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Goodreads logo.svg
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Registration Free
Available in English
Owner Amazon
Created by Otis Chandler
Elizabeth Khuri
Launched December 2006; 16 years ago (2006-12)
Alexa rank
Negative increase 378 (October 2018)[1]
Current status Active

Goodreads is a social cataloging website that allows individuals to freely search its database of books, annotations, 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. The website's offices are located in San Francisco.[2] The company is owned by the online retailer Amazon.[3]

Goodreads was founded in December 2006 and launched in January 2007 by Otis Chandler and Elizabeth Khuri Chandler.[4][5][6] In December 2007, the site had over 650,000 members[7] and over 10,000,000 books had been added.[8] By July 2012, the site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and thirty employees.[9] On March 28, 2013, Amazon announced its acquisition of Goodreads,[10] and on July 23, Goodreads announced on their website their user base had grown to 20 million members, having doubled in close to 11 months.[11]


Goodreads was founded in 2006 by Otis Chandler and Elizabeth Khuri Chandler. Goodreads' stated mission is "to help people find and share books they love ... [and] to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world."[6] Goodreads addressed what publishers call the "discoverability' problem" by guiding consumers in the digital age to find books they might want to read.[12]

File:Otis Chandler.jpg
Otis Chandler

During its first year of business, the company was run without any formal funding. In December 2007, the site received funding estimated at $750,000 from angel investors.[8] This funding lasted Goodreads until 2009, when Goodreads received two million dollars from True Ventures.[13] In October 2010, the company opened its application programming interface, which enabled developers to access its ratings and titles.[14] Goodreads also received a small commission when a user clicked over from its site to an online bookseller and makes a purchase.[5]

In 2011, Goodreads acquired Discovereads, a book recommendation engine that employs "machine learning algorithms to analyze which books people might like, based on books they've liked in the past and books that people with similar tastes have liked."[5][15] After a user has rated 20 books on its five-star scale, the site will begin making recommendations. Otis Chandler believed this rating system would be superior to Amazon's, as Amazon's includes books a user has browsed or purchased as gifts when determining its recommendations.[5][15] Later that year, Goodreads introduced an algorithm to suggest books to registered users and had over five million members.[16] The New Yorker's Macy Halford noted that the algorithm wasn't perfect, as the number of books needed to create a perfect recommendation system is so large that "by the time I'd got halfway there, my reading preferences would have changed and I'd have to start over again."[17]

As of 2012, membership was required to use but free.[18] In October 2012, Goodreads announced it had grown to 11 million members with 395 million books catalogued and over 20,000 book clubs created by its users.[19] A month later, in November 2012, Goodreads had surpassed 12 million members, with the member base having doubled in one year.[20]

2013 Amazon purchase

In March 2013, Amazon made an agreement to acquire Goodreads in the second quarter of 2013 for an undisclosed sum.[21][22][23] Amazon had previously purchased the competitor Shelfari in 2008,[24] with the Goodreads purchase "stunning" the book industry. The Authors Guild called it a "truly devastating act of vertical integration" and that Amazon's "control of online bookselling approaches the insurmountable." There were mixed reactions from Goodreads users, at the time totaling 16 million members.[25] Goodreads founder Otis Chandler said that "his management team would remain in place to guard the reviewing process" with the acquisition, with the New York Times noting that Goodreads at the time had a more reputable reviewing system than Amazon's.[26]

In September 2013, Goodreads announced it would delete, without warning, reviews that mentioned the behavior of an author or threats against an author.[27]


In January 2016, Amazon announced that it would shut down Shelfari in favor of Goodreads, effective March 16, 2016. Users were offered the ability to export data and migrate accounts.[28][better source needed] In April 2016, Goodreads announced that over 50 million user reviews had been posted to Goodreads.[29]


Book discovery

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.[30] 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.[31]

Content access

Goodreads users can read or listen to a preview of a book on the website using Kindle Cloud Reader and Audible.[32] 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.[33] Goodreads organizes offline opportunities as well, such as in-person book exchanges and "literary pub crawls".[34]

User interaction

The website facilitates reader interactions with authors through the 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.[35] By 2011, "seventeen thousand authors, including James Patterson and Margaret Atwood" used Goodreads to advertise.[5]

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.[36][37][38] 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.[39]

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (version 2) and Kindle Voyage feature integration with Goodreads' social network via a user interface button.[40]

Reading challenge

Users can set themselves an annual reading challenge which constitutes a target number of books to be read in each year. A tracker is added to the users 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.[41]

Catalog data

Book catalog data was seeded with large imports from various closed and open data sources, including individual publishers, Ingram,[42] Amazon (before 2012 and after 2013),[43][44] Worldcat and the Library of Congress.[45]

Goodreads librarians improve book information on the website, including editing book and author information and adding cover images. Goodreads members can apply to become volunteer librarians after they have 50 books on their profile.[46] Goodreads librarians coordinate on the Goodreads Librarian Group.[47]

User data becomes proprietary to Goodreads[48] though available via an application programming interface, or API,[49] unlike similar projects like The Open Library which publish the catalog and user edits as open data.

Amazon requirements controversy

In January 2012, Goodreads switched from using Amazon's public Product Advertising API for book metadata (such as title, author, and number of pages) to book wholesaler Ingram. Goodreads felt Amazon's requirements for using its API were too restrictive, and the combination of Ingram, the Library of Congress, and other sources would be more flexible. Some users worried that their reading records would be lost, but Goodreads had a number of plans in place to ease the transition and ensure that no data was lost, even for titles that might be in danger of deletion because they were available only through Amazon, such as Kindle editions and self-published works on Amazon.[50] In May 2013, as a result of Goodreads' acquisition by Amazon, Goodreads began using Amazon's data again.[51]

Competition and review fairness

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 furore about the relationship between authors and reviewers on Goodreads.[52] That same year, Goodreads received criticism from users about the availability and tone of reviews posted on the site,[53] with some users and websites stated that certain reviewers were harassing and encouraging attacks on authors. Goodreads publicly posted its review guidelines in August 2012 to address these issues.[54] Later, new owner Amazon modified its policy to include deletion of any review containing "an ad hominem attack or an off-topic comment".[55] Several news sources reported the announcement, noting Amazon's business reasons for the move:

Where authors were threatening a mass account cancellation to protest the bullying, many of the reader users who commented on the announcement are now threatening the same thing. And while much of this might seem like nothing more than petty playground behavior between children who honestly do not have a clear good guy or bad guy, keep in mind that several e-book retailers incorporate the Goodreads' API into their sales pages, effectively posting book reviews that many in the Goodreads community know to be false, and nothing more than an act of revenge against an author; real-world sales decisions have been made by consumers based on these reviews.

— Mercy Pilkington, Good E-Reader News[56]

Regarding the 2013 Amazon acquisition of Goodreads, The New York Times said, "Goodreads was a rival to Amazon as a place for discovering books" and that this deal "consolidates Amazon's power to determine which authors get exposure for their work". Some authors, however, believe the purchase means that the "best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books".[57]

Goodreads Choice Awards

The Goodreads Choice Awards is a yearly award program, first launched on Goodreads in 2009. Users are able to vote for the books that Goodreads has nominated and are also able to nominate books of their choosing, released in the given year. The majority of books that Goodreads itself nominates are from Goodreads authors. The final voting round collects the top 10 books from 20 different categories.[58]


Category 2009[59] 2010[60] 2011[61] 2012[62] 2013[63] 2014[64] 2015[65] 2016[66] 2017[67] 2018[68] 2019[69]
Best of the Best Angie Thomas (Best Debut Author 2017 for The Hate U Give)
Best Fiction The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
by Emma Donoghue
by Haruki Murakami
The Casual Vacancy
by J. K. Rowling
And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini
by Rainbow Rowell
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng
Still Me by Jojo Moyes Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Best Non-fiction Columbine
by Dave Cullen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
by Alexandra Robbins
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
by Temple Grandin & Richard Panek
The Opposite of Loneliness
by Marina Keegan
Modern Romance: An Investigation
by Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg
Hamilton: The Revolution
by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life
by Lilly Singh
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Best Mystery & Thriller The Girl Who Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Smokin' Seventeen
by Janet Evanovich
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
by Dan Brown
Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
End of Watch
by Stephen King
Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins
The Outsider by Stephen King The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Best Fantasy Dead and Gone
by Charlaine Harris
Towers of Midnight
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
A Dance with Dragons
by George R. R. Martin
The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole
by Stephen King
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
The Book of Life
by Deborah Harkness
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
by Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
by J. K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
by J. K. Rowling
Circe by Madeline Miller Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Best Science Fiction Leviathan
by Scott Westerfeld
by Mira Grant
by Stephen King
The Long Earth
by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
by Margaret Atwood
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Golden Son
by Pierce Brown
Morning Star
by Pierce Brown
by Andy Weir
Vengeful by VE Schwab Recursion by Blake Crouch
Best Chick Lit The Last Song
by Nicholas Sparks
Best Romance An Echo in the Bone
by Diana Gabaldon
Lover Mine
by J. R. Ward
Lover Unleashed
by J. R. Ward
Fifty Shades Freed
by E. L. James
Lover at Last
by J. R. Ward
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
by Diana Gabaldon
by Colleen Hoover
It Ends With Us
by Colleen Hoover
Without Merit
by Colleen Hoover
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Best Young Adult Fiction Along for the Ride
by Sarah Dessen
Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart
All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Best Young Adult Series Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
Best Graphic Novel(& Comics from 2011) Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
by Neil Gaiman
Twilight: The Graphic Novel
by Stephenie Meyer
Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel
by Richelle Mead
The Walking Dead Vol. 16: A Larger World
by Robert Kirkman
Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and artist Cassandra Jean
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
by Zack Whedon, Fábio Moon and Daniel Dos Santos
Saga - Volume Four
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Adulthood is a Myth
by Sarah Andersen
Big Mushy Happy Lump
by Sarah Andersen
Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
Best Children's (& Middle Grade from 2010) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
by Jeff Kinney
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
by Jeff Kinney
The Son of Neptune
by Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
The House of Hades
by Rick Riordan
The Blood of Olympus
by Rick Riordan
The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan
The Trials of Apollo
by Rick Riordan
The Ship of the Dead
by Rick Riordan
The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan
Best Picture Book Blueberry Girl
by Neil Gaiman
It's a Book
by Lane Smith
When I Grow Up
by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
by Ian Falconer
The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
The Pigeon Needs a Bath! (I Do Not!)
by Mo Willems
The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
The Thank You Book
by Mo Willems
We're All Wonders
by R. J. Palacio
I Am Enough by Grace Byers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers and Luke Flowers
Best Paranormal Fantasy Dead in the Family
by Charlaine Harris
by Karen Marie Moning
Shadow of Night
by Deborah Harkness
Cold Days
by Jim Butcher
Best Historical Fiction Fall of Giants
by Ken Follett
The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman
Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Best Poetry Come On All You Ghosts
by Matthew Zapruder
Horoscopes for the Dead
by Billy Collins
A Thousand Mornings
by Mary Oliver
The Fall of Arthur
by J. R. R. Tolkien
by Lang Leav
The Dogs I Have Kissed
by Trista Mateer
The Princess Saves Herself in This One
by Amanda Lovelace
The Sun and Her Flowers
by Rupi Kaur
The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
Best History & Biography The Tudors
by G. J. Meyer
Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson
Jim Henson: The Biography
by Brian Jay Jones
The Romanov Sisters
by Helen Rappaport
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson
Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man,
by William Shatner
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
by Kate Moore
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
Best Memoir & Autobiography Unbearable Lightness
by Portia de Rossi
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love
by Matthew Logelin
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
I am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
This Star Won't Go Out
by Esther Earl
A Work in Progress
by Connor Franta
When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi
What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Educated by Tara Westover Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness
Best Humor Bite Me: A Love Story
by Christopher Moore
by Tina Fey
Let's Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson
Hyperbole and a Half
by Allie Brosh
Yes Please
by Amy Poehler
Why Not Me?
by Mindy Kaling
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
by Amy Schumer
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
by Lauren Graham
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Best Young Adult Fantasy (& Science Fiction from 2011) Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
by Veronica Roth
by Veronica Roth
by Veronica Roth
City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
Queen of Shadows
by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury
by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Wings and Ruin
by Sarah J. Maas
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas The Wicked King by Holly Black
Best (Goodreads) Debut Author (Best Debut Novel in 2019) Rebecca Skloot
(The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
Emma Chase
Pierce Brown
(Red Rising)
Victoria Aveyard
(Red Queen)
Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands) Angie Thomas
(The Hate U Give)
Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone) Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
Best Cover Art Torment
by Lauren Kate
Best Horror Graveminder
by Melissa Marr
The Twelve
by Justin Cronin
Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King
Prince Lestat
by Anne Rice
Saint Odd
by Dean Koontz
The Fireman
by Joe Hill
Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King
Elevation by Stephen King The Institute by Stephen King
Best Food & Cooking My Father's Daughter
by Gwyneth Paltrow
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
by Ree Drummond
Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
by Tim Federle
Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
by Ina Garten
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime
by Ree Drummond
by Chrissy Teigen
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!
by Ree Drummond
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski
Best Travel & Outdoors Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
Best Goodreads Author Cassandra Clare
(City of Fallen Angels)
Veronica Roth
Best Business #GIRLBOSS
by Sophia Amoruso
Best Science & Technology Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish
by John Hargrove
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
by Frans De Waal
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte Will My Cats Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

Multiple wins

Several authors have won multiple Goodreads Readers Choice Awards or the same award in multiple years. The table below sets out those authors to have won more than one award:

(Listed by number of wins, then alphabetically by surname)

Number of wins Author Winning categories
8 Stephen King Best Science Fiction (2011), Best Fantasy (2012), Best Horror (2013, 2017, 2018, 2019), Best Mystery & Thriller (2014, 2016, 2018)
Rick Riordan Best Children's & Middle Grade (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
5 Veronica Roth Best Book (2011), Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011, 2012, 2013), Best Goodreads Author (2012)
4 Suzanne Collins Best Book (2009, 2010), Best Young Adult Series (2009), Best Young Adult Fantasy (2011)
Neil Gaiman Best Fantasy (2013, 2015), Best Graphic Novel (2009), Best Picture Book (2009)
Sarah J. Maas Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
3 Sarah Andersen Best Graphic Novel and Comics (2016, 2017, 2018)
Pierce Brown Best Goodreads Debut Author (2014), Best Science Fiction (2015, 2016)
Ree Drummond Best Food & Cooking (2012, 2015, 2017)
Colleen Hoover Best Romance (2015, 2016, 2017)
J. K. Rowling Best Fiction (2012), Best Fantasy (2016, 2017)
Angie Thomas Best Goodreads Debut Author (2017), Best Young Adult Fiction (2017), Best of the Best (2018)
J. R. Ward Best Romance (2010, 2011, 2013)
Rainbow Rowell Best Fiction (2014), Best Young Adult Fiction (2013), Best Graphic Novels & Comics (2019)
2 Cassandra Clare Best Goodreads Author (2011), Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2014),
Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers Best Picture Book (2013, 2015)
Diana Gabaldon Best Romance (2009, 2014)
Kristin Hannah Best Historical Fiction (2015, 2018)
Deborah Harkness Best Paranormal Fantasy (2012), Best Fantasy (2014)
Charlaine Harris Best Fantasy (2009), Best Paranormal Fantasy (2010)
Paula Hawkins Best Mystery & Thriller (2015, 2017)
Jeff Kinney Best Children's & Middle Grade (2009, 2010)
Stieg Larsson Best Mystery & Thriller (2009, 2010)
Amanda Lovelace Best Poetry (2016, 2018)
Rebecca Skloot Best Non-fiction (2010), Best Debut Author (2010)
Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman Best Food & Cooking (2016, 2018)
Andy Weir Best Science Fiction (2014, 2017)
Mo Willems Best Picture Book (2014, 2016)
Casey McQuiston Best Romance (2019), Best Debut Novel (2019)
Margaret Atwood Best Science Fiction (2013), Best Fiction (2019)

See also


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