8 votes

Goodreads is dead. What now?

11 comments

  1. [8]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Not only is the title rather unnecessarily hyperbolic, but the video itself was actually kind of painful to get through, IMO. Her intro was far too long, she rambled like crazy at the start, and...

    Not only is the title rather unnecessarily hyperbolic, but the video itself was actually kind of painful to get through, IMO. Her intro was far too long, she rambled like crazy at the start, and went on far too many tangents before finally getting to the bloody point. The jump-cuts every few seconds (sometimes even occurring in the middle of her saying a word!), combined with all the sudden zoom changes for absolutely no reason, genuinely started making me feel simultaneously anxious and nauseous too. I had to switch to a different tab, and just listen to most of it because of the insanely obnoxious editing.

    I am not normally one to say this, since I consume a ton of content on YouTube and generally prefer video essays to text-based ones... but this would have been far better as an article than a video (again just IMO).

    Now, with all that said... I do actually agree with her about all the various problems with goodreads, especially regarding the ethical ones now that it's owned/operated by Amazon, and thestorygraph looks interesting so I am glad I was made aware of it. However, after a cursory glance at the site, after signing up for the beta, I am sadly not very impressed with it so far. The UI is pretty terrible IMO; It's annoyingly sparse, with a lot of the most relevant bits of information (e.g. reviews) requiring multiple clicks to get to, and there is also far too much whitespace between all the page elements (e.g. look how much vertical space the reviews take up). It's also incredibly light on features so far (e.g. there is no way to rate or sort the reviews), but since it's in beta I can overlook that for now. Hopefully their recommendation algorithm is as good as people are saying, since that's the more important part to me anyways. I will have to populate it with some of my reading history data, and see what it spits out before I can judge it though.

    Anyways, despite my critique, here's hoping they continue to develop and improve the site, since a viable alternative to goodreads is definitely much needed and long overdue.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      Gyrfalcon
      Link Parent
      I think it's interesting that the recommendation algorithm is the most important to you of all the features. For me the opposite is true, if the site never recommends me a book I will probably...

      I think it's interesting that the recommendation algorithm is the most important to you of all the features. For me the opposite is true, if the site never recommends me a book I will probably still have plenty to read, since my discovery is mostly done while I'm reading online or in another book. Then again, that's mostly nonfiction, and I have no idea how discovery works for fiction titles.

      5 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        Ya... to me, I don't give a damn about a recommendation algorithm. In fact, in my experience... they really suck, for the most part. I know what I want to read. So happens, it doesn't fall into...

        if the site never recommends me a book I will probably still have plenty to read

        Ya... to me, I don't give a damn about a recommendation algorithm. In fact, in my experience... they really suck, for the most part. I know what I want to read. So happens, it doesn't fall into some mainstream reading list algorithm.. thing. 🤷

        I've used Goodreads mostly as a means to track what I have read. A canonical source for my literary adventures, as it were.

        3 votes
      2. grahamiam
        Link Parent
        Agreed - I want a site where I can organize what I've read, what I think about what I've read, and what I want to read. I also want to be able to see the same for some of my friends. The only...

        Agreed - I want a site where I can organize what I've read, what I think about what I've read, and what I want to read. I also want to be able to see the same for some of my friends. The only other part of Goodreads I've used are the quotes as a teacher.

        2 votes
      3. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Don't get me wrong, user reviews are also a hugely important feature for me too, but reading those is usually a secondary step that comes only after a recommendation (whether algorithmic or from a...

        Don't get me wrong, user reviews are also a hugely important feature for me too, but reading those is usually a secondary step that comes only after a recommendation (whether algorithmic or from a person) points me to something. And if I was never recommended another book by a goodreads type site's algorithm again I would also still keep finding plenty of books to read too, since the majority of the books I have read over the years were recommendations from friends/family/colleagues/acquaintances, or found in various user created lists.

        However, when it comes to sites like goodreads, their recommendation systems are definitely one of the things I like most about them, since they often point me in new and unexpected directions, and to more obscure and older titles than I otherwise wouldn't have thought to look at. I have discovered many new authors/series/books over the years, that I have since become huge fans of, thanks to goodreads' algorithm. And Spotify, and even YouTube's autoplay, have also done similar for me when it comes to discovering new music too. I do always feel like the odd man out when it comes to this sort of thing though, since everyone else online seems to do nothing but complain about all those sort of systems. :/

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      I think there are a bunch of small competitors now - I was following one called readng for a while. But the truth is, without a critical mass of users, a competitor doesn't have anything over...

      I think there are a bunch of small competitors now - I was following one called readng for a while. But the truth is, without a critical mass of users, a competitor doesn't have anything over using a spreadsheet for me. Which is unfortunate. Similar to the problems with big social media platforms I'd love to divest from but would lose the interactions that are the point.

      3 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        True, but not using something on the premise that the userbase too small is kind of self-defeating. Be that userbase you want to see.

        True, but not using something on the premise that the userbase too small is kind of self-defeating.

        Be that userbase you want to see.

    3. eve
      Link Parent
      It'd be better if there were more sites to replace goodreads, but library thing is also an alternative. I've had an okay time with it so far. It might be worth checking out.

      It'd be better if there were more sites to replace goodreads, but library thing is also an alternative. I've had an okay time with it so far. It might be worth checking out.

      3 votes
  2. Cypher2048
    Link
    I recently started looking for alternatives to Goodreads as well. I came across https://www.librarything.com It's community is a good size, but probably nowhere near Goodreads...

    I recently started looking for alternatives to Goodreads as well. I came across https://www.librarything.com

    • It's community is a good size, but probably nowhere near Goodreads (https://www.librarything.com/zeitgeist)
    • The UI is a bit older style, but it doesn't waste space with a bunch of white space padding.
    • It has a phone app you can use to check your book inventory, or scan in new books.
    • I has a Goodreads catalog importer that worked surprisingly well.
      • It does take a while to import, depending on how many books/ratings/reviews you have, but it runs in the background and notifies you when it is done importing everything.

    I think it is the closest thing to Goodreads in functionality that I've found so far. It's worth checking out if you, like me, are getting disillusioned by Goodreads and would rather not give Amazon any more information about yourself then you already have. :)

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    tesseractcat
    Link
    Personally, I don't care about the recommendation algorithm (I've never had very good luck with them). What I want out of a goodreads competitor is a really great search interface, so I can search...

    Personally, I don't care about the recommendation algorithm (I've never had very good luck with them). What I want out of a goodreads competitor is a really great search interface, so I can search genres, tags, authors, etc. and sort by rating, popularity, book length, critic reviews, etc..

    4 votes
    1. Eabryt
      Link Parent
      Just in case you were curious, this is the search interface on The Story Graph, it's pretty decent.

      Just in case you were curious, this is the search interface on The Story Graph, it's pretty decent.

      3 votes