Goodreads homepage
Type of site
Available in English
Owner (from Q2 2013 on)
Created by Otis Chandler
Alexa rank Decrease 312 (August 2016)[1]
Registration Free
Launched December 2006 (2006-12)
Current status Active

Goodreads is an Amazon company and "social cataloging" website founded in December 2006 and launched in January 2007 by Otis Chandler, II, a software engineer and entrepreneur, and Elizabeth Chandler.[2][3] The website allows individuals to freely search Goodreads' extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys/polls, blogs, and discussions.

In December 2007, the site had over 650,000 members[4] and over 10,000,000 books had been added.[5] By July 2012, the site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and 30 employees.[6] On July 23, 2013, it was announced on their website that the user base had grown to 20 million members, having doubled in close to 11 months.[7] The website's offices are in San Francisco.[8]

On March 28, 2013, Amazon announced its acquisition of Goodreads for an undisclosed amount.[9]


The Chandlers created Goodreads in 2006. Goodreads' stated mission is "to help people find and share books they love... [and] to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world."[3] Goodreads also addressed "what publishers call the 'discoverability' problem" by guiding consumers in the digital age to find books they might want to read.[10]

During its first year of business, the company was run without any formal funding. In December 2007, the site received funding estimated at $750,000 from angel investors.[5] This funding lasted Goodreads until 2009, when Goodreads received two million dollars from True Ventures.[11] In October 2010 the company opened its API, which enabled developers to access its ratings and titles.[12] Goodreads also receives a small commission when a user clicks over from its site to an online bookseller and makes a purchase.[2]

In 2011, Goodreads acquired Discovereads, a book recommendation engine that employs "machine learning algorithms to analyze which books people might like, based on books they've liked in the past and books that people with similar tastes have liked."[2][13] After a user has rated 20 books on its five-star scale, the site will begin making recommendations. Otis Chandler believed this rating system would be superior to Amazon's, as Amazon's includes books a user has browsed or purchased as gifts when determining its recommendations.[2][13] Later that year, Goodreads introduced an algorithm to suggest books to registered users and had over five million members.[14] The New Yorker's Macy Halford noted that the algorithm wasn't perfect, as the number of books needed to create a perfect recommendation system is so large that "by the time I’d got halfway there, my reading preferences would have changed and I’d have to start over again."[15]

In October 2012, Goodreads announced it had grown to 11 million members with 395 million books catalogued and over 20,000 book clubs created by its users.[16] Only one month later, in November 2012, Goodreads had surpassed 12 million members, with the member base having doubled in one year.[17]

In March 2013, announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads in the second quarter of 2013 for an undisclosed sum.[18][19][20] In September 2013, Goodreads announced it would delete, without warning, reviews that mention the behavior of the author or threats against the author.[21]

In January 2016, Amazon announced on that it would be merging Shelfari with Goodreads and closing down Shelfari. To prepare Shelfari members for the move, Amazon posted on a prominent announcement stating, "IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Shelfari is merging with Goodreads. Learn More",[22] as well as links to a page titled "Read the FAQ",[23] instructions to "Download your data in a CSV file" (whose linked page is titled "Export Everything",[24]), and instructions to "Move to Goodreads" (whose linked page is titled "Export Invitation"),[25] along with two months to migrate their Shelfari content to Goodreads. Although Shelfari discussion threads will not be migrated (as Amazon would need permission from all conversants in order to do so), users were advised: "you may save your own data for your own records".[26][22]

In April 2016, Goodreads announced that over 50 million user reviews have been posted.[27]


On the Goodreads website, users can add books to their personal bookshelves, rate and review books, see what their friends and authors are reading, participate in discussion boards and groups on a variety of topics, and get suggestions for future reading choices based on their reviews of previously read books.[28] Once users have added friends to their profile, they will see their friends' shelves and reviews and can comment on friends' pages. Goodreads features a rating system of one to five stars, with the option of accompanying the rating with a written review. The site provides default bookshelves—read, currently-reading, to-read—and the opportunity to create customized shelves to categorize a user's books.[29]

Goodreads users can read or listen to a preview of a book on the website using Kindle Cloud Reader and Audible.[30] Goodreads also offers quizzes and trivia, quotations, book lists, and free giveaways. Members can receive the regular newsletter featuring new books, suggestions, author interviews, and poetry. If a user has written a work, the work can be linked on the author's profile page, which also includes an author's blog.[31] Goodreads organizes offline opportunities as well, such as IRL book exchanges and "literary pub crawls".[32]

The website facilitates reader interactions with authors through the interviews, giveaways, authors' blogs, and profile information. There is also a special section for authors with suggestions for promoting their works on, aimed at helping them reach their target audience.[33] By 2011, "seventeen thousand authors, including James Patterson and Margaret Atwood" used Goodreads to advertise.[2]

Additionally, Goodreads has a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.[34][35][36] Linking a Goodreads account with a social networking account like Facebook enables the ability to import contacts from the social networking account to Goodreads, expanding one's Goodreads “Friends” list. There are settings available, as well, to allow Goodreads to post straight to a social networking account, which informs, e.g., Facebook friends, what one is reading or how one rated a book. This constant linkage from Goodreads to other social networking sites keeps information flowing and connectivity continuous.[37]

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (version 2) and Kindle Voyage feature integration with Goodreads' social network via a user interface button.[38]

The Shelfie App recently launched a Goodreads integration that allows users to sync their Goodreads account. Once synced using Goodreads, users can import their Goodreads collections to get either free or discounted e-books of the print books in their collection.[39]

Goodreads librarians improve book information on the website, including editing book and author information and adding cover images. Goodreads members can apply to become librarians after they have 50 books on their profile.[40] Goodreads librarians coordinate on the Goodreads Librarian Group.[41]

Future growth

Otis Chandler told TechCrunch in August 2012 that Goodreads would be "building more features allowing readers to update their profiles as they read a book" and was "talking to the Facebook team about building book clubs within the social network."[34] He felt that a major reason for the recent growth in members was Goodreads' new Facebook Open Graph app.[34]

Criticism and controversy

In January 2012, Goodreads switched from using Amazon's public Product Advertising API for book metadata (such as title, author, and number of pages) to book wholesaler Ingram.[42] Goodreads felt Amazon's requirements for using its API were too restrictive, and the combination of Ingram, the Library of Congress, and other sources would be more flexible. However, some users worried that their reading records would be lost. However, Goodreads had a number of plans in place to ease the transition and ensure that no data was lost, even for titles that might be in danger of deletion because they were available only through Amazon, such as Kindle editions and self-published works on Amazon.[42] In May 2013, as a result of Goodreads' acquisition by Amazon, Goodreads began using Amazon's data again.[43]

Goodreads has received criticism from users about the availability and tone of reviews posted on the site; some users and websites have stated that certain reviewers were harassing and encouraging attacks on authors. Similary, it has been criticized for containing lots of positive reviews of racist books and a couple of racist quotes and having white supremacist users of the site. [44][45] Goodreads publicly posted their review guidelines in August 2012 to address these issues.[46] [47] Several news sources reported the announcement, noting Amazon's business reasons for the move:

Where authors were threatening a mass account cancellation to protest the bullying, many of the reader users who commented on the announcement are now threatening the same thing. And while much of this might seem like nothing more than petty playground behavior between children who honestly do not have a clear good guy or bad guy, keep in mind that several e-book retailers incorporate the Goodreads' API into their sales pages, effectively posting book reviews that many in the Goodreads community know to be false, and nothing more than an act of revenge against an author; real-world sales decisions have been made by consumers based on these reviews.
Mercy Pilkington, Good E-Reader News[48]

Regarding the 2013 Amazon acquisition of Goodreads, the NY Times said, "Goodreads was a rival to Amazon as a place for discovering books" and that this deal "consolidates Amazon’s power to determine which authors get exposure for their work."[49] Some authors, however, believe the purchase means that the "best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books."[49]

Readers Choice Awards

The Readers Choice Awards is a yearly award program, first launched on Goodreads in 2009. Users are able to nominate books of their choosing, released in the given year. The final voting round collects the top 10 books from 20 different categories.[50]


Category 2009[51] 2010[52] 2011[53] 2012[54] 2013[55] 2014[56] 2015[57]
Best Book (All Time Favorite) Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins
Veronica Roth
Best Fiction The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
by Emma Donoghue
by Haruki Murakami
The Casual Vacancy
by J. K. Rowling
And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini
by Rainbow Rowell
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
Best Non-fiction Columbine,
by Dave Cullen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,
by Rebecca Skloot
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
by Alexandra Robbins
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
by Temple Grandin & Richard Panek
The Opposite of Loneliness
by Marina Keegan
Modern Romance: An Investigation
by Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg
Best Mystery & Thriller The Girl Who Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Smokin' Seventeen
by Janet Evanovich
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
by Dan Brown
Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Best Fantasy Dead and Gone
by Charlaine Harris
Towers of Midnight
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
A Dance with Dragons
by George R. R. Martin
The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole
by Stephen King
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
The Book of Life
by Deborah Harkness
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
by Neil Gaiman
Best Science Fiction Leviathan
by Scott Westerfeld
by Mira Grant
Stephen King
The Long Earth
by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
by Margaret Atwood
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Golden Son
by Pierce Brown
Best Chick Lit The Last Song
by Nicholas Sparks
Best Romance An Echo in the Bone
by Diana Gabaldon
Lover Mine
by J. R. Ward
Lover Unleashed
by J. R. Ward
Fifty Shades Freed
by E. L. James
Lover at Last
by J. R. Ward
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
by Diana Gabaldon
by Colleen Hoover
Best Young Adult Fiction Along for the Ride
by Sarah Dessen
Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart
All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Best Young Adult Series Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
Best Graphic Novel(& Comics from 2011) Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
by Neil Gaiman
Twilight: The Graphic Novel
by Stephenie Meyer
Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel
by Richelle Mead
The Walking Dead Vol. 16: A Larger World
by Robert Kirkman
Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and artist Cassandra Jean
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
by Zack Whedon, Fábio Moon and Daniel Dos Santos
Saga - Volume Four
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Best Children's (& Middle Grade from 2010) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, by Jeff Kinney Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
by Jeff Kinney
The Son of Neptune
by Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
The House of Hades
by Rick Riordan
The Blood of Olympus
by Rick Riordan
The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan
Best Picture Book Blueberry Girl
by Neil Gaiman
It's a Book
by Lane Smith
When I Grow Up
by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
by Ian Falconer
The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
The Pigeon Needs a Bath! (I Do Not!)
by Mo Willems
The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Best Paranormal Fantasy Dead in the Family
by Charlaine Harris
by Karen Marie Moning
Shadow of Night
by Deborah Harkness
Cold Days
by Jim Butcher
Best Historical Fiction Fall of Giants
by Ken Follett
The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman
Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
Best Poetry Come On All You Ghosts
by Matthew Zapruder
Horoscopes for the Dead
by Billy Collins
A Thousand Mornings
by Mary Oliver
The Fall of Arthur
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Lullabies by Lang Leav The Dogs I Have Kissed
by Trista Mateer
Best History & Biography The Tudors
by G. J. Meyer
Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson
Jim Henson: The Biography
by Brian Jay Jones
The Romanov Sisters
by Helen Rappaport
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson
Best Memoir & Autobiography Unbearable Lightness
by Portia de Rossi
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love
by Matthew Logelin
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed I am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
This Star Won't Go Out
by Esther Earl
A Work in Progress
by Connor Franta
Best Humor Bite Me: A Love Story
by Christopher Moore
by Tina Fey
Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson Hyperbole and a Half
by Allie Brosh
Yes Please
by Amy Poehler
Why Not Me?
by Mindy Kaling
Best Young Adult Fantasy (& Science Fiction from 2011) Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
by Veronica Roth
by Veronica Roth
by Veronica Roth
City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
Queen of Shadows
by Sarah J. Maas
Best (Goodreads) Debut Author The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Emma Chase
Pierce Brown
(Red Rising)
Victoria Aveyard
(Red Queen)
Best Cover Art Torment
by Lauren Kate
Best Horror Graveminder
by Melissa Marr
The Twelve
by Justin Cronin
Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King
Prince Lestat
by Anne Rice
Saint Odd
by Dean Koontz
Best Food & Cooking My Father's Daughter
by Gwyneth Paltrow
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
by Ree Drummond
Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
by Ina Garten
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime
by Ree Drummond
Best Travel & Outdoors Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
Best Goodreads Author Cassandra Clare
(City of Fallen Angels)
Veronica Roth
Best Business #GIRLBOSS
by Sophia Amoruso
Best Science & Technology Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish
by John Hargrove

Multiple wins

Several authors have won multiple Goodreads Readers Choice Awards or the same award in multiple years. The table below sets out those authors to have won more than one award:

(Listed by number of wins, then alphabetically by surname)

Number of wins Author Winning categories
5 Rick Riordan Best Children's & Middle Grade (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015),
Veronica Roth Best Book (2011), Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011, 2012, 2013), Best Goodreads Author (2012)
4 Suzanne Collins Best Book (2009, 2010), Best Young Adult Series (2009), Best Young Adult Fantasy (2011)
Neil Gaiman Best Fantasy (2013, 2015), Best Graphic Novel (2009), Best Picture Book (2009)
Stephen King Best Science Fiction (2011), Best Fantasy (2012), Best Horror (2013), Best Mystery & Thriller (2014)
3 J. R. Ward Best Romance (2010, 2011, 2013)
2 Pierce Brown Best Goodreads Debut Author (2014), Best Science Fiction (2015)
Cassandra Clare Best Goodreads Author (2011), Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2014),
Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers Best Picture Book (2013, 2015)
Ree Drummond Best Food & Cooking (2012, 2015)
Diana Gabaldon Best Romance (2009, 2014)
Deborah Harkness Best Paranormal Fantasy (2012), Best Fantasy (2014)
Charlaine Harris Best Fantasy (2009), Best Paranormal Fantasy (2010)
Jeff Kinney Best Children's & Middle Grade (2009, 2010)
Stieg Larsson Best Mystery & Thriller (2009, 2010)
Rainbow Rowell Best Fiction (2014), Best Young Adult Fiction (2013)
Rebecca Skloot Best Non-fiction (2010), Best Debut Author (2010)

See also


  1. "Goodreads Ranking". Alexa. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Miller, Claire Cain (March 10, 2011). "Need Advice on What to Read? Ask the Internet". New York Times Bits. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  3. 1 2 "About Us". Goodreads. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  4. Good reads: book nerds social networking, TechCoastReview, retrieved September 17, 2007.
  5. 1 2 "Goodreads Raises Angel Round To Help You Find That Perfect Book". Tech Crunch. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  6. Lee, Ellen (July 21, 2012). "Goodreads' Otis Chandler reviews growth". SF Gate. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  7. Chandler, Otis (July 23, 2013). "Goodreads Grows to 20 Million Readers". Goodreads.
  8. "Book lovers seething over Amazon acquisition of Goodreads", Inside Bay area.
  9. Olanoff, Drew. "Amazon Acquires Social Reading Site Goodreads, Which Gives The Company A Social Advantage Over Apple". SF Gate. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  10. Kaufman, Leslie (2013-02-12). " Is Growing as a Popular Book Site". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  11. Kellogg, Carolyn (December 14, 2009). "What Goodreads will do with its new millions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  12. "Goodreads Launches Social Reading API". Read write Web. October 2010.
  13. 1 2 Hopkins, Curt. "Goodreads Buys Recommendation Service Discovereads". ReadWrite.
  14. Frassica, Matt (July 2, 2011). "For ebook devotees, reading is a whole new experience". The Louisville Courier Journal. USA Today. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  15. Halford, Macy (November 2011). "Getting Good at Goodreads". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  16. Fidelman, Mark (October 16, 2012). "These are Top 25 Book Reviewers on Goodreads" (infographic). Forbes. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  17. Greenfield, Jeremy (November 8, 2012), "Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler on the Future of Discoverability and Social Reading", Digital Book World.
  18. to Acquire Goodreads, Corporate IR.
  19. "Exciting News About Goodreads: We're Joining the Amazon Family!", Goodreads.
  20. Kaufman, Leslie (March 28, 2013). "Amazon to Buy Social Site Dedicated to Sharing Books". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  21. "Goodreads Announces New Content Policy - Now Deletes Reviews Which Mention Author Behavior - The Digital Reader". The Digital Reader.
  22. 1 2 jenp27 (January 12, 2016). "Amazon Kills Shelfari". The Reader's Room.
  23. "Read the FAQ". Shelfari. January 2016.
  24. "Download your data in a CSV file". Shelfari. January 2016.
  25. "Export Invitation". Shelfari. January 2016.
  26. Holiday, J.D. (January 13, 2016). "Shelfari Is Closing! BUT, You Can Merge Your Account with Goodreads!". The Book Marketing Network.
  27. "Goodreads Reaches New Milestone: Fifty Million Reviews". The Digital Reader.
  28. "Goodreads". Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  29. "Groups". Goodreads. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  30. Klose, Stephanie (2015-05-07). "Audiobook Samples Added to Goodreads". Library Journal Reviews. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  31. Strickland, Jonathan. "How Goodreads Works". How Stuff Works. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  32. Kellogg, Carolyn (August 14, 2012). "Goodreads reaches 10 million users". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  33. "Author Program". Goodreads. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  34. 1 2 3 Ha, Anthony. "Reading Is Alive And Well At Social Reading Site Goodreads, Which Just Hit 10M Members". Tech Crunch. AOL Tech. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  35. "Goodreads". Twitter. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  36. "Goodreads". Pinterest. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  37. "Goodreads". Goodreads. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  38. Amazon's next Kindle Paperwhite outed ahead of its official launch via Amazon's own leak.
  39. Nate Hoffelder, "BitLit Rebrands as Shelfie, Adds GoodReads Integration", The Digital Reader, 9 September, 2015.
  40. "What is a goodreads librarian?". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  41. "Goodreads Librarians Group". Goodreads. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  42. 1 2 Owen, Laura Hazard. "As Goodreads Ends Sourcing From Amazon, Users Fear Lost Books". Paid Content: The Economics of Digital Content. Gigaom. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  43. Rivka (May 23, 2013). "The Announcement You've All Been Waiting For". Goodreads Librarians Group forums. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  44. Driscoll, Molly (July 23, 2012). "Goodreads reviews: Are they fair?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  45. Deutsch, Lindsay (July 20, 2012). "Stephen Covey's final written work; Goodreads bullies". USA Today. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  46. Brown, Patrick (August 6, 2012). "Review Guidelines & Updated Author Guidelines". Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  47. Erikson, Kara (September 20, 2013). "Important Note Regarding Reviews". Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  48. Pilkington, Mercy (September 21, 2013). "Goodreads Modifies User Terms to Prevent Author Bullying, Reviewers Outraged". Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  49. 1 2 Kaufman, Leslie (2013-03-28). "Amazon to Buy Goodreads". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  50. Kellogg, Carolyn (October 30, 2012). "Goodreads launches its 2012 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  51. "The 2009 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  52. "The 2010 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  53. "The 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  54. "The 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  55. "The 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  56. "The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards".
  57. "The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards".


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