" this month with two very different authors, Eoin Colfer, of the Artemis Fowl series, and Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew. We asked them to name their favorite Science Fiction books and books about vampires, respectively. The vampire thing may be ubiquitous, but we figured if there were any month to touch on this trend, October would be the right one!

Please check out Movers & Shakers for some twisted fairytales, inspirational memoirs, and lush Edwardian sagas. And our Lit for Lat discovery this month is Supermarket by Satoshi Azuchi, an intriguing Japanese business novel set in the 1970s. Don’t forget to read our winning poem Lynette’s War, from the iPoetry! Poetry Contest .

We hope you enjoy our newsletter!

P.S. We will be interviewing Barbara Kingsolver next month. If you have any questions for the author of The The Poisonwood Bible and the Bean Trees, post them here!