From its initial launch through it many updates and upgrades, I have closely followed the rise of the Amazon Kindle, having wrote about it a few times over the years in The Quest. I also was very intrigued by the rising popularity of the book-reading social media site Goodreads.
About a week ago, Amazon announced that these two worlds will collide, snapping up Goodreads and bringing along its approximately 16 million users. Inevitably, the Amazon folks will likely integrate the social media site to bolster the Kindle reader and app.
Now, this news would have been great, say, three years ago, when the Kindle owned the e-reader market and its competition hadn’t fully materialized. But now, book lovers have a wide range of choices, particularly the Nook from Barnes & Noble, the Kobo eReader, the Sony Reader and, of course, Apple’s iBook app for their family of mobile devices.
What’s more head-scratching about this purchase is the fact that Amazon still owns a social media site, Shelfari, which in recent years hasn’t really set the world on fire. What happens now that Goodreads is in the mix? Does that mean Shelfari gets put down?
From an author’s standpoint, this whole business brings up a few questions. First, what does that mean for Amazon’s Author Central, which shares the same functionality as the Goodreads author profile? Is Amazon planning to merge the two?
And what about titles formatted for other ebook readers? For example, I have Flagrant Foul available for all of other readers, thanks to Smashwords (which I’ll go into more detail about some other time). Amazon, as part of participation in their KDP Select program, doesn’t exactly like title availability too much, as authors can attest to with the nastygram they get from Amazon, complete with links to where their ebook can be purchased elsewhere. Does that mean that links to the other ebook sites on Goodreads will just go away?
We’ll all see how this whole thing shakes out. As an author, I hope it goes a little better than that Shelfari deal.