How to Get the Most Out of Goodreads

How to Get the Most Out of Goodreads

YouTube and Facebook may be more popular, but, for a true reader, Goodreads is THE real social network. However, there is much more in there apart from book ratings and reviews, and not many users get the most out of it. In this quick list I will guide you through some of the most interesting Goodreads functionalities that perhaps you don’t know were there.

Goodreads giveaways

Yes, in Goodreads, you can enter contests and win books for free. On many occasions, these books have not even been released yet! Go to the Browse menu, select “Giveaways”, and take a look at the novels offered. You can filter the results and see what giveaways are ending soon, which ones are the most requested or which ones have been written by a famous author.

Once you have spotted a book you’re interested in, press the button “Enter giveaway”. It doesn’t get any easier than that. You just have to make sure that your country is eligible for that particular giveaway and that you have provided your postal address (with your real name on it). If you win the giveaway, they will contact you in advance.

After you win, it is customary to leave a Goodreads review as a sort of thank you. You’re not obliged to do so, and nobody is going to blame you if you don’t, but I think it is fair. After all, the authors and publishers who offer the giveaways do so in the hopes they can get some buzz and word of mouth.

Goodreads deals

The deals are not for free, but they’re heavily discounted. Basically, you pick your preferred genres, and Goodreads will send you an email daily with the best offers from Amazon, Kobo, etc.

The difference with other book mail marketing services is that you can personalize this email and include the books you have selected as “Want to read” and those deals by the authors you follow. Unfortunately, it is a service only available in the US, so I have not tested it myself.

Never-Ending Book Quiz

If you have some time to kill, you can put your literary knowledge to the test with the never-ending book quiz that you can find in the “Community” menu. Never-ending means almost that, and if you think there are not enough, you can always add your own questions.

You have your stats listed on the left so you can see how many questions you have answered correctly, how many you have failed or skipped, and your ranking in Goodreads.

Goodreads groups

Like Twitter without the drama, like Facebook without annoying holiday pictures and constant updates from your aunt. The groups are one of the most interesting areas of Goodreads.

There are thousands of them covering all kinds of topics, and you can join them or leave them at will. Some groups have freebie days where you can get free books or nice deals, while others have a virtual bookshelf with interesting novels by a specific genre or author. There are polls and discussions, and if no group fits your interests or you find that something is missing, you can also create your own.

Goodreads stats

With Goodreads, you can also take a look at how many books you read last year and how that number compares with the year before. You can access this functionality by clicking on “My books” and then clicking on “Reading stats” under “Your reading activity”.

You can also check how many five-star ratings you have given, how many books you have read from a particular author or even join a reading challenge. For the last one, just fill in the field provided with the number of books you plan to read during the year and then press the button “take the challenge”.

Don’t worry, there are very hardcore readers in the website, but you’re only competing against yourself. Just pick a reasonable number so you don’t get disappointed at the end of the year. The key is to push yourself just a little bit. For example, I normally read around 50 books per year, so I wouldn’t compromise myself to read more than 60!

Goodreads friends

Do not forget that Goodreads is a social network. We have talked about groups before, but you can also befriend other users or follow them. In this sense, it is similar to Facebook. A friendship relationship in Goodreads goes both ways, so when you befriend someone, each one of you can see the other’s reviews. When you follow another user, it only works in one direction.

Do you want to add me as a friend in Goodreads? I will be happy to accept your friendship! Follow this link to go directly to my user profile. When you’re there, you just have to click “add as a friend” beneath the “about me” section.

Book Recommendations

Goodreads has an algorithm that makes book suggestions based on the information it has gathered about you.

To be fair, for me, this is the most interesting tool on the whole website. But for the algorithm to work properly, you have to feed it with as much information as you can. In order to do this, you need to rate many books and indicate which ones are your favourite genres.

It is also a good idea to inform Goodreads of the books you’re not interested in. You can do this by clicking “not interested” when the book appears on the recommendation page.