Smartphones are pretty nifty devices. All the conveniences and ease you could ever want is at the touch of your fingertips thanks to the millions of apps out there seeking to make your life that much simpler. Apps are changing the way we do online shopping, ordering food, or even paying for in-store purchases with a quick tap. The tricky part is wading through the overwhelming amount of options users have to find the hidden gems of the pack. One of those standout apps, especially if you’re an avid reader, is the Goodreads app.
Launched back in January 2007 and now owned by Amazon, Goodreads is the largest website/app for readers, authors, and general book lovers to come together to search for and share books. Whether you’re into classic literature, nonfiction, manga, graphic novels, or the paranormal, there’s a genre for everyone to look for their next favorite book. The catalog is quite impressive and I haven’t even fully delved into all that Goodreads has in its database. No book is too obscure to find, at least from what I’ve used of it so far. What I particularly love about Goodreads are its features to set a goal each year of how many books you want to read by the end of it and creating organized lists of all the books you have read and want to read.
Over the years my book reading habits have been on the decline. It isn’t because I’m not continuing to read books when I can. It’s more like I’m having difficulty squeezing in time to read books in between my desire to game or write. The Goodreads app (or website) allows you to create a personal goal of how many books you would ideally want to finish before the end of the year.
I’m a very organized person by nature and I’m always looking for ways to keep my life orderly and tidy. This also means I’m a huge fan of some kind of structure. By setting a goal, I’m feeling optimistic about reaching my target. I decided to start small by setting my book reading goal to 5 books read by the end of the year. While that seems like a pretty puny number, especially with the amount of months we still have left of 2019, I know myself and my schedule. If I set my goal to read 10 or 20 books before the end of the year, I know I’m never going to accomplish that. And when I’m not able to meet that goal, I tend to feel terrible afterwards. I take goals and commitments very seriously and I don’t want to set the bar to impossible. It’s about being really reasonable and practical about what you can and cannot do realistically. The other aforementioned feature I really enjoy on Goodreads is the Read and Want to Read lists.
I’m also a big fan of creating lists and this is a wonderful little component of the app. In my college days I’ve taken a ton of English classes, which means I’ve read many books, alongside the personal reading outside of my class syllabus. Thinking about all the books I discovered and fell in love with because of these classes made me long to have a more organized and accessible record of every book I’ve ever read so far. Even some of the ones I might be embarrassed about. Hey, we all have at least one or two books that we probably wish we never read, right? After adding all the books I was able to remember off the top of my head or was able to find in my book shelf or storage bins, I’ve read a total of 103 books so far. Not a bad number, if I do say so myself. You’re also given the chance to rate the books you have read and add them to a favorites list. Just like the Read list, you can also keep a neat list of your Want to Read books.
The Want to Read list on Goodreads is a godsend. Whenever I see an interesting book in a bookstore or get a book recommendation from a friend, I always want to be able to remember these titles at a later time for when I eventually get around to reading them. However, the way I used to keep tabs on these titles would be to add the books to my Wish List on Amazon. Not really the best system for organizing these books, but it was all I had. When I finally decided to create a Goodreads account and download the app to my phone, I moved all my list of future books to read to the app/site. Now, when I actually finish all the books I have at home I can quickly pull up the app and choose the books from the list I want to read next and then borrow them from my local library. Or purchase them on Amazon, too. But for every positive Goodreads has, there are bound to be some negatives.
One of the main things I noticed about using the Goodreads app, versus the web version, is not all features are available on the app. The Community portion of Goodreads is only accessible on their website and not the app. Things like quizzes, trivia, groups, and many more falling under the Community umbrella are nowhere to be seen on the app. If you really want to embrace your full on book nerd persona and use any of these features, you can only do that by going on their website. The only thing you can really do on the app is create the lists I’ve mentioned above, find friends, explore genres, search for books, and read the Goodreads blog. I find it odd that the Community feature is conspicuously absent from the app and I wonder why Community is not on it to begin with.
Despite the absence of the Community on Goodreads, it’s still a good app to have handy when you’re on the go. The main purpose of the app is to keep track or search for books you want to read. It meets its goal and then some. I’m kind of kicking myself for not making Goodreads a part of my life sooner, especially when I knew about this website/app for a while now. But as I always say, better late than never.
Are you a book fan that uses Goodreads? What’s your own experience with using it?