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Amazon Acquires Goodreads, Angers and Delights Booknerds Everywhere

I’ve got a lot of friends who are book authors — I’m one, too — and one thing we often ask friends and fans to do is rate and review our books on both Amazon and Goodreads. Why? Because both the online retailer and the social cataloging website are the go-to places for reading book reviews, which in turn do impact sales. But soon, you may only need to go to one of them when you want to write that gushing — or scathing? — review. According to a recent statement, Amazon’s gone and bought Goodreads.

This really isn’t too surprising. Amazon started out as an online bookstore. You know, before venturing out into the selling of other mainstream products like Doritos Salsa Verde chips and stegosaurus dog costumes.

So they’re coming full circle by buying up to world’s biggest online database of books and reviews. Goodreads, which has 16 million members, is like the IMDb of the written word. Amazon will be able to incorporate more information about books and their purchasers readers into their own system.

Goodreads CEO/co-founder Otis Chandler is obviously positive about the whole thing:

“People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world.”

Then Amazon VP Russ Grandinetti jumped in to corroborate:

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books… Both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Chandler clarified on the Goodreads forum that the site itself isn’t going away, that the Goodreads experience will remain the same. But this buddy-buddy relationship wasn’t always there. Last year, Goodreads dropped Amazon’s Product Advertising API because keeping it required linking only to Amazon. Until now, Barnes & Noble has been the “preferred” retailer for Goodreads product listings.

I’m betting that’s going to change.

One immediate plus will be the inclusion of Goodreads reviews into the Kindle, if you’re into that. Chandler wrote, “Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we’re looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.”

And certainly not everyone’s happy about this. In that same forum, the Goodreads member with the excellent username of This Is Not The Michael You’re Looking For wrote:

I have to admit I’m not entirely thrilled by this development. As a general rule I like Amazon, but unless they take an entirely 100% hands-off attitude toward Goodreads I find it hard to believe this will be in the best interest for the readers. There are simply too many ways they can interfere with the neutral Goodreads experience and/or try to profit from the strictly volunteer efforts of Goodreads users.

(via The Verge, images courtesy of Amazon and GoodReads)

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