If you know me, then it's no secret that I love Goodreads. Like love, love, love Goodreads. Like it's one of the only forms of social media that I use pretty much every day and actively encourage others to join. I think the platform is great and easy-to-use, and their app just keeps getting better. In fact, I love it so much that, when I went to Europe for a month this year and dumped most of my apps so that I had plenty of storage space for photos, Goodreads was one of the only apps I kept. Even when traveling the world, I still wanted to be able to keep track of my reading and follow my friends' updates.
As a Goodreads evangelist, here are ten reasons to love and use Goodreads:
- Goodreads allows you to rate and review books that you've read. After you mark a book as finished on Goodreads, it prompts you to give it a rating between one and five stars. You can even write a review, which will show up on the book's main page. For those of you who, like me, tend to forget about books you've read, this is a quick and easy way to remember whether or not you liked a particular book.
- Goodreads tracks how many and which books you've read. Can't remember how many books you read last year? Can't remember the title of that really good book you want to recommend to a friend? Goodreads tracks them all! Just go to your page, and you can find a list of all of the books you've read. And if you set a reading challenge for yourself, you can get a quick overview of your year in books.
- Goodreads encourages you to set reading goals for yourself. Each new year, Goodreads prompts users to set a reading challenge for that year (though participation is totally optional). It's really simple; all you have to do is indicate the number of books you want to read by the end of the year. No number is too big or too small, and because Goodreads tracks your reading, you can see your progress throughout the year, and at the end, you'll know whether or not you met your goal.
- Goodreads pushes you to read more. In addition to prompting you to set an individual reading goal for the year, you'll be able to see all of your friends' goals. To me, this was incredibly motivating. I have a lot of friends on Goodreads who are voracious readers, and I want to keep up with them! Moreover, by setting an actual reading goal for myself, a goal that my friends knew about, I felt motivated to meet it. This past year, I set a goal of 48 books (four books per month seemed reasonable). I was stuck on a less-than-stellar read at the beginning of December, but knowing that it was the last book I had to read to meet my goal helped me stick with it. I'm proud to say that I finished that book and went on to read eight more, for a total of 56 books read in 2014.
- Goodreads provides a convenient way to keep track of books that you want to read. Do you ever get a book recommendation from a friend, only to forget it later because you didn't write it down? Have you spent an afternoon perusing at a bookstore, only to forget everything that caught your eye but you didn't take home? Goodreads is great for these situations! Simply search for a book on the website or app, click on the "want to read" button, and the book will be added to your page. If you're at a bookstore, the Goodreads app even allows you to scan the barcobde and add the book to your page. I have a really long to-read list on Goodreads (74 titles, to be exact), and while I probably won't get to all of them, I like knowing that they're there.
- Goodreads provides an average rating and selection of reviews for each book. When looking for new books to read, I'm pretty happy going to a bookstore and simply looking around. But sometimes it's nice to have a sense of what other people think of a book before deciding to purchase it. Goodreads is great for this. I can pull up a book's page and see its average rating and what other readers have said about it. If any of my friends have read that book, even better because I usually trust their reviews more. I definitely use discretion when evaluating a book's rating and reviews, and it's not always a strict numbers game (I've disliked booked that have high ratings and loved books that have low ratings). But still, I like that Goodreads gives me a quick and easy way to see what others are saying about a book before deciding to buy and read it.
- Goodreads is a great place to get ideas for new books to read. Looking back over 2014, there are so many books that I read because of Goodreads. I got ideas for books from what I saw my friends reading, what I saw others talking about, what got nominated and won in the Goodreads Choice Awards. And there were so many books that I read because of Goodreads that I wouldn't have read otherwise. Seeing my friends read and rave about books that were outside my wheelhouse, I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about, so I read a wider array of books. Goodreads also recommends new books for you based on what you've read and liked in the past.
- Goodreads provides a fun and easy way to interact with fellow book lovers. From a simple "thumbs up" for a friend reading one of my favorite books to a discussion that spans numerous comments, Goodreads is a great way to stay in touch with other book lovers. Having moved around quite a bit in my adult life, I have friends all over the country, and Goodreads is a great way to keep up with what they're reading. It also helps with those friends who I see on a more regular basis but don't have time to discuss every book that we've read.
- Goodreads gives you updates about your favorite authors and opportunities to interact with them. I get an update every week regarding my favorite authors, which is how I've learned about upcoming projects and new publications. I'm also regularly invited to participate in question and answer sessions with various authors, including such well-known writers as Lena Dunham and Rainbow Rowell. It's pretty cool!
- Goodreads serves as a great bookmark. But seriously, though, this is one of my favorite things about Goodreads. I'm always losing bookmarks, and I hate dog-earing my pages unless it's for a writing/research project. Goodreads lets me update my progress as I'm reading a book, and if ever I forget which page on I'm, I just check my profile.
Do you use Goodreads? If so, why do you like it?