*Editor’s note: On Friday, September 20th, 2013, Goodreads announced a new content policy about what consitutes a book review on their site and warned that reviews that fall outside those guidelines will be removed. This has caused some people to be interested again in Goodreads alternatives. To see the announced changes, read for yourself what Goodreads posted.
Since last week’s announcement that Amazon bought Goodreads, many of the users over there are looking for alternative book cataloguing/bookish social networking sites. I’ve gathered several into a list here, with a few notes obtained by poking at them:
LibraryThing- Extensive and impressive book cataloguing functionality, lighter on the social media aspect (or at least not as heavy as Goodreads). No mobile app. You can catalogue up to 200 books for free, then there is a pay-what-you-will annual option or a lifetime membership option. They’re offering a free year membership if you sign up by Friday. Amazon has a minority but not controlling share in ownership obtained when they purchased AbeBooks.
Shelfari- Owned and controlled by Amazon. I’ve encountered a lot of complaints about how Amazon has functionally abandoned Shelfari, so user concerns are not being addressed, updates aren’t happening, etc. Who knows what will become of it now that the big A has Goodreads. New users must sign-in with an Amazon ID.
weRead- Well they haven’t tweeted since June of last year, but that might not mean anything. There’s a never-ending book quiz that’ll make some Goodreads refugees pretty happy. Doesn’t seem to have an import function, so you’ll have to add your books one by one (unless I’m missing something). The site itself seems very buggy and it’s possible it’s been abandoned.
The Reading Room- Has an import function! Heavy on the book clubs (though when I click on their first Featured Book Club, The Bookanistas, it says the club doesn’t allow negative reviews…ew.) and heavy on the ebook sales.
Libib- For book/movie/video game cataloguing. Options to make your libraries public or private. Uses tags. Not much social media going on. Has an import function.
Booklamp- If you use Goodreads mainly to get recommendations, this is an interesting option for you. The site uses the “Book Genome Project” to analyze the “DNA” of books, and gives you Pandora-style recommendations based on the actual contents of books you’ve selected (as opposed to giving recs based on genre, author, whatever).
Reader2- Book list making site, lets you use tags and search other user lists via tags. Doesn’t let you have separate collections, and only seems to have Amazon links for each book. The UI is wayyyyy outdated- worse than LibraryThing, which says a good bit.
Anobii- Allows GR import, but only for books with ISBNs. Allows reviews- also includes reviews from critics on the books’ pages.
These are in beta:
Riffle Books- focuses on lists and social media, not a heavy cataloguing function. Has a Pinterest-type feel. PRETTY COVERS! Facebook-only login right now, but they should have Twitter login within the next week. Great for people who loved the visual aspect of GR.
BookLikes- this looks like the closest thing to the Goodreads experience that I could find. It uses the “shelves” system like GR, there’s star ratings, reviews, a personal timeline-type activity feed, heavy social aspect. When you sign up, you’re actually creating a kind of mini-blog (so it’s yourusernameorwhatever.booklikes.com). Allows you to connect your affiliate links to your newly created blog-type-page.
Thirdscribe- This one hasn’t even launched the beta yet, but it sounds like it’s going to be interesting: “ThirdScribe is a social networking service designed from the ground up to connect authors and their audience. It does this by combining a social stream with forums, book pages, reviews, member profiles, and a blog network to form a giant discussion about books.” Will be supported by author fees (so no ads- but also no dead authors?).
Slice Bookshelf- Facebook log-in. Allows you to import from GR. Automatically put the books I’ve “liked” on Facebook on my “Favorites” shelf, which I don’t like. Shows the book activity of my Facebook friends automatically, which I also don’t care for (I don’t care what my second cousin is reading, let’s be real). But if you’re into integrated Facebook stuff, this would be a good option.
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