41 comments on “Goodreads vs LibraryThing vs BookLikes

  1. hey Charleen,
    I’ve been a member of LT and BL for a few months. LT definitely doesn’t have the level of interaction you get. I found it really difficult to use, even after importing from goodreads. I can remember signing up for a Readathon but even that’s limited interaction. I signed up to time slots & that was it!
    goodreads groups are great for discussion & posting reviews & keeping track of books. Even after all the drama, I’m gonna stick with GR (unless something just as good comes along).

    • if Goodreads can weather all the behind the scenes nonsense, it’ll be because it has the absolute best website (except, like Nathan mentioned, its search function). Nothing else comes close, and people will stick with it because of that.

  2. I joined book likes but it Is not for me, Goodreads has always worked fine, despite its horrible search function.

    One friend told me BL is more like an intro blog, thus its appeal to her. But I see no where near the interaction that I see on GR.

    • The search on Goodreads really is awful. I’ll never understand how sometimes it works fine and others it gives me nothing close to what I’m looking for. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. The other slightly-silly thing I noticed with BL is the partial stars. I’ve always rated on GR’s definitions and tend to have a bell-curve of lots of three star reviews. Now that I’m using BL I’ve been wondering if I should switch over to a half star scale.

    It is funny the things we think and worry about…but I think when it comes to blogging we all want to have the best network and social media that we can.

    • I wouldn’t worry about adding them unless you feel you actually need them. Personally, I have no use for half-stars. If I suddenly gave myself twice as many options, I’d be weighing every book against every other book I’d ever rated, trying to figure out if it was a 3 or a 3.5… and then what if I decide it’s really a 3.25, then I’m still in the middle and forced to round. Where does it end? So, even on BL and LT which do allow half-stars, I don’t use them.

  4. So I decided to try out Booklikes and Riffle and I’ve decided – I’m not a fan of Booklikes. It IS essentially a bookish Tumblr. Its just another type of “blog” it isn’t at all even remotely similar to Goodreads. I haven’t tried LIbrary Thing and don’t plan to. Riffle I like well enough but still has some glitches. Its a good place to blurb books because you can’t put in a long review there is a character limit. So again not so great but definitely better than these other places. I’m sticking with Goodreads.

    • No, BookLikes really isn’t comparable to Goodreads at all. Once I realized that, though, I started to enjoy it for what it is instead.

  5. I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything so far that makes me want to shift away from Goodreads. I don’t want to work too hard :) and I’m pretty satisfied overall with Goodreads. Granted, I don’t really participate in discussions very often, but for what I’m looking for — tracking my own reading, seeing what my friends are up to and reading their reviews, etc — it works just fine.

    • It is the best all-round site for that, but after everything that went down a couple months ago, I just really don’t feel comfortable posting my thoughts there the way I used to, so I don’t get quite as much out of it unfortunately. I miss when it was an independent, reader-focused community.

  6. It’s interesting reading this comments thread. I’ve never managed to use any of the book social networking sites very much — I always intend to start using Goodreads again, as I have an account and I know a lot of people love it, but it never seems to happen. Whereas LibraryThing I do use purely as a cataloging site. It’s great at that, anyway!

    • See I’m not sure I’d want to use it for that. Having to add books through other catalogs and not finding the exact edition I was looking for would bother me even more if I was cataloging my physical books.

  7. Booklikes looks neat. But I already have a blog. I think if maybe I didn’t already have a blog then I would totally jump on board. I looked at it though and did think it was neat. I like goodreads. I have made a few friends on there… some even into real life.

  8. I’ve been sticking my head in the sand regarding the GR behind the scenes nonsense, because it is hands down the best bookish site out there (in my opinion) because of the community aspects. I absolutely love that whenever I click on a book, I can see all my friends who’ve reviewed it, rated it, or added it to one of their shelves. Also, I like that it can be another way to connect with other book bloggers who have similar interests even if I don’t follow their site religiously — there are only so many I can keep up with! And even the blogs I do follow regularly, it’s nice that sometimes I can see reviews from before they were blogging or from before I started following them if I happen to be looking at a book we have in common. I’m not going to realistically be able to pull up a review of a specific book from a blog’s archive on a whim, but if that blogger also has their review on GoodReads, it’s right there in front of me when I go to the book’s GR page! Hopefully the behind the scenes stuff will get sorted out, but barring something truly horrible happening, I’m going to continue using the site.

    • Oh and looking back at the comments about GoodReads search function, I haven’t had too much trouble with it, but sometimes it really is totally wonky and I can’t figure out what the heck I did wrong! (I guess it really shouldn’t work like that though!) My other (minor) quibble is that I really wish I could “like” a review from my update feed — you can expand it to read the entire thing and you can even comment on it directly from there, but there is no option to like which I find rather irrationally irritating.

    • That really is the best thing about it. It’s fun seeing the “friends’ reviews” section getting longer the more connections you make.

  9. I love GR for the community and interaction. You won’t find that anywhere else (at least, not in the same way).

    I love LT for its cataloging and tagging abilities. It’s really meant to be used as a catalogue of the books you own. It’s the best site out there for that.

    I really don’t like BL. It’s just like Tumblr and has the same issues Tumblr has with interaction/community type stuff. I’m using BL, but it’s my least favorite of the three.

    • It can be, although I think that even maintaining updates on all three, I’m not spending as much time as I used to on Goodreads alone.

  10. I’ve already pretty much stopped using them all.

    I have been keeping track of what I’ve read on goodreads (and will for the rest of the year), but I have literally zero interaction with anyone because I’m kind of pulling back.

    If I stay, it’ll be to continue using it like I have for the last month or so.

    Which makes me so sad.

  11. I liked Goodreads because of the community, but that community is gone. It’s now a site for authors to promote their work, not a place for readers to connect with one another. Kind of sad, really. I used it quite a bit until recently, and now I can’t make myself care if it lives or dies. I know other people have started separate blogs to do book reviews, and I might do that, too, at some point. Maybe.

    Really, I just wanted to keep track of what I had read and get some recommendations. GR did well with the cataloging bit, but not so much at the recommendations. Their algorithms were totally off for me. It always irks me when a website presumes to know me but regularly demonstrates its ignorance.

    • “It’s now a site for authors to promote their work, not a place for readers to connect with one another.”

      Yes, exactly this. I’d already started becoming disenchanted with GR for this exact reason. I was tired of all the marketing, the friend requests, the messages… and then came the whole review-deleting nonsense which is what finally got me to act. But really, it had been going downhill for a while. Even before Amazon bought them, the site had been heading in that direction.

      • I both agree and disagree on these particular points — yes, it’s annoying to get a lot of self-published author friend requests, but I certainly don’t need to accept them. And the community aspect I enjoy most is opening a book’s page and having a collection of reviews from friends/bloggers and seeing who’s rated that book or added it to their shelf — and all that is still there. I see negative reviews written by my GR friends all the time — I don’t think I am friends with anyone high profile enough that a negative review of theirs attracted any kind of attention. And I will admit, I’m not fully informed on the situation, but it was my understanding that GR is trying to eliminate author bashing and reviews that have nothing to do with the book, but instead attack the author — I do not condone or respect this from reviewers regardless of how poorly an author has behaved. I am a firm believer that a book review should be about the book and if people want to rant, there are plenty of other places they can do it. You’re still allowed to write that an author’s writing is shitty if that is what you believe, you just can’t, for example, write about how the author said something mean on Twitter and that’s why you don’t like her books. As a user of GR for the purpose of reading book reviews, that is so NOT what I want to read about when I read a review. I just want to know if you liked the book or you didn’t like the book and the book-related reasons why. I think another thing that was happening was that one person had a bad interaction with an author, and then a whole ton of people basically spammed the author’s books with negative reviews/ratings — that is just childish, if you ask me. I just took a look at GR’s review guidelines and I honestly see absolutely nothing wrong with them (https://www.goodreads.com/review/guidelines) Enforcing new guidelines without notifying people wasn’t cool, but I cannot see how those guidelines could be a bad thing. ::shrugs::

        • No, I don’t have to accept those friend requests, and I don’t, but they’re still annoying to get. Not to mention the messages and the event invitations. I don’t want to have to make my account private in order to avoid the attention of a small but vocal minority of site users. I kept hoping they’d implement some sort of setting where we could opt in or out of communication with users who have author profiles. I’ve obviously given up on that dream… and interestingly, since reducing my activity over there, I haven’t been getting bombarded nearly as much.

          I already laid out my opinion on everything that went down (Goodbye to Goodreads?, back in September) so I won’t rehash it here. Time has passed and it isn’t as raw, but I still can’t agree with anything they did. Actual harassment, sure, get rid of it… but this went beyond that, and I just can’t feel comfortable sharing my reviews there anymore.

          • An opt out option would be awesome! I will admit though, I really haven’t been “targeted” much by authors, so that could definitely be why it doesn’t bother me as much. I was totally out of the loop when this all happened, and this may be a selfish take on the situation, but in the end it doesn’t feel like it really affected my experience on the site — so as a result, I don’t have qualms continuing to use it or post reviews, BUT I totally get why some people do. I really wish they would have thought this whole thing through better from the beginning because it really wasn’t handled properly and it has alienated a lot of readers that were contributing excellent stuff as well as those that were being abusive/harassing — the whole “throw the baby out with the bathwater” analogy comes to mind.

            There is one blogger I follower who I know is not posting full reviews on GR anymore due to what has happened, but she still gives books a rating and then writes just a line or two with a link to the full review on her blog — and I have to say I’m personally glad she’s chosen to do this. I really don’t care if I read the review on GR or a blog, but opening up a book’s page and seeing that particular friend has indeed reviewed that book is very useful information for me as a reader. Obviously if someone is against using the site altogether or is against posting reviews, I have no right to expect them to do that, but I did think it was an interesting compromise.

            OK enough of my rambling in your comments section — I didn’t get into the conversation much the first go-round, but it seems I can’t quit talking now! :)

  12. I’m a big fan of GoodReads. I love the multiple shelves and I’ve made great reading friends there. I’m pretty active in several groups and am very happy I found them!

    I do have to say I’ve been frustrated with some of the more subtle changes GR has made since Amazon bought it. One day all my cool book widgets in my blog stopped working, no warning or notification that was going to happen. I don’t see why they would revoke simple shelf-based code functionality.

    • That is odd. Especially since one of the big exciting changes about the Amazon thing was supposed to be more money for more staff for more cool features… not fewer. I wonder if it was just a bug though?

  13. I have a Goodreads and a Slice account, and as it is for you, Goodreads is my #1. I love the spoiler tag feature (the only other place I’ve been able to do something similar is on LiveJournal, with the “cut” feature) — which has let me expand on some of my blog reviews. And I love the ability to specify the edition; I’m like sj in my love of great book cover design. Maybe it’s a nostalgic thing too — I want to show exactly which book I read.

    I tried Slice Bookshelf for that Insatiable Booksluts contest, and I still have my account. I like the more visual nature, with the larger cover images, but I haven’t gotten much discussion/community out of it. And last time I checked, you couldn’t even use basic html tags (I wonder if that’s b/c of its connection to Facebook?).

    • Ah, Slice. I did create an account for the contest, but I knew that unless it was an absolutely incredible site I wouldn’t stick with it. The FB-only log-in was a major turn-off for me.

      And for what it’s worth, BookLikes did introduce spoiler tags. I don’t include spoilers in my reviews so I’m not certain they work exactly the same way GR does, but I remember seeing an announcement when they introduced it.

      • Oh! That’s good to know! (re: BookLikes adding spoiler tags). I often want to discuss the spoilery parts of a book — especially with the October Daye series. There’ve been many specific points, both good and bad, that I’ve wanted to either glee over or snark upon. It’s always a good time :)

  14. I joined BL but never went any further than that and don’t actively use it. So it is really interesting to see all the comparisons and it seems GR is a clear winner. If only all the messing would stop, then I’d have no reservations whatsoever about GR. And I use GR equally for cataloguing and to check friends reviews. Since I started using it this year, I’ve faithfully added and rated every book I’ve read and it’s a great way of tracking those that catch my eye as well. I have to admit when it comes to adding what edition of the book I’m reading I don’t care! I just choose the first one I see. I try to match the cover but if I see one with a nicer cover, I might pick that edition!

    • GR really does have the best user interface, hands down. It’s a shame about the behind the scenes stuff tainting the site for so many people. But really, when the readers no longer come first, they can’t pretend to be the same community they’ve always been. And like I mentioned in an earlier comment, it seemed to be trending that way since before Amazon.

  15. I haven’t really used BookLikes or LibraryThing – mostly because the user interface turned me off, so I was glad to read your post. It seems like sticking with Goodreads is the best option for now, until one of the others steps up it’s game! I don’t use Goodreads for social much though, so if LT or BL improves it’s cataloging and interface, I might make the switch!

    • BL is relatively new so who knows what they might do as they continue to grow, but I’m pretty sure LT has had the same look and feel for years… so I wouldn’t count on anything changing any time soon.

  16. I’ve been using BL to see how it matches up to GR. In the end I realized it’s probably not the best comparison to make since they are different. LibraryThing somehow never really was on my radar.

    Anyway, I love GR because I’m constantly discovering new books, and I love how book info and reviews are all in one place for each book. The overview’s perfect to check out books at a glance. Besides, GR has established itself as my book organisation platform.

    BL on the other hand, feels like a chore because I already have a blog, and shelving books just feels like I’m doing double the work after shelving on GR. So in a way I feel quite meh about it. I’m just sticking around to see if any new interesting developments come along or if I can think of a way to complement my actual blog. So far, nothing has come to mind =/

    • Yeah, BL and GR really aren’t anything like each other. I’d like to start using BL more but, like you, I just can’t think of a way to get the most out of it. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I have all three, though I just recently added a BookLikes account, and still feel best served by GoodReads. There are things I do like about the others, though. I love the look of the shelves on BookLikes, as well as the ability to rate by half stars there. The data that LibraryThing collects is great, but I agree that the site just feels clunky and outdated. I so wish I could combine some of the best features of each one and make my dream site.

    • Oh, wouldn’t we all love our dream site? One big thing on my list would be no authors! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great (usually) how connected we all are thanks to the digital age, but I want my reader site to be a place for readers, not a place to be marketed to.

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