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The Short Version: Established in 2007, Goodreads’ mission is “to help people find and share books they love and to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world.” They provide a platform for folks to connect through group discussions, friends lists, community-based curation, and shared interests, all with books as the central theme and uniting component. If you have a desire to strengthen bonds with friends and loved ones, as well as meet new like-minded people online, all based on your shared appreciation of literature, Goodreads is a fantastic place to connect.
Many relationships and friendships revolve around a shared passion. Whether it’s music, film, or food, these hobbies tend to bring people together over a common interest. Goodreads, the world’s largest site for avid readers and book recommendations, was founded in 2007 with this goal in mind. More than 50 million members strong, connecting people is, and always has been, at their core.
Goodreads CEO and Founder, Otis Chandler, said he believes “more than anything in the power of storytelling to change our lives.” Members share this belief, and Goodreads gives them one great place to come together.
This social platform allows book lovers to share their reading experiences with one another, so their friends, family, and followers can access reviews of books they’ve read as well as what they’re currently reading. Goodreads gives members a voice within the literary community with the ability to develop a robust profile page that includes a wealth of information on their reading habits. And, with the ability to message other users and join groups of like-minded readers, sharing your love for literature and getting book recommendations is simple and fun.
Otis was in second grade when he discovered “The Hardy Boys” book series. His love for reading only grew from there, and he found himself always looking for the next great book. However, what he soon discovered after scanning a friend’s bookshelf for ideas was he would much rather turn to friends for book suggestions rather than best-seller lists.
So he and his now-wife Elizabeth founded Goodreads — a free website where book lovers can see one another’s “bookshelves,” read peer reviews, and talk about all things literature.
“Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green, author of “The Fault in Our Stars”
One of the coolest things about Goodreads is members get to create profiles and use groups to connect with people around the world who have similar book interests. It’s kind of like one big book club for all of your friends, acquaintances, family members, friends of friends, and strangers, too.
Shared book interests can be ideal ice-breakers when it comes to forging new friendships and strengthening old ones. The possibilities for connection are virtually limitless in this hugely popular and expansive online community of readers. As Otis said, “knowledge is power, and power is best shared among readers.”
Just like Otis believes, it’s one thing to take advice from strangers, but it’s even more meaningful when that advice comes from friends or loved ones. Use Goodreads to create friends lists, discover what others are reading, and form bonds through your shared love of romance novels, rock-n-roll memoirs, juicy biographies, or whatever it may be. The site even has a Compare Books link that makes it easy for you to compare the books on your digital bookshelf with that of another user.
Not only can you track down like-minded people on Goodreads, just like you would on any social platform, but you can connect with them on a deeper level. Knowing what a person enjoys reading can give you a tiny glimpse into their subconscious. Avid readers know the bond shared over the love of the same literature can be so much more meaningful than almost any other surface level bond.
Reading can also be a great conversation starter. With the ability to message other members of the site, you can begin a back-and-forth about a book you and someone else have read. Think of this messaging feature as your very own literate and well-read alter ego, holding your hand while you take a deep breath and begin a highly intellectual chat with someone new.
Believe it or not, many people don’t get that excited about reading new books because they don’t know where to begin. Picking up and starting a book is a commitment, and not everyone has the time or the patience to begin without having some idea of what they’re signing up for.
Goodreads solves this problem by providing you with best-of lists and trustworthy recommendations from their community. This can really help non-readers who are hesitant about hunkering down and committing to a new novel. Goodreads helps folks find individuals who share common interests so they can learn what those people love to read ahead of time. And for those of you out there who are already big readers, Goodreads can simply reinforce your love for reading by helping narrow down the most popular books in your network.
Every year, Goodreads provides a list of the year’s best books based on the Goodreads Choice Awards — the only major book awards decided by readers. This list is completely community-based, eliminating bias. It lets members know what fellow Goodreads members love, and the end result is something that’s curated by the community. The awards are a great way to discover what your community of fellow readers love so you can make a well-educated choice when you pick up your next read.
Beyond their intuitive ways of leading you to interesting books, Goodreads also has some other fun features for bookworms, including trivia quizzes, author interviews, and the ability to ask featured authors questions about their work.
The long and short of it all is Goodreads brings people together based on their love of reading, often leading to new discoveries and connections.
By building friends lists, joining discussion groups, and staying on top of updates, we’re capable of meeting some great folks thanks to Goodreads. And we’re never in danger of picking up an unsavory novel ever again. They’re a wonderful site, and they truly allow people to bond on a highly intellectual and personal level. So here’s to your next Hemingway classic read, or steamy romance novel, or punk legend memoir!