If you are a book fanatic like me, you need a way to keep track of the hundreds of books that don’t make it to the cash register. Or when you close that cover, a place to share your thoughts with a community of like-minded readers who might find your rant-reviews slightly helpful. Many of us have history and loyalty that runs deep with Goodreads, but I discovered something that I can never unlearn.
Amazon owns Goodreads. If this is news to you, I release you to travel through the five stages of grief and, only then, resume reading this article.
Amazon subsumed Goodreads, not for the intent of improving the cream colour scheme and janky app mechanics, but instead to eliminate any foreseeable competition. Many people, myself included, up until recently was tricked into believing that it is still a quaint and unassuming start-up app…with just the best of intentions. Amazon uses the app to market and advertise irrelevant books to your taste and has access to all of your logged data to continue to fortify their monopolized industrial complex. Are you writing those reviews for the community or for Amazon to sell more books to their consumers?
Community building is difficult, if not impossible. Goodreads does not have basic app mechanics mastered. It can be difficult to create a community on Goodreads because there is no easy way to converse over a reading update or review. Goodreads offers no way for you to reply to a comment on your update. At times it can feel like a lifeless chamber of likes, without any way to gripe or gush, on the post, like all other apps.
The search engine is a half-witted marketing tool for Amazon, not something that makes it easy to find books. The search engine brings up counterintuitive selections, which come up because they are the bestseller books on Amazon’s site. The search bar is just another tool for them to sell you. It can make finding the initial book you want a very frustrating process.
Goodreads suggestions are bland, ill-suited to the reader, and not inclusive of diverse voices of the BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ community. Many of the lists or recommendations come from user-curated lists, instead of the app itself.
Here I have brought you to our darkest point to bring you a glittering and glorious beacon of hope. Storygraph.
The first I heard about Storygraph was on Leena Norms Youtube channel:
Storygraph is a refreshing experience to a book lover, it felt like I had traded in a checked-out first date for an attentive one who asked me a myriad of questions about my book taste. It made a fantastic first impression. It informed me that it would curate a selection of recommended books in the next few hours. Storygraph’s interface is modern with its clean lines, edges and simple design. Storygraph builds on Goodread’s existing features with a fully customizable rating system, which means you don’t have to round a rating up to a whole number anymore! The recommendations reflect what I have read in the last year, it’s possible to search and filter your ‘to be read pile’, and it already has a ‘did not finish’ list installed into the preset lists.
The reviewing system has a handful of mood adjectives that you can use to describe the book, which adds to the larger percentile on the book’s landing page. For example, the book could be 81% sad, 5% light-hearted and 54% funny. It asks about the pacing, character development, how loveable they are, the diversity, and character flaws?
Importantly you, as a reviewer, can note content warnings to future readers, which is something that Goodreads is sorely lacking. If you are worried that you will lose all of your Goodreads data, there’s a solution for that! Just export your Goodreads account into a spreadsheet and then import it into your new account.
I have two accounts still because I’m a work in progress. It’s a difficult era to put an end to, but I feel that I am ready to commit now that Storygraph has its mobile app available. Goodreads will ultimately have a more robust set of reviews, but Storygraph checks nearly every box that Goodreads users have wished for.