Finding alternatives to Goodreads

Screenshot of my profile on which is a potential alternative to Goodreads

I’m a little late to the Goodreads review scandal. Late last year, an author whose debut book was due to be published, wrote several fake reviews of books by other authors that were due out at the same time, and posted positive fake reviews of her own book. Unfortunately for her, she was found out, and dropped from her book deal.

But, as the above-linked New York Times article states, Goodreads isn’t in a good place right now. It’s been around since 2007, although I joined in 2016 and first blogged about it in 2017. This was after Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads in 2013.

In the almost eight years that I’ve used Goodreads, it has barely changed. There have been annual Readers Choice Awards, and the annual reading challenges, but other than a change to book information pages in 2021, it feels like Amazon has basically abandoned it. The iOS app gets ‘bug fixes and performance improvements’ on a regular basis, but I suspect that these are updates to downstream code libraries and not a result of actual work by Goodreads developers.

Its recommendations of new books to try have always been terrible, and it’s reliant on volunteer librarians. Which wouldn’t be an issue if Goodreads was a non-profit, but it’s owned by one of the world’s most valuable conglomerates. Giving away labour for free to such enterprises doesn’t sit well with me, even if it’s something I’ve done a lot in the past.

So, Goodreads both has a problem with fake reviews, and a lack of interest from its owner. So what are the alternatives?

The Storygraph

I tried out The StoryGraph about a year ago. You can import your reading history from Goodreads during the onboarding process, and its recommendations are much better, as its design. There are mobile apps, reading challenges, and giveaways where authors can offer limited free copies of their books, presumably to generate some reviews.

The StoryGraph does have social features like Goodreads, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way of importing contacts from elsewhere. Quite a lot of my friends use Goodreads and I’m sure some of them use The StoryGraph too, but I don’t know how many because I can’t seem to find them. If there’s an ‘import contacts’ option in the iOS app, then I haven’t found it.


Another site that I’ve heard about, but haven’t yet signed up to, is Bookwyrm. It uses ActivityPub and is therefore part of the Fediverse, so you can follow people using Mastodon clients, for example. You can use the instance, but you can also install and host it yourself. Importing from Goodreads (and other services) is supported.

I’m aware of some friends who use Bookwyrm, so it may avoid the issue I’m having with The StoryGraph where I can’t find my existing contacts.

And there are many other Goodreads alternatives

I found this list of Goodreads alternatives, which mentions 31 (!) sites that you could consider. Bookwyrm and The StoryGraph are both listed, as is LibraryThing which actually pre-dates Goodreads.

I suppose it will come down to what my existing friends use, and getting large numbers of people to change platforms happens rarely. We’ve seen many challengers to Twitter rise and fall over the years (Andy Baio posted an excellent eulogy of Ello this week) and it’s only because X/Twitter has become utterly terrible in the past 15 months that a significant number of people have moved to the likes of Bluesky and Mastodon. And some are still left behind.

If we follow that model, then Goodreads would have to become significantly worse, before people start looking for alternatives en masse. Right now, it’s just stagnant; clearly not a priority for Amazon, but not so badly broken as to require much of an intervention. I certainly can’t see it joining Bookwyrm in the Fediverse.


Screenshot of my profile on Goodreads

I probably don’t need to tell you about Goodreads, the social book recommending web site. After all, it’s used by millions of people, including over 50 of my own friends. But I am anyway.

I only recently joined Goodreads – recently being a year ago. For many years I didn’t read books; I didn’t have the time or the inclination to do so. But since restarting my Audible subscription last year, I’ve become more interested in books again. The advantage of an audiobook is that you can listen to it whilst doing something else, such as housework or commuting. This gets around the issue of not having time to sit down and read.

Goodreads became a good way to catalogue the books that I’ve read, and find new books to read. As you read and review books, Goodreads can recommend other titles similar to those that you’ve read. You can also see what your friends are reading, and what they thought of the books they’ve finished.

Goodreads integrates well with Facebook, and so you can see what your friends are reading without having to add them as friends separately. Friends can also be imported from Twitter.

Whilst originally independent, Amazon purchased Goodreads in 2013. Consequently, you can link up your Amazon account, and this allows you to import your previous Amazon book purchases. This is quite helpful if you’re new to the site, as it allows you to import your books in bulk.

As you’d expect, there’s also an app for iOS and Android devices. This includes a barcode scanner for adding books to your lists.

You can find my profile here. If you know me, feel free to add me as a friend if you haven’t done so already. I’ll continue to review books on here from time to time – right now, I’m listening to The Long Earth (sponsored link) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.