As I mentioned in my last post about the demise of Google Reader, I often wake up here in Australia to find that things have moved pretty quickly in the world of publishing while I’ve been sleeping. Last week, another piece of news that I was alerted to by Twitter before I’d even had my morning coffee was that Amazon had acquired book based social networking site, Goodreads.
Whilst I think it is really too early to say with any certainty what this acquisition will really mean for readers and writers, there has certainly been quite a bit of outrage about it.
The word that has been bandied about quite a bit since this announcement on Thursday is ‘monopoly’, with a real concern that, if Amazon keep up their amoebic approach to dominating the publishing industry then we are going to end up with nowhere else to buy books.
In his announcement about joining ‘the Amazon Family’, Goodreads’ Otis highlighted the following positives about the acquisition:
I’m excited about this for three reasons:
1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.
2. Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we’re looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.
3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.
His third point is probably the one that resonated with me the most. Perhaps as readers and writers, we’ll see small changes with Goodreads over the coming months, but actually, the real part of Goodreads that Amazon is interested in is the data they have collected and that the link between the two will be behind the scenes, so to speak. That said, what will the carry on impact of that be back into the Goodreads community? Will writers be able to continue making valuable connections with their readers? Or will the dollar signs start taking over?
As I said earlier, I think it is too soon to really know what all of this really means. What is clear, however, is that as readers we need to be continuing to purchase books from a wide range of sources. Being based in Australia, my rule is that I’ll buy e-books from Amazon for my Kindle (app for iPad), but that I buy all of my hard copy books from local independent bookstores. While the books may cost a little more, I save on postage, waiting time for books to come in the mail and I get to support local people and local business (which makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy!)
You should definitely try it!