Amazon Acquires Publishing-Oriented Social Media Site Goodreads

Amazon Kindle Fire - P 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire - P 2011

The online giant solidifies its dominant place in ebooks by adding the site that allows book lovers to recommend titles and start reading clubs.

Amazon announced today that the company had acquired Goodreads, one of the leading social media sites for book lovers.

The price of the acquisition, which is expected to become final in the second quarter, was not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, Goodreads allows users to track books they want to read, read user reviews and start book clubs.  

The site now has more than 16 million members and hosts more than 30,000 book clubs.  Members add "want to read" recommendations to their virtual bookshelves at the rate of more than four books per second.

Goodreads fits with Amazon's evolving digital strategy by complementing its "x-ray" technology, which pulls up additional information for users of its Kindle reading platform and Prime video streaming service. For example, a prime viewer can see an actor's complete IMDB listings or a Wikipedia page on a place mentioned in a novel.

In addition, it strengthens its dominant Kindle ebook business. One of the biggest concerns for publishers in the transition from print to digital is the discoverability of new books, a role formerly filled by the "hand sell" of bookstore owners recommendations. Goodreads has emerged as an important platform for digital discoverability.

"Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike,"  said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content.

Otis Chandler, a software engineer who founded the company in his living room after stints at and, added, "I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world.

Hugh Howey, the author of Wool, a self-published book that became a bestseller through word-of-mouth recommendations on Goodreads, celebrated its role in helping readers find new books in the announcement of the deal. “I just found out my two favorite people are getting married. The best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books – To Be Read piles everywhere must be groaning in anticipation.