In today's issue of Industry Insights, we're talking about Goodreads alternatives — because how could we, as authors, want anything more?
When it comes to book reviews, Goodreads is notoriously ruthless. It is the first online space that has created a home for bookworms to establish a "career" in reviewing the written work of authors (outside of blogging, which has petered out in recent years). While objectively this feels innocuous, the very existence of Goodreads has impacted the publishing industry in so many extreme and unpredictable ways.
Like most social media platforms, a large following often = power. Therefore, of course, the reviewers with the largest following wield the unique power of convincing their following to either purchase or petition against certain releases, despite the fact that this is a definitively opinion-based platform.
Again, while we see this pretty much everywhere online, when a potential reader decides to research a new or existing release via Google, it's Goodreads reviews that tends to pop up in the first two or three search results. With over 100 million users, Goodreads is a force to be reckoned with within the publishing industry, and can either be a positive force that bolsters the success of one's book — or an anchor that sinks your ship before it's sailed. However, in the last few years, Goodreads has shown stagnation (for one reason or another) and this has opened up for a series of alternatives.
Its leading competitor, as of now, appears to be StoryGraph. What is likely most interesting about this platform is that it's completely devoid of ads and instead offers users a $5/month subscription service to keep everything running. (There is technically a free tier, but I'm not sure about what it offers. Likely not a lot.) According to the research I've done recently on this company, it has ballooned up to 322,000 users, and offers a refreshingly clean, quiet, and non-toxic (currently) environment. While most of us are authors and not readers who've built our platforms on reviewing books, considering a presence on StoryGraph now, as an author, could be beneficial in the same way having a Goodreads presence is. For more on this new competitor of Goodreads, check out this official review of it.
Another large contender is LibraryThing, which actually existed before GoodReads and has around 2.7 million users. What's interesting about this platform is that it acquired Litsy, which syncs to the LibraryThing's database and is described as "if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby." Which could be cool, I think. I haven't personally checked it out yet.
Other competitors include Oku (formerly Readng), BookWyrm, and BookSloth.
The reality about these reviewer-based platforms, however, is that Goodreads has been king for a while for a reason: 100 million users is really, really hard to contend with. I don't imagine it will be dethroned anytime soon, so, as authors, it's important for us to pay attention to the undeniable power it holds. The reason I mention these alternatives is predominantly because it's always good to keep a finger on the pulse of what's impacting publishing — and for new, exciting ways to engage with one's readership.
So, if you're looking for more readers, why not check out these Goodreads alternatives? With a presence there, you could tap into a whole new readership!