Talking about the Kindle Highlights before, I forgot to mention Goodreads and the reasons I love to use it.
In my experience, it is one of the rare platforms that is completely stress free.
Many times my real-life friends ask what is the point of being on Goodreads. Do you just friend random people and look at the books they read? Well, yes… pretty much.
But there is so much more to it.
Now, some people on Goodreads are very active, they share, comment, recommend books, etc. I am no longer that active (although there are bursts of activity now and then) but here are the key reasons to keeping my profile active for over 10 years now.
1. Tracking Your Books
For me, right from the start, the first benefit was consistent tracking.
I joined Goodreads in 2010 and since then I have tracked every single book I have ever read.
I have added books that I read before 2010, but since 2010 I also track the year I read a specific book.
NOTE: They now added a reread feature where you can log different dates read for the same book. I used that feature a lot in 2019 and 2020, as both were my years of rereading.
(you see, when you have everything laid out in front of you on Goodreads, you tend to notice your trends and then even set them. Hence my years of rereading!)
2. Friending Likeminded People
The second benefit was friending people with similar taste in books and, through them, discovering other books to read.
I have a few friends on there who I don’t know anything about except that they are my literary twins.
For example, there is my Goodreads friend David (who according to his Goodreads profile happens to be born in 1977 like me) shares my taste in both fiction and nonfiction, and while I know nothing else about him (we usually just put our first names or aliases on our Goodreads profiles), I know that if he rates a book five stars, I sure am going to check it out.
I am not very good at reading genres I don’t like reading, so being friends with people who like what I like is a surer way of landing a good book, than when, let’s say, my real-life friends, recommend something I really have no interest in reading.
I almost admire people who are able to keep on reading something they later rate one star. I mean, why even waste your precious time on it? For most books, you already know, 20-50 pages in, if you will love or hate it.
And unless you have to read it for school or work or whatever, just … don’t!
That is why libraries and Kindle samples are so amazing. You can borrow or download a sample. Or even return 7 days in, no questions asked.
3. Friending Unlike Minded People
For the same reasons as above, sometimes you will meet people who have a fascinating taste in books, which may not be like your own, but they will make you take a look! And more often than not, they will make you discover something you otherwise wouldn’t.
That is what I call being adventurous on Goodreads.
4. Writing Book Reviews
The fourth benefit was a gradual one for me, but with amazing benefits.
When I write my own reviews (even if only short ones) I tend to remember so much more about the book later on. Also, of course, I love reading other people’s reviews.
However, I learned to read the reviews of others AFTER I have read the book unless I really trust someone, because… well….we all like what we like and that is best discovered on our own.
Moreover, as it says on my Goodreads profile, I only ever finish reading the books I like, which is why most of my ratings and reviews are positive.
5. Kindle Highlights are on Goodreads
The fifth benefit for me came when Amazon acquired Goodreads a few years back. Honestly, when they did I was a little worried that they would commercialize it.
But, thankfully, they stayed consistent for Goodreads users.
(well, at least for the Goodreads readers, apparently Goodreads authors weren’t as happy. Yes, of course, they will nudge us towards whatever they want to promote, but, as a reader, if you are aware of it, as with any social media, the choice is yours.)
In my opinion as a Goodreads reader, they haven’t changed much, but they have added some great optional features that I am using such as connecting my Kindle to Goodreads, so that I can immediately mark my books as Currently reading.
You can also set it to mark your books as Read as soon as you get to the last page, a feature I don’t use, because I like to shelve my books to many different shelves and write my rating and review before I mark it read.
Like everything, it is very customizable to your individual needs.
And also you can view your Kindle Highlights for each book straight on Goodreads. (those are private to you, but you can make them public if you want). That is an awesome AND FREE automatic feature, although at the moment I am in love with using my Kindle Highlights in Notion and Evernote via Readwise.
6. Literary Groups on Goodreads
The sixth benefit is the many, many literary groups you can join and participate in. A few years back I used them heavily, nowadays, I am inundated with so much more Social Media, that I barely find the time. Besides, I feel like my literary tastes have steadied and for the moment, I am not exploring.
But they are a great tool to discuss your favorite books, bash books, or find new books to read (and new virtual friends if you need any more!)
7. The Lists, all Kinds of Lists
The seventh is that there are myriads of literary lists on any genre or topic you could ever imagine. You can explore them or add to them. It is addictive.
8. A Year in Books
At the end of every year you get a neat little recap of your year in books. I just love it. It gives you all sorts of statistics you can use if you want.
My 2020 Year in Books (a partial screenshot)
“Wicked people never have time for reading. It’s one of the reasons for their wickedness.” Lemony Snicket
There are thousands and thousands of quotes from many, many books that you can save and use. One example of those quotes you can see on the right side of this post (in my sidebar) These are straight from my Goodreads profile.
And who doesn’t like inspiring quotes!
10. You can Become a Librarian
You can join in as a Goodreads librarian and add or update books when you see something wrong with a book, author, edition, etc.
I use my librarian status mainly to add, fix and update the books of the Bosnian authors and sometimes I combine editions, but there are hundreds of diligent librarians all over the world working to keep Goodreads organized.
11. Many Other Features
There are of course, many other features that I haven’t used, such as the “Creative Writing” where anyone like you and I can post their own creative writing pieces and some seem to get quite a following. It is an interesting feature to explore.
You can also follow some of your favorite authors if they are on Goodreads and choose to interact with their audience that way.
You can even set your reading challenge with a number of books you want to read in a year.
I am going to be honest though, Goodreads can sometimes be more addictive to me than other Social Media sites because I tend to live vicariously through books and TV/movies. I make resolutions such as “read less.” I know that it is not a popular resolution, but I tend to read for escape, and my last year’s theme was Action. I wanted to live and experience and while I have lived through books my whole life, every now and again I take a break from fiction! (I still always read non-fiction)
This year, however, my Theme is Creativity and I will allow myself to read all the fiction I want.
If you haven’t joined Goodreads yet or if you are not an active user, I highly recommend it. Especially if one of your goals is to “read more”.
It will suck you right in and you will read so much more!
If you are on Goodreads, tell me, what are some of your favorite features?
And of course, let’s become literary friends!