Goodreads logo

Goodreads is an American social cataloging website that allows individuals to search its database of books, annotations, quotes, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys, polls, blogs, and discussions.

Quick Fact


  • Ranked #302th worldwide
  • Active users 10 M
  • Type Interest-Based networks
  • Launched date Dec 2006
  • Employees 448
  • Headquarters 180 Spear Street San Francisco, CA, U.S.
  • Parent company Amazon (2013 - Present)


Otis Chandler California
ElizabethKhuri Chandler


  • Brand value In 2020 $150 M
  • Revenue in 2020 $19,5 M
  • Net loss In 2020 N/A


ControversyThe founders of Goodreads, Elizabeth Khuri Chandler and her husband,

Otis Chandler,in their office in San Francisco.(via

In 2012, after a reviewer wrote a poor review of a novel, the novel's author and publisher discussed publicly on Twitter how to "knock it off" the front page of the novel's Goodreads page. This sparked a furor about the relationship between authors and reviewers on Goodreads.

That same year, Goodreads received criticism from users about the availability and tone of reviews posted on the site, with some users and websites stating that certain reviewers were harassing and encouraging attacks on authors.

Goodreads publicly posted its review guidelines in Aug 2012 to address these issues. Later, new owner Amazon modified its policy to include deletion of any review containing "an ad hominem attack or an off-topic comment".

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

The idea came about when Otis Chandler was browsing through his friend's bookshelf.

He wanted to integrate this scanning experience and to create a space where people could write reviews regarding the books that they read.

Brief History

Dec Goodreads was founded.
Jan Goodreads launched.
Dec The site had 650,000 members and 10,000,000 books had been added.

The site received funding estimated at $750,000 from angel investors.

Oct The company opened its application programming interface.
Mar Goodreads acquired Discovered.
Jan Goodreads switched from using Amazon's public product advertising API for book metadata to book wholesaler Ingram.
Jul The site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and thirty employees.
Aug Goodreads' guidelines address issues of behavior standards for authors, reviewers, and readers.
Oct Announced it had grown to 11 million members with 395 million books cataloged and over 20,000 book clubs created by its users.
Nov The member base surpassed 12 million members.
Mar Amazon announced its acquisition of Goodreads.
May Goodreads began using Amazon's data again.
Jul The user base had grown to 20 million members.
Aug Goodreads announced it would delete, without warning, reviews that threatened authors or mentioned authors' behavior.
Jan Amazon announced that it would shut down Shelfari in favor of Goodreads.
Apr Goodreads announced that over 50 million user reviews had been posted to the website.
Jul The site had 90 million members.
Dec Goodreads deactivated API keys more than 30 days old and said it would no longer be issuing new API keys.

Network Features

Book Discovery

Book Discovery
																You can rate, review, add read dates, and more through your Goodreads bookshelves. (via

On the Goodreads website, users can add books to their personal bookshelves, rate and review books, see what their friends and authors are reading, participate in discussion boards and groups on a variety of topics, and get suggestions for future reading choices based on their reviews of previously read books.

Once users have added friends to their profile, they will see their friends' shelves and reviews and can comment on friends' pages. Goodreads features a rating system of one to five stars, with the option of accompanying the rating with a written review. The site provides default bookshelves - read, currently-reading, to-read - and the opportunity to create customized shelves to categorize a user's books.

User Interaction

User Interaction
																>Join a Goodreads book group and discuss your favorite reads from wherever you are. (via

The website facilitates reader interactions with authors through interviews, giveaways, authors' blogs, and profile information. There is also a special section for authors with suggestions for promoting their works on, aimed at helping them reach their target audience. By 2011, "seventeen thousand authors, including James Patterson and Margaret Atwood" used Goodreads to advertise.

Users can add each other as "Friends", enabling easy sharing of reviews, posts, book recommendations, and messages.

Additionally, Goodreads has a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Linking a Goodreads account with a social networking account like Facebook enables the ability to import contacts from the social networking account to Goodreads, expanding one's Goodreads "Friends" list. There are settings available, as well, to allow Goodreads to post straight to a social networking account, which informs, e.g., Facebook friends, what one is reading or how one rated a book.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (version 2) and Kindle Voyage feature integration with Goodreads' social network via a user interface button.

Content Access

Content Access
																Book pages let you connect with reviews, learn more about the author, and find similar recommendations. (via

Goodreads users can read or listen to a preview of a book on the website using Kindle Cloud Reader and Audible. Goodreads also offers quizzes and trivia, quotations, book lists, and free giveaways. Members can receive the regular newsletter featuring new books, suggestions, author interviews, and poetry. If a user has written a work, the work can be linked on the author's profile page, which also includes an author's blog.

Goodreads organizes offline opportunities as well, such as in-person book exchanges and "literary pub crawls".


																Goodreads recommends books based on previous reads and curated lists. (via

If you're looking for books to read, you can click "Recommendations" on the home page to get curated recommendations from Goodreads based on books you've previously read and rated.

On book pages, there is a "readers also enjoyed" section of similar books. And in the Browse tab, you can search by genre, see a list of new releases, and browse lists voted on by Goodreads users.

Those looking to get more involved in the Goodreads community can head to the community tab to join like-minded groups or chime in on a book discussion.

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge
																>You can participate in reading challenges and share your progress on Goodreads. (via

Users can set themselves an annual reading challenge which constitutes a target number of books to be read each year. A tracker is added to the user’s homepage which provides a progress bar given as the percentage of the target.

The tracker also informs the user whether they are "on track to complete" their reading challenge and states the number of books "behind-" or "ahead- of schedule" they are. In 2018, over 4 million users set themselves a reading challenge.


WATCH ON watch on youtube READ ON read on facebook