Social Networking for Bookworms

By Alexandra Ley

Goodreads is a social networking site for bookworms of all types: college professors, high school students, amateur cooks, retired bibliophiles, Twihards, Potterheads, and even notable authors themselves. Every time you run across a book on the site, you have the chance to rate it and mark it as “read,” which adds it to your bookshelf, or put it on a “to read” list. The more books you add, the more recommendations Goodreads generates for you; these recommendations are even divided into genres, and each one has a link to a website where you can get a good deal on each title.

A Goodreads account acts as a personal record of your reading habits and allows you to update your progress on whatever books you’re currently reading and comment on the part you’ve reached. Your Goodreads friends can comment on your progress and encourage you to keep it up or start a discussion about the point that you’ve reached. Goodreads markets itself as “the world’s largest bookclub” and encourages this type of group discussion on its discussion boards. It has over 1600 different groups, such as “Horror Aficionados” and “Banned Books,” and you can search by genre, your geographic area, or your age group.

For those of us who still shop for books in those endangered establishments called “bookstores,” the mobile aspect of Goodreads apps is highly appealing. Phones with scanning capabilities can obtain barcodes from books and add titles to a “to read” list, and it’s easy to get a list of similar books at your fingertips by searching for authors and genres on the Goodreads app for iPhone or Droid.

Goodreads launched a new feature for the new year: the ability for Goodreads to connect to the new Facebook timeline and allow users to announce their reading progress to all their Facebook friends. In a time when the status of books and the printed word is in limbo, Goodreads is helping keep it a highly social activity.

Alex is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing. Goodreads is helping her keep on track to read 60 books this year- as of the posting of this article, she stands with 52 to go!

Image courtesy of Goodreads

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