Maundy Thursday Special: Goodreads Betrays Both Writers and Readers

March 28, 2013 by Thad McIlroy

What impeccable timing from Goodreads, on a day observed by many because of a far more potent betrayal.

The Goodreads’ folks always struck me as decent people who genuinely care about writers and readers. I am surprised and disappointed. Perhaps even saddened.

I would imagine that Goodreads’ 30 pieces of silver are many, many millions. I think that they must have been well paid for this betrayal; the decision cannot have been easy.

Amazon  Press Release Goodreads







Thad McIlroy on Goodreads









Remove your data from Goodreads







Goodreads export







March 29: All Things Digital reports that Amazon paid a base of $150 million, most cash (not that Amazon’s shares aren’t a solid currency) and may pay up to $200 million “if certain performance metrics are met.” It’s admittedly between difficult and impossible to say no to that kind of cash, especially if you can convince yourself that Amazon is keen on “continuing to grow (y)our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with (y)our unique culture. ” Hey it’s the same thing as Zappos, right?

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  • Sol

    Mar 29th, 2013 : 6:38 AM

    Go Thad Go!!

    Gotta love a guy with the courage of his convictions.

    Who else out there deleted your account?

  • Thad McIlroy

    Mar 29th, 2013 : 2:49 PM

    Thanks, Sol.
    It feels like standing on principles is w a a a ay out of fashion these days. Colleen Lindsay, the capable community leader for Penguin’s BookCountry tweeted “Prediction: All the same people who threaten to quit Facebook will threaten to quit Goodreads. 1.6% of these people will follow through.” I agree with her. So it goes.

    Someone tweeted back at me and my post to the effect that Amazon has done good things for self-published writers so why complain. That’s undeniably true, and the acquisition of Goodreads is going to make Amazon an even stronger service for self-published authors.

    My concern is only with Amazon’s power. I’m happy with Amazon’s presence. I’m unhappy that Amazon has begun to operate in a “take it or leave it” fashion. They’ve become sufficiently powerful that when Amazon screams out “TAKE IT” we can only reply: “How deep? Which orifice?”

  • Anne Hill

    Mar 29th, 2013 : 3:42 PM

    I guess I can remove “put books on Goodreads” from my to do list now. What bothers me most is that Goodreads was the only place where reader reviews could migrate to other distributors like Kobo. Is there any incentive for Amazon to continue letting this metadata flow exist?

  • Thad McIlroy

    Mar 31st, 2013 : 12:52 AM

    Yes, it was the only place. I suppose a new independent site could launch to fill the void, except the void is probably not large enough to be fillable. I can’t imagine Amazon to allow the cooperation with its competitors to continue beyond the expiration of the current agreements.

  • Jean Kaplansky

    Mar 29th, 2013 : 5:19 PM

    And we’re on the same page once again… I deleted my goodreads account earlier today. Didn’t even bother to download any data. Just wiped that puppy out. Amazon has enough information about me. I need to hold back something for myself!

  • Thad McIlroy

    Mar 31st, 2013 : 12:50 AM

    Well done, Jean!

  • Ether for Authors: Goodreads. Badreactions. | Publishing Perspectives

    Apr 1st, 2013 : 10:35 AM

    […] colleague, the consultant and commentator Thad McIlroy, posted Maundy Thursday Special: Goodreads Betrays Both Writers and Readers. It might have warmed the hearts of my dad’s panicky […]