GoodReads isn't Good (in any sense). So what are the alternatives? πŸ“š (spoiler: @ItalicType)

As @cdevroe recently observed: “GoodReads isn’t very good. This only interpreting ‘good’ for a UX perspective. When, like the bookworm you are, you consider all the different meanings: ethically good, such as isn’t run as a data harvesting arm of Amazon, the world’s most efficient surveillance capitalism outfit every built or good design, such as has been thoughtfully curated in a way that an author would be proud of with a novel or good for humans to use, like uses humane design principles, like Finite in terms of building small social networks that are replicated in the real world.

When you consider all those meanings of the word which GoodReads claims in its title, you realise it’s even more Not Gooder. In fact so not good, that we really need an alternative.

Here’s 2 for your consideration:

1). ‘The Predictable Competitor’: The StoryGraph sqsp

Big focus on replicating GoodReads style without Amazon: sqsp

So suffers many of the same shortfalls:

Functionality: it’s in beta so still getting there. I like the html tags .

Ethical: Growth business model (“Join for Free! What’s your business model? For two years we’ll obfuscate and then mercilessly sell your behaviour change yay!!") 40k free users, 5k weekly engaged. The sort of growth which gets you NewStatesman articles.

Design: no effort to make a gorgeous, luxury experience.

Humane: For example, main focus is on Recommendations. This means it falls into GoodReads inhumane design faults. Constantly teasing you with infinite possibilities, rather than focussing on enhancing the experience of reading the book you are reading now. Also, less focus on privacy. I.e. all reviews are automatically published publicly.

2). Slow & Beautiful: Italic Type sqsp

I can’t adjudicate on who copied who’s logo. But, as I’m fortunate to be one of the private beta testers, I can adjudicate on whether it is good:

Functionality: big focus on social note-taking of the reading experience. I have requested switch from page to chapter based logging, which also solves problem of comparing between editions.

Ethical: Emily & co. are exploring a subscription-based freemium model. Let’s hope they design a good privacy policy.

Design: so gorgeous. I mean: just check out their landing page. I have recommended they experiment with a visual UI of a bookshelf, to give it a tactile feeling.

Humane: most important aspect. Knowing Emily and her journey, she runs an awesome brainy bookclub in Chicago, and she is trying to replicate the book club experience online (their original idea was a book club management software). Hence, she’s less interested in ItalicType allowing you to build vast networks of virtual peers who can book-shame / overwhelm you with recommendations, but rather allow you to share a communciation space with a small number of (presumably) real-life connections. If you’re one of mine, and are interested in reading any of my recent reads, hit me up for a beta invite. I’m now syndicating my brief reviews to the β€˜Arts Books' Topic here, but here’s a snapshot of my recent reads:



Engage: Have you spent more time trying out StoryGraph? Are you aware of any other promising competitors? Do you wanna stick up for Amazon GoodReads? Send me a link to your article or [email protected] and I’ll append your comment!

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