If you’re a book lover who hasn’t fired up a Goodreads account yet, you’re missing out. Half social media, half catalogue, Goodreads lets you wander the stacks of a nearly endless library or bookstore—where the staff recommend new reads based on your personal preferences, steering you toward great literature from both traditional and independent publishers instead of simply plugging whatever’s new, bland, or overstocked.
Sound like a dream come true? Here’s how to start living the dream:
Goodreads asks for a name, email, and password when you sign up. If you like your social media accounts linked together, you can use a Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon account to sign in as well.
Add Some Books
Under the “Home” or “My Books” tab, you can search for books you have read, are currently reading, or want to read, and add them to your personal Goodreads bookshelves. Goodreads’s library contains millions of titles—from the “Big Six” to small independent publishers—and you can also add titles if the search function doesn’t find what you’re looking for.
Rate and Review Your Books
When you add books to your “read” list, don’t forget to give them a rating from one to five stars. Ratings help Goodreads recommend books you’re likely to enjoy. Writing a review also helps the books you enjoyed most float to the top of other readers’ recommendations and build your network on Goodreads. Reviews are a great way to help writers you know get paid.
Get Social (If the Mood Strikes)
Like any public library, Goodreads can be as personal or social as you make it. If you want to stick to browsing book options and building your own shelves, you can—or you can join discussion groups, start a book club, and share your shelves and reviews so that you can talk about books with other avid readers. It’s up to you!
Brick-and-mortar publishing is anything but a meritocracy. It’s easy to find books from the biggest publishers, and tough to find books from smaller independent publishers, even when some of the best literature you’ll ever read comes from a small press. Goodreads helps level the playing field for your favorite writers, and it helps you ensure you’re finding the books you love—not just the books with the biggest marketing budget.