Amazon have a terrible reputation when it comes to user interfaces.
There are some amazing things about Amazon. I use Amazon often. But the website sucks; search is pretty much broken (it's like web search used to be); Kindle ebooks sometimes have laughably terrible typography.
Similarly, I don’t know anyone who is very confused by Amazon property IMDB.
Amazon.com search may not be as good as Google’s, but it isn’t the worst thing ever. I will agree they still need to work on relatively basic things like spelling correction. But remember A9? Amazon have certainly invested in search. And certainly their book search is worlds better than GoodReads’ is! Basic things like "hitch-hiker's" vs "hitchhickers", IIRC, have tripped up GoodReads search, but don’t make as much a difference on Amazon.
(Should also mention that the interface I am discussing is the one with which I’m familiar: their current iPhone app as-of 2012–2013.)
There is also no capability to discuss only up to a particular portion of a book or any easy way to read books together etc.
The product has a lot of potential, but there are some fundamental usability issues holding it back imo.
There are two sides to this : goodreads clearly needs a better interface and reviewing system on the one hand, on the other hand, what if amazon decides to restrict it to content bought from amazon?
I hope the site stays independent and is not merged into amazon
I update my progress all the time, when I finish a book, or every evening my current progress on the books I read. Using their Android app is pretty darn quick, and I get a lot value out of it.
On the other hand, my Kindle has mostly Project Gutenberg or other out of copyright books, only bought a handful new ones, so I personally don't care much about the syncing with Kindle. Some people also complain about too much noise in their friend feed about progress updates, so I guess some thought needs to be put into the implementation.
This fixes a big hole that a lot of people (at least, a lot of people on Goodreads) have been clamoring for.
Definitely an obviously good acquisition.
We want to let you know about a change on our site that is impacting some of the books on your shelves. It's important that you read this and take action by Monday, January 30.
For years, we've used Amazon's data for information such as the book title, author, and publication date. Unfortunately, the terms required by Amazon have now become so restrictive that we decided it makes better sense to work with other data sources. However, the deadline to make the transition is Amazon's, and they have told us that we must stop using their data by January 30. We have to meet this deadline.
We've been adding data from other sources and now know which books still need help. You are receiving this email because we need new sources for 2 of the books on your shelves.
First, please be assured that none of your reviews or ratings are in danger. Not a single review, comment, shelving, or rating will be lost in this transition. We have a system in place to preserve your reviews and comments for any books at risk until we can find new sources. That's the most important thing—your data is 100 percent safe.
What can you do? The good news is you can rescue your books. Saving a book is easy. Just click the "Rescue Me!" button next to each book edition that needs help, and fill in the information on the following page. A few keystrokes can help preserve these books for millions of future readers.
Rescue your books!
It takes only a few clicks, and you will be doing your part to make sure these books remain available for other readers like you. We appreciate the passion you bring to Goodreads, and we apologize for the short notice. If we could have prevented this inconvenience in any way, we would have done it. Ultimately, this change will be better for the members of Goodreads and long-term success of the site.
If you don't want to rescue your books, you can also export your books to a spreadsheet so you have a record of them.
All the best,
Otis & Elizabeth
Then again, Tony Hsieh is still at Zappos, right?
Also, only the paranoid survive.
Making large strategic plays makes sense when you're talking about a purchase that is a large percentage of your own company's market value. It does not make sense for a tiny buy. This would be like refinancing your mortgage to buy a Big Mac.
If Goodreads just gets attached on a per device basis (like Twitter), then it's no problem, but if it gets integrated with the Amazon account itself (as some people seem to be suggesting) then I don't see how we (and many others like us) could use it.
The incremental cost is in keeping shipping addresses and credit card info up to date in two accounts vs. one and in having to remember which account was used to order something if we need to look up order info.
The only advantage in having separate accounts is when it comes to commenting and reviewing; I'm picky about only having reviews that I've written listed under my name, so we got separate accounts when she wanted to review some purchases. Many people (and probably most nontechnical people) do not care at all about the "benefits" you mentioned. Plenty of couples share email accounts too. I've even seen shared Facebook accounts.
From your description, it sounds like you really have two accounts, but you just do all your purchasing from one.
Sharing a free email account just seems like an exercise in frustration. The whole usage model for email - inbox, notifications, read/unread, filing, deleting - is designed on the presumption that the messages are being consumed by a single individual. I've always viewed sharing an email account as something that old folks do because it maps to their model of a physical mailbox, or because they're too feeble to maintain / login to multiple accounts.
Having worked for Amazon, I suspect you're not getting the benefit of a lot of their recommendation technology if you're sharing an account. It's not just about purchases - it's about every page in your clickstream and how that's used to find products you'll like. We actually had projects in some services dedicated to reducing sharing of accounts, partially for that reason.
"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."
Atleast I'm glad it was Amazon vs "Any Other Big Corp" because I believe that Amazon will keep the service alive vs shutting it down or trying to absorb it somehow.
Goodreads is the largest community of book readers in the world and so they would be able to provide their tools for book groups and conversations about books that Amazon is sorely lacking.
GoodReads having better Google positions for books than Amazon? boom, they buy them.
I am personally a little afraid of this monopolistic behaviour. But hey, capitalism, I guess...
Lots of people were afraid of what would happen to BookDepository post-sale, but pretty much none of that has happened. (I'm particularly grateful that free worldwide shipping didn't disappear!)
Try some proxies and simulate visiting the site from different places .... yes, their prices vary based on from where you visit it, so they add the shipping to the basic prices.
To this day, since I first joined near its founding, I am astonished that there is still no way to search for the highest rated and voted books within a genre.
Instead, one is left to rely on heavily skewed "Lists" or "popular" books or their (annual) Award system.
In short, at this time, Goodreads for books is far less useful than say, IMDB is for movies. I actually find Goodreads less useful than Amazon itself for recommendations!
Goodreads has reviews of content quality. Amazon will muddy that immensely with reviews of every other part of a sale if they do any integration into Amazon (unless they plan an overhaul of their reviewing architecture - I'd love it, but I doubt it).
Amazon have a fairly good history of letting the companies they acquire stay fairly autonomous and independent.
One thing that I had noticed about Goodreads was that Amazon was always at the bottom of the online store referral list. Because of that, I took them to be Amazon hostile or adverse (perhaps reading too much into that). But, I went to the site today and now Amazon is at the top of the online store referral list.
Goodreads has a fairly reasonable recommendations engine based on the book collections people have inputted into the site, so I'd imagine that information might be very interesting for Amazon to capitalise on.
Did Zappos get murdered? No.
Did Quidsi get murdered? No.
Did Shelfari get murdered? No.
(Note: I'm biased.)
Amazon has a strong motive to prevent any alternate review service from gaining traction as those Amazon reviews drive sales.
In three years there's been no updates to Shelfari and that was my biggest peeve against Goodreads - lack of update) and absence of even a half decent mobile app(I use Android).
So, looking at Shelfari's fate one can say that Amazon has bought it for anything but continuing the development and doing sth about it's questionable interface.
Hope LibraryThing stays afloat. Would like to move my data there. Just in case.