Amazon Purchases Goodreads

Amazon is now one step closer to WORLD DOMINATION! Just trying to lighten things up a bit…

I’ll be honest. I am very disappointed with Goodreads. One of the best things about Goodreads WAS that it was independent; it was not owned by any big company or corporation. Now that has gone away. While a lot of the links below make it sound benign, ask yourself these questions-

Do you think links for other purchasing options will remain on Goodreads, i.e. Barnes & Noble?

Do you think the reviews will remain untainted, or even remain posted if they are bad reviews? Now that Goodreads has become another method for selling books and specifically for Amazon, will bad reviews start to magically disappear?

If the hugely successful Goodreads were to stop listing Barnes & Noble as a vendor, do you think the timetable for Barnes & Noble going the way of Borders will speed up?

There are so many issues that come up, but these are issues that are most important to me. I am all for capitalism, but I like going somewhere that has no interest in sales.

What do you think? You may think it doesn’t matter and this is not really going to affect free, independent thought on Goodreads. I hope you are right. But for just a moment, look at it from the point of view of Amazon trying to corner the market on bookselling, which is not a big secret. Regardless of whether or not Amazon currently intends to censor bad reviews, now they have the capability to do so with a very well known literary social group that has a huge membership. Is that what you really want?

So my next question is- Who is going to start up the replacement for the used to be independent Goodreads?

Articles

Original Statement from Goodreads- Exciting News About Goodreads: We’re Joining the Amazon Family! March 28, 2013

NPR- Amazon Buys Book-Recommendation Site Goodreads, March 28, 2013

New York Times- Read Any Good Web Sites Lately? Book Lovers Talk Online, February 12, 2013

The Huffington Post- Amazon Buys Goodreads For Undisclosed Sum, March 28, 2013- scroll down and read some of the Twitter responses

Forbes- Amazon Buys Goodreads. Take That, Bookish! March 28, 2013

As Goodreads Ends Sourcing From Amazon, Users Fear Lost Books, January 27, 2012

Amazon, Big Six publishers face antitrust suit from indie bookstores over ebook DRM, February 21, 2013

Salon- Amazon tightens its chokehold– March 28, 2013

Salon- Amazon buys Goodreads: We’re all just data now– March 31, 2013

The Atlantic- The Simple Reason Why Goodreads Is So Valuable to Amazon– April 1, 2013

The Guardian- Amazon purchase of Goodreads stuns book industry– April 2, 2013

One thought on “Amazon Purchases Goodreads

  1. I gotta weigh in on this one – because I see the pros and cons. While I am never one to promote a monopoly (ever!), I do see some value in the recent merger.

    The Pros:

    1. Rumour has it that Goodreads was looking to get into the bookselling business before Amazon made their offer. I’m not altogether sure I’m in support of a website devoted to unbias reviews suddenly getting into profiting off said books. There is the opportunity for conflict of interest.

    2. Even though Amazon has acquired Goodreads, Otis Chandler will remain as CEO. I think as long as he remains involved in the company, traditional GR values will continue.

    3. GR currently has 16 million members to help keep it honest.

    The Cons:

    1. Absolutely this is going to hurt other ebook stores, B&N and Kobo in particular. When you consider that Kobo uses Goodreads reviews (they don’t allow their own customers to leave reviews on their site – they ride on GRs), this door might close on them. B&N has been struggling in the ebook revolution for a long time now and this just might be the nail in their coffin (with respect to ebooks). We might see B&N redefine themselves as strictly a paperbook store.

    2. There is the opportunity for review censorship, but I refer to #2 and 3 above. If there ever comes a time when reviews are censored, we won’t have arrived there without a fight.

    3. Amazon may one day have a monopoly on the digital book world. For readers who do not own a kindle or an iPad (with Kindle app), this will be an expensive revolution.

    Overall, the biggest threat is this: will Amazon have a monopoly? Maybe (we still haven’t seen what Random/Penguin House is going to do). However, I’m currently not worried about Amazon. When you consider that the big six publishers have been dictating what we read for more than 30 years (that’s right – even Walmart won’t carry a book without their stamp of approval), its miraculous to think that Amazon has introduced so many new authors in such a short space of time. And quite a number of these new authors have made the bestseller list globally.

    Amazon has, in essence, revolutionized the way read. Anyone can try to sell a book on Amazon Kindle – its really up to the readers to accept the literature or not. The result: more variety in literature, more books available for purchase on the market, and ebook prices have gone way down. And that’s not a bad thing.

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