13 Things I Wish Goodreads Did Better {Discussion}

Discussion

I’ve been working on this post for a couple weeks now, and I think that I’ve finally compiled a list of every single thing I dislike about Goodreads.

Don’t get me wrong…I freaking love Goodreads. That site is my crack. I’m on it multiple times every day, constantly finding new books I want to read and reading my friends’ reviews. But it’s not perfect! That’s for sure. Especially now considering that Literally is becoming a bit of a thing, I think that Goodreads should try and step up its game. They’ve becoming way too complacent for way too long about not updating and fixing their major problem areas, and I’m sick of it!

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13 Ways Goodreads Could Drastically Improve Themselves:

1. Being able to open up search bar results in a new tab. This something that consistently aggravates me. I want to be able to be on a book’s page, search something, see a result in the drop-down menu, and make it open in a new tab. But even if you use right click or command+T, it doesn’t work! And then I lose the page I was currently on. ARGH.

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2. Adding a “save draft” feature for reviews. This is probably my number one problem with Goodreads. Why, on God’s green earth, can you not SAVE your reviews without actually posting them? Two problems are created by not having this feature: (1) I can’t edit my reviews as I go along. If I have comments I want to remember while reading a book, I have to write them down somewhere else, like in a WordPress draft or an email to myself. (2) If Goodreads randomly crashes while you’re writing your review, or you accidentally hit a wrong button…everything goes bye-bye!!! This has happened to me more than once, so now — every time — I have to initially write my reviews in a WordPress draft and then copy + paste them to Goodreads. But guess what? Goodreads and WordPress formatting is completely different! One uses HTML and the other just uses a word-processing-like format. So then I have to go back and fix everything in order to make it look all pretty on Goodreads, too! I could seriously write an essay about how annoying this is. Like, seriously, Goodreads?? It’s been like SIX YEARS and you STILL don’t have this function? You’ve got to be kidding me.

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3. Bigger server/less crashing. Get out of your fucking chair. Speaking of which, it’d be REALLY nice if Goodreads could just stop crashing all together. They were supposed to have moved to a better server a couple weeks ago, but I’ve had it crash multiple times since then…so I don’t think it worked.

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4. Letting you cross-post reviews to Amazon. Amiright?! Goodreads is OWNED by Amazon now. How in the world have they not figured out a way to let people easily post their Goodreads reviews on Amazon?? I would be so much better at cross-posting if this was a feature that Goodreads has. And Amazon would have so many more reviews on their site! It’s a win-win.

5. Put a Goodreads button on a book’s Amazon page. Now that we’re on the subject of Amazon, I have another request. How many times have I been looking at a book on Amazon’s website — whether it be a Daily Deal or a link I clicked from BookBub, etc. — and then had to go search for the book on Goodreads to check reviews and stuff? Like, a million. Why is there no easy “see this book on Goodreads” button on Amazon? You freaking OWN Goodreads!! Why not advertise your other company and make it easier for current Goodreads users at the same time? It seems like a pretty big no-brainer to me. And I’d be much more likely to buy a book if the research I had to do about it first was only one click away instead of 10.

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6. Notify users when a new book is added by a favorite author. This would make keeping up with new releases so much easier! I love finding out about books way in advance before they get published. So why not make a way for users to be updated when a new book is added for an author that they’re fans of? There doesn’t really seem to be any perk of being a fan of an author (besides seeing their occasional blog posts I guess?), so why not make one?! I would LOVE this feature. Especially for self-published authors whose books aren’t in catalogs on Edelweiss, it would make keeping up with series and books by them extremely easy.

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7. Let users “like” reviews directly from their feed. For the life of me, I DO NOT understand why you can’t do this. Why make it hard for people to like each other’s reviews?? It just doesn’t make any sense at all. The way it is right now, in order to like a review that you see in your feed, you have to click “see review,” and it will take you to a separate page and then you can scroll down to the bottom and hit “like.” Why is it so hard?? I would “like” so many more reviews if I could do it right from my feed.

8. Show GIFs in feed reviews. Again…really? I don’t get why this is a thing. If somebody has included pictures or GIFs in their review…I WANT to see them. But they don’t show up in the feed! So if I want to read the review as the reviewer wrote it, I again have to scroll down and click the “see review” button in order to be able to see the images.

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9. Allow users to have more than 5,000 friends. For once, I do kind of understand why Goodreads initiated this rule. It makes sense and stops people from being too spammy and stuff. But I don’t think they took into consideration that there would be “celebrity” Goodreads users (like popular bloggers/BookTubers) who might actually want or require more than 5,000 friends in order to fully contain all of their fans. Sure, you can have as many “followers” as you want, but it’s just not the same! And for those users who do have that many friends, if they want to add more, the limit rule forces them to basically police their friends in order to cull old ones and add new ones. That sucks! Users shouldn’t have to work at maintaining a certain amount of friends, and there shouldn’t have to be some sort of waiting list to get to be a friend of somebody you admire.

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10. Let you use half-star ratings. Again, I completely understand why this isn’t a thing, but I still get a little huffy about it. A ton of people use half-star ratings, so they should be able to do that when rating a book on Goodreads, too. But I get that it would require a huge overhaul of the system and wouldn’t be quite fair to all of the people that didn’t originally use half-stars before this hypothetical overhaul. Obviously they’re never going to do it, but I still get slightly annoyed every time I have to clarify my rating in the review box since there isn’t an appropriate option provided. And then comes Sophie’s choice…if my actual rating is 3.5 stars, do I make 3 stars or 4 stars the “official” one?

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11. Make it possible to re-read a book. When you try to re-read a book on Goodreads, it seriously flips its shit. Its like it doesn’t even understand the concept that this could be a thing that people would want to do. Once you’ve read a book, Goodreads will include that book in your challenge for whatever year you first read it in. But if you want to, say, read it again the next year, Goodreads is just like NO. They don’t have an option to add dates for a second reading, it gets all weird if you add it to your “currently reading” shelf, and it won’t automatically count it as part of your current challenge once you “finish” it. Everything is just WRONG.

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12. Become more integrated with page counts vs. number of books. Another thing about the challenge that bothers me is that you can’t choose for it to count pages instead of the number of books you read. For example, a 1,000-page George R.R. Martin novel counts exactly the same as that 70-page Divergent novella. But they are totally not equal in terms of effort! And I want that to count for something. But part of this problem is that even though Goodreads does keep track of pages in some way (you can view them for individual books, but it won’t add it up as part of the challenge until the end of the year), the page numbers aren’t always super accurate. I remember looking at the page count it had for me at the end of the 2013 challenge, and I realized how completely wrong it was! For some books I read, they were listed as having zero pages, and others were just inaccurate. Sometimes books, especially self-published ones, don’t have the right (or even any!) page count. But if we had better policing of that, then it would be easy for Goodreads to better integrate page counts for the challenge and other things (like possibly a weekly tracker like Literally has).

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13. Make it possible to search two shelves at once for common items. This is something I REALLY wish Goodreads was capable of. And it doesn’t seem like it’d be that hard for them to finagle. Basically, I want to go be able to go into my shelves and see, for example, which books I’ve read that I have shelved as both “young adult” and “fantasy.” Or even “young adult,” “contemporary,” and “LGBT.” Sometimes I’m just curious! Or maybe I want to write a Top Ten Tuesday post and need information. Or maybe I want to give somebody a really specific book recommendation! I could use this feature in so many ways.

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Is there anything that YOU hate about Goodreads? What am I missing? Is there anything on this list that I’m actually wrong about and you know the secret answer of how to fix it?? *crosses fingers*

 

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41 responses to “13 Things I Wish Goodreads Did Better {Discussion}

  1. YES YES YES! I love this post and I completely agree. Posting reviews directly to Amazon would be amazing! Half stars is also a must have because it can really effect a review. Re-reading button and Page count vs. Book! Definitely! Confession time – with the GoodReads challenges and me always feeling behind, I sometimes want to skip re-reading and pick shorter books so I can beef up my numbers. Hehe. If I had these things I wouldn’t have to do that. Great post.

  2. Awesome post, Miranda! When I see all these things laid out like this, it makes me wonder why so many readers are still using Goodreads (like me!) I love that site too, but there is one thing I don’t think you mentioned and that is the search engine. Oh my does it SUCK. I’ve had some hysterically funny things pop up in some of my searches and it’s so frustrating when all you want to do is FIND something. Amazon has an amazing search engine, why can’t they transfer it to Goodreads?

    • Really?? Haha I don’t really have problems with it! Well, maybe occasionally now that I think about it. It probably could be better, though. Good addition!

  3. I agree with so many of these things! Especially the cross-posting to Amazon. That would be the most amazing feature!

    I don’t know if you use chrome as your browser, but if you do it has an add-on button for “add to goodreads”. I use this all the time. It works owith amazon.com BN.com and a few others. Basically if you are browsing a book on those sites you then click the “add to goodreads” button on your chrome bar and it adds the book to your TBR on GR. 🙂

    • That’s a cool feature! I probably wouldn’t use it, though, because most of the time the books I’m looking at on Amazon are books already on my TBR list, or maybe I want to check and see if it already is. So that wouldn’t really help :/ But that’s a really good idea for other people!

  4. I can fix the #2 issue with the formatting! When you’re writing a draft in wordpress, there should be two tabs in the upper right corner of your typing box: Visual and Text. Click the text button after you’ve written the whole review, and it’s all right there in HTML format 🙂 Voila! Italics, bold lettering, underlining, pictures, links – all there!

    #10 is my biggest issue, even though I don’t really use half stars. But when I do, it’s REALLY IMPORTANT that that half star is made known.

    #11 is also an easy(ish) fix. Instead of just clicking “currently reading” after it’s already been read, go into the main “Edit” box where all the extra info and your review is. Switch the shelving to “current read”, but don’t save yet. Then where it says “date started”, set it to the current day. CLEAR the box that says “date finished.” And then save. It’ll mark it as read from the previous year, but it’ll also count for your present-year reading challenge.

    (Did that save the day enough? ^_^)

    • ….Oh my god, why did I NEVER think of that??? YOU’RE A GENIUS. Hahaha I’m so dumb sometimes 😛 I mean, I obviously knew that feature was there in WordPress, I just never thought to use it in that way. This will make things so much easier now!

      Wait, really? You can make it count for BOTH challenges by doing that? The one thing I don’t like about that idea is that you wouldn’t be able to see your original reading dates…but maybe I could just put them in the review or something, I don’t know. It should still be easier than that, though!

      Thanks for the help! 🙂

  5. I’d love for Goodreads to make a re-reading feature, as well. Basically, you have to change the year you read the book for it to count again in your challenge, which is odd and annoying. It also doesn’t help if you want to keep track of when you first read a book, if you have to keep changing the year the when you most recently read it.

    As for saving review drafts, I agree that would be useful. In the meantime, though, have you tried using the Private Notes section? I think you might have to click the “see more” button to find it. That’s where I sometimes put notes as I read. The downside: There’s a character limit on Private Notes, so you can’t write as much as you would for a review.

    And for the HTML formatting, you can access the HTML coding of your WordPress posts by hitting the “text” tab above the editor. I usually paste that directly into Goodreads so I don’t have to manually add the italicization codes and all that.

    Oh, and I totally agree that Goodreads needs to stop crashing. Also, if it can’t handle so many people, it should be able to know I was on the site first and kick new people off, not me. I mean, that’s only fair right? :p

    • Hahaha I like your “kick new people off” idea. They should totally implement that! 😛

      Thanks for the HTML formatting thing! Kayla explained that in her comment, too…I’m so dumb for not thinking of that before! Thanks guys for making me feel so stupid 😛

      I have used the private notes feature before, but since I’m already having to write the review first in WordPress since there’s no autosave feature, it wouldn’t be very helpful to have my notes in one place and my review in another :/ But that is a good idea for somebody who writes there reviews straight from Goodreads. I do like some of their features! haha.

      • It drives me nuts every time they kick me off when I was JUST looking at a page. 😀

        Oh, yes! I think we may have been commenting at the same time.

        I was just talking to my co-blogger, and she actually didn’t know about the private notes section, so I guess I did help someone out! (Even if it wasn’t from my comment.) But, yes, there’s not too much of a point if you’re already typing in WordPress anyway.

  6. I agree with you on a lot of points and some things I can see how they would be handy for some users, but I don’t need them. I would like cross-posting to amazon, even though copying and pasting isn’t that much effort, it would still save a lot of time overal to be able to do it easier. Re-reading is a feature I would love to see as well. There certainly are some ways to improve Goodreads.

    And concerning your last point, that is actualy possible. If you go to your My Books tab then below your list of shelves there is this option “select multiple”, so for example I click on to-read and books-that-I-own and I get a list of books I haven’t read yet that I own. I actually use that option a lot, it’s quite handy!

  7. There definitely are a lot of things that Goodreads could improve upon (especially, especially their mobile app! It bugs me so much I can’t see important details like publisher and page number) but one thing that would be so much easier would be if they had a little box thing on the side for their web version which would lead you to other books in the series. I mean, clicking on the hyperlink for the series in the title isn’t a lot of work but man, it would just make things a whole lot easier!

    • Those are good points! I don’t use their mobile app that much, so I was more focusing specifically on the website in this post, I guess, but wow, yeah, those problems sound annoying! Great additions to the list! Goodreads, are you listening?!

  8. Haha the great Goodreads rant! Half stars are like my biggest thing. That would be SO helpful! I also like being able to see things from two shelves at a time! Excellent point.

    • One of the above comments actually answered that two shelves at a time thing…I’m so happy now!

      Yeah it seems like everybody’s upset about the half stars thing. But I also feel like it would be the hardest thing on here for Goodreads to fix. I’m not sure how it would work with all of the millions of current reviews that aren’t set up using that system. I feel like the ratings for books would become skewed because of that.

  9. YES!!! Why the heck don’t they notify you about new books from your favorite authors? They certainly do on OTHER sites! I would LOVE to be able to cross search as well. AND to be able to re-read books. AND to be able to leave half-star ratings!!!

    I did read an article years ago in which they explained WHY they decided against hafl-star ratings (and cited Netflix’s reason as their main line on convincing), and I understand, but it’s STILL annoying. >_< Great post, Miranda!

    • I’m not sure if by “cross-search,” you’re talking about #5 or #13, but somebody actually figured out a way to search two shelves at once and left a comment about it above. Such a life-saver!

      I know that they notify you about new books from authors you “follow” on Amazon (I think?), but it’d be AWESOME if they did it on Goodreads, because new books get added sooooo much faster than they do on Amazon sometimes, because of GR’s librarian feature.

      • Ahhh, I was talking about searching 2 shelves at once. So awesome that someone figured out how to do it! It’s really weird how much they HAVEN’T incorporated Amazon stuff into GR. It seems like they’re SORT OF getting around to it, but I’m also a bit wary (a “be careful what you wish for” sort of scenario)…

      • Yeah I agree with you…I feel like they’re trying not to piss people off. But there definitely are some things that would just be convenient to have. Hopefully they’ll start integrating more and more (in a not-invasive way) as time goes on.

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  11. I definitely agree about re-reading books. I don’t often re-read, but this year I’m re-reading Harry Potter, and I really would like to add that to my stats because deciding to re-read is a pretty big thing for me!
    I don’t care too much for half star ratings though. Rinema (a goodreads for movies, basically) uses half star ratings and it confuses the bejeezus out of me. But, I mean, it’s a personal thing. If Goodreads had half star ratings I wouldn’t have to use them.

    • I think half-star ratings is pretty low on this for me as well…but I had to include it because I know that a TON of people are really, really passionate about Goodreads implementing them haha. It’s something that I think I would like if they decided to ever change it (which they probably won’t), but it’s something that I can live without for now. I’d much rather them fix the rest of the stuff on my list!!

  12. Search is awful. I once searched for an author by name and she was way down the page. The top item was a book by Jules Verne and her name wasn’t anything close to Jules or Verne.

    • Yeah, I feel like the search is set up more for book title searches…so I guess it’s not that great when you try to search for an author’s name (even though it’s SUPPOSED to do both). Great addition! I’m sure Goodreads will get right on that 😛

  13. HALF-STAR RATINGS and RE-READS! So much needs for that. I mean, yeah, we can indicate privately how many times we’ve read a book but it’s not the same.

    Oh and for #13, there’s a “select multiple” option. All you need to do is to go to “My Books”, the go to the bottom of your list of shelves. Click on that, and you can start filtering.

    As for the page numbers, it does track the numbers under stats but for it to be accurate, you’d need to go in and edit data that is incorrect. What bugs me is that there’s no accurate means of tracking the time of audiobooks because 1 hour=1 page, according to the librarian instructions, which I think it mighty ridiculous. This means a 14-hour audiobook should be noted as 14 pages, thereby vastly skewing page statistics. So annoying.

    • Yes, thank you! Somebody else mentioned that “select multiple” thing and it’s been a lifesaver! 🙂 So glad I wrote this post, if only to get that one answer haha.

      Yeah that’s my biggest problem with the page count feature…it tracks it, but it’s not correct. Especially for audiobooks, which is a really good point that I totally forgot about! It’s like they barely even count at all, which is so not fair. Why can’t it just have the page count listed for whatever it is in it’s original version or something? Now that I’m a librarian, it’s a little bit easier to deal with that stuff, because I can change it (well, I guess not with audiobooks ugh), but still…annoying. And I wish there was a way to view it monthly (is there?), except just year-by-year.

  14. Half stars and re-reading would be two of the things I’d implement right away if I was Goodreads. It’s just SO much more convenient to have them. Why no half stars? It doesn’t make sense.

  15. I totally agree with you on #2 (I hate the girl in that damn chair), #5 (Amazon should have a “add to Goodreads” button. Since they don’t, I use the Goodreads Right Click extension for Chrome), #10 (WHY NO ½ STARS?!!! I’ve asked Goodreads about this and they’ve said they have no intention on ever adding ½ stars. BOO.), #11 (I’m not much of a re-reader but I would like to see this), and #12 (having a challenge based on # of pages read, instead of books read.).

    • That extension is a really good idea, and a few people have mentioned it…but it just doesn’t do exactly what I want it to :/ I want to be able to look at the book’s page instead of just adding it to my TBR list. Especially because a lot of times, the books I’m looking at on Amazon are already ON my TBR list. But oh well…hopefully they’ll add something like that soon!

      Thanks for the comment! Glad you agree with a lot of my points 😀

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