GoodReads is a social networking site for readers, allowing users to add their book collections to online bookshelves and then share those collections with friends. Books can be stored on different book shelves, rated, and reviewed. You can compare your collection to that of a friends, with the site giving you a side-by-side comparison of ratings for the books you have in common as well as a percentage indicating how much alike you are. It also supports a cool group feature that allows you to have a group reading list, and then talk about that list in a discussion forum.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, the site has exploded among my webified friends in the last few days, leading to a steady stream of friend requests as we migrate en masse to the new service. This isn’t the first such service I’ve used; I have a bunch of books that I’ve reviewed for Radio Active on LibraryThing, but LibraryThing never reached critical mass among my friends. This has.
I think there are two reasons why GoodReads is spreading the way it is. The first is Facebook; the GoodReads has a Facebook app that allows you to do the “compare with friends” bit through the larger social networking site. The other reason is Twitter; almost all of my friends on GoodReads are also on Twitter, and after a few tweets about the service a number of new people signed up. LibraryThing doesn’t have either of those advantages, despite enjoying a good reputation among the Getting Things Done productivity crowd.
Then again, maybe it’s all just a diabolical plan of the folks at the Secret Lair podcast.