Yes, Amazon is evil. I don’t like using their products but there is nothing else as good as keeping track of books I read. They have the largest, most up-to-date book database and the most functional website compared to the alternatives.

What do you use GoodReads for?

  • Reading reviews of books
  • To remember books I want to read (‘Want to Read’ shelf)
  • Keeping track of what I’ve already read (‘Read’ shelf)
  • Seeing what my friends are reading
  • Participating in The GoodReads Reading Challenge

What’s your typical workflow when reading a book?

  • First, when I decide to start a new book, I add it to my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf.
  • Next, once I actually start reading it, I update its status to 1% read.
  • Then, after I finish the book, I update it to 99% read.
  • Finally, after writing, and posting a book review on Arkadi Cloud, I rate the book, and paste in the link to my review.

Why don’t you update your status as you read the book?

Mostly I’m lazy but I also don’t want to give Amazon so much meta-data about: how fast I read the book, when I read or spam my followers with too many updates on my reading.

Why post your review on your blog?

I post on my blog for the same reason I don’t update my status as I read the book. I don’t want to contribute more data (free reviews) to Amazon’s website or contribute more meta-data to their algorithms.

I certainly don’t mind sharing my review with other users of GoodReads, but keeping it on my blog gives me control of my own content. I could delete all my blogs from Amazon in one fell swoop if I took down this blog.

I don’t have any analytics or ads on my blog so I’m not making any money here, but rather taking a stand, albeit small, against the behemoth Amazon.

So why do you only update it at 1% and 99%?

For me, 1% signals that I actually opened the book and started reading it. When it’s 99% that means I’ve finished the book but haven’t written the book review for it yet.

Do you use tags? lists?

Nope. I’m lazy. I’m not sure what the point of ’tags’ are other than to give Amazon more meta-data for their database.

Most underrated feature of GoodReads?

A three way tie between: Year in Books, Reading Challenge, and Reading Stats. It’s a tie because they work best together. You can find these features under Your reading activity on your My Books page.

Year in Books: A beautiful summary of your book journey for the year. It shows you the shortest and longest book you’ve read, the average page length, the most popular book you’ve read (highest rating) vs. the least popular, as well as showing you all books you’ve read. It has some cute graphics and book covers on this page. It also gives you a share button to share on social media, of course.

Reading Challenge: A setting where you ‘pledge’ to try to read X number of books. It helps you track your progress. If you meet your goal they give you a sort of brag page sort of like Year in Books at the end of the year. I highly recommend everybody take part in the Reading Challenge. It doesn’t matter if you meet or exceed your goal but just the act of keeping track of your reading will help you increase the amount of books you read.

Reading Stats: A page where you can see some neat graphs, and charts of your reading stats. You can get a line graph of books you’ve read, or pages read per year. You can see a dot plot of books read by publication date (gosh I’ve mostly read books from the 20th-21st century! this needs to change!). You can also pull up line graphs of pages read over time, or books read over time.

Now, what about you…

How do you use GoodReads? Or how do you track your reading?

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