I really loved the whole Goodreads idea when I first came across it about five years ago. A site that understands what you like and recommends books in the same genres that other readers have rated. Also, a community of like-minded bookworms, loving books and contributing back into the pool of knowledge, authors answering questions about their books and generating a following…all very sound.
Two problems that I am experiencing with Goodreads now have left me somewhat less enchanted with the concept; the IA behind the recommendations is not as clever as I first thought and the community of users appears to be gravitating towards the common denominator, i.e. no more collaborative or generous minded than a bunch of random people in a bus queue.
Recommendations : The more books you review, the better Goodreads can help you, right? Well, maybe…if you only read one kind of book. If your taste is wide-ranging and you read books that other people recommend, say because you’re in a book club, the less clued-up Goodreads is about what you really like.
Community : This is simple. I don’t have any in-depth psychoanalysis to educate you with. I did a Giveaway of ten copies of my last novel, ‘Dark Water’ nearly three months ago and only one of the ten has been gracious enough to write a review and leave any feedback. Now I know that the rules state that there’s no obligation on the recipients to do this but still, it’s common decency isn’t it?
Am I through with Goodreads? No, I don’t think so. Not yet. I think the soul is still in there. The passionate people are in there and I’m sure the AI will evolve…eventually. Right now though, I’m just a bit disappointed.