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Goodreads Blog posts (showing 301-310 of 589)
Nobel Prize Gives Big Boost to European Authors
Posted by Patrick Brown on October 06, 2011

Tomas Tranströmer has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. According to the New York Times, the Swedish poet's work "explores themes of nature, isolation and identity." Tranströmer is not widely read by members of Goodreads. Actually that would be putting it mildly. His work has a total of 258 ratings, though it is experiencing a surge in popularity today, with many Goodreads members eager to read the work of the newest Nobel Laureate.

Those who have read him have admired his work; it boasts an average rating of 4.26. Goodreads user Ron says about Tranströmer's poetry, "I'll note simply that like other great poets, he introduces large themes through often small and isolated events. I wasn't "getting" him until I reach a poem called "Schubertiana," and heard the music through his words; everything after that (and even poems read before) opened themselves to me." And member Penny J. says "I fell in love with Tranströmer's poetry when I was in college. His poem Kyrie has influenced two of my poems in my book The Last Time We Were Children. I highly recommend this poet!"

This isn't the first time the Nobel committee has honored a writer whose work has yet to crack the mainstream in America. Romanian author Herta Müller won the prize in 2009, and her books became instantly popular on the site. Below is a graph of reviews for her most popular novel The Land of Green Plums, broken down by month. Can you guess when she won the Nobel Prize?

What's interesting to me about the above graph is that Müller's books have really sustained their popularity since she won the award. It's clear that Nobel Prize is an enormous springboard for a foreign author to gain newfound fame amongst our members. Of course, Müller is a novelist, which may give her a bit of an advantage, as poetry is generally reviewed less frequently than fiction on Goodreads.

What do you think? Will Tranströmer experience the same jump in popularity? Are you going to add one of his books to your to-read list?
Bookswap Closing October 31
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 30, 2011

Sometimes in the course of a products life we have reconsider our priorities. After months of careful exploration and thought, we have made the sad decision to put Goodreads Bookswap on indefinite hiatus.

We initially launched Bookswap as a way to help our members pass on their favorite books on other readers--and we still love that idea. However, we realized that to properly support and innovate bookswap required more love than we could give. In the end, we feel our focus and our strengths need to be applied elsewhere.

Over the next few weeks, you'll see several changes relating to Goodreads Bookswap as we gradually remove it from the site. The basic functionality will remain active until October 31. If you have unspent swap credits, you must use them before this date. Also, effective immediately, we will no longer be issuing new book credits for books shipped.

Since we know that many of you love to swap and will continue to do so, we'd like to encourage you to add your favorite swap site as a book link on your account. Most popular swap sites are already options, and all you'll have to do is click "add" as it appears next to the link. Additionally, you can now log into the popular site Bookcrossing with your Goodreads account. Feel free to recommend your favorite swap site below.

This is a sad moment, as the two thousand something of you who have used bookswap have by and large really enjoyed it. But the truth is that there are many other services that let people obtain books they want at a cheap price, and they do it better than we did. We're going to continue to focus on helping people find, discuss, and enjoy books - which is what we think we are good at. Perhaps we will revisit bookswap someday, but in the meantime we are very exited to work on improving other features, such as cataloging, groups, recommendations, and more.

We'd like to thank everyone who gave us feedback on our swap system. We really appreciate your passionate comments and suggestions. We'd also like to thank everyone who ever sent a book to another person. A good read in the mail a gift that keeps on giving.

Goodreads Records 6 Millionth Member and 200 Millionth Book Catalogued
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 29, 2011

Today is a very big day at Goodreads. Today we welcome our six millionth member and catalog our 200,000,000th book. That the two are happening on the same day is a coincidence, but a fitting one. After all, its our tremendous and unmatched community that makes such an enormous catalog of books possible.

So to all of our members, thank you for making our site the largest community of readers in the world.

200,000,000 books cataloged is a tremendous achievement, but even more impressive is the speed with which we've all done it. Just last June, we were celebrating our 100,000,000th book cataloged. It had taken us over three years to do it, but at the time, we were pretty pleased. And now, a little over a year later, we've doubled that number. That is astronomical growth. And we're not slowing down. In the last two weeks alone, since launching Goodreads Recommendations (powered by our community of 6,000,000 plus!), nearly 10,000,000 books have been added to our members' shelves. Apparently there's a lot of reading to be done, since almost 3,000,000 of those books were added to the to-read shelf. At that rate, we'll be celebrating book #300,000,000 before long!

Goodreads' mission is to share the love of reading. Our ever-growing community is proof that millions of others share that passion. We think the best way spread the joy of reading is to help people discover their next favorite book and share with fellow readers. We promise to continue to innovate to bring you the most cutting-edge tools to help you do both of these things. But we can't do it without you, so thanks again for being a part of the Goodreads story, and congratulations to you for being a voracious bunch of readers.

Now, let's all get back to reading. We've got over 45,000,000 books to go through on our to-read shelves!
A Peek at Goodreads Integration on Facebook Timeline
Posted by Otis Chandler on September 22, 2011

Goodreads was founded on the idea that friends love to share their latest book discoveries with each other. Whenever you're so enraptured by a book that you hate to reach the last page, you want everyone to know about it! Because we've always been about telling your friends what you're reading, we're very excited about today's announcement.

Today, in coordination with Facebook's new Timeline, we're announcing a way that will make it easier than ever to share the books you love with your friends. The Goodreads Timeline integration will be launching in the next few weeks, and when it does, you will be able to connect your Goodreads profile to your Facebook profile and sync all of your ratings, reviews, and favorite books. Your books will have a special home on your Facebook profile—a cool visual representation of your books: likes and dislikes, favorites and to-reads.

My Facebook Profile

Close up of the profile box and a progress update

Your Book Reviews from Goodreads on Facebook
Reading Reamde on Facebook

Scroll down to 1988 to see I read Where The Red Fern Grows

Timeline of Where the Red Fern Grows from Goodreads on Facebook

Ensuring that you have full control over your information is very important to us, so your books will only be shared on Facebook if you turn on sharing on your my account page. Also, you'll still have all the same controls on our site as before, with the option to post a review to Facebook individually.

We are excited to enable Goodreads members to show off their books on Facebook. We will be posting again when the Goodreads integration with Timeline launches.

Update: Here is a video of me being interviewed at F8:

Watch live streaming video from f8live at

Live Video Chat with Neal Stephenson, Right Now!
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 21, 2011

Join us today at 6 Eastern/3 Pacific for a live video chat with Neal Stephenson. Neal will be chatting with Goodreads members about his new techno-thriller Reamde. The chat will be moderated by Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler.

To watch the chat and join the discussion, click here.

Live Video Chat with Jackie Collins, Starting Now!
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 20, 2011

Join us for a live video chat with legendary author Jackie Collins. Jackie will be discussing her latest book, Goddess of Vengeance. Don't miss this chance to ask Jackie Collins a question live on video!

The chat will start promptly at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific, and will last for approximately one hour. If you miss the chat, an archived version will be available shortly after.

Click here to watch the chat and join the discussion!

Announcing Goodreads Personalized Recommendations
Posted by Kyusik Chung on September 15, 2011

Goodreads was founded with the mission to get people excited about reading. And the key to getting people excited about reading is to help them discover books that they’ll love, and then to enable them to share their thoughts and experiences with friends.

Today, Goodreads launches a new personalized book recommendation engine. It takes recommendations to a new level of sophistication by analyzing both books and, more importantly, the people who read them. It’s the Netflix of book recommendations.

Finding a great book recommendation online has been a hit-and-miss affair to date. We’ve all experienced the unhelpful suggestion to read another book by an author we already love. And how about the dreaded impact of buying gifts on Amazon only to have irrelevant book recommendations come up for months afterwards?

Earlier this year, Goodreads purchased a company that had built a very sophisticated book recommendation system. Today, after months of hard work, we’re ready to provide you with book recommendations that take into account what you like and don’t like and what certain books mean to you.

To get started, rate at least 20 books (and rate much more to get even better recommendations). Categorize your books in custom shelves that reflect what the books mean to you. Then explore your recommendations. We apologize for the impact this will have on the size of your to-read shelf.

How Goodreads Recommendations Work

The Goodreads Recommendation Engine combines multiple proprietary algorithms which analyze 20 billion data points to better predict which books people will want to read next. It maps out the connections between books by looking at how often they appear on the same bookshelves and whether they were enjoyed by the same people. On average, Goodreads members have 140 books on their shelves. With this information, the engine learns how your tastes are similar to or different from the tastes of other Goodreads members.

So, a big part of the secret sauce is…you, the Goodreads community. The Goodreads community is almost six million members strong, and you’ve added a combined total of 190 million books to your shelves!

Take best-seller The Help as an example: Goodreads members have added over 175,000 ratings of the book and over 40,000 reviews. In comparison, Amazon has, to date, less than 4,500 reviews and ratings.

But it doesn’t end with raw numbers. Goodreads members have put The Help on bookshelves called Historical Fiction, Friendship, Racism, Women’s Fiction and Cultural > African American. You can see how this book means different things to different people. If you’re approaching this as Historical Fiction and have enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, then a great recommendation for you is These Is My Words. With Amazon, the focus is on other best-sellers so someone buying The Help would get recommendations for books as diverse as Water For Elephants, The Hunger Games, and One Day.

We welcome you to try our recommendations on for size. Compare them with anything else you’ve relied on online. Then tell us (and your friends) what you think. We think you’ll be blown away, and that you’ll meet your next favorite book on Goodreads.
Live Video Chat with Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS! Live now!
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 08, 2011

Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, will chat live with readers today, September 8, at 6 pm Eastern/3 pm Pacific. Blake's new book, Start Something That Matters, is his story of the founding of TOMS -- the shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold -- as well as an inspiring account of other companies striving to make the world a better place.

Blake will answer questions from readers for one hour today. If you are passionate about doing something that matters, this is one video chat you must see!

To watch the video chat live, click here.

"Best of" Lists -- TIME and the Goodreads Community
Posted by Patrick Brown on September 02, 2011

This past week, TIME Magazine launched its All-TIME 100 Best Non-Fiction Books. It featured a diverse selection of books -- from Fastfood Nation to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to The Elements of Style -- and it has generated a lot of talk across the web. Lists like this are a lot of fun, as they provide a lot of fuel for our to-read shelves. I added couple of books I'd been meaning to read to my shelf yesterday, and it looks like I wasn't alone. Since the list was announced on Tuesday, almost 5,000 people have added over 14,000 books from the list to their Goodreads shelves. Perhaps it's not surprising that so many people felt the need to get reading -- the average Goodreads user has only read 6.7 of the books on the list.

Another reasons lists like this are so fun is that they provide a chance to debate books (And who doesn't love that?). No "best of" or "most influential" list can ever be perfect, so we thought it would be interesting to see where TIME's list differed from what the Goodreads users would have chosen. To start, we looked at a previously existing list on Goodreads, Best Non-Fiction (non biography). For the purposes of comparison, we only looked at the first 100 books on this list (which, incidentally, is over 1,300 books long. As its top book, Goodreads users chose a book that didn't make TIME's list at all, The Devil in the White City. In fact, of its top 10, six of the books on the user-generated list didn't make TIME's list at all. In total, there are only 17 books in common between the two lists. They are:

In case you're curious, the average Goodreads member has read 10.6 of the books on the "Best Non-Fiction (non-biography)" list. One thing that's interesting to note is that, while many users added books from the TIME list to their shelves, the shelf they added them to varies from title to title. For instance, the popular The Elements of Style was the one of the most added books from the list, but many people not only added it but rated it, as well. This implies that they've actually read the book but hadn't added it to Goodreads yet:

In contrast, the relatively obscure The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadtler was added to plenty of shelves, but most people marked it "to-read."

My own personal "best of" non-fiction list would probably be a hybrid of the TIME list, which I think did a fine job of choosing influential books, and the user-generated list, which I was happy to see includes the excellent Homicide by David Simon and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch. I would also choose Clay Shirky's influential Here Comes Everybody. I might also include The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. What? It's a good book! What books would be on your Best Non-Fiction List?
Announcing Goodreads for iPad!
Posted by Ettore Pasquini on August 23, 2011

Curling up in bed, toting on vacation, or even Web surfing while on the can—a recent study reveals that tablet owners, such as iPad aficionados, love the portability of the device. Thirty-five percent admit to tablet use in the bathroom. No matter where you might be, we're pleased to announce that Goodreads now has an iPad app! This new release (version 1.4) takes advantage of the iPad's bigger screen, making your Goodreads experience much more enjoyable. Now you can see more of your updates, your discussion topics, and, of course, your books. This is only the first release we plan to do for the iPad - we know there is a lot more we can do to improve the experience.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is in the embedded ebook reader. Goodreads has a vast catalog of ebooks, and the iPad is definitely one of the best devices on which to read them! Check out a free classic like Jane Eyre or purchase one of the many ebooks for sale on the site.

We've also improved the barcode scanner and completed our Italian localization efforts. In case you were wondering, this is a "universal" release, which means the same app can run on iPhones, iPods, and iPads alike. In other words, all iOS devices can take advantage of these enhancements.

So, please head over to the App Store to download Goodreads for your iPad!