A few months ago, Cait @ Paper Fury had a post that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: updates for Goodreads. Because even though we all love the land of Goodreads, it feels more like a 2007-era website than a modern, 2018 website.
This isn’t to spread hate on Goodreads. Listen, sometimes it feels like Goodreads is the last social media site that hasn’t been tainted with bigotry and stupidity (though you’ll still find it there if you look hard enough). I love this website, and I want it to grow and I want everyone to have the best experience there that they can. And I think these changes will help that happen!
1. HALF STARS
This is literally on every Goodreads-improvements list, but maybe if we say it loud enough they’ll finally give the people what they want. I think I get the concern—if you have half stars, you might as well have a 10-star scale instead. But that’s not the case. I don’t think a 3.5-star book is the same as a 7-star book. To me, that half of a star isn’t the same value. It just means that it’s basically a 3 and far from a 4, but there was something in there that deserves a little more recognition than a solid 3.
2. Integration with the Audible App
Amazon owns Goodreads. Amazon owns Audible.
Why are these two apps not integrated? Why can’t I share my reading progress to Goodreads directly from my Audible app? Instead, I have to go to “Share” and then click something so it gives me a percentage, then open the Goodreads app and manually update with that percentage. It’s a nightmare. I can update my reading status directly from my Kindle, so why not from Audible?
3. Shelves Inside of Shelves
Right now, we have some shelves where books can only belong to one of the list, then free shelves where they can belong to however many. But I want more.
I want to be able to organize my books by four different types of lists (reading status, format, how it was accessed, and genre) (I would call these primarily lists bookcases), and then have shelves inside of the individual bookcases, and some shelves inside of those shelves, especially with genre. The bookcases would be independent from each other; you could shelve the same book on all four, because they’re all four tracking something different. Something like this:
Genre would be the most complicated shelf, and people would be able to break off the categories as they choose (most people probably read from fewer genres, anyway), but I’d like to be able to organize mine kind of how you would organize genres in a bookstore.
The only downside here is that you wouldn’t be able to click on something like “science fiction” and get books from both the adult fiction and YA folders…but there might be a way to get around that. Maybe you could make a sorting checklist where you can manually select folders to include in the selection.
I know this seems complicated, which is why I’m not asking for this to be the standard template. I just want the ability to have multiple primary lists and to put folders inside of folders, just like you could do with any operating system. If people stilll want to keep it simple, they’re more than welcome to do so. Not all of us use the shelves in the same way, but personally this would help me tremendously when I’m trying to calculate my end-of-year reading statistics.
4. Improved Pie Charts
Right now, Goodreads gives you a little pie chart in your stats with the breakdown of your shelves that year. The problem is that it doesn’t factor in a book being on multiple shelves. Take a look at my chart from this year. I’ve only read 4 books!
This problem might be halfway solved already if we’re allowed to have multiple bookcases and shelves inside of shelves. I’d like to see four different pie charts, one for each bookcase, and then have it broken down within. There’s still a problem if you have a book that crosses genres (like the Saga graphic novel), but it would at least be better.
5. Genre Listed by Publisher
Right now, Goodreads lists a book genre’s by how users have been shelving it, not what the publisher markets it as. But sometimes people leave a book with very different opinions on its genre. Look at the top genres listed for Bone Gap—fantasy, magical realism, mystery, romance, contemporary, and magic! Where would I find this in a bookstore?
And sometimes these are just incorrect. A Darker Shade of Magic is usually shelved by users as YA, but that’s not how it’s marketed. The system needs to be more reliable.
6. Improved Mobile App
I actually think this is in the works! There’s an improved Android app in beta now, thank goodness. The Goodreads website itself needs to be updated…but the app is just horrible right now. The navigation is terrible, and most of the features are unavailable (I once got spoiled for the ending of a book because a post that was marked as spoiler did not hide anything on my phone app like it was supposed to).
7. Drag to Sort Lists
You know what’s great about Amazon? You can create wishlists, and if you want to rearrange that wishlist, you can click and drag items to whatever order you want. It’s so simple. It makes me happy.
Goodreads is not like that. You can have sorted lists, but you have to go and manually type in numbers by every entry.
Maybe people don’t use this as often as I do, but it’s how I keep my tbr under control, and it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to just make it a drag-to-sort list.
8. Time Listened Metric
Goodreads gives you the option to choose which edition of a book you’re reading, including audiobooks. The problem is that if you choose that you’re listening to the audiobook, it won’t count any page numbers towards your annual stats. The book will still be counted, but not page numbers.
So if you’re an audiobook lover and want the pages to be counted, you have to just choose the print edition (which is why I have a separate shelf to mark my audiobooks).
To be fair, you’re not actually reading pages, so instead I propose another metric to be added to our annual stats: time listened.
9. Improved User Search
Maybe it’s just me, but I always have a hard time trying to search for other users if I want to send a friend request unless I already have the URL to their profile. I know there’s a way to do it, but I always forget how, and then it doesn’t really work that well once I get to the search.
10. Uncompleted Reading Challenges
For all those awesome readers that never fail a Goodreads challenge, you might not know that the challenges that you do not complete vanish from your list.
I did the challenge in 2013 and 2014 but didn’t quite make it to my goal, so it’s not listed. You have to click on the challenge if you want to see what my goal was and how many books I read.
I don’t know why this is the case, because they put completed on the ones that you complete. Why not keep the others listed, but not have the completed banner on them? Just because you didn’t meet your goal doesn’t mean it was all a waste of time, right?
11. Multiple Authors Listed in “My Books”
I love that you can choose to have authors listed when showing your lists of books. I don’t like that it only shows one author. I get that it would be impossible to list all authors on anthologies and collections, but I think we could at least list two. There’s always a lot of blank space there, anyway. You wouldn’t have to change the design or anything, just another name where necessary.
12. Threaded Comments
This is something that Cait mentioned in her post, and it’s so true that I wanted to put it again here (again, if we say it enough maybe they’ll listen?). The way that Facebook does threaded comments is great. Simple, but visually distinct enough so that you can see people replying to specific comments, rather than a whole glob of comments and people trying to make sense of everything.
13. List of Character Names
This is sometimes listed in the info of the book, but it’s not consistent. When it’s there, it’s super helpful for reviews or when going to read a sequel…because character names are hard to remember! And if you listened to the audiobook, they’re hard to spell. I would not have ever spelled any of the Ready Player One names right without looking them up first.
Setting is also helpful. (Thanks, Ready Player One!) (also there’s going to be a sequel?!? When did this happen?)
14. Giveaways Outside of the US.
As I was researching for this post, I found a lot of blog posts where people decided to not use/boycott Goodreads because their giveaways are almost always exclusive to the United States. I live in the United States so I’m not directly affected by this, but I can’t even imagine how frustrating it would be if you lived somewhere else in the world (which I imagine is the majority of GR users). It really should be addressed.
15. Multiple Star Ratings for Rereads
Look, our interests change! I’m thrilled that Goodreads allows options to reread books now, but I wish it would show different star ratings per time read. For example, I just finished rereading Order of the Phoenix and marked it down to 3 stars from its previous 4 stars, and it changed all instances of it to 3 stars. I understand showing the most recent one when listing it for other users, but in my own reading data, it should still show what rating I gave at that time.
16. Read Part of a Book
One reason why a lot of readers are afraid to DNF a book is because it won’t count towards their reading stats. I’m not sure why this is the case, since Goodreads already logs number of books read and pages. Surely you can have pages count without have to count the whole book? And what about if you read a chapter in an anthology, or any other book that wasn’t meant to be read start to finish? I’d love to be able to have it counted somewhere.
currently listening to // Your Love is an Island by Talos
What improvement to Goodreads would you like to see the most?
Am I just full of complaints, or have you had the same ideas as me?
Do you use any other app to track your reading?