GoodReads, an Online Literary Salon

GoodreadsGoodReads is a niche social sharing site for writers and readers. It’s a place for people who read.  There’s lots of fun features that make this site a great place to hang out. GoodReads has bibliographic records for published works with links to Amazon for purchase and to WorldCat to find libraries that own the book. Each GoodReads entry has reviews. As a writer, you can create a profile for yourself and publicize your work. Your postings live on your GoodReads page and are shared out to your followers.

A GoodReads feature that I really enjoy is that I can see what my favorite authors are reading, what works influence their writing, and get recommendations for books that I know I’ll enjoy. Here’s Lisa Brackmann’s GoodReads page as an example – see how she’s binging on Dennis Lehane, five-starred Liz Michalski’s Evenfall and Tim Hallinan’s Queen of Patpong and researching her next Chinese thriller? I love it!

Authors often create special topic forums, as Edgar award-winning author Denise Hamilton recently did with the publication of Damage Control. The discussion was wide ranging and particular, about crime fiction, perfumes and scents as clues.  You can see how Hamilton incorporated the GoodReads feed into the publicity for Damage Control, published by Scribners.

Readers also have a profile that can be set to public or private – here’s mine,  set to public. You can add books to your shelf, review them and rate them too. Each book can be assigned to a shelf, so that you can organize your reading and your reviews. There’s also a To-Be-Read shelf so that you can remember what books you want to read. It’s your own personal library. You can like other readers and follow their reading and reviews. As with other social media sites, you can push your reviews and comments out to Facebook, there’s a widget that incorporates your feed on a website or blog, you can invite friends and post events. Here’s how I use GoodReads to promote my favorite authors, by placing the GoodReads widget on the AshlandMystery website.

There are a couple of reading/book specific features that are a lot of fun. You can create a quiz for a book, add questions to a quiz that someone else has started and also take quizzes and see how well you score. You can swap books, enter book giveaways, set reading goals for yourself, create a list of favorites on any topic (listopia), establish a group for like-minded readers or join one.

Register at and try it out! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

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