There’s no doubt that Goodreads is one of the most popular sites on the Internet for readers and authors. It has developed into a Facebook styled book site, and in the last few years has streaked ahead of similar sites such as Shelfari.
The only problem is that while Goodreads may be popular, it has not had a site update for so long now, that in all honesty, it is showing its age. 2009 was a very nice year, but not one that a popular website needs to be stuck in. Added to this are some functionality issues that are making the site increasingly difficult to like. Here are some areas I would love to see Goodreads address in the near future to make it what it should be. The premier book site on the Internet.
Navigation. The only word for this is hopeless. Finding anything on the Goodreads site is an absolute nightmare. While it does have a decent search function for finding books and authors, like most sites do, trying to delve much deeper leads to frustration.
Users. In the last year especially, the site has become extremely popular with self published authors. This is a good thing. But as with any good thing, there are those who will spoil it. Each day I am inundated with authors trying to flog their books to me by either events, messages or book recommendations. I would really like to see the focus of the site return to readers and not be taken over by over zealous ‘book flogging’ authors.
Author Pages. While on authors, the site has one odd restriction. As with Facebook, there are two account types on Goodreads. A user profile account and an Author Page account. A user profile is limited to 5,000 ‘friends’ like Facebook, but where Facebook’s Pages has an unlimited follower allowance, Goodreads limits an Author Page to 5,000 user also. This is ridiculous. There must a be long queue waiting to follow J K Rowling huh? More realistically though, I have hit this limit, which means no new readers can follow me. Rather bad for business.
Buy Books. This may seem a little too logical, but why can’t readers buy books and ebooks from Goodreads? There is a ‘pretendy’ ebook sales area, but it takes too much effort to make it worth using for both publishers and readers. Yes, there are ‘buy links’ to online retailers, but wouldn’t it be much better for both readers and publishers if Goodreads itself was a genuine online ebook retailer?
Copy Facebook. Yes Goodreads. Just copy the good bits from Facebook and make your site into a modern and genuine social media site for those of us interested in books and reading. Too simple?