Mar. 29th, 2013

fullofsecrets: (westscreech)
By now, you've probably heard the news that Amazon has purchased Goodreads. Many of us feel that, in the battle of the books, Amazon just made the online equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase, but we have concerns that only Kindle users will be encouraged to settle there. Personally, I just like to keep my data as compartmentalized as possible online, and I don't want Amazon to have my Goodreads content.

I've also read mixed reviews of Amazon takeovers. While Zappos seems to be mostly unscathed, Audible users (particularly those outside the U.S.) have reported problems under their new overlords, and users of Shelfari, a social reading site similar to Goodreads, say that they haven't seen any updates or improvements since the buyout. They seem to have annihilated CD Now.

Then, of course, there's the whole librarian debacle. After Amazon pulled its data in January 2012, librarians donated their time and talent to rebuild the missing links and images, all out of the goodness of their hearts. Now that Goodreads has accepted Amazon's offer, I can understand why those folks feel somewhat betrayed. They helped build Goodreads' successful community, and I surely haven't heard about any of them being compensated as a result of this transfer of power.

Another aspect of why I think so many of us are heartbroken by this announcement is the ongoing problem of walled gardens. Many of us don't like being confined to the boxes that Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, etc. use to contain us. Goodreads provided common ground for readers regardless of platform, and many of us feel that is a significant loss. I know I do.

Even if you don't factor in Amazon's previous buyouts, the working conditions for employees in some of their warehouses are problematic, to say the least.

In light of these issues, I've compiled a list of alternatives I plan to investigate:

Tested )

Untested )

Not considering )

I'll continue updating this post as I narrow down my options. Keep watching this space. :)

For additional perspective on Goodreads alternatives, Omnilogikos is testing various sites as well.


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