Amazon Buys Goodreads

I know this post is a little behind the times, and many bloggers have already shared their thoughts on this. But I wanted to take some time and really formulate my thoughts before I made a post like this.

I can sum up how this news makes me feel in three words. It scares me.

Amazon is a company that I approach with much trepidation. I don’t agree with the business practices that I have encountered, and I don’t agree with the rumors that the infamous mill has churned out.

Speaking from my own direct experience, I don’t like the way Amazon handles DRM and their everlasting thirst for world domination in the realm of books (if not everything). As an avid reader, I was shocked to find out that to own a Kindle meant either only ever buying from Amazon, or breaking the law and breaking the digital locks on other books. (Which, while I don’t agree with DRM, I don’t advocate breaking the law, either.)

What Amazon does, to put it in the realm of paper books, is like selling a paper book, and then saying you must have a specific chair and light to read it. To try to read it in a different chair, with a different light means you are breaking the law. At least with EPUB books, I have a little more wiggle room with what chair and light I use.

This is my personal beef with them. This is why I choose not to do business with them. They do not support Canadian libraries, and very few people I know locally own a Kindle because of it. I am not saying that no one outside of the US owns a Kindle, but it is not the norm.

This is of course excluding the rumors, the tax rumors, the employment rumors, etc. I don’t know much about them, so I won’t talk about them.

By pairing with Amazon like this, Goodreads will be excluding the users of other devices, and effectively excluding everyone outside of the US from the bonus integration they keep talking about. Not to mention that I don’t want my Goodreads info used to sell me things. The biggest draw for Goodreads was that it wasn’t associated with any of the book sellers. It was completely independent.

Amazon and Goodreads have very different reviewing policies, and I am not confident that the person footing the bills won’t be the one calling the shots. And I just need to mention that it is a huge conflict of interest to have Amazon, who also functions as a publisher, to own this fantastic website.

For now, I still have information at Goodreads. I am also trying out LibraryThing, though I find it is lacking in some areas that Goodreads excelled in.

What are your thoughts on the acquisition?


2 thoughts on “Amazon Buys Goodreads

  1. I also haven’t removed my information from Goodreads. I also started up a LibraryThing account, but I’m not too impressed with it. I’m also thinking more and more that I should take my reviews down, at least, and just leave the star ratings for the books I’ve read. Of course, depending on the terms of the deal (when Amazon takes possession of the data and what kind of archives GR has, if any) it may already be too late to prevent Amazon from “owning” my words. I really don’t know enough about this sort of thing to know for sure, but it’s definitely a sad day. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of independent sites trying to fill GR’s shoes; hopefully at least one of them can recreate the old GR experience.

    • Thanks for the comment, and welcome to the blog. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I am really hoping something new and GoodReads-flavored comes along soon, without the retail ties. I am nervous about whether or not Amazon owns my info as of right now (I am assuming they do) and how it might be used, but the thought of deleting all my books makes me cringe… At least I have almost all of my text reviews posted here.

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