Posted by Jessica on July 11, 2012
Need a last-minute vacation read? Whether you're looking for a juicy romance, a twisty mystery, or a prose-perfect literary novel, chances are you want a sure thing. To help you with your decision, we tried something new by looking at the top-rated and most-shared books on our Goodreads App for Facebook, which is no small data set—readers are sharing more than 10 million books per month.
What we found covered suspense, historical fiction, investigative journalism, witty memoirs, young adult fantasy, and more. Narrowing things down further, these books all have a higher than 4.0 average rating.
A book's average rating may seem like a sterile, unemotional statistic, but if you look closely, simple math can reveal the beating heart of a book and the passion of its readers. Will a book become a blockbuster best-seller, or will it remain unread on the bottom of a to-read list? Here's a tip. When a book sustains a 4.0 or higher rating after thousands of readers have devoured and reviewed it, you know that you've probably found something special. These 12 books all boast large audiences and good reviews. So grab one and head to the beach!
by Gillian Flynn
This psychological thriller is one of the best-reviewed adult novels being shared on the Goodreads app right now. When Amy disappears on the morning of her anniversary, suspicion is cast on her elusive husband, Nick. Readers must choose sides as they read the couple's conflicting accounts.
by Kristin Hannah (Goodreads Author)
Many Goodreads reviewers mention how hard they cried while reading this book—in a good way! The novel tells the emotionally complex story of a Blackhawk helicopter pilot deployed to Iraq, far from her husband and daughters.
by Sylvia Day (Goodreads Author)
This erotic romance about a wealthy man and his young paramour is enjoying mainstream success, piggybacking on the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. Goodreads members are gushing about the book, calling it "addictive" and "intense."
by Adriana Trigiani (Goodreads Author)
Trigiani spent more than 25 years writing this romantic saga inspired by how her Italian grandparents met and almost lost each other. One Goodreads reviewer says she "loved every word and wanted more when it ended."
by Eowyn Ivey (Goodreads Author)
This historical novel about a married couple on an isolated homestead captures the tenacity of those who settled the Alaskan frontier in the early 20th century. Goodreads members call it "a beautiful journey" with "magical prose."
by Jenny Lawson (Goodreads Author)
Taxidermy enthusiast, irreverent mommy blogger, candid poster child for mental illness—Lawson wears many hats with pride. This top-rated memoir chronicles childhood, marriage, and motherhood in what Goodreads members are calling hysterical and inspirational prose.
by Rachel Maddow
Goodreads members are recommending this work of nonfiction by MSNBC talk show host Maddow that delves into military spending and the history of war policy. Reviews call the book "non-partisan" and sure to "fire up many discussions."
by Cheryl Strayed (Goodreads Author)
Now well known as the current Oprah's Book Club pick, this cathartic memoir has earned raves from Goodreads members since its debut. Wrecked by a divorce and her mother's death, novice backpacker Strayed impulsively hiked 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.
by Katherine Boo
This debut narrative by a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist profiles families living in the slums near the Mumbai airport. One Goodreads member lauds Boo "for her lively, un-maudlin, incisive writing."
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
by John Green
So far the most-read young adult book of 2012, Green's tale of a teen girl with Stage IV thyroid cancer has a sky-high average rating and glowing reviews that emphasize both the "great humor" and "heart-wrenching" parts of the book . Chock-full of chemo, 16-year-old Hazel wonders if her remission will last and who the cute new guy is in her cancer support group.
by Veronica Rossi (Goodreads Author)
This adventure set on a future Earth ravaged by solar flares has risen to the top of the list for many fans of science fiction and dystopian novels for young adults. Goodreads members praise the scope of the world-building and depth of the characters.
by Marissa Meyer (Goodreads Author)
The classic character of Cinderella is reimagined as a cyborg with a talent for mechanics in this young adult steampunk romp. Both a handsome prince and a wicked stepmother make appearances in the story that Goodreads reviewers love for its "breakneck pace" and "completely enchanting" premise.
Posted by Patrick on June 26, 2012
Join us today at 5pm EDT/2pm PDT for a live video chat with author Vanessa Diffenbaugh. We are discussing her popular debut novel The Language of Flowers, which is now available in paperback. This is bound to be a fascinating discussion with one of the top up-and-coming authors working today. Join us!
To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here!
Posted by Patrick on June 18, 2012
Join us today at 5pm EDT/2pm PDT for a live video chat with bestselling author Ernest Cline. We are discussing his wildly popular debut novel Ready Player One, which is now available in paperback. 80s Junkies! Hard-core gamers! Sci-fi fans! Don't miss this!
To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here!
Posted by Patrick on June 14, 2012
It's no secret that discovery—how, when, and where readers "discover" the books they choose to buy and read—remains a top priority for everyone in publishing. Goodreads is uniquely positioned to provide this information with our deep pool of 317 million books cataloged. In the past six months, we've done a lot of research into how readers find books, and we've presented our findings at several conferences, including Tools of Change and, most recently, the International Digital Publishing Forum.
One of the major takeaways of our research is that book discovery happens in a multitude of ways, and there is no single magic bullet that will work for every book. But that doesn't mean there aren't best practices. Here is a case study of how one book reached the promised land of the New York Times best-seller list: Goodreads Author Charles Duhigg's nonfiction book, The Power of Habit.
Stats for The Power of Habit on Goodreads.
Where on Goodreads did people discover The Power of Habit? The above graph shows what part of the site readers were browsing when they added the book. A few months before publication, most people found The Power of Habit through an advance copy giveaway (note the three spikes corresponding with the giveaway dates). Pre-publication giveaways hope to generate early buzz and seed the book page with a good number of reviews, which are crucial in helping future readers decide to add the book. The orange section of the graph shows people who added the book after seeing one of their friends add it. Notice how this starts to swell as more and more people search for the book. This is the word-of-mouth excitement that publishers and authors covet.
The Power of Habit was published on February 28, and around that time people really began searching for the book in earnest (see the red section of the graph). These people likely saw the book in a bookstore or saw it mentioned in a newspaper review or blog post, and they came to Goodreads to find out more. The next graph zooms in on what happened after the publication date:
Stats for The Power of Habit from the publication date on.
All of this early activity earned the book some editorial attention: Our newsletter editors featured it as a March "Mover and Shaker" (the green area shows Goodreads members who found it in the newsletter). Duhigg was also interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air in early March. Notice how the media attention attracted more search and friend traffic as well.
In middle March, The Power of Habit gained enough early reviews to land in our registration path, where we feature a list of all-time favorites and newer popular books. This led to a whole new wave of people discovering the book through Goodreads. Notice how the blue portion helps sustain interest in the book after the initial media attention has faded.
At this point, the Goodreads advertising team noticed that the book was a top trending title on the site and reached out to the publisher. Random House decided to pour more fuel on the fire in the form of an advertising campaign, including a sponsored poll (the brown portion of the graph). Not only did the ad produce the largest spike of people adding the book to their shelves, but it also bumped the book to a new level of popularity, plateauing at more books added per day than prior to the ad campaign.
Obviously, many things have to fall into place for a book to be a best-seller. The timing must be right, and certainly it helps if the book is thought-provoking and well-written. But several things are abundantly clear:
- Readers discover books in a number of different ways. All these elements of discovery work together and amplify each other over time.
- It pays to start early. Random House ran three different giveaways to generate advance reviews, which resulted in both Goodreads editorial coverage and a placement in the Goodreads recommendation engine.
- Well-timed ads are crucial. The ad campaign, while not timed to the publication date, provided a nice boost at just the right moment, feeding the energy the publicity and marketing efforts had created earlier in the book's life.
- Word of mouth is the foundation. The red and orange areas represent people hearing about the book somewhere other than Goodreads or hearing about it from their friends on Goodreads. Notice how those two areas are present throughout the life of the book. They mirror the bigger moments in the book's promotion, spiking during the media mentions and the advertising campaign, but they are always there providing that "buzz" that gives a book staying power.
For more insights into how books are discovered online, be sure to watch the full presentation from the 2012 International Digital Publishing Forum below.
Otis, Kyusik, and Patrick
Posted by Elizabeth on June 11, 2012
Like everyone else working at Goodreads, I love to read. My fondest memories from childhood are undeniably tied up in the marvelous world of books: the first time I went to the school library and saw books lining the walls like some glimmering treasure trove; touching those shiny Newbery badges; plowing through countless Betsy-Tacy books with their thick, funny-smelling paper; walking to the public library once a week in the summer to get my stickers as I whittled away at a reading challenge.
The problem is not everyone has access to books. Not everyone can read. Due to circumstance or need, the idea of not being able to read or having access to books is a tragedy.
At Goodreads we feel a personal responsibility to do what we can to further the act of reading and access to knowledge. The right book in the right hands can literally change a life. We think you, passionate readers, feel the same. Two years ago we realized that our newsletter was a great place to highlight organizations that could help fellow readers or would-be readers. And so Do Good with Goodreads was born.
Since 2010, Do Good with Goodreads has featured 28 organizations with program goals ranging from bringing books to children in poorer areas to innovative literacy and library projects in dozens of countries worldwide.
Up until now, we've never known whether we're making a difference, but recently, we received this inspiring email from Chris Bradshaw, founder and president of the African Library Project.
Hi Elizabeth and Jessica (and the rest of your team),
Last month you featured the African Library Project in your newsletter. I wanted to give you a little feedback (and a lot of love) on what's happened since.
We began getting phone calls and emails from Australia, Canada, the UK, and of course, the USA, from "Goodreaders" who were moved to want to organize a book drive to help create a library in Africa. A dozen of them have signed on to do book drives which means Goodreads can add inspiring the beginning of a dozen African libraries to their plethora of accomplishments! And the inquiries keep coming in.
Now, we aren't set up to work in Australia, Canada, or the UK. But many of the Canadians that want to help will simply drive their books across the border to mail them from a U.S. post office to our warehouse in New Orleans. In the case of Australia, one of your readers was so interested, she is researching the logistics of us being able to coordinate Aussie book drives and ship containers from Australia to Africa. This could be the start of something big. We haven't figured out the UK yet, but given time...
Hope you are feeling very proud of the contribution Goodreads is making to African literacy efforts about now because we are proud of you and grateful for your support!!
Sharing the love,
Since you guys are the ones who are truly making a difference, we want to pass along the love to you. Thank you for sharing your time with us and supporting readers, both in your own neighborhoods and around the globe!
Take a look at all the nonprofits we've profiled so far, and let us know what amazing charities you'd like to see included in the future.
Posted by Otis on June 07, 2012
G is for Growth at Goodreads! We’re about to hit nine million members, we’ve blown past 300 million books catalogued and we’re helping readers discover about six million books every month.
We’re also seeing phenomenal growth in the Goodreads App for Facebook which launched in January:
- The Goodreads App has 1 million Monthly Active Users, up by 490% since the launch.
- Currently, Goodreads members are sharing around 10 million books per month via the App which are generating around 220 million impressions per month.
Growth in Monthly Active Users for Goodreads App for Facebook
And tonight, we have even more news to celebrate. This evening, Facebook is launching its new App Center to help its 901 million members discover high quality social apps for the web and mobile. Goodreads is one of the apps participating in the launch event, and the new App Center will serve as another way for people to discover our app.
What makes the Goodreads team particularly proud is that the Facebook App Center only lists high quality apps that rate well on key signals such as highest customer ratings and frequency of user shares. The Goodreads App, with an average 4.5 star rating (out of 5) is clearly winning many fans.
For those Facebook users who haven’t tried it out yet, the Goodreads App allows you to showcase the books you’ve read or want to read as well as share reviews, reading progress updates and highlight your most-read authors.
Check out our App Detail Page for more info, to sign up and to rate the App.
Sharing book recommendations with your friends has been at the heart of Goodreads from Day 1. Books fit into your life and people want to share them. Being included in the Facebook App Center means Goodreads will be introduced to more potential fans, which means even more books being shared, discussed and discovered.
Good news for book lovers – and authors - everywhere!
Posted by Jessica on June 04, 2012
Has your history-buff father already read his way through the works of Erik Larson, David McCullough, and Laura Hillenbrand? Or maybe he's knee-deep in George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones? Whether your dad is a big reader or not, you might be stumped on what to get him for Father's Day. Luckily, Goodreads is here to help with our newly minted 2012 list of recommended reads for dads. By mining the reading habits and tastes of our 9 million members, we sought out 2012 books that are especially popular among men. And to give you something new to work with, we skipped most best-sellers and found books with smaller, growing reader bases and rave reviews.
Or, try this trick to find a gift tailored to your dad's unique reading preferences: Start a custom shelf, and add the books you know your dad loves. View your recommendations, and look in the right column for "Recommendations by Shelf." The Goodreads Recommendation Engine will suggest more books based on those picks!
Here are 10 books that are currently resonating with the male contingent of Goodreads:
by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler
The joint project of a science writer and a philanthropist, this optimistic nonfiction work argues that contrary to typical reports of scarcity and overpopulation, we'll soon be able to meet the needs of every human on the planet thanks to recent innovations in technology. Kojo says, "This book has fundamentally changed my perspective on the potential future of the world...there is hope for our species."
by Lyndsay Faye (Goodreads Author)
In this ripping historical mystery, a rookie cop investigates a series of murders in 1840s New York City as the crowded metropolis chafes at the newly formed police force and starving Irish immigrants arrive in droves. John calls it "a stunning, balls-to-the-wall portrayal of vintage New York City with its fledgling copper stars, tossed into a seething mass of abject poverty, bare-knuckled cronyism, debauchery, racial and religious bigotry, rampant immigration, all wrapped in bene flash palaver."
by Jon Gertner
Lasers, cell phones, satellites and much more, Bell Labs churned out cutting-edge inventions for over 50 years and influenced the course of 20th-century tech. Gertner profiles the extraordinary group of geniuses who kept the lab humming. Ian says, "It tied so many things together for me—the rise of the computer, information theory...it's a must read for anybody interested in the infrastructure of science."
by Nick Harkaway (Goodreads Author)
When mobster scion-turned-antique clock repairman Joe Spork unwittingly triggers a 1950s doomsday machine, he and his new client, a geriatric secret agent named Edie, are launched into London's underworld—with super-villains, sinister monks, and a blind, glass-eyed pug in this screwball work of noir. Mark calls it "a sprawling, unputdownable adventure riddled with both Bond-like intrigue and wry humor."
by Tim Weiner (Goodreads Author)
Pulitzer Prize-winner journalist Weiner, who has covered both the Pentagon and the CIA, now cracks the FBI's impregnable world of secret intelligence, taking the reader from the days of J. Edgar Hoover's iron-fist rule to modern-day terrorism. Logman says, "This in-depth history provides the best insight into one of the most mysterious organizations ever created by the government."
by Corban Addison (Goodreads Author)
A high-powered Washington, D.C. lawyer must descend into Mumbai's criminal underworld when he makes it his mission to save two teen sisters who have been sold into sex slavery. This fictional page-turner offers an eye-opening look at human trafficking. Nate says, "It's the sign of an incredible book that when it finishes, you have that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling of closure, redemption, and beauty."
by Jonathan Haidt
Different morals, genetic predisposition—what truly separates conservatives from liberals? Or the faithful from non-believers? Social psychologist Haidt synthesizes scientific findings and political philosophy in this examination of human conflict. Dan says, "No matter the reader's persuasion...Haidt will challenge your view and, if he is read carefully and with an open mind, will enable readers of all persuasions to understand that those at the opposite extreme are people of good will."
by Naomi Benaron (Goodreads Author)
A gifted Tutsi athlete dreams of running track in the Olympics in this riveting novel set during the years leading up to the 1994 genocide of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans. Chris calls it "a spectacular novel," adding, "more than anything else, Benaron's novel is about character. It asks tough questions about morality, courage, honesty, and integrity."
by A. Lee Martinez
For some pulpy science fiction action, meet Emperor Mollusk, the retired ex-warlord of Earth who just wants to be left alone. But soon he's dodging assassins and locked in a death match with the Sinister Brain, a supervillain hellbent on conquering the universe. Jason says, "Filled with things going boom (a lot) and sword play (lots of stuff gets stabbed), plots with in plots, aliens, wonky time-bending shenanigans and other science fiction goodies. There are talking brains in jars for the love of science!"
by Austin Kleon (Goodreads Author)
For dads looking for inspiration, artist and poet Kleon shares 10 straightforward principles he wishes he'd heard in his younger years. Not just for artists, this manifesto proclaims that creativity is for everyone. Robert says, "Absolutely insightful and revealing and clarifying. Why hasn't someone said this this clearly before?"
Posted by Patrick on May 24, 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey continues to top best-seller lists after almost three months of dominance: The trilogy sold 10 million copies in six weeks, there are long wait-lists at libraries and bookstores, and even Saturday Night Live spoofed the book's popularity in a skit! So, Goodreads took a look at the US stats behind the phenomenon. Where are the "Grey States"?
The country is pretty clearly divided. More readers in the eastern half of the US are devouring the sexual adventures of Christian and Anastasia. The states with the highest readers per capita are located primarily in the Tri-State and New England area: New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and New York.
If you define "Grey States" by their average rating of the book, the landscape changes. The regions with readers who give Fifty Shades of Grey the highest average ratings are the Southern and Plains states—Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
Fifty Shades of Grey has given some readers a new taste for erotica, and we've found a jump in interest in similar books on Goodreads. Just recently, Penguin's Berkley Books imprint snatched up Sylvia Day's self-published novel, Bared to You, which has generated 2,500 reviews in the past two months. Goodreads member Aestas loved it, saying "This book was absolute perfection for me!! It had me swooning, drooling, and panting over Gideon Cross and had me reading for the better part of it with the world's biggest grin on my face."
Other books potentially joining the sultry summer reading list are Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard, Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn, Captive in the Dark by C.J. Roberts, and The Reluctant Dom by Lesli Richardson. These books are a mix of older titles and new releases, but one thing they have in common is that they are all finding new readers thanks to the Fifty Shades craze.
Looking back, one of the first big milestones for Fifty Shades of Grey was being a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards way back in November last year. It will be interesting to see if a new title like Bared to You will be a contender for this year's awards.
What about you? Are you a proud citizen of a "Grey State"? Will you be savoring any other erotica titles this summer? Is it getting hot in here or is it just these books?
Posted by Patrick on May 23, 2012
Join us today at 7pm EDT/4pm PDT for a live video chat with bestselling author Seth Grahame-Smith. We are discussing his latest book Unholy Night, as well as his previous work, his upcoming movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and much more. Don't miss this!
To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here!
Posted by Patrick on May 17, 2012
Join us today at 5pm EDT/2pm PDT for a live video chat with bestselling author Meg Cabot. We are discussing her latest book Underworld, the second installment in her popular Abandon trilogy, as well as her previous books, and her life as a writer.
To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here!