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Amazon has acquired the popular book review website Goodreads, according to an announcement on Goodreads' website today.

In the announcement, Goodreads' founder and CEO suggests that the buy out will benefit Goodreads' users, especially those with kindle ebook readers and explains the reasons for his excitement about the deal;

1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.

2. 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.

3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.

Of course, since no financial details have been released, there is a possibility that they too, may have given Otis Chandler reason for excitement.

The users of Goodreads don't seem to be quite as pleased with the coming absorption of their beloved website into the Internet mega monster Amazon, as expressed in over a thousand comments on the announcement:

I'll be sharing less on goodreads. Amazon doesn't need to be the single source for words delivered to eyes in all realms.
This makes me incredibly sad. Honestly Goodreads do you even care about your users anymore? Obviously not, you know as well as we do how shitty this is, otherwise you would have consulted us or even had the decency to inform us before it actually happened. Not cool Goodreads, not cool. This goes against everything Goodreads was about, or what I thought it was about anyway. Huge disappointment... enjoy the money.
You know what bothers me? That this keeps happening. Every site I put time and thought into, ends up being devoured by that great all-consuming corporate maw.

And I might as well be speaking Martian with sentences like that. If money isn't your personal god, your be-all and end-all, you can no longer be part of human society. I'm moving my reviews to other sites as quickly as possible, but in the end those of us who care about things other than money will end up each in our own isolated little fortresses, forgotten and silenced.

In an interview at Paid Content, Chandler appears to try to reassure Goodreads' users:
Otis Chandler [OC]: “One of the extremely important things to us is for readers to share what they’re reading, no matter how they’re reading. We have no plans to change that. We want Goodreads to be a place for readers of all types to share their favorite books. You can expect to see customizations and better integrations for people who do use Kindle. For everyone else, Goodreads will remain largely as it is.”
Amazon also owns IMDB and Zappos and allows them to run as independent operations but they have little or nothing to do with books.

Forty percent of Librarything.com is owned by Amazon. If anyone else knows of an alternative, please mention it in the comments. There really needs to be an independent website where people can freely discuss and recommend books. And Goodreads may continue to be that place. Or not.

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Always get a kick out of Amazon reviews. (11+ / 0-)

    Seems like they're all written by superfans, saying the same thing 300 times.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:23:28 PM PDT

  •  Great (11+ / 0-)

    now they can come up with more"you might like" suggestions which I almost always never like.
    Good bye Goodreads..............

    Give peace a chance get up and dance... Alvin Lee/Ten Years After

    by Blue Collar on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:34:16 PM PDT

  •  Members of the Goodreads Community (29+ / 0-)

    Now work for Amazon -- for free -- every time they review a book.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 11:37:38 PM PDT

  •  I think they compounded their problem (29+ / 0-)

    by crafting the perfect sort of Herbalife or Amway-esque 'telling you this really good news!' snowjobby memo to get underneath every longterm user with serious doubts and reservation's skin.

    It's bad enough its a surprise, but it's a surprise that is unpleasant, or at least should be easily seen as an unwelcomed shock by the powers that be, that is being treated like a gift. It smacks of the sales job you get from an adult when you have to go get a shot and try to make it sound like getting a shot is going to be like going to Disneyland.

    People who passionately read books are not lemmings or corporate drones. It's not like a thousand cubicles are all getting their merger memos via a tweeted link and then having to sit through an awkward rah-rah meeting the next morning with all the old company bigwigs up on stage doing an "up with people" act with the new bigwigs looking on bemused unless the rah-rah takes too long or gets too touchy-feely for them.

    I clicked away from that memo not being able to shake the feeling that this might be what it sounds like when some really scarily too happy and enthusiastic parents break the good news!! to the kids that they are 'on a new path' and moving to live on their new spiritual leader's really scary high-walled compound somewhere.

    We are joining the Amazon family. We truly could not think of a more perfect partner for Goodreads as we both share a love of books and an appreciation for the authors who write them. We also both love to invent products and services that touch millions of people.
    Did you golden parachute partner up with a mega-company, or did "we" all join the Church of Scientology while "we" were off doing other things not expecting to get a notice that "we" are getting audited soon and you are just letting the confused in on the joke?

    I feel bad for the folks who thought this outfit was truly different and remarkably and uniquely.... theirs. I read a lot of frustration, feelings of impotence, and just plain profound disappointment that this is happening at all. No heads up. No debate. THUMP! Isn't this awesome!!!! This must have been a very sobering wake-up call for those who have supported this site since its foundation.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:02:05 AM PDT

  •  People die, but money goes on forever. nt (6+ / 0-)

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:09:20 AM PDT

  •  I Write Reviews on LibraryThing (16+ / 0-)

    and enjoy visiting that website and utilizing its personal library inventory function. To me, it retains an independent "feel."  How long will that last?  I've never participated in Goodreads and can not assess what might be detrimental by Amazon's ownership of it.

    I've noticed Amazon has increased its marketing push this year, infiltrating e-book lending sites such as LendleMe and Booklending with omnipresent promotional advertising of its wares.  Obviously, there's a campaign to infiltrate all the literary presences on the Internet that it can.

    Concomitantly, I've also observed my interest in the book products that Amazon has to offer has waned while my interest in borrowing e-books from my public library has risen.  Better reads are available there than on Amazon, paid for by my tax dollars.

    Could this return to the public library and away from Amazon be a suppressed desire in me to "dumb up" my reading material?

    I'd be interested to learn if Goodreads users here notice any change in that environment to an Amazonian one as time passes.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 03:49:28 AM PDT

  •  The solution seems easy enough: create a site (16+ / 0-)

    where the users retain copy-right control over all of their posts and reviews.  If the site were sold, the users could force the site to pull all of their reviews.

      I don't use facebook or most social media for the same reason - you are ultimately working for someone else for free.

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:34:26 AM PDT

    •  Kinda like right here (4+ / 0-)
      where the users retain copy-right control over all of their posts and reviews.  If the site were sold, the users could force the site to pull all of their reviews.

        I don't use facebook or most social media for the same reason - you are ultimately working for someone else for free.

      Except it isn't just comments, it's the Diaries many people here write. The argument was you trade your time for exposure. But I don't hear that much anymore.

      This is a for profit company.  The add free descriptions that you buy or the pages that you view or the pages that you caused to be view all ring the cashier, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly.

      I don't know much about Goodreads, but I am happy for them. Running a intensive site takes talent. Lots of it. It needs to be compensated.  Many of them run losses for years because of their financing structure. If they got VC capital to start with then of course the VC Capitol always looks for a profitable exit point.  This was that point or what is commonly called a "liquidity event". They didn't go public.  It's in Amazon's best interest to keep the company just as it is as it has many companies you wouldn't even know that are owned by Amazon.

      I'm amazed to read all these "sour" comments . People at that site took big chances with many years of work from what I have read of it. Despite the seeming regularity of sites being bought or going public., The sobering reality is most never make it across that line.

      Yet, this is one of the few places left In America ( except politics) where people from working class backgrounds gets a shot at real financial security. They provided a service that many of you enjoyed and now because the financial structure of the site has changed , it immediately becomes a putrid place to go. How amazingly stupid and Naive.

      Like it or not, these success stories are one of the few bright spots in our economy. They, among many others, will be the road taken to get back to where we once were. Businesses who sell to  these success stories benefit and so do their employees.  It was once the great multiplier that produced 22 Million jobs in the Clinton Administration.  Of course that blew up because it because anyone with a website was soon taken public. . Now people are much more careful about which start-ups have a chance of growing.

      Whether you like it or not, this is a job creation engine. Dissing it may make you feel good. But all it's really doing is showing how petty people are.

      Yet, they really won't need you and your sour comments. They will have to prove themselves and I imagine they will. I haven't heard of too many Amazon acquisitions getting crushed.

      “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

      by Dburn on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:51:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  100% agree. I work for a tech startup (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cryonaut, Susan from 29, Dburn

        and as a result I'm more privy to the inner dealings of the tech industry at large. I get the super left liberal disdain for "all things corporate" but given the chance to sell your company for a significant financial windfall, most people would do that in an instant, even members of this community.

      •  Yeah... but... these sites get their value from (5+ / 0-)

        user-comments.  A video game startup or other non-user-content-generated startup isn't relying on users to generate content that they can sell.  This site (Daily Kos) is about the only one I contribute much to at-all, simply because the politics does affect me.  But asking me to generate user-content for a book-review or movie review or whatever to generate content so someone else can sell it, sorry & no thanks.  I will sit that out.  I'm sorry if I am crushing your dreams to get rich off movie reviews I write, but so be it.

        To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

        by ban48 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:43:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apparently they didn't need your reviews (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, mattc129

          they got the money. If you had done some research you would have found that the couple that started the site had sold another site to Monster Back in 2004. You would have also found that there was venture capital money involved and that always means one of two things - a major liquidity event meaning founders and people they favor get rich , a sideways sell just to get out and /or bankruptcy.

          The guy that sold had a proven track record of success as a serial entrepreneur. Google is amazing that way. I knew nothing about the site until I heard the whining today and within minutes I did the research that somehow eluded all of you who were caught by "surprise" that the founders would cash out and take advantage of your free content.

          You are generating  free user content here for Kos Media LLC to make a profit on. Somehow people think this site is some ideological non-profit site. It's not. It is what it needs to be to fit the niche it was designed for just like Ailes designed Fox news to fit his niche. Kos has been extremely successful in keeping the site under his control and making a much money off your contributions  and yes you are selling something for him.

          “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

          by Dburn on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:34:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Or, think about it this way: (7+ / 0-)

        What if I bought a piece of land in a community and went door-to-door telling everyone I was making the land available as a park for the kids to play in.  I told everyone they could come on down and modify the land as they saw fit for their kids...
           ... And people showed up and started mowing the lawn and setting up baseball and soccer fields and built play structures and benches and cleared out the stream and seeded the pond with fish....
           ... And once the park was set up nice and bustling full of families and wildlife, I sold it...  Maybe to a park operator, maybe to a condo developer, who cares...???

             The community would have every right to feel defrauded.  Implicitly the community was told 'this is yours', but legally no ownership or rights were transferred.  But they did not seem to know the difference.

        To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

        by ban48 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 09:38:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except it's a business, not a self-sustaining (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, Dburn

          community garden.

          The closest analogy I see is Pinterest, where people create boards to categorize things they like. Recipes, home decor ideas, wedding ideas, fashion, books, art, music, etc. All organized in a simple and beautiful way.

          Except that researchers found Pinterest users are much more likely to purchase an item from that site vs Facebook, Twitter, or other social websites.

          So that means that your cute little pinning community is actually serving up gobs of data to marketers who will use that to sell you the same products you're pinning. And I have no problem with that at all.

          Goodreads raised venture capital, that in and of itself means it has some business connotation, and thus functions like a business. And when a business gets traction, some larger business might want to buy it, so that's what Amazon did.

          Also, just because something "is yours" (which I would debate anyway) doesn't mean you as a user aren't a data point. When Netflix released House of Cards, I watched the entire season in about 2 weeks. I enjoyed the service and the show, but I know that I'm a data point somewhere. We're all data points for everything we interact with.

          •  That's not how the people involved with Goodreads, (5+ / 0-)

            all the readers who make the site so valuable, have understood it. It's part of an older online culture, one that predates the 'business rules!' mentality.

            The fact that all those data points are available doesn't necessarily imply that their corporate use is inevitable and/or benevolent.

            •  The founders of Goodreads (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Susan from 29, mattc129

              are serial entreprenuers. They have a taent for building up sites and selling them. That was the intent from the very start. They make more money becuase they really don't need to put their own money in the venture if they have a proven track record.

              Legally they don't have to disclose anything to you in user generated content site unless they have a user agreement that says that you agree to transfer copyright ownership on all contributions you make at the site. Even if you don't , you can always ask them to delete your content. See how well that works here at another for-profit site.

              . You obviously found the site enjoyable until the very moment you found out something you could easily found out years ago. That means you got some satisfaction out of it and pleasure. It was free. It didn't cost uyou anything. Why complain about the people working behind the scenes wanting to get paid. They have plenty of new job openings now. Major resources.

              There never was an old business of everything being free and people happily working for no compensation. Business indicates commerce.  

              “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

              by Dburn on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:51:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They were being compensated. Ads are all over (3+ / 0-)

                Goodreads. Apparently there wasn't enough money in that.

                Everybody who provided content now has the choice to pull that content and leave, or continue to support Goodreads under the new ownership.

                A lot of us are exploring new sites or building our own.

                We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

                by Susan Grigsby on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:40:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's good (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mattc129

                  Hopefully you will find out the difference between supporting 100 people and supporting 5 Million. I wish you the best of luck.

                  “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

                  by Dburn on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:47:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Really difficult to run a site with 100% ad income (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't know the business model of Goodreads, but in general it's really hard to run an entire business with just ad-generated income. Only the biggest of the biggest players can successfully do that, like Google; even Facebook is looking for other revenue streams because Facebook ads have a different mental approach (ads based on what you like) than Google ads (ads based on what you want and are searching for).

                  Businesses exist to make money, even the so-called awesome liberal yay gay rights businesses like Starbucks. When your product is just user reviews, what is valuable is all that data. And big data is a big thing now, so sell it while you can.

                  •  From Tim Spaulding who owns Library Thing: (0+ / 0-)
                    Basically, I own a majority and I really have no intention of selling. LibraryThing was designed to be a business and we have a real one—we make real money, we spend real money and aren't drawing down investor money.
                    Amazon owns Abebooks which has a minority interest in Library Thing.

                    Amazon owns too much in the realm of ideas. Books are ideas. It is the absolute worst place for a monopoly.

                    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

                    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 03:02:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, I'm not involved with goodreads at all. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Susan from 29

                Never used it except as a research link. I just understand the POV of people who don't see business as the highest value/be-all & end-all of human existence.

          •  I don't debate the "is yours" part, because it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TiaRachel, Susan from 29

            isn't yours.  Which goes back to my first post about sites that could (should) give users copyright control over their contributions.  Again, neither Netflix or House Of Cards needed your direct input to provide the show.  Its not like you posted the script for an episode online and then it was turned into a show and distributed for $1M per station to air it.

            And why isn't a self-sustaining community garden a business?  It has customers (the community) and owners (the community).  (Not my example, but a real community garden / park).

            The cash-flow is simply virtual since payment is volunteered time and profit is time at the park.  So getting paid to sweep a park to earn admission to enter the park during your time off and play with the kids is a 'proper' business but simply sweeping it without being told and using it without being constrained is an 'improper' business?  I thought we wanted to be a society of owners, not ownees......

            To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

            by ban48 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:17:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Community garden can be a business, my point was (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Susan from 29, RiveroftheWest

              more on the warm fuzzy feeling aspect of being involved in a dearly loved community. I should have been more clear on that, my apologies.

              What I meant to say is that, based on reading comments from Goodreads members, they were attracted to the site because it gave them a warm fuzzy feeling while also providing a useful service. But since Goodreads raised venture capital, they had to not only service their members, but also their investors, and the founders themselves.

              So while the founders may have shared in the goodwill that is starting an online community, they decided to turn the business aspect of that community over for profit, which is what some business owners do.

              A large number of people here and in the world at large call that selling out, and while that may be fair, I estimate that most people would do the same given the opportunity.

              Lastly, to counter the notion that because volunteers helped build up Goodreads' content library, look no further than Ancestry.com. They are a paid product, yet volunteers crowdsource the scanned documents to further complete the database. Those users are perfectly fine with that arrangement, it's not like they're going to get any kickback in the event that company sells.

        •  I think it would be more like if kos sold this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel, RiveroftheWest

          site to News Corp.

          It isn't just the sale that has users up in arms, but the buyer. Amazon pulled its metadata from the site last year and volunteers spent untold (and unpaid) hours making sure that readers would still have the data they needed.

          We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

          by Susan Grigsby on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:04:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What do you think that post you just made was? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattc129

          You have no ownership rights here. This is owned by Kos Media LLC. It's a for profit media site. You make him money if you view pages, click on adds, write comments, diaries and make contributions/subscriptions.

          © Kos Media, LLC
          Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified

          “Kos” and “Daily Kos” are registered trademarks of Kos Media, LLC

          So how do you like the view in this park?

          “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

          by Dburn on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:37:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Bookreporter.com is independent (6+ / 0-)

    they will benefit from goodreads going to Amazon

  •  I suggest switching to (10+ / 0-)

    Powell's Books, out of Portland, Oregon.

     

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:09:42 AM PDT

  •  I remember when (4+ / 0-)

    Jeff Bezos left Wall St., went out to Seattle and started Amazon. The fact that he came from Wall St. and made an obscene fortune there did not bode well.

    Now all we need is for Amazon, GE, Exxon, Koch Industries, Halliburton, Bank of America, Disney and News Corp to merge and buy Apple, Walmart and Target. Then the real will get even shittier.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:20:01 AM PDT

    •  Can you give me a link showing that Bezos (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dburn, cryonaut, Susan from 29, BachFan

      "made an obscene fortune" on Wall Street? To my knowledge, he was not a trader; he was a computer guy and eventually was a VP at Bankers Trust and  D.E. Shaw (which was a computer company not a trading company), but I have never seen any information that he made any obscene amount of money though a VP would make a good salary.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:40:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  goodreads is a good site (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattc129, Susan from 29, BachFan

    and Amazon is an amazing company... Sounds like a decent arrangement. I buy all my books from Amazon after reading both Amazon and Goodreads reviews. I don't see why anything would change.

  •  I go to Amazon reviews (3+ / 0-)

    several times a week. There are almost always positive and negative reviews and I read both.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

  •  A sale to Amazon is why this was started (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    Willing to bet that's why the site was originally started.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:37:07 AM PDT

  •  Not an avid reader, but what are users' concerns? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, Susan from 29, Brecht

    In the interest of full disclosure, I currently work for a tech startup, though not in the publishing or reading community spaces. Because of this, I am not part of the immediate user outrage when a smaller company is acquired.

    However, I would like to educate myself about the Goodreads community to learn why a set of its users are concerned with the Amazon acquisition.

    Also, for some background knowledge, often times smaller companies agree to sell if they're between a rock and a hard place. They may have raised some seed funding but if they run out of cash and they can get at least some return on investment, more times than not the company will sell itself. I don't know anything about the financial health of Goodreads, but it's important to note that not all of these smaller acquisitions result in all, or even some, employees becoming millionnaires.

    •  If you're really interested, might be worthwhile (5+ / 0-)

      to investigate how Amazon is viewed in the book/publishing/literary/reading industry/communities as a whole. Too much for me to go into, but Amazon has a history of not quite understanding that sometimes it's OK for others to have some of the money, too. In fact, if you're at all interested in the creative/intellectual health of a field, it's more healthy to have many sustainable players.

      It's also worth considering that the 'value' of sites like goodreads isn't what's produced by the developers, but in the (free!) labor of the users. Those people are willing to put time & effort in to support their hobby & encourage other hobbyists, and typically have no problem with the people running the platform making money from it, but handing control of an independent community over to a major corporate industry player is understood as a betrayal.

      •  And the memories of the Amazon takeover of (4+ / 0-)

        Shelfari are still fresh. Amazon bought it. It pretty much died of neglect.

        When I want a reader's review of a book, I will check B&N, Amazon and finally Goodreads. Only if there is not interest in the book at Goodreads to I really use the reviews on commercial sites.

        Why? The book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg has received a dozen or more one star (negative) reviews from people who proudly claim that they haven't read the book, they just want to talk about a current Fox News meme. Amazon does nothing to stop it. You rarely see any of that at Goodreads.

        We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

        by Susan Grigsby on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:29:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't read many books (mainly tech blogs :), but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29

          if you truly want to read a book why wouldn't you just read it. I suppose it's different with fiction and non-fiction, but in the case of Sheryl Sandberg's book, who cares if it's been trolled down to 1 or 2 stars? If you're interested in the subject, trust yourself and buy or borrow it.

          I value reviews with products like electronics and such, but when it comes to things that are purely taste, like books, movies, and music, I don't pay attention to reviews at all.

          •  $. Time. Misrepresentations. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29

            People who do read books, especially fiction, tend to read a lot of them. And the publisher's info isn't always reliable. The sort of reviews that goodreads collects are the kind that will let people know "if you like this kind of book, but hate the way this particular author writes, you'll hate this book. So don't waste your few recreational-use $ and your limited free time on this one. Instead, try xxxx."

      •  You just proved my point from above (0+ / 0-)

        Not sure if you saw my other comments above, but in them I mentioned how I gathered Goodreads' users are upset over the loss of their good fuzzy feelings about being part of an independent community. I infer that those users reject the intrusion of a corporate entity into their insular community.

        I'm not a member of Goodreads so I don't know the founders' intentions, but as I mentioned above, they raised venture capital, and that fact alone provides a business context for Goodreads. Even if it was a free service, each user is a data point to someone; in this case, Amazon found the user data to be valuable and bought out that data. When you raise capital, those that invested in you are hoping for a return on their investment.

        Running a site with 16 million users takes a lot of money. So as much as the Goodreads community made their users feel great, no user should expect a site that large to continue existing just for the sake of existing.

        If Markos sold DailyKos, I would wonder what that meant for our community. But on the other hand, I would understand why he did it, which seems to be lost here in regards to Goodreads.

        •  Chances are, most of the users of goodreads (0+ / 0-)

          (and probably most online sites) don't investigate their funding sources.

          You're looking at this through one particular (narrow) window -- I'm trying to explain another viewpoint. There isn't a 'right' and a 'wrong' answer here, not in the 'universal truth' sense. Fact is, many users of goodreads feel cheated in some way by this 'sellout.' This isn't because they wrongly interpreted the site from the start -- it wasn't ever represented to them as "here's a thing you can use to give us lots of data so that we can hopefully make a whole lot of money selling it someday." Not everyone lives in the libertarian-ish world where "caveat emptor" is applied to their each and every interaction.

          Now, if the situation had been explained differently -- say, a letter posted on the front page saying

          "We love our community, and are devoted to the reason it exists -- to give you all a place to keep track of, discuss, and review the books you love. However, a particular company (let's call it Online Bookseller A) has offered us a whole lot of money (let's say, a figure that comes close to needing to be spelled with a B) for Goodreads.

          Now, we understand your probably concerns (and then discuss several of them in detail), and we've been assured that (etc). And we continue to be {grateful to/fond of/something like that} all the people who make up this community.

          However, $B. Yes, we're taking the offer"

          I bet people would have responded a lot differently. Because they're being treated as people by other people, not as financial assets by a corporation representing someone who's only interested in how much money they can squeeze out of the marks who use their product.

          *(that is; programming & business-related interests, not actual technology -- I'm a scientist, I know the difference between 'stuff' and 'ways in which to use stuff')

  •  Love your wit, Susan! (0+ / 0-)
    Of course, since no financial details have been released, there is a possibility that they too, may have given Otis Chandler reason for excitement.
    LOL.  After forgetting my password on Goodreads, I stopped going there, even though I get a reminder from it every once in a while.  I'm sorry for all the regular users, though.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 08:35:13 AM PDT

  •  I try to avoid Amazon if at all possible. (0+ / 0-)

    It's why I don't have a Kindle and why, if Barnes & Noble gives up on the Nook, my next e-reader will be a Kobo or a Sony.  No way am I giving those greedy fucks my money.

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