Thursday, September 26, 2013

I usually refrain from offering up my two cents on these author/blogger debacles, unless they involve a friend, and only then to comfort said friend.  But this change in the Goodreads ToS affects us all, some more than others, obviously.  (I didn't have an author-related shelf on Goodreads.  At least, it wasn't labeled as such.  It's simply listed as "not in this lifetime", but the objective is the same as those who had "due to author" or "authors behaving badly" as their shelf titles.)

Anyway, I don't agree with Goodreads' handling of the situation. At all. If they'd at least given notice prior to doling out this twisted retribution, things might be a little different.  I might not have been directly affected by this change, but I feel for those reviewers who lost hours of hard work in the form of honest reviews.

I agree with so many others before me that this move seems very pro-author. Goodreads has always been a site for readers, for book lovers, for people who just genuinely want to discuss books.  We don't always like the same books, and for the most part, we've always been okay with that.  There are some trolls out there who will never stop trying to convince us of this or that book's superiority, but there are far more honest-to-goodness book lovers on the site.

I didn't interact with authors all that much in the beginning on Goodreads, and to be honest, I still don't really. I've added some as friends, but for the most part, my interactions with authors, at least on Goodreads, has been very limited.  I've only had a few comment on my reviews, and it's usually a pleasant experience.  I called one a debut author in my review, and she politely pointed out that the book was actually her second novel.  Another simply wanted to thank me for taking the time to read her book.  Those interactions are nice. I've never had a not-nice situation with an author, luckily.

But to be truthful, I've always believed Goodreads should have remained a place for readers to interact with each other.  I understand that authors are readers, too, but their presence on Goodreads should remain as such.  Especially when it seems that so many of them cannot take constructive criticism.  It's unbelievable how some have treated our fellow reviewers.  I daresay they'd think twice about attacking a reviewer from a major publication.  But we're no one to them and so we're easy targets.

At first, I wasn't going to say or do anything.  And then I read more and more of that thread and got more and more incensed.  It does almost seem as if Goodreads is rewarding bad author behavior.  I know, I know.  They're cracking down on that, too, or so they say.  I understand where Goodreads is coming from...they just want everyone to go back to their separate corners, call the fight over.  Honestly, isn't that what we all want?  But is this change the way to go about it?

I like Goodreads...I didn't want to abandon ship after several great years.  And I still haven't completely because they provide valuable content that, so far, isn't easily accessible all in one place.  I know a lot of people are heading to one of Goodreads' competitors:  LibraryThing, Shelfari, or BookLikes. I debated if any of these were right for me, or if should suck it up and hope that Goodreads would set things right. They've tried to make amends, but for some, it's too little, too late.  In the end, I decided to make a new home for myself over at BookLikes.  I think it's the only of these sites that isn't at least partially owned by Amazon.  In general, and from a purchasing standpoint, I like Amazon. But they have no place on a site made for readers.  Not when all they're attempting to do is collect data from us and line their own pockets. And definitely not when, because of their influence, a site I favor over all other social media has struck out against its very own users.

So, yeah, I've still got a profile on Goodreads.  I may never fully leave it, simply because of the wealth of information it provides.  I know I have a little while before my shelves finish importing over to BookLikes...something like 44 hours.  And it'll take me awhile to familiarize myself with the general setup of BookLikes.  I like it, but I don't love it.  Not yet, anyway. But I'll keep playing with it.  In the meantime, I've still got a foot planted firmly over there at Goodreads, despite everything.  I can't help it...I feel like I've lost a good friend, but we're still trying to work on the friendship, ya know?

How are the rest of you coping with these changes?  Were you affected?  Are you completely abandoning Goodreads, or are you still feeling things out like me?

If you've moved to BookLikes, feel free to add me; I'm under starryeyedjen.


  1. I was totally in the dark until I saw posts like this popping up everywhere. I still love my Goodreads and don't want to start over somewhere else. I plan to wait and see how things play out.

  2. I agree-I planned on staying with Goodreads. However, I have seen booklikes pop up a lot lately and it's definitely an interesting site! Kind of want to try it out for a bit. :)

  3. I was totally in the dark too, until I saw something on twitter. I'm not affected, but I disagree with how Goodreads handled it. I totally think Goodreads is NOT a place for authors to hang out. I'm a book blogger, but I also write on the side, and heck, it's never fun to hear someone didn't adore your stuff. If you can't handle it, don't go where it is, right? *sigh* I think I'd stay with Goodreads though...I love how I can organise my shelves. (That's the OCD bookworm in me squeaking out.)

  4. I'm very sad about Goodreads. I think they really messed up by erasing user content without warning. They 'can' do this but should they? no...that was completely wrong on their part. I was shocked to see they will not retrieve the reviews and give the users time to correct whatever might be 'offensive' to them. I would think they would want to keep their users and keep it for the readers. I'm so sad they've gone this direction.
    I have an account on BookLikes too (we are following each other, yay!) but it isn't as good as Goodreads yet. I have pretty well stopped using my Goodreads account for the most part but I feel like I'm floating out in no where land. I don't like updating my progress on Booklikes as much so I'm still using that feature on GR. I hope I learn to love BL because I plan to use it more and more. I keep hoping Goodreads will come out and beg for forgiveness but I think that ship has sailed :-(

    My Friends Are Fiction

  5. I really have mixed feelings about this. I really didn't know anything about it until your post so maybe I haven't really had time to thing about. Here is my take. I understand what they are trying to do. I honestly hate reading about author bad behavior because I feel like reading the book makes me agree with the behavior and I may be missing the chance for a good read. So yes I would rather remain oblivious. I do the same with actors. I don’t want to know if they are buttheads because I want to enjoy their acting. If something is known then I have to react.. I am not this way with everything just with the things I want to use for pure enjoyment… books and movies. As long as their content is not going against my beliefs or way of living I don’t want to know or care what they do. I do feel though that the author bad behavior I have seen is quite horrible. When they are attacking reviewers for their opinions on what they read it gets a little ridiculous. We should be able to say freely what we do and do not like. On the hand, devil’s advocate, I have seen reviews attack authors in their reviews because of their ideas, plots, or writing style. Not liking it is one thing, attacking and berating the author because of it is another. So now I am ranting and going on forever. The entire point of my long post… its not something easy to approach, I see from both points. I will continue on Goodreads because I love the format and the information. I don’t agree with the way they are going about things… deleting shelves I strongly disagree with, deleting posts is iffy. There could be some I don’t want my children to see or is completely un called for on both the reviewer and author’s side. Its too hard for me to say yay or nay on that one. My opinion it sucks they have to get involved at all, we should all be respectable adults. As for me I will stay for what I like until the day I find something I like more. Will I be actively looking… no I don’t have time to search or start over but if I happen to stumble and fall in love then I will seriously think about. Sorry for the long post. I see why people are upset for sure.

  6. Some authors can be ridiculous. I'm an author myself and when I received a bad review a couple of weeks ago on goodreads, I took it in stride and tried to learn from it. It's somebody's opinion and they should be able to say what they want even if it hurts a little bit. As an avid reader, I leave reviews all the time and I'm not going to sugarcoat it if the book was atrocious and neither should goodreads.

  7. It's so sad that Goodreads's integrity will be getting pretty much compromised thanks to this new policy. It's as if we can only write "good" reviews, because if authors feel ofended, then you're breaking the rules. Shame. I'm not liking Booklikes so much, so I'll still be in Goodreads, but I won't trust them blindly either. On another note, here's a hilarious review that someone posted just to troll Goodreads:

    Great post!
    -Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

  8. I've seen nasty behavior from both sides so I get why they're coming down hard. Death threats are never okay or personal attacks and I saw them from both sides periodically when I'd scroll through reviews or comments on reviews. They took down shelves of reviews that they felt were offensive and now authors get automated letters whenever they get less than three star ratings reminding them to behave professionally.
    I wish there had been warning before the policy change so people could save their work. I know I've put hundreds of hours in over the years in my reviews and shelf arrangements.
    I will be staying because like others I wasn't involved in this mess, it didn't affect and I don't really have the time to move on. I checked out the other options before and didn't find them to fit my need.
    It's so disappointing to see a fun social meeting place upended because of a few that can't or won't behave like mature people.
    Hope your new book home works out and you end up loving it.

  9. I don't agree with the policy, but I'm not affected by this change and I love Goodreads too much to leave. I've made Booklikes account for all the people who left GR, but I hate the interface and I don't feel comfortable there.. So yeah, I'm going to stay on GR.


  10. Ah, I meant to do a post on this, but real life has been really crazy lately. I think that the way GR handled this was just wrong. Deleting shelves was wrong. I was worried that the site might become all about book promotion rather than readers sharing their views, and I really hope this isn't the first step in that direction. I'm not crazy about the BookLikes platform, but I did open an account and I'll see how it goes there.


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