Well, I guess it had to happen eventually — greedy Goliath Amazon with its insatiable corporate appetite has bought my beloved Goodreads. Here are some initial thoughts I shared on the site with fellow Goodreaders:
I find this news to be both disheartening and worrisome. Amazon is a financial Goliath and its perpetual lust for supremacy in the book world has crushed many Davids under its boot heels.
The company’s goal to monopolize the ereader market with the Kindle and its proprietary file format is a frustrating, unnecessary barrier to readers as is Amazon’s attempt to monopolize sales exclusively through its site, cutting all other retailers out of the game.
I’m a librarian in Canada who continues to be disappointed with Amazon’s refusal to allow library lending on its devices. While this restriction has been lifted in the US, it continues to be a point of contention in this country. Should library borrowing of ebooks ever be allowed for Kindle devices in Canada, I fear the sheer cost for libraries forced to purchase Amazon’s proprietary file format will result in another stranglehold on the size and diversity of our collection.
I cannot help but conclude that this is not a good day for Goodreads and its millions of users.
I’m not a Kindle user (I’m more a fan of the egalitarian EPUB devices like the NOOK and Kobo) and I do not buy from Amazon because they have pissed me off more than once getting their greedy corporate hands on several books I wanted that suddenly were only retailing through the Amazon store. I *hate* that kind of monopolization. Especially when it comes to books.
Amazon has also been no friend to libraries or independent booksellers, and that pisses me off. I’m also nervous about the fate of my Goodreads reviews and if they are now “owned” by Amazon to do with as they see fit. To alleviate a little of that anxiety, and as a form of protest, I am reviving my little blog in order to have a “safe place” for my reviews to live on if the worst should happen. So over the next little while I will be performing a fair amount of “review dumping”.
I suck at math, but if Goodreads offered its users a paid membership in order to stave off this corporate invasion, I’m sure the majority of the community would have opted for that. What’s 25 dollars times 16 million (+ or – a few million)? Otis, I wish you had come to us first, man. We built this site together. Didn’t you think you owed us anything after all that?
And now I can’t help but wonder…is this the day that Goodreads died?