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