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Announcements > FAQs on Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads

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message 1: by Otis, Chief Goodreader (last edited May 22, 2013 12:00PM) (new)

Otis Chandler | 4184 comments Mod
Hi Everyone,

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in as this is a long post!

Thanks for all the comments you've given us on the Amazon announcement. The passion and wide-ranging topics shared in the feedback forum proved once again that this is an amazing and engaged community of readers!

To make life easier for you, we've pulled together all the key questions and answers that came up and we're sharing them here for quick reference.

One comment before we dig into the questions--a common misconception coming out of this is that Goodreads might somehow turn into a place only for people who read on Kindles. Nothing could be further from the truth! Whether you read library books, listen to audiobooks, read paperbacks, read on your preferred e-reading device or a combination of any of these or other reading formats, Goodreads is - and will continue to be - for all readers. If you think about it, this not only makes sense for our members, it also makes sense for our business. It would be foolish to limit our focus just to people who read on Kindles.

And now for the questions:

What happens to my reviews? Will I still control where they appear? Will they start appearing on Amazon?

This was the number one concern that came up. Here's the answer: you created the content so you own the copyright to your reviews. Forever.

Our Terms of Service grant us the ability to use the reviews posted on Goodreads but you have control over where they appear. We provide you with the option to say that your reviews should only appear on Goodreads, or alternatively, that it's OK for them to be shared on other sites like Google and libraries. You will continue to have this level of control over your reviews.

Bottom line: you have control in deciding if your reviews appear on other sites, including Amazon.

Editing of reviews - can Goodreads or Amazon edit my reviews? Delete them without asking?

Nothing has changed when it comes to reviews. Your reviews are yours and we value the frank and honest opinions of all our members. That's what makes Goodreads different and special. (And yes, you can continue to swear if that's important to you, include images, etc.)

Our policy has been and will continue to be that we never edit a member's review. In some cases - where the review has broken our guidelines - we will delete the review, just as we have in the past.

There is one situation - and again this has been our policy for a long time - where we might use part of your review without showing the whole review. Sometimes, an author or publisher will ask to use a snippet of a book review in an advertisement outside of Goodreads or on a book's back cover. Rather than include the full review, they will use a line or two. This is similar to what you see in ads for movies. We always check with the members who wrote the reviews before granting permission. If an author or a publisher wants to use an excerpt of a book review in an ad on Goodreads, our team will review the ad and we permit this without checking with the reviewer as members are already sharing this content on Goodreads. These are policies that we already had in place and they have not changed.

Will sales targets or sponsorships now influence how reviews appear on the book page and which book recommendations I see on the site?

From the very beginning of Goodreads, we have always had a very firm policy about ensuring that editorial content on the site is never influenced by advertising. This isn't changing.

We'll also continue to show reviews in the same order as before:

* Reviews by your friends (people you know and trust)
* Reviews by people whose reviews you have chosen to follow (people whose opinion and taste in books you trust)
* Reviews from the Goodreads community, sorted by our proprietary algorithm.

As for recommendations, our proprietary algorithms analyze 20 billion data points to come up with personalized book recommendations. Advertising is not part of this process and won't be in the future.

Will all of our activity on Goodreads become "advertising fodder" for Amazon?

If you are asking whether we will offer advertising on Goodreads targeted to different members based on their reading preferences, we have been offering that as a service to readers and advertisers for years!

Publishers and authors are able to buy ads on Goodreads that reach readers of certain books and genres to promote their upcoming books. So, if you're a fan of Lee Child, you might see ads for a new thriller by a debut author. Movie studios have done the same thing to promote movies based on books. We are planning on continuing to offer this option to advertisers.

Will Amazon book meta-data now be brought back to Goodreads? If yes, how does this impact the Goodreads database? Can librarians overwrite the data if necessary? Will we only be using Amazon data moving forward?

The good news is that Amazon data will be coming back. We will get back the KDP data, and a ton of international data. This will allow us to improve our catalog with respect to international editions, and we're planning to develop better librarian tools for this.

Our goal at Goodreads is to have a database of all books ever printed in any language across all time. Goodreads librarians have been a big part of maintaining this database, and that won't change. So yes, librarians will still be able to correct any data that is wrong. We will also continue to import data from other sources as we see fit, such as ONIX data from publishers.

Also, we will continue to show the different e-book editions and will not make Kindle the only e-book edition. (Again, we are a place for all readers, not just Kindle readers.)

Did you know that you would sell Goodreads to Amazon when Amazon pulled their data off the site last January? Did librarians do all that work for nothing?

No, we were not in negotiations with Amazon about an acquisition last year. I know there were a lot of mixed emotions going around on this board about this. We greatly appreciate all the work librarians have done in terms of improving our catalog for the use of the greater community, both in general and revolving around repairing the catalog last year. Does this mean your work was for nothing? No. You helped save lots of other members' data from being destroyed.

Will we have to log in to Goodreads with an Amazon account moving forward?

If it makes sense for our members to offer it as an option - just as they can currently sign in with their Facebook account - then we will look at introducing it. But we will continue to always offer a direct Goodreads sign in.

Will Amazon make changes to the rules on how groups operate on Goodreads? In particular, will moderators have to change their policies about authors if they have them?

We have no plans to change the policies for groups. Groups are an important part of the Goodreads community and group moderators will continue to have the power to run their groups according to what works best for them and their group members. (Of course, they will still have to meet our Terms of Service.) We do recommend that moderators continue to give guidance to authors on how their groups want to interact with them. It's helpful for both sides.

Will Amazon have access to my Goodreads data?

Yes, as a subsidiary of Amazon, we can share data as appropriate under our privacy policies. How does this impact you? Primarily in two ways:

* Amazon and Goodreads could use the data to look for ways to offer you a better service on one or both sites. For example, by providing you with personalized advertising based on your reading tastes (similar to the advertising we already have on Goodreads).
* Amazon and Goodreads could analyze the data to see what kinds of new features or services might be useful on one or both sites.

Will you still offer links to retailers beyond Amazon?

We have no plans to remove them. And you always have the freedom to choose where to buy your books.

By the way, many of our advertisers will often include a link towards a particular retailer in their ads. Our advertisers' ability to choose the retailer they'd like their ad to point to is not something we plan to change.

Will Goodreads now be more focused on being a site for authors?

We love having authors on Goodreads. But, we are a site that's focused on readers first. If there is a choice between what is best for readers and what is best for authors, we will always err on the side of readers. It's right there in how we describe ourselves: "the largest site for readers and book recommendations."

On the other hand, lots of readers love to have direct interaction with their favorite authors and we're happy to provide a platform for that to happen.

For new authors looking to establish themselves and build awareness of their books, we'll continue to educate them on the best way to interact on Goodreads. It's a learning process and our key advice will always be: first and foremost, be a reader on Goodreads.

When will the acquisition close?

The deal is closed.

That's it for now. We'll continue to keep you updated via the Feedback Forum and on the Goodreads blog as we have more to share.

We're making this a static post, so if you have questions or comments on this, please start another thread. We'll be keeping an eye out, and if we see more questions that should be added to the FAQ, we'll update this post.

Thanks again for all the feedback - and looking forward to making Goodreads even better with your help.



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