Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
I use Goodreads to brag. I do so in the most subtle, but competitive, and most definitely dork-alicious way. Quickly scanning the “friend″ update emails, I’m not always drawn to what books they’re reading, but rather I’m reminded to go brag about what I’m reading, and maintain my “cool” Goodreads persona.
“Oh, she’s reading “Cloud Atlas?” Well that just reminds me that I’m almost finished with “11/22/63,” as I scramble to update my bookshelves.
And when I say “cool” persona I actually mean aloof, mysterious, and overall boring. My profile is terribly bare-bones and my bookshelves do not reflect all the books I’ve read in my lifetime. My rare reviews are pathetic—one that comes to mind is two lines, written after I’d just finished bawling: “[The Art of Racing in the Rain was] one of the sweetest, and at times most gut-wrenching, books I’ve read in a long, long time.” Oh really? How profound!
But I will say that the rumors of Goodreads possibly selling books directly from the site and creating a bookstore is a fantastic idea and despite my sporadic use of the site, I would use it. My to-read shelves go dormant if I haven’t visited the site in a while, but they are there—goading me into eventually buying or borrowing the book, which I do (keyword being “eventually.”) If I can buy with one click from there, “eventually” will more often become “now.”
I don’t visit sites like The Reading Room because I’m a slave to the convenience of Amazon and frankly, engaging in a social reading/book site is too intensive at the outset, especially since I’m already using Goodreads. But I also have a positive relationship with Goodreads; I like their mission, my friends are there (albeit just as pawns in my one-woman popularity contest), and so are all my reminders of what to read. Why would I leave?
While a fellow Appazoogler doesn’t share my goodwill towards Goodreads for fair reasons (namely, the less than judicious reviews that, see above, I’m guilty of), I think that if given the choice, she’d purchase a book from Goodreads over Amazon. Amazon is a retail giant that’s making a killing (literally, in a business sense) in selling books, but the love of books and the community isn’t there. At least not for me. Ever since I heard about the fake reviews my distaste translated into never, ever, relying on the Amazon drones for feedback or advice.
Bottom line: After a year and a half with the social network I’m still about as engaged as I was when I started, so kudos to them in the competitive realm of social reading. And if the book selling endeavor ever comes to fruition, I’ll be back to report. Or, I’ll find a way to passive aggressively brag about it, because that’s how I roll.