Amazon added to its impressive collection of websites on March 28 with its purchase of the social book cataloging site Goodreads.
San Francisco-based Goodreads — a type of social network on which more than 16 million bibliophiles share thoughts and opinions on all manner of books — was the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Otis and Elizabeth Chandler. The Chandlers birthed their “baby” in 2007 with the mission of creating “a better way for people to find and share books they love.”
In addition to its network of independent reviews and recommendation sharing between friends, Goodreads plays a large role, albeit inadvertently and unpredictably, in helping publishers advertise their wares.
Scooping up a competitor is not an unprecedented move for Amazon, and this acquisition can be seen as the logical next step for the company after its purchase of Shelfari and LibraryThing, two of Goodreads’ primary rivals.
Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, was philosophical about how the Amazon-Goodreads partnership could impact readers’ experiences in the present and not-too-distant future.
The two companies helped invigorate the realm of digital reading, Grandinetti said. Goodreads pioneered a change in how people discuss books and discover new authors, he added, pointing to Kindle and its revolutionary method for mobile digital reading.
On Goodreads’ blog, Otis Chandler indicated that a top priority will be to make the mobile e-reader, Kindle, compatible with Goodreads. The deal will allow Goodreads to reach new book lovers and deliver an improved experience to its current community. Further, Goodreads can continue to function independently and keep the branding and one-of-a-kind culture that has made the site immensely popular.
Goodreads will remain in San Francisco and, according to Chandler, will retain the look and feel of the site’s cherished community. Financial details of the acquisition were not released.
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