Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Goodreads could be a good buy for Amazon

I had been meaning for a while to follow up my previous comments on http://www.goodreads.com/. In conversations at home, I had speculated why it wasn't better connected with my existing Ebook purchases. I didn't want to have to search for the book I was reading, I wanted Good Reads to auto-update whenever I bought a new book for my kindle or from the iBooks store.

So from a user point of view, I was more than a little surprised by some of the backlash to the announcement Amazon had purchased the site. In my mind, this could be a really great collaboration.

I have a number of issues with the Good Reads site. For one, the search functionality is poor. It is very unforgiving for spelling errors: we don't always remember how to spell an author's name, or the exact wording of a title. Amazon, in contrast, has incredible search. Regardless of whether you like or dislike Amazon as a service, if they were able to incorporate this into Good Reads then that is a great result for users.

I also really hope, as above, Amazon incorporate a link up with Good Reads on Kindle. I don't want to have to manually type in what recent ebooks I have purchased (and again be irritated when they don't show up in search, because I have forgotten the exact wording of the title).

There will also be great benefits for Amazon too. They tried, and (in my opinion) failed, to make a community work on Kindle, by showing what phrases people have highlighted or statistics for people who had read the same book. I'm not really interested in that. What I do want to see is what Good Reads has done a great job of capturing: what I've blogged about before as "friend-to-friend" peer recommendation. Even more powerful than the peer-to-peer word of mouth we have seen with TripAdvisor and other mainstream review services, this shows us what people who we have a genuine connection with are recommending. Amazon's reviews might offer some sense of what others make of a book, but think what power there would be in seeing reviews written by those you trust, whose opinion matters to you. That's where the power of this new relationship could lie.