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Suggestions & Questions > Visual Bookshelf users: What do you like about Goodreads? What do you miss about Visual Bookshelf?

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message 1: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 906 comments Mod
First of all, welcome to Goodreads! We're very excited to have you all as members of our site.

Since we offer a pretty different experience than Visual Bookshelf, we wanted to reach out and see if there was anything we could do to make your transition smoother. Our importer should be just about caught up, though it might still be cranking on books that were lacking ISBNs. Thanks for your patience on that.

This thread is to discuss differences between Goodreads and Visual Bookshelf. What features does Goodreads offer that you're excited about using? And what features did Visual Bookshelf have that you're missing?

To get you started, I wrote a quick blog post outlining how to sync your Goodreads account with Facebook (and a few other things). Check it out, if you're interested.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I want to mention that there's a "help" link in the menu bar at the bottom of the site. It has a lot of useful information if you're just getting started with goodreads.


message 3: by Tim (last edited Jul 26, 2011 04:21PM) (new)

Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments FYI -- Users accessing LivingSocial books directly through the LivingSocial web site will probably not know the "Visual Bookshelf" name. On the main site they call it "LivingSocial: Books". The "Visual Bookshelf" name only seems to be used for access through Facebook.

I moved to GoodReads two years ago from LivingSocial: books, and I haven't regretted that move. The LivingSocial capabilities are limited, compared with GR; the book lists were limited to a small number of books, there was no way to record the date you finished a book, and the database was very poor -- you could add books, but you had to email LivingSocial to get edits made. The librarian system here works much better. The book lists had very little information, and weren't customizable at all. I could go on and on -- GR just has so much more.

Still, there are still a few things I miss having that LivingSocial had:

1. Half-star ratings.

2. The 'own' field contained five choices -- own, want, don't-want, borrowed, and blank (which means don't own). Here, "own" is a simple check box that is buried under "review," which is strange, and hard to find.

3. The LS:B 'trends' feature would show movement for books; what's going up and down, by percentage, for ALL books in the database. Web sites like IMDB and Amazon have that as well. All I have found on GR that is similar is the "July Movers and Shakers", which lists (as far as I've been able to tell), only the top five books, and only those going up, not down.

4. LivingSocial: Books navigation was easier, everything was on the main toolbar. GR most stuff is on the toolbar/menu, but for a few things, you have to click in odd places, like on your own name for profile and settings. LS just had "Settings" and "Profile" on the main toolbar. Also, LS had "Trends" and "Leaderboards" right on the main toolbar at the top, whereas in GR you have to go to 'explore', and then you have to figure out what you want to explore.

5. On the LS:B leaderboards, you could page through and find anyone on the lists, no matter how far down the list they were. GR only shows the top 50 people in any category, which means that 99% of people using the web site can never tell where their stats fall compared with others. Some people like to see their names on the lists, even if they have to go down to page 70, or 700, to see it. I think if there is a feature that shows rankings, everyone should be listed.


Bryan Pearce | 1 comments Hi. One thing i liked bout Visual Bookshelf wa s that it showed a list of recommendations based on what you have read and entered into it. Is it possible to have something like that?


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments Bryan wrote: "Hi. One thing i liked bout Visual Bookshelf wa s that it showed a list of recommendations based on what you have read and entered into it. Is it possible to have something like that?"

This is something Goodreads has been working on. There was a beta version a couple of months ago, I don't know where they are with it now. However, on any book page, on the right side of the screen, are links to books that readers have found similar, and I think you'll find this a good alternative in the meantime.


Lindsay Pearce | 1 comments The only thing that Visual Bookshelf had that I will miss is the leaderboard listing both for books and readers. The trends setting will also be missed.


Vicky (vnorthw) | 802 comments Lindsay wrote: "The only thing that Visual Bookshelf had that I will miss is the leaderboard listing both for books and readers. The trends setting will also be missed."

Lindsay, we do have some similar things that maybe aren't so easy to find.

If you bring up the "Explore" menu and click on "People" at the very bottom it will bring you to a page called "People Online Now." From here you can select to view top readers, reviewers, etc from the right hand side. I think "top readers" would be the closest to your reader leaderboard.

If you go to "Explore" -> "Popular" there is a section for "Most Read this Week" at the bottom of the page. Which will be closest to the book leaderboard.


David | 26 comments (cross posted from the Welcome Visual Bookshelf Members blog)

It may already be here - I'm only new, having recently just switched over - but one of the things I liked about VB was the "It's a Hit!" vs "It's a Miss!" feature, where it would display a review for a book from somebody who had given it a good rating alongside a review from somebody who hadn't.

Anything like that here? Just asking ...


message 9: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 906 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "Hi. One thing i liked bout Visual Bookshelf wa s that it showed a list of recommendations based on what you have read and entered into it. Is it possible to have something like that?"

This is coming soon!


message 10: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 906 comments Mod
David wrote: "(cross posted from the Welcome Visual Bookshelf Members blog)

It may already be here - I'm only new, having recently just switched over - but one of the things I liked about VB was the "It's a Hit!" vs "It's a Miss!" feature, where it would display a review for a book from somebody who had given it a good rating alongside a review from somebody who hadn't."


We don't have that specific feature, though you can filter reviews by star rating (not exactly the same, I realize). It sounds like an interesting feature, though. Do you know how they decided which review showed for each category? Was it the most popular or...?


message 11: by David (last edited Jul 27, 2011 10:36AM) (new)

David | 26 comments Patrick wrote: "David wrote: "(cross posted from the Welcome Visual Bookshelf Members blog)

It may already be here - I'm only new, having recently just switched over - but one of the things I liked about VB was t..."


I'm not sure how they decided which review(s) to show: think they probably went by length since that seemed to be a marker (over 'x' was a good review, over 'y' was a great review) whenever you were writing one. Length wasn't always the best indicator of quality, though ...


night music -- bring on the clowns ♫ (pjreads) | 511 comments I'm not sure how they decided which review(s) to show: think they probably went by length since that seemed to be a marker (over 'x' was a good review, over 'y' was a great review) whenever you were writing one. Length wasn't always the best indicator of quality, though ...

Pulleeease, don't base it on length. Most "likes" works for me.


Dee (austhokie) | 1469 comments not a visual bookshelf reader - but I like the hit/miss idea for reviews...I think amazon does something similar - they show you the most popular positive, and the most popular negative...then you can view the rest


Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments I agree with pjreads. LivingSocial: books assigned better ratings to longer reviews. That didn't make sense to me. Quality and quantity are not the same thing.


message 15: by Judyta (last edited Jul 27, 2011 01:38PM) (new)

Judyta Szaciłło (judytaaleksandra) | 35 comments I am a very recent migrant from Living Social. I must say that GR looks very good to me and I fixed minor problems that occurred during the transition pretty fast.

I am also very glad to learn that you are already planning to introduce reccommendations based on the contents of users' collections. That was something I intended to point out.

The other thing is - as already mentioned above - the possibility of marking books as owned/borrowed/wanted/not wanted. It is very handy to have this.

I liked half stars for marking books, but it's not a thing I can't live without.

Generally, GR is better - faster, more user-friendly, it's easier to sort and arrange books and shelves, I like the trivia and the discussion groups. I hope I'll get my librarian application accepted so I can fix mistakes whenever I see them, as I used to do on Living Social. It was a bit of a headache to move here, but now it's done and I'm actually happy I had to do that :-)

EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to mention that I agree with Dee and that the division of reviews into hits and misses is very useful. You can see different points of view without scrolling endlessly through quite often useless comments.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments Marking your books as owned can be done on the review screen. When you tick the "I own this book" box, another small screen opens for addition information.


Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments Elizabeth -- yes, but that checkbox is not as robust as the LivingSocial feature. On LS, you could also mark a book as borrowed, wanted, or not wanted.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments I'm not sure what you mean by "wanted" and "not wanted." I have a wish list of over 500 books. You can add multiple upon multiple shelves.


Judyta Szaciłło (judytaaleksandra) | 35 comments But I for example don't want to have shelves with another wishlist - there is already one marked as 'to read' and that's enough for me. My shelves are of different character and I don't like having them messed up. It WAS a very useful feature - I for example don't even sometimes remember if I have a book or not (having been given a collection of several hundreds of books for kindle). In Living Social, when I looked at the book displayed in the main menu of my collection, I could see if it was borrowed or owned, or to buy, or that I never ever want to buy such a book in my life ;-)


ambyr | 50 comments Goodreads pretty much relies on shelves for everything--genre, content, status, whatever you want. It frustrated me at first, but I've come to embrace it. Make 20 shelves. Make 50. Make 100! (I do wish there were better ways to sort, group, and boolean search shelves, but maybe some day.)


message 21: by Judyta (last edited Jul 27, 2011 02:22PM) (new)

Judyta Szaciłło (judytaaleksandra) | 35 comments I'm not complaining, that was not my intention. I'm happy to have an opportunity to put together a registry of the books I've read and intend to read. But this thread starts with a question about things that we will miss from Living Social, so I'm simply saying what they are. Relying on the shelves only causes that the list of the shelves to which any given book belongs may eventually take a monstrous size and length, and it's not something I'd like to see on my database.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments For many things, I prefer to go with the flow and so I've added shelves. I prefer my To Read shelf to be only those books I actually have in my possession not yet read and I have other shelves for other purposes.

I've asked for boolean searches on shelves and we may get that some day. At the present time you can do an "and" search, but not an "or" nor a "not".


Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments Relying on shelves for everything isn't a very flexible model. Suppose you want to look at your "read" shelf, and see all the books that you borrowed? If you have to use a separate shelf to tag all of your 'borrowed' books, that view becomes nearly impossible to get. Unless it somehow allowed you to see the intersection (mathematically speaking) of any two shelves. I don't think it allows that today.

Anyway, if the 'own' field instead were a property attached to of each book of yours, the problem is simpler. LivingSocial showed the 'own' field in a separate column; if GR did that, we could easily sort the any existing shelf using the 'own' column, and see all the borrowed books on your 'read' shelf, or whatever else what you want to see.

I like shelves for certain types of things, but their usefulness is limited, in my opinion.


message 24: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jul 27, 2011 02:45PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments Tim wrote: "Relying on shelves for everything isn't a very flexible model. Suppose you want to look at your "read" shelf, and see all the books that you borrowed? If you have to use a separate shelf to tag a..."

yes it does. When you have an exclusive shelf selected, simply click "select multiple", then click the "+" sign and you'll get only those read books that also appear on your borrowed shelf.

Unfortunately, you cannot select those books on your Read shelf that do not appear on your borrowed shelf, unless you have have placed them on another shelf. I, myself, don't keep too many books after having read them, so I don't bother marking books as owned, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there are reasons to do so.


Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments Thanks, I see that now. It's just not very obvious, like a number of other things here.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 8263 comments You're right, Tim. I'm learning new things every day and I've been here a couple of years. It's a wonderful site. There are all sorts of users and features which some use a lot and others use not at all. Don't be afraid to ask questions here in the Feedback group!


Tim (Gundark) | 116 comments Still, even though that (nifty) intersection capability exists, I think the 'own' feature was better on LivingSocial. Just saying.


David | 26 comments Tim wrote: "I agree with pjreads. LivingSocial: books assigned better ratings to longer reviews. That didn't make sense to me. Quality and quantity are not the same thing."

Totally agree!


message 29: by Sana (last edited Jul 30, 2011 04:56AM) (new)

Sana (sanashams) | 6 comments I agree with Tim first post about the limitedness of VB but some of the things that I really liked on VB:

-Half-star ratings,
-It's a Hit! VS It's a Miss! feature,
-The selection of either Want to Own, Don't Want, Own or Borrowed books,
-The top rated books on the left side of the profile.
-The lists on the profile, as well.
-The navigation of the books according to Reading now, Already read and Want to read.
-Book trends.

I will add more as I remember, but mostly I really miss those half-stars.


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