Want to build a new Goodreads?

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Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 78 cover - click to view full sizeHey, it’s the last day of the quarter! Royalties go out to all your fave authors next week. Thank YOU! Last month’s (automated) bestseller list is below. I’ll post another later in the week.

Also, tomorrow is April 1st and we promise not to announce that we have been eaten by Am*zon. On that note, we will be removing the Goodreads reviews, which is a shame as we had been very pleased to be able to add them. As many readers are, Michael and I are debating deleting our Goodreads accounts. (Me, Michael.) How about you? I don’t have much time for Amazon and their EatEveryone school of business. I know that they are successful, but having been on the other end of the negotiating table from them as a publisher at Small Beer Press, I don’t like the way they do business. They focus on grinding everyone else down, whereas my philosophy is more along the lines of we can all rise together.

So like many other people, we’re throwing around the idea of building a new community reading site with books, reviews, comments, forums, all the things we liked about Goodreads, but without the all-encompassing Univac behind it. To keep it independent I figure we should make it a $4.99 annual subscription built along the lines Flickr uses: you could add up to 500 books for free then the oldest ones would disappear (from public view, not to you) unless you subscribed. Maybe there could be other subscriber only features, not sure, the site would do best if people use it for a while for free. If you’re seriously interested in kicking this idea around, email me!

March automated bestseller list:

  1. Galaxy’s Edge Magazine Annual Subscription
  2. Clarkesworld Magazine: 12-Month Subscription
  3. Lightspeed Magazine: 12-Month Subscription
  4. Irregulars
  5. New York Review of Science Fiction 12-issue Subscription
  6. Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12-Month Subscription
  7. Lord of the White Hell Book Two
  8. Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 28
  9. Apex Magazine: 12-Month Subscription
  10. Lord of the White Hell Book One

11 Responses to “Want to build a new Goodreads?”

  1. Julie Day says:

    Gavin,
    I love this idea! I am completely dependent on Goodreads for tracking my read/to-read lists. And, to be honest, I rely on their user reviews as well. Unless someone is willing to manage a card catalog in some spare corner of my house, I need an electronic “book memory.”

  2. Josh Jasper says:

    Just a suggestion on one currency you can invest in that Amazon is not currently able to – the goodwill of authors, editors and publishers who’re not fond of Amazon’s shenanigans. An independent place where these people can invest time in connecting with readers might be worth their time. If you’re going to try to attract readers to a new site, getting those folks to pitch in a bit might help.

    • Gavin says:

      Hey Josh, if we build it, it would be built to have independent revenue streams (subscriptions and ads I suppose) — although, sure, we’d have buy book links to Indiebound, Kobo, etc., as Goodreads had. Also, if we can do this, one of the ways we might start it off would be a Kickstarter, always fun!

  3. Josh Jasper says:

    Oh, also, some sort of exodus tool to pull your data form goodreads and upload it to the new site!

  4. Susan Groppi says:

    I kind of love this idea, and would definitely want to be involved.

  5. Julia says:

    Why not LibraryThing?

    • Gavin says:

      Because Amazon is a part owner—they got a chunk of LT when they bought ABEbooks. Part of the inspiration here is that there doesn’t seem to be an unaffiliated community reading site. Although I’d love to hear about any!

  6. Great idea! Maybe a Kickstarter campaign would help as well? A good portion of people I know on Goodreads (at least the heavy users) have already deleted accounts or, like me, are seriously considering it. The new Goodreads needs to have a very good app, though. That’s a big clincher for a lot of folks. But a combined small press/small bookseller/Indiebound/reader-supported site is a fantastic idea.

  7. Heather says:

    Have you seen https://www.ravelry.com/? They’re a free, independently run site that allows people with similar interests (knitting, crocheting, and other fiber arts) to create profiles, make lists of their favorite things and review them, and interact with other users in either the main forums or special interest forums they can create. I believe they make their money mostly off of crafter-targeted adds. I understand that the booklover audience is different but it might be a good place to start for ideas?

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