Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh, Goodreads...

On Friday, I learned about Goodreads' latest announcement, which can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1499741-important-note-regarding-reviews

The most worrisome part, to me, was that they then deleted several users' shelves (and sometimes also some of their reviews), notifying those users only after the deletions were finished. Goodreads later tried to explain their actions by saying the reviews they deleted weren't really reviews, but rather insults aimed at the authors. Even if that was the case, they could still have hidden the reviews and/or given the users who wrote them a couple days' warning before deleting them. As far as the shelves go, I've never had a "Badly Behaving Author" shelf of my own, but I can understand why others would want to have them. Those, too, could have been made private and were instead deleted without warning.

I have no current plans to delete my Goodreads account, since it's an incredibly useful way for me to keep track of the books I'd like to read. However, I'm on the fence about whether I still want to contribute reviews.

At least one of the people whose reviews I was following has left Goodreads and deleted her account. I'm currently exploring other options. Right now, the one I'm looking at most closely is BookLikes. It's really easy to import a Goodreads collection, although it takes forever - BookLikes has imported 16 of my books so far, with 764 more to go, and the estimated import time is 2009 hours. Also, imported reviews have all formatting removed - no paragraph breaks, no italics, no bolding, no links, and any Goodreads links you used morph into a mess.

I've only poked around on BookLikes a little so far. It looks like book-focused blogging, with a few social elements. I haven't been able to find a way to search for reviews across all BookLikes pages, which makes it harder to find other BookLikes users to follow, harder to decide whether specific books are worth reading, and harder to use BookLikes as a read-alikes tool. (I finally found the search box that lets me search more than just one specific BookLikes blog, although the results list is a bit of a slog.) However, that doesn't mean the site won't grow on me, and I do love that it allows me to give books half-star ratings, something Goodreads has always refused to implement. I'll take a better look around once more of my books have been imported. If you're curious about what a BookLikes blog looks like, here's mine. Books are still being imported, and the only post I've touched so far is the one for Deeanne Gist's Maid to Match.

Another option I'm thinking of trying is The Reading Room. The main thing holding me back is that it appears to have a very small community - many of the books I've looked up have no reviews. I'm also thinking of giving LibraryThing another go, although, since free accounts are limited to 200 books, I'd have to pay to upload everything I've got.

7 comments:

  1. Only 25 bucks (or really, whatever you want to contribute) for a LIFETIME membership in LibraryThing; no annual fees. I think Goodreads' having "free" accounts caused it to have to kiss a** for publishers (and Amazon, their new owner) and delete those offending reviews and shelves. There *ARE* some positive aspects of a fee-based service.

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    1. BookLikes has been frustrating for me - the things I think it would accomplish for me are not the things I signed up to Goodreads to get, so I'm not convinced it would work as a Goodreads replacement for me. Plus, it has no export feature, which is very bad.

      I got myself a LibraryThing account but hesitated before paying because the pay screen is only partially encrypted. Did you pay through there, or is there a more secure way to pay online?

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    2. Been so long since I bought my lifetime membership that I don't remember. They use Paypal, but you don't have to have a Paypal account. I also found this link for paying via snail mail: http://www.librarything.com/snailmail.php

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    3. Thanks for the info. I opted to email LibraryThing to check up on their PayPal payment encryption, because I ended up on another page that seemed to be saying that their payment page was maybe out of date, which might explain why the page in only partially encrypted. I'll see what they say before I decide whether to pay via snail mail.

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    4. Just got a response from LibraryThing, btw. Their logo on the Paypal page wasn't secure, which was why the site came up as "partially encrypted." It's fixed, and now I'll see about getting my GR stuff over there.

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  2. I never thought I would say this, since I never really had a dog in the GoodRead's fight, but I do believe I will be making the move to Library Thing.

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    1. Yeah. It makes me sad. I've only had an account for a little less than a year, but I've been using Goodreads for its reviews for a lot longer than that. Deleting reviews without giving the reviewers time to back them up was the last straw for me, and I'm still not clear on what might lead to things being deleted. A certain number of flags? Whether or not they contain certain words or phrases?

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