Goodreads seems so mainstream now but back in 2007, this mammoth site was just an idea. The following quote from co-founder Otis Chandler on the Goodreads website explains the network’s genesis:
One afternoon while I was scanning a friend’s bookshelf for ideas, it struck me: when I want to know what books to read, I’d rather turn to a friend than any random person or bestseller list.
So I decided to build a website – a place where I could see my friends’ bookshelves and learn about what they thought of all their books. Elizabeth, my co-founder (and now my wife) wrote the site copy and I wrote the code. We started in my living room, motivated by the belief that there was a better way to discover and discuss good books, and that we could build it.
In just seven years, the site has grown to 20 million users who love to read. Authors have flocked to the site as well because in subtle ways they can use it as part of their marketing platform by offering giveaways, starting discussion groups, and generally being a reader who builds bookshelves and writes honest and thorough reviews.
But “the bullies,” as some writers refer to reviewers who denigrate authors, have caused a stir and a number of authors have chosen to leave Goodreads for newer platforms. In this post, I review three alternatives for Goodreads that writers have: Riffle, LibraryThing, and BookLikes.
Publishers Weekly asked this question, “Could Riffle be the Pinterest of Book Discovery?” It’s an excellent query. Riffle, which doesn’t have the depth or versatility of Goodreads, is a venue where you can create visual bookshelves of books you’ve read and want to read.
To get started, navigate to www.rifflebooks.com. It’s home page displays a series of large images and has a fresh appeal. Click “Go to Riffle now” and sign up by entering your email and a password or by using your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Next, you will be directed to select the categories of books you like to read. You can also select a category that best describes you. You also have the option to define yourself as an expert within your niche.
Once that’s done, start to add the titles of three books you’re reading. Riffle will search through Amazon to match your title with its corresponding cover.
Similar to the previous question, now tell Riffle about three books that you enjoyed reading.
Based on the categories you chose above and the books you’ve read, Riffle will find 15 people for you to follow. Note: You can unfollow them at any time.
You’re now an official member of Riffle. Here is the coding system the site uses to help its users distinguish books you’ve liked from books you have yet to read.