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Amazon Acquires Goodreads: Boon or Bust for Small Publishers?



1067843_old_books___Goodreads is a social network devoted exclusively to the literary arts. They have 16 million members and a book rating and reviewing system that can’t be beat. In addition, there are genre specific social groups, groups for writers and hundreds of daily book giveaways. “Over just the past 90 days, members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.”

And now, they’ve been acquired by Amazon.

It’s a good match-up, given that Amazon is one of the largest (maybe THE largest) book sellers in the world. What does surprise me is that the press releases regarding the acquisition are extremely Kindle oriented.

Here’s Amazon:

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Here’s Goodreads:

Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we’re looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.

It sounds like they’re talking about making Goodreads a native app on Kindle and that’s cool. I also like that Amazon references authors – they know that many publishers and writers use Goodreads as a marketing platform. But this feels a little bit like Amazon taking control of the e-publishing biz.

For example. Right now, if you want to buy my book after reading a review on Goodreads, you have options:

goodreads buy button

I’m guessing that button bar is about to go away. Tough break for the struggling Barnes & Noble. Think Amazon will let the libraries link stay up? What about the link to Half.com that’s listed in the “online stores” drop down?

Maybe Amazon will help the site become bigger and better. There are a few clunky areas that could be improved, the design could be cleaner and more flexible – maybe Amazon will take care of all of that. I just hope that Goodreads continues to support the efforts of all new authors and small publishers because they have no where else to go.

What do you think of this merger? A boon for the small publisher or a bust?

  • Mr. S

    While Amazon does make it easy for indie authors to publish, they do do because it makes them a huge amount of money. I think it will be a bust for more than just small publishers. Amazon already has Shelfari and now acquiring GoodReads. Sounds more like a monopoly move toward controlling reviews for books. Amazon has put some things in place where they can simply delete reviews with little or no explanation at all. Amazon also has a policy where no one can mention or point out errors made by them, nor can they make any negative statements about Amazon. Those posts can and are deleted. GoodReads was a place they could be discussed in the open, but I doubt that will be the case after Amazon moves in.

  • http://computerstories.net/ Rowan Gonzalez

    Not 100% sure how happy I am about multinationals with business interests taking over a social community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005223303154 Stephen Harris

    They made an excellent move!

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