Fresh from my adventures with Shelfari, I’ve also signed up to Goodreads. I investigated them both and went for Shelfari simply because the website appealed to me more, but having had quite a lot of fun with one reading site, I thought why not double it?
Goodreads does very much the same, although there are some things it does not do as well, and some things it offers that are far better. The basic review and rate, mark as read and collate your reading stats is very similar. Contacting and following other readers is a similar process and they both seem to have very sizeable book databases.
The only downside to Goodreads for me is the aforementioned look and feel of the website. Shelfari has lots of hidden features and isn’t exactly perfect in terms of navigation, but I do find the Goodreads site to be slightly unintuitive and I’m not a big fan of the lack of capital letters in menus and lists.
Having said that, there are bonuses to using the site. When you have written a review and rated a book, a screen instantly pops up asking if you want to share what your thoughts. Twitter and Facebook are represented, of course, but equally you can share it to your blog. Pressing that button will bring up some copy and paste code that writes a post (with front cover picture!) you just have to publish. If you want it to be even simpler, you can set up your blog with password in Goodreads and then just hit the button.
I really, really like this feature because it’s all very well sharing all this insight and reviews on a third party site, but I’m a big fan of taking control of your content and keeping it in one place as well. If Shelfari or Goodreads goes down, I want to know I have a backup of my words. I’ve been working through my Casual Reader posts, and the plan is to separate the books up instead of having them in bunches of three. I’m also uncovering some old book reviews from my hand-coded website of old. This Goodreads click-to-publish feature may come in very handy.
There’s also a Goodreads app which is useful if you want to rate and review on the go. I think you can also read some public domain works in there too, but I must admit I haven’t used it very much.
Ultimately, I think my heart still lies with Shelfari, but there seems to be a lot more buzz around Goodreads. I’ve set up my author page over there, and I’m gradually getting caught up with what I have read. Now I’ve done all that, I can find time to actually read some more!