Yesterday I deleted my Goodreads account. I had an author’s profile. It proved not as useful as was promised.
I first joined several years ago. Early as a regular member. Then I graduate to an author’s account after I published my first novel. Now that has all been deleted. Cache cleared.
No longer am I sharing with friends the books I am reading. Or the book I am going to read. Or when reading a book the actual progress of how much I read versus how much I haven’t read. This is for real. I am not going back. No more feeling guilty about not everyone knowing I still haven’t finished reading Commonwealth.
Look, man! You’ve had progress of 53% for Commonwealth for several months, now. We’re starting to get worried. Do you plan ever to finish this book? Or are you just that fucking lazy? Maybe you don’t belong here among us readers. Those of us who love reading books and showing off how many books we have read and are going to read. Speaking of which, have you read the one about the boy in the boat with the tiger? If you haven’t then you’re missing on the real books.
A social network focused on books, and reading books was at first a beautiful idea of taking the concept of social networking to a place it had always been. Who among us doesn’t remember sitting in a circle in class while the teacher read to us from a book? Or was a member of a book club?
You could look up a book and see the varying opinions by a plethora of people not writing for the New York Times or the Washington Post. Most kept their reviews to a paragraph. These were not professional critics paid to write intensive reports found in the book section of the Sunday paper riddled with pretentious review after pretentious review. No one was being paid to give their opinion. It was freely unadulterated given opinion.
But like all things which start out with the best of intentions, such as Yelp!, it shifted a bit when Amazon took over.
Goodreads was also a place where the independent writer could get easily promote their book to other members. For a while, during the independent writer boom, this was arguably the best place to support one’s writing. Not so much anymore. Now Goodreads is merely an extension of the Amazon empire. People are no longer flocking to Goodreads to find a new and exciting book by an independent author. Some established writers have discovered spots on Goodreads to blog themselves. The golden age of Goodreads is over, and we have Amazon to thank for that.
Own a Kindle? If you buy a Kindle ebook from Amazon’s ebook store, before you even open the book you’re blasted with an option to add the book to your book list via Goodreads. Or to agree to allow Amazon to share the progress you’re at while reading the book. For all you slow readers who might feel self-conscious about this, this doesn’t sound like the best of options.
After finishing a book, you’re then asked to rate it and share your thoughts via Goodreads. This is like a smartphone app asking you to rate it every time you open it.
I was under the impression Apple had cracked down on that. But I am not sure it is something they can police.
As an independent writer, I bought ad time based on Goodreads claim they would be able to promote interest in my first novel. After spending around fifty dollars, which was all I was comfortable in spending, I garnered little attention in my book. Perhaps if I spent twenty-four-seven on Goodreads, I might have gained an audience.
I even linked my personal blog to my Goodreads profile. Goodreads, then displayed my blog posts in a fractured mess which did not look as clean as my actual blog or of my writing on Medium.
But after five years with Goodreads, I can no longer see the benefit if participating. Maybe if I was just here to read. But even that now seems intrusive in light of recent Facebook-related events.
We live in a world where everything is being documented, archived, analyzed and sold to the highest bitter to manipulate our actions. It’s becoming increasingly concerning how much this is growing. We might take one-day wake-up in a world where we are slaves to manipulation.
I understand the need to get someone to rate and review your product. Since everything sold online uses an algorithm, most are design to promote those with the best reviews and ratings. Though, this system is far from perfect. I have seen products on Amazon listed with higher scores of 4 out of 5 stars with only twenty reviews. While a product with a similar 4 out of 5-star rating, but with 1,000 or more reviews, is way behind the one with 20 reviews. Is there a way to improve this? Or is this something that can’t be developed.
I have gone to find some better reads.