For those of you who may know Amazon and B&N, but not know what Goodreads is allow me to explain. Goodreads is a social networking site for book lovers. The site allows you to review books, share reviews and recommendations with friends, and follow authors you love. One of the great features is that you create virtual bookshelves for all your books. You can categorize the books into 3 main sections: Read, Reading, and To Read. You can also create lots of sub-categories with custom tags like: Zombie Fic, Police Procedurals, and Vaginal Fantasy (it’s another name for urban fantasy that deals with heroines who live in magical worlds and have a decent amount of sex: like True Blood’s source material the Sookie Stackhouse novels).
They even have an app, which is why I think this acquisition spells bad news for B&N. You see I’ve been a member of Goodreads since 2009. I love books. Whenever I’m browsing at B&N or Half-Price Books and see a book I would like to read, but am not going to purchase right then and there, I use the Goodreads app to add the book to my To Read list. The app has a barcode scanner that makes this process really easy. Sometimes at B&N I’ll leave the app open so I can scan multiple books during my visit. When I’m at Half-Price Books I’ll sometimes open the app and browse through my To Read list (which I’ve added a sub-category of To Purchase) and see if any of my listed books are available.
Every time I’m at B&N I think, “Why doesn’t B&N create an app like this?”. You see with Amazon purchasing Goodreads it will now have access to my To Read list (as well as what I’ve read and how I’ve reviewed it). While I created a To Purchase sub-category, I can easily see Amazon creating it’s own Add to Wishlist button.
Another great feature of the app is that it’s easy to access, so when I’m watching The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Up with Chris Hayes, etc I can quickly add books that are mentioned on these shows for future reading or purchasing. Now, with probably the push of a button, I could add it to my To Read List, click Purchase, and it will be on it’s way to my front door via my Amazon Prime account or straight to my Kindle.
Not to mention Amazon could offer me discounts on my To Read list, similar to how they currently offer me discounts on items on my wishlist. B&N could have had me, while I was in their store scanning books, adding to my B&N wishlist and offering me discounts to get me to purchase from them. They missed an opportunity.
What this shows is that Amazon is looking to the future and how to interact with readers. Amazon is paying attention to the larger world in which it’s customers exist and trying to ensure that when you think about buying a book (digital or physical), you first think of buying it from them.
We’ll see if my predictions about changes to Goodreads will happen, not to mention changes I haven’t even thought of.
As sad as it makes me to say, Barnes and Noble just came a little closer to death. I’ll miss having an actual bookstore to go to.