If you didn’t hear, Amazon is buying Goodreads. In one swoop they’ve captured 16 million readers and 30,000 book clubs.
The story broke just an hour or so again so it’s probably too early to tell where this news will take us. My hope is that Amazon will integrate a better and more seamless buy into the Goodreads model and also incorporate an author’s Goodreads profile into their Author Central page. Shelfari is great, but was pretty late to the game and besides, do we really need another social site for authors? I don’t know about you, but personally I’d rather that I didn’t have so many choices. That might be a moot issue now depending on where this whole buy/merger ends up.
Here’s an interesting side to this, with sites like Bookish and such that are geared to do pretty much the same thing as Goodreads and Library Thing, why hasn’t someone stepped in to buy Goodreads before this? And by someone, I mean a traditional publisher. Oh, that’s right, they were too busy bitching about how Amazon is taking over the publishing world and meanwhile guess what? Amazon is taking over the publishing world. Is it fair? I’m not here to debate fairness, I’m just here to say that when you focus on the wrong stuff you lose momentum and, in this case, you lose your foothold in the industry.
So, for days we’ll see this hashed out on blogs, people cheering, some (ok, many) complaining but in the end it’s another advantage to Amazon. Can we fault them for that? No. While they keep advancing, the rest of the publishing world (well, most of it) keeps rehashing the same old stuff. And speaking of players late to the game, Barnes & Noble could have stepped in and bought the site – or *hint* to BN, there’s still a little site called Library Thing. What? You don’t want to copy Amazon. Right, heaven forbid we emulate success.
In the end, the downfall of publishing won’t be the lack of readers or the fall of bookstores. It’ll be the fact that many in the industry spent too much time focused on the wrong stuff.
Here’s the announcement from Galley Cat: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/amazon-to-buy-goodreads_b67761
“Shelfari was late to the game” – Actually, Shelfari was founded before Goodreads. Shelfari was launched in October 2006; Goodreads was founded in December 2006 and launched in 2007. The difference is that Amazon invested in Shelfari almost immediately, and acquired it in August 2008.
And promptly ran it straight into the ground.
So, well, good luck Goodreads – but I ain’t holding my breath.
I anticipate that Amazon will use Goodreads as its author marketing platform – promo is not allowed on Amazon’s forums, but Goodreads’ Author Platform guidelines practically encourage authors to spam the community. And maybe authors will get discounts for advertising on Goodreads if they use CreateSpace or Kindle Direct.
By the way, Amazon also owns 40% of LibraryThing, thanks to its acquisition of Abe Books. LT tries very hard to ignore – to its detriment, I think, because talk about a Web 1.0 interface that badly needs updating – its overlord. So LT is not exactly up for sale – nor, with B&N desperately trying to sell off Nook, is B&N in any position to take on more debt.
Bookish IS the Big Five’s (well, okay, only three of the five) attempt at Goodread – but without those pesky reviews that lead to author/reviewer flamewars all over the ‘net. The issue with one of the Big Five buying Goodreads is what the heck do you do when you sell your competitors’ product at the probable expense on your own? Talk about vested interests and favored nations – it would be one big bang of a cluster.
It will be interesting to see what unfolds, for readers, authors, and the publishing game. Too late for B&N, though; Amazon already owns 40% of LibraryThing.
I love Goodreads and am very sad to see this happen. Amazon is trying to buy their way into everything and basically Hitlerizing it. They refuse to make their eReader’s accessible even though the NFB begged them from the beginning and wanted to work with them. Now they are pushing to get their eReader’s in schools and cause those schools to commit a federal crime by doing so. It is illegal for schools to implement inaccessible technology and yet Amazon has manipulated the PTA into buying into their scheme and destroying our schools that have no funds to fight the legal battles that will result from this crime.
Deeply disappointed in Goodreads.