Goodreads Blog

who talks about books anymore?

Posted by Otis Chandler on November 14, 2007
I woke up this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see a very well written article titled Goodreads.com - A center for kids who can read good.

The final paragraph of the article spoke to something that got me thinking about our mission at Goodreads.

"The literary arts, since the near total eradication of the oral tradition, have it tough when it comes to forming a community. Literature will go through another transformation on par with the invention of the printing press, and the internet will be a key ingredient. The slow and meek emergence of a literary community online is the beginning. Goodreads is making a go of it, but the potential is currently bigger than the reality. When literature becomes unstuck in tradition, who knows what the art form will look like. And along with a burgeoning collective environmental conscience, is it that weird to envision a world without printed books?"


Mark Polanzak (the author of the article) hit it dead on. Reading is a solitary activity and therefore lacks a watercooler culture and community around it. With other forms of popular media, like TV, movies, video games, etc you are more assured your friend or coworkers have seen them and can enter into a conversation easily - "Hey did you see The Daily Show last night - hilarious!". But with such a wide variety of literature out there you aren't likely to enter into such a conversation about books. That is, unless you have a spark to ignite it - like you just saw them review a book on Goodreads.

I realize we're a long way from changing the world, but I think we're getting there one step at a time. I know for me personally Goodreads has changed my life. One of my goals in starting the site was to read more - I was an engineering major in school and always felt I had missed a lot of the classics, and I wanted to know which ones to read and in what order. I also felt like TV was consuming way too much of my downtime. I'm happy to say my reading consumption is way up, and I couldn't be happier about it. If you've had a similar experience - we'd love to hear it!

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Mark I don't know how you came across that article, but I am happy that it did something for you.


message 2: by Otis, Chief Goodreader (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Otis Chandler Probably the same way you came across this blog post :)


message 3: by Kathryn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Kathryn I'm hoping the title of the article was a play on words. It's a sad day when an article about kids reading messes up the difference between "good" and "well."


message 4: by Otis, Chief Goodreader (new)

Otis Chandler I think it was a reference to the movie Zoolander - which is pretty funny!


message 5: by Jason (new)

Jason Good article. I know Goodreads has really enriched my reading experience. I've always been an avid bibliophile, and merely joined on because it offered me what I'd been looking for for ages: a way to keep track of everything I've read and wanted to read. But since then I've really enjoyed discovering all the personalities and it has given me a lot of stimulating conversations, not to mention introducing me to some amazing new stuff I would never have stumbled across otherwise. I've never been active in an online community (I'd rather open a book), but this forum is changing that!


message 6: by Michael (last edited Apr 21, 2008 10:19PM) (new)

Michael Lipsey I just signed up as an author on GoodReads and then wanted to find out something about it from outside GoodReads. So I Googled it and found Mark's article on WeeklyDig. And posted a comment on Dig because I thought it was an interesting take on GoodReads. Then I wondered who Mark Polanzak was, so I Googled him, which brought me back to this post on GoodReads!

I was reading the NY Times Book Review and wishing my book would be reviewed in it. Which is not going to happen. But then I thought, how do I find out about books I want to read? PBS. Blogs. Websites. Amazon is selling 1,000,000 books a week now. But will printed book reviews even exist in ten years? The process of creating books is going along pretty much as it has always, but I think the process of how people learn about them is changing by the moment.


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