Follow your favorite reviewers and authors

Posted by Otis Chandler on June 9, 2009
Relationships made through reading no longer have to go both ways. We just launched the ability to follow the reviews and status updates of your favorite Goodreads members.

In the style of Twitter, members of the site can now follow the updates of people they admire without having to form a typical "friendship." When you follow another Goodreads member, you can see the books they add and their reviews, but as a follower, there is no pressure to reciprocate.

This new way of connecting on Goodreads will encourage many more book reviews to be published and consumed. Here are some of the ways members will benefit from this feature:

  • Independent bookstores and book reviewers to gain the following they deserve
  • Micro-celebrities in the book world don't have to be swamped with friend requests and can also build a large following
  • Authors can also now build a following for their book reviews
  • Members can now follow their favorite authors without having to friend them

Following is designed to make Goodreads more useful to people who use it. Here is how it works:

  • Reviews and status updates from people you follow now appear on your homepage.
  • You can now filter your homepage by friends, top friends, or people you follow
  • When you view a book you will see a new section of reviews from people you follow
  • You can disallow anyone from following you in your my account
  • Anyone you block will not be able to follow you

Partial credit for inspiring this feature must be given to Tim O'Reilly for his blog post Goodreads vs Twitter: The Benefits of Asymmetric Following. O’Reilly made the astute point that relationships in the real world are usually not symmetric, and that "Asymmetric follow is why I use Twitter regularly and Facebook much less often". We’re predicting that pretty soon following will be a hallmark of all social networks – the benefits are clear. Indeed, Yelp already supports it, and Facebook is trying to hack it in with their Facebook Pages.

So now the question is: who should you follow? Here are some interesting folks. Post more in the comments!


Neil Gaiman
Stephanie Meyer
Sarah Dessen
Paulo Coelho
Jennifer Weiner
Meg Cabot

Indie Bookstores:

Vromans (Pasadena, CA)
Tattered Cover Bookstore (Denver, CO)
Modern Times Bookstore (San Francisco, CA)
Lemuria Bookstore (Jackson, MS)
Staff Fig Garden Bookstore (Fresno, CA)
Powells Bookstore (Portland, OR)
Orinda Bookstore (Oakland, CA)

We even have a few celebrities:

Felicia Day
Wil Wheaton

Here are some techies I was eager to follow:

Kevin Rose
Veronica Belmont
Catarina Fake
Tim O'Reilly
Jason Calacanis
Evan Williams

Here is what a profile page looks like now - you can friend or follow someone at your leisure:

Here is what the new homepage filters look like:

To discuss the new feature click here.

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather Cool!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Did you mean "no longer have to go one way"?


message 3: by William (new)

William Aicher This is a great change. We implemented a system like this when we set up's "Groupies / Bandmates" system and it was very successful.

residentoddball Excellent addition. :)

message 5: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 09, 2009 06:57AM) (new)

Carolyn Kyle wrote: "Did you mean "no longer have to go one way"?"

I don't think so - the original GR model is to 'friend' someone. That is a two-way relationship, has to be accepted on both ends and both see what the other is doing.

This new feature is purely one-way. "Followers" see what the person they are following is doing, but it is not reciprocal.

So, as Otis said, "Relationships made through reading no longer have to go both ways."

message 6: by Allisa (new)

Allisa this is a good way to use it.

message 7: by Rhonda Rae (new)

Rhonda Rae Baker The filters aren't working. I want to see all reviews and it is only giving me the people I'm can I get this to work?


message 8: by Claire (new)

Claire This is wonderful. I get so many book recommendations based on what other people are reading, and now I can do this without the pressure of friending. Thanks, GR!

message 9: by Kay (new)

Kay I want to know how to get to the Goodreads blog from the Home page--the only way to get here is to know it exists and get to it independently. Is it connected to the Goodreads main pages anywhere?

message 10: by Otis (new)

Otis Chandler There is a link in the footer "our blog".

message 11: by Kay (new)

Kay Thanks, Otis. So easy to miss the teensy pale gray "blog" at the very bottom of the page. Interesting it is so hard to get to; but at least now I know.

message 12: by Cait (new)

Cait R & R wrote: "The filters aren't working. I want to see all reviews and it is only giving me the people I'm can I get this to work?"

Are you looking for recent reviews from everyone, not just friends or people you're following? That's now under the "find books" menu in the "recently reviewed" tab.

message 13: by Wkelly42 (new)

Wkelly42 Wow -- Librarything offered this ..... four years ago. Welcome to the party ;)

message 14: by ZaBeth (new)

ZaBeth  Marsh I'm not getting what I expected on the filters. On the Update tab I selected to filter on "top friends" but see Update types "all". I'm still seeing status updates from all my friends, even those not selected as my "top friends".

I did select to follow some authors and this works great! I love this. Wonderful idea! More and more Goodreads is becoming my single source of book information.

message 15: by Matt (new)

Matt This is cool, especially for following authors and book stores. But is there an easy way to find profiles for book stores? Is there a section I can go that lists just book stores or just authors?

message 16: by Otis (new)

Otis Chandler Matt: cool idea. We'll definitely have to build that once we have some more following data!

message 17: by Felicity (new)

Felicity Thanks so much for this, Otis. I'm glad it got implemented.

message 18: by Clif (new)

Clif Hostetler The review excerpts of "Bookmarks Magazine" are worthy of being followed in my opinion:
They also have a "Bookmarks Subscribers" group on Goodreads, and additional book information and links to other published reviews can be found on their web site. They publish a bimonthly print magazine which I assume contains their full length reviews.

message 19: by Otis (new)

Otis Chandler Great - I added you to the post!

message 20: by Harsha (new)

Harsha Where do I search to find my favorite reviewers

message 21: by Clif (new)

Clif Hostetler Harsha wrote: "Where do I search to find my favorite reviewers"

You need to select your own favorite reviewers. When you read a well written review by somebody you want to follow, click on the reviewer's name and on their profile page there's a "Follow" button you can click. Then whenever they write a new review it will show up on your home page.

message 22: by Gozerthegozarian (new)

Gozerthegozarian So HOW do you follow someone’s review? Lol.

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