Goodreads Blog
blog posts (showing 291-300 of 432)
Importing book videos from publishers
Posted by Otis on April 09, 2009 1

In my my panel at Tools of Change, Tim Spaulding and I called out to book publishers to create API's to open up the meta-data about their books. Most of their data is available through other means already, but it is a pain to get. We didn't quite come to a solution, but one interesting thing has resulted out of this: videos from Youtube!

Random House has an account on YouTube with hundreds of author videos that they have favorited. We worked out with them that if they added link in the description of each video that contained the ISBN of the book mentioned, that we could then use YouTube's API to query those videos and automatically import them on the appropriate author and book pages on Goodreads. And it's working!

For instance, here is their feed:

If you're a publisher and have an account on YouTube, we suggest you do the same for your videos, and then send us the link to your YouTube account! This will ensure your videos will appear on Goodreads for readers to consume. So far we have 2,928 book related videos that have been viewed on Goodreads 68,625 times!
Goodreads hits 2 million members!
Posted by Otis on April 06, 2009 1

Goodreads just hit 2 million members! We're very honored and encouraged to have so many smart bookish people using Goodreads, and we can only promise to keep working hard to make it even better for the next million people who stop by.

Goodreads' mission is to help people read more books. We think it's working, as members so far have added over 46 million books to their profiles. This includes 4 million text reviews, 36 million ratings, and 7 million books that people want to read. Goodreads has a whopping 5,245,559 distinct works in it's catalog, and thanks to an army of Goodreads Librarians, we think one of the better book databases online.

Hitting an arbitrary milestone like this is always a great excuse to look back at the past year and see how things have changed. Here is a list of some of the bigger features we built in the last year—amazing to think they all didn't exist a year ago!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make Goodreads so special. Let us know what your favorite feature of the last year is in the comments!
Get your Goodreads on the go with the new mobile site!
Posted by Otis on March 28, 2009 1

We launched a mobile site a little while back, and after a month of testing and tweaking it, it's now live for all to use! We optimized for iPhone & Blackberry, but it should work well on any mobile phone with internet browsing capabilities. You don't even have to do anything, just go to Goodreads on your mobile phone and we should auto-detect that you are on a phone and show you the mobile version of the site.

The mobile site is a lightweight version of the regular site that should meet the most basic mobile needs. Right now you can:
  • browse your shelves
  • search for books
  • add books to your read, currently-reading, and to-read shelves
  • update your status for books on your currently-reading shelf

It you have feedback or would like request more features please join in the discussion.

If your phone for some reason doesn't auto-detect that you are on a mobile device, you can reach the mobile site directly by going to

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like on an iPhone:

Goodreads mobile site screenshot
Integration with Feedbooks gives us ebook galore!
Posted by Otis on March 13, 2009 1

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Goodreads has always allowed members to attach an ebook to a book page (copyright allowing of course). But now we've partnered with Feedbooks to allow members to download all their public domain books - over 1,500 titles!

Public domain books include many of those classics that, in our humble opinion, shouldn't be missed. Have you ever read Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles? You can now get it instantly, along with other great titles such Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, The Art of War, Dracula, Treasure Island, and many more.

Browse all our ebooks!

On each book you'll notice a download button on the right - just click that and select your preferred format.

author blogs!
Posted by Otis on March 06, 2009 1

Now you can follow your favorite author's blogs on Goodreads! Each author on Goodreads can now add a fully functional blog to their profile. Goodreads members can follow as many author blogs as they like, and there is a new tab on the home page that shows you recent blog posts from authors you are following!

For authors that have external blogs, they can add the external feed of their blog and we will syndicate it to all their followers. For authors that aren't on Goodreads yet, their external feed can be added by any librarian. Syndicated blogs only show a snippet of each post, and of course link back to the original post on the authors site.

I think that along with this is going to be a pretty fun feature. I'm already following blogs for Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho, Cory Doctorow, Chris Anderson, and more!

Here is a list of the most popular blogs that have already been created.

Here is a screenshot of what an author blog looks like:

Not a tweet to be heard
Posted by Otis on March 03, 2009 1

There was a very interesting article in the Guardian last week titled The joy of anti-social media. In it, the author argues that while social media sites around reading are great, in the end it's something best done alone. I both agree and disagree.

I agree that it's best to read alone. It's the only way you can get your mind clear to think in peace! But I disagree that those thoughts you have while reading should be kept to yourself. I can learn so much more about an idea by reading about it online. I can use those thoughts to build even bigger thoughts of my own. I can find people who think differently and engage them. That's powerful stuff!

One quote in the article really resonated:

"And I still seek the majority of my literary recommendations and debates offline. Maybe it is because literary taste is such an unpredictable and idiosyncratic beast that the "you liked that so you'll like this" principle rarely works."

That is exactly why we built Goodreads - to do that online and much more efficiently! You won't find the Amazonian recommendation algorithms on Goodreads - it's all about sharing book recommendations with your friends!

The caption of this photo was "Not a tweet to heard". Love it!
Fan the Flames of Fandom!
Posted by Ken-ichi on February 18, 2009 216786

Some of you may have noticed it in your update feeds, but fans and favorite authors have come to Goodreads! Well, ok, there have always been fans around here, and they've always had their favorite authors, but now everyone can show off their favorite authors on their profile pages, and show up on the profile pages of those authors.

As of this writing, Neil Gaiman is the author with the most fans, followed closely by J.K. Rowling, but we're still only the double digits, so find your favorite authors and become their fans! Here are mine:

Picture 2

Calling all Writers for the Goodreads Status Update Writing Contest!
Posted by Jessica on February 18, 2009 603238

As announced in our February newsletter, Goodreads is hosting its first ever Status Update Writing Contest. There are 10 days left - all official entries must be posted before March 1, 2009. Get those creative juices flowing!

The "status update" is the web's newest reinvention of communication. We want to know how creative writers can be when they are challenged to tell a story through multiple status updates over the course of a day, with only 140 characters to work with per post. You have to make every character count.

Also, due to popular demand, we've opened the contest to Twitter users. This means you can post your story via your Goodreads status updates or your Twitter account. Either way, you must join the contest group and post your story's start date & time. Twitter users: don't forget to start each tweet with #goodreads. This will help us find and read your story from start to finish. The contest group includes official rules, a step-by-step how-to for writers unfamiliar with status updates, and general food for thought.

Are you a reader, not a writer? You can also join the contest group if you simply want to follow the contest happenings. We'll post all the stories at the end of the contest and create a poll to select a winner!

Show us how much can happen within 140 characters! Good luck!
February Newsletter - The Love Issue: Writing Contest, Christopher Moore, Maeve Binchy, Alain de Botton, and Jamie Ford
Posted by Elizabeth on February 10, 2009 5

Dear fellow Goodreaders,

This month our newsletter explores the concept of love. We asked writers which books about love influenced them, and we combed through thousands of your reviews to find out which books on this theme capture your fancy. Love is such an illusive concept, a chimeric state of mind, that it is impossible to categorize. Some authors, like Alain de Botton, described books that are erudite, even somewhat obscure. Others, like Maeve Binchy, called out old favorites such as Antony and Cleopatra. Christopher Moore reminded us that he loves his own book, because "Can a whole village of crazy people, off their meds, find love despite the fact that a sea monster disguised as a double-wide trailer is eating them?" And then we have debut author Jamie Ford, the product of a mixed-race marriage, who has written about color-blind love.

It's always inspiring to be reminded that love has no boundaries. We hope you find a book from our newsletter that will remind you of your first heart-palpitating crush, desperate heartache, or long-awaited reunion. Happy Valentine's Day!

Check out our newsletter here!

With love (of course),
The Goodreads Team

P.S. Expect a redesign of the newsletter next month!
New Facebook and MySpace profile box
Posted by Otis on February 03, 2009 1

Oct 12, 2010 Update: Facebook no longer supports profile boxes, or tabs. Use the like button instead.

We've vastly improved the look and feel and customization of our Facebook and MySpace application profile boxes.

The new profile boxes (or widgets) go on your Facebook or MySpace profile, and are fully customizable. You can choose up to 3 shelves of books to show off, and if you are currently reading a book it will show your progress. Additionally you can add your friends, trivia questions you've taken or created, and bookclubs you're in or moderate.

To customize your widget, click on 'settings' in the header of the Goodreads app on Facebook or MySpace.

Here is a screenshot of my Facebook box: