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Making the Most of Goodreads

Max Dunn Posted by Max Dunn, Digital-Editorial Intern, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Making the Most of Goodreads

If you’re a reader, one of the best online tools you can utilize is Goodreads. Launched in early 2007, this social media site combines interactions between authors, readers, and friends with their favorite topics: books.

It’s extremely easy to create a profile, and if you’re reading this, I hope you have either already created one or are going to create one now!

Alright, now that you’ve created your profile, there are plenty of great resources to really get the ball rolling. This part of Goodreads website is wonderful for beginning instruction. There’s also a wonderful free webinar below from Cynthia Shannon, Goodread's Author Marketing Coordinator.


Goodreads is like a book-lover’s paradise. A free site that lists my books, let’s me organize my reading lists, tracks my reading progress for the year, and allows me to update my books as I read?! Yes please. If you’re just beginning and starting off with a clean slate, take heed! Begin by rating all of the books you have read before (if possible, who knows, maybe you’ve read far too many to count). You can even scan in the books you own by their barcodes with the Goodreads mobile application, but I’ll get to that in a minute. This way, you will have an organized starting place for you to add future books to when you’ve read them or found ones you want to read.


The best features are the shelves! Oh my, take advantage of the shelves. It's my OCD dream come true. You can create as many shelves as you'd like and label them however you want. I have made shelves for things like non-fiction, to Irish literature, books I own, Shakespeare, novellas, drama, poetry, etc. It's so neat and tidy, I love it. They also help a lot when searching for specifics, say you want to find a book that you own, that you have not read, that is Irish. Ta da! Just check of those particular shelves and it narrows the field. I feel like many people don’t take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, so let me again advise you Goodreads newbie, USE THE SHELVES!

Mobile App

The mobile application is extremely useful for updating what page I am on in my books. I'm a nerdy book person and like to keep account of my reading experience, so this provides a good platform for doing so. Another advantage of having the app on your mobile device is cataloging. Like I mentioned earlier, you can scan a book’s barcode and it will save it onto your device for later. You can then add it to your shelves! So nice and convenient. Check now and see if your mobile device has a Goodreads compatible application, and thank me later.

Groups: Book Clubs and Conversations

Goodreads groups are, to me, still a bit of a mystery. There are a lot. Countless. And who knows which ones are regularly active and worth joining. I’m sure with some digging (https://www.goodreads.com/group) you can find a group to join that reflects your literary interests. What I would suggest, however, is to start one for your IRL friends! People love organized groups and social media, so here is a way to mix both. You can vote on what book to read next, hold discussions in different threads, and enjoy keeping up to date with what people are reading all at the same time. Plus, if it’s an in person book club, you can create a companion Goodreads group to continue the reading discussion during the week when you aren’t meeting.

Friends and Followers

One of my favorite aspects is the friend request question! I made mine "What is your favorite book you've read in the last year?" That way anytime someone adds me I instantly get a book recommendation! I accept most people that request my Goodreads friendship, because to me, the more the merrier! And because Goodreads has a function that I find extremely helpful that a lot of social media sites like: the Top Friend. Remember that Myspace function way back in the day? Well Goodreads has kept it alive and kickin’, and boy is it useful. Essentially, any time someone adds you as a friend on Goodreads, you can decide if they will be labeled as one of your ‘top friends’ or not. That way, on your Goodreads news feed, you can sort the updates by ‘Top Friends’ and see updates only from the people you want to see from.

I hope this advice has been helpful and kickstarts you into using Goodreads more successfully, productively, and to have more fun! I mean, endless book recommendations is never a bad thing, right? Happy reading!