(Sorry, couldn’t help but follow up on my last blog title…)
I’m sure you have heard. You are all intrepid bloggers, up on the latest in the writing/reading industry so I’m sure you don’t need this summary, but here it goes:
What does this mean?
Well, if you don’t use GoodReads, it means pretty much nothing. Go ahead, skip to the end of the blog where I list my current reads.
If you do use GoodReads, it means the data you voluntarily submit to the site; what you read, what you want to read and what you think about everything you read; will be used for nefarious Amazon purposes. Exactly what their aims are, we don’t know – yet. But we can surmise it will feed their search and recommendation engines. And, of course, they’ll figure out a way to sell us more books!
Is that bad?
On the surface, not necessarily. But when one looks deeper, it just gets a little creepy.
Amazon has also bought out Stanza (yeah, that App you can use to buy and read stuff from a variety of sources, including Smashwords). They also acquired Shelfari, Audible, The Book Depository, and Abe Books. And, now, of course, GoodReads. Oh, and they even own a good chunk of LibraryThing.
Where does it end? Will Amazon know ALL our reading habits? Will all our book purchases be filtered, somehow and someway, through Amazon? Has anyone ever heard of the word m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y?
Right now, self-publishers and independent book sellers are cautioning everyone that we can handle the big gorilla in the room. I mean, Amazon has been good for “the little” authors who can’t get the exposure that authors with the big publishing houses get, right?
Well, yes, but what about me – the reader? Will every reading choice I make be cataloged, entered into a massive database and used to determine what to sell me? The cynic in me knows that the entire internet is based on acquiring data about us and using it to sell us something, so why get up in arms about Amazon?
One simple reason – choice. (Don’t argue with me about the illusion of choice. Just pretend we have it, okay?)
Once Amazon controls every online book community, it controls what we see and when.
Admit it. We are all busy. No one can read every book out there, nor can we read every book out there that we want to read. There just isn’t enough time in the day. Even if all we ever had to do was read, we couldn’t get through the thousands and thousands of books available. So, we have to choose what to read. And since we all want to read something good, something that appeals to us, we often turn to our friends, who are much like us, for recommendations.
Every book I have ever read that I thought was great was recommended to me by friends. Rare are the occasions that I find a book I think is great while browsing the store shelves (either physically or virtually). Yes, it does happen, but it is rare. And when I do find a book I think is great, what do I do? I tell my friends. Funny how that word-of-mouth thing works, huh? But, now, instead of getting recommendations from friends on GoodReads, or seeing what my friends are reading on GoodReads, I’ll be seeing recommendations from Amazon.
Come on, folks, don’t give me that bullshit that Amazon isn’t going to mess with how GoodReads does their business. They own GoodReads now. Of course, they’ll change things.
And what if I don’t own a Kindle? I don’t. I own a Nook. I buy books from Barns and Noble, who provide their e-books in ePub format (which I can transfer to any other eReader device). Yeah, the Nook is tied to Barns and Noble just as much as the Kindle is tied to Amazon, but I can take my content where ever I want. I also own an iPhone, on which I have installed the Kindle app. I still buy books from Amazon, and I read them there because I can’t convert (most of) them to ePub format and put them on my eReader of choice (which happens to be the Nook). Once GoodReads has been fully integrated with Amazon, will I only get recommendations for books available for the Kindle, thus driving me further away from my eReader of choice?
Of course, if that happens, I will leave GoodReads. I like GoodReads because I get to see what my friends are reading. I like having a running list of the books I want to read, and the books I have read. I don’t go there to get recommendations from someone trying to sell me something.
What do you think? Can we tame the big gorilla?
Also, what are you reading? Here’s what is on my Nook and Kindle App:
- Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen (non-fiction) (good stuff)
- Third Shift – Pact (Part 8 of the Silo Series) by Hugh Howey (great stuff)
- No Place Like Amestraton by Chris Mitchell (haven’t started reading)
- God Doesn’t; We Do by James A. Lindsay (good by repetitive)
- Menial: Skilled Labor (anthology from Crossed Genres) (some good shorts in there)
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman (haven’t started reading)
- Astronomy – April 2013 (magazine subscription)
- The Betrayed by Igor Ljubuncic (okay, not finished)
- Doctor Ramani’s Children (short stories) by G. S. Hargrave (lovely collection)
- Exciting News About Goodreads: We’re Joining the Amazon Family! (goodreads.com)
- Why Amazon’s Purchase of GoodReads is a Good Thing (davidgaughran.wordpress.com)
- Amazon Buys GoodReads (publishersweekly.com)
- Amazon Rolls On (Over) (writingcycle.wordpress.com)
- Amazon.com Will Acquire Goodreads (infodocket.com)
- Amazon GoodReads Merger (littlegirlwithabigpen.wordpress.com)
- Amazon Acquired Social Network for Book Readers GoodReads (eightfire.com)
- Amazon Buys Reading Social Media Site GoodReads (slog.thestranger.com)
- Amazon Buys GoodReads (sites.wakingbraincells.com)