What Is Goodreads?

Goodreads eBooks

What Is Goodreads?

So what is Goodreads? Let’s start by acknowledging the fact that Goodreads is owned by Amazon. Goodreads is described as a ‘social cataloging’ website that provides a community for both authors and readers to come together.It provides authors a place to build their author platform and a site for readers to connect with authors and also discover new books and eBooks.

Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. They have more than 55,000,000 members who have added more than 1.5 billion books to their shelves and shared over 50 million reviews.

Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in January 2007.

Most book recommendation websites work by listing random people’s reviews. On Goodreads, when a person adds a book to the site, all their friends can see what they thought of it. People are more likely to get excited about a book their friend recommends than a suggestion from a stranger.

Goodreads created an algorithm that looks at your books and ratings, and helps you find other books based on what fellow Goodreads’ members with similar tastes enjoyed. Goodreads’ members also create trivia about books, lists of the best books, post their own writing and form groups and book clubs.

A Few Things You Can Do On Goodreads:

  • See which books your friends are reading.
  • Track the books you’re reading, have read, and want to read.
  • Check out your personalized book recommendations. Their recommendation engine analyzes 20 billion data points to give suggestions tailored to your literary tastes.
  • Find out if a book is a good fit for you from our community’s reviews.

How Goodreads Works

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can also post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future. You can join a discussion group, start a book club, contact an author, and even post your own writing.

Signing up is simple — you just enter your name, email, and a password.

If you are a published author, take a look at the Goodreads Author Program.

How to Start

To start using Goodreads you should select books that you have read, that you are reading, or that you want to read and add them to ‘your books’. You can do this by searching for books by looking at your friends’ lists. Rating a book automatically adds it to your books (and to your “read” shelf).

Goodreads Shelves

You start with three default shelves (read, currently-reading, and to-read), but you can also create your own bookshelves. Shelf names range from classics and coffee-table-books to childrens-lit and sci-fi — you can create any category that suits your personal taste.

Add Your Books to Goodreads

To add books to your shelves, search by author name or book title. If the book is on Amazon, you’ll find it. If not, then you have the option to add it manually as a new title.

When you find the book you want, you can either click on one of the five stars to rate the book immediately, or click on “add to my books” to choose a shelf, write a review, record the date your read the book, and even note whether you own a copy.

Sort Your Books

Click on the “my books” tab to see all the different “views” available on Goodreads. You can sort by author, title, rating, date read, and more. One view shows you all your book covers, another shows your reviews, still another helps you shelve groups of books at once, and there’s even one that is printer-friendly. You can change your shelves, reviews, and ratings at any time.

Book Editions

Many books are listed in Goodreads in several editions, such as hardback and paperback. Just add the one you have (or the closest to it) to your books.

Personalize Your Profile

What do your bookshelves say about you? After you upload your photo and post your basic info, start adding books to your virtual shelves.

Some people simply list their top 10 favorites; others catalog everything they have ever read. You can also post quotes you like, share your own writing for others to review, or publicize your upcoming events.

Finding Book Recommendations on Goodreads

Goodreads’ mission is to help you find new and interesting books by letting you see what your friends are reading. Whenever you view a book, they will show you your friends’ reviews first. When you log in, the homepage will show all the latest reviews from your friends. You can also compare your book list to that of another Goodreads member to see if you share the same taste!

Join or Start a Discussion Group on Goodreads

Groups are the perfect way to bring a group of people together to discuss literature. Some groups are just for close friends or local book clubs. Groups can be public, moderated, restricted by domain, or secret.

Everything You Need to Know About a Book

Click on any book title to find a ton of information. Beyond the basics such as author, ISBN, and literary awards, you can also find the book’s average rating, the number of people who have rated and reviewed the book, and even how those people decided to shelve it.

You can find Goodreads groups discussing the book, reviews from your friends, and other reviews from possibly thousands of readers. If you need a copy, check out the links that help you find it at an online bookseller or your local library. Goodreads catalogs all editions of a book (hardcover, paperback, etc.).


Show off your books and reviews by adding one of their cool widgets to your blog or website (a widget is a dynamic image that you can add to almost any site that allows html code).