A better way to review books online?

A good read

Angela is absolutely right in her post about the sorry state of Goodreads.

Last year, I lamented the poor design of Goodreads — a much-needed platform where readers can review books they’ve read and track those they want to. Poor search functionality, ugly aesthetics, an embarrassingly terrible recommendation algorithm, and buried club and group features make the site unpleasant to use. Since the story came out, Goodreads hasn’t done much to improve its deficiencies. Instead, it seems content to rest on its laurels as a near-monopoly owned by Amazon, benefiting from its massive existing user base while being, apparently, deserted by its design team.

It is a joke, even ebay has made changes to improve not just the look but experience of their system (not to say its great however). Goodreads feels like sites before web 2.0 boom. Regardless it has a massive audience, I can’t work out why either?

The post talks about all the different examples people are doing to create their own goodreads alternative using sites like Glitch and Medium. Its a good-read (pun intended) but I found it interesting there was no mention of some of the indieweb (hreview microformats) and fediverse systems (Bookwyrm).

Of course all of them require more technical effort than a webly, glitch, etc but I thought it would be worth mentioning.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at cubicgarden@mas.to, cubicgarden@twit.social and cubicgarden@blacktwitter.io

3 thoughts on “A better way to review books online?

  1. @cubicgarden I look at stuff like Bookwyrm and absolutely despair a bit. It’s great, but when something is only available to people who can run software like that, it’s basically just not available at all.

    1. cubicgarden says:

      I don’t despair but rather look at it and think, its great they are moving the needle forward. We just need others to come along and rethink the user/creator experience.
      This pretty much applies to a lot of the fediverse stuff, mastodon is a good example of how it get closer to the experience people are expecting

  2. @cubicgarden.com Oh absolutely – and your point about the fediverse stuff is bang on. But the problem is that almost all these kinds of open efforts get to the point of being installable by nerds, and then no further – because the audience who would most benefit (normal people) are not the audience it’s created for.

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