Goodreads and Amazon

On March 28th the founders of my favorite social media site for books, Goodreads.com, announced they were joining the amazon family.  My heart about broke into pieces.  I’ve long had a hate/hate relationship with amazon and it’s owner Jeff Bezos.  Amazon currently owns the book site shelfari.com  and partially owns librarything.com.  Now they’ve gobbled up the last place where people felt they could go and freely talk about books and book related news away from the specter that was amazon.

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People are afraid of how amazon will change Goodreads and with good reason. Amazon is not known for being nice or playing well with others.  It wasn’t all that long ago that amazon made Goodreads pull down all the data being used for book descriptions and covers that had been sourced from amazon’s site and find new resources for this data.  It took volunteer librarians months to fix what they could (many titles were lost) only to find out now all that hard work was in vain. To say some folks are a little bitter would be an understatement.  There are currently 44 pages of comments under the announcement from the founders and posts like this on the site:

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Who knows how many people bailed on the day of the announcement?  I was tempted, but I have made some very good friends in my time on Goodreads that I would miss very much if I left.  The site has become more than just a site about books but one in which I go to find out out what my friends are reading and how they’re doing and maybe read a book together even if one of us lives in Oregon and the other one lives in Japan.  My anime group sets up group watches of amine series and then we chat about them together.  We chat with each other about our lives and worry about each other when major and minor life events happen. 

I’m one of the people who is going to wait and see if what founder Otis Chandler says in his post about amazon is true before I delete my account.  I’m not sure I quite believe that  “amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.” as Chandler claims or that amazon is a “perfect partner for Goodreads as we both share a love of books”   I don’t think amazon loves books at all, they just see them as another widget they can move as cheaply as possible.

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I don’t want to be treated as another widget in the amazon empire or have my book reviews used on amazons site to sell books for Jeff Bezos. If the two entities can be kept separate and I’m able to continue without feeling like big brother has invaded I may continue to stick around…maybe.

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