You can use it to make book lists and to get recommendations. I’ve known about it for a while and have been a member since 2009, but have pretty much ignored it until lately. Lately, as I’ve been frustrated with the rigid nature of the Amazon wishlist structure and all the 14 lists I was running for books I wanted to read, could get from the library, wanted to consider for the teen book club, thought Tias might like, etc.
You can list books in three main categories: ‘to read’ or ‘currently reading’ or ‘read’. That’s great, but it’s when you make your own ‘shelves’ that it becomes really cool. You choose what to call the shelves, and you can mark something as both one of the three main categories and multiple shelves of your own labeling.
Why is that cool? Well, I’ve got things marked ‘to read’ + ‘self-education’, or ‘homeschooling’, or ‘teen book club’ + ‘history’. I’ve also got Sandra using it and that’s how we’re going to manage her books list for high school. Books she reads for school go on a ‘homeschooling’ shelf as well as on ‘Gr 9’ as well as ‘science’. The labeling can be as detailed as you want. Since you can export your book list into Excel, it becomes a very flexible tool for making and searching records.
The automatically generated recommendations are the best I’ve seen online. It suggests books based on your shelves, so if you’re looking for more ‘middle grade readers’ or ‘sci fi’ or whatever, it’s got good ideas for you.
There is also a social component, with the ability to see what friends are reading and their reviews. I’m following several librarians who specialize in Young Adult services, and they give me a lot of ideas for the teen book club. There are also community lists and groups, so you can see that the book you just rated highly is on a list, follow that link, and get lost in a blizzard of similar awesomeness.
Seeing my books ‘to read’ and being able to rearrange the list in order of preference is really motivating me to get cracking with my reading. My book list may be longer thanks to Goodreads, but it’s not as querulous as it was a few weeks ago. There’s a real sense of movement. Right now, I’m reading, well, you’d know if you went and looked…
What are you you loving about books right now?