In December of 2008, it was the middle of winter and I just wanted to curl up with a good book. Who am I kidding, I live in South Carolina and it was probably 65 and sunny and didn't resemble winter at all. But that's beside the point; I was looking for a good book! The two people in my life who recommend books for me the most are my parents but I'll give an honorable mention to my paternal grandmother as well. These three people each introduced me to some of my favorite series (Dad gave me my first Harry Potter book after he read it, Grandmother gave me the Gentlemen Bastards and the Kingkiller Chronicles, and good ole Mom led me to Nora Roberts, most notably, the Bridal Quartet. I'm lucky to have these people.) But in 2008, for whatever reason, they failed me!
When those three couldn't provide a good recommendation, I started looking around to friends for some ideas. That is when it hit me. I have no one to talk books with. Yea, yea, yea, my three musketeers are good for recommendations but not really book talk. How was it possible I was such a book lover without a book community? This realization was heart breaking! But I quickly realized I had to fix that so I went to the world wide web, and lucky me, found Goodreads. If any of you remember when you found Goodreads, you may remember it was life changing. There were bookies everywhere! And Lists! Oh, the lists! I finally had a way to keep track of all the books I read in one place and rate them accordingly. It was love at first sight. But then I discovered there were millions of other people, like me, who just wanted to talk about books. Rate books, review books, bash books, everything a bibliophile could ever dream of. I finally had my book lover community!
Flash forward about five years. This happened. Goodreads became part of the "Amazon family." I'm not a huge hater of Amazon but I know a lot of people who are. From what I understand, Amazon can be a little manipulative when it comes to their reviews. A lot of my Nook friends were also up in arms because they didn't know what it would mean for them. I wasn't alarmed by this event but I think it was the first step down the slippery slope.
Most recently, this happened. I understand that Goodreads doesn't want to create an environment for author bashing but to delete people's posts and reviews with no warning? That's a little ridiculous. I'm part of the party that believes in negative reviews. I think book reviewing is nothing if it isn't honest so if I don't like a book, I'm going to say so. I also recognize that there were a lot of authors attacking reviewers due to these negative reviews and readers attacking right back. That's not what the book community should be about in my opinion and I think something needed to be done about it. I just don't think this was the way to handle it.
They also kind of made this change under the radar without informing everyone which led to a lot of posts being deleted unknowingly. As far as I know, none of my reviews were deleted (but since they don't inform anyone, I may have not realized it yet...) but if they were, I would be incredibly upset. I know how much work I put into my reviews and I use them to keep track of a number of things. To have all of that disappear without a chance to back it up, I'd be livid.
To me, these are all bad signs. I think Goodreads may be spiraling and I know a lot of people who have already jumped ship. The problem is, Goodreads has everything and it is not easily replaceable. I haven't found a place to review and keep track of my books as well as participate in a community with discussion boards and challenges. This is disappointing.
But the light at the end of all of this is blogging! I started this blog in order to keep track of my books and meet people. Granted, I did it before Goodreads' screw ups but I think this is an answer to a lot of my Goodreads problems. This is my space and I'm allowed to say what I want when I want (which is pretty cool.)
But it is also a medium that I can meet other people through and learn about new books I want to read. I want to thank Goodreads for being there all those winters ago and giving me a place to be a book nerd. Without it, I would have never discovered The Broke and The Bookish blog and everything that comes from being a book blogger. I'm not sure how long Goodreads will be around and I will more than likely continue to use it until it isn't. Goodreads has been an important factor in my reading life but I'm glad I moved on (and moved up, IMHO) to the blogger world where freedom of speech is appreciated.