[Photo: Me with my first Kindle in 2008]
The writing is on the wall for slow and steady demise of ereaders, so why can’t I shake my Kindle habit? Currently, I’m reading on my fifth Kindle, the Paperwhite. The first three broke, and I left the fourth on an airplane. Clearly it isn’t the durability of Kindle that keeps me hooked.
I simply love to read, and in my opinion, the Kindle offers the best reading experience — for now, anyway. I can read any book I want, uninterrupted for hours and hours. The screen won’t flash with notifications and messages; apps won’t ping my device asking to be updated; and I won’t be tempted to abandon my book for some mind-numbing yet highly addictive game (ahem, 7×7).
One of the things that publishers and authors (and publishing conference organizers) love about Goodreads is the amount of data the company is willing to share about their users’ behavior.
Amazon, on the other hand, is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to sharing data with the publishing community.
We can only hope that Amazon won’t impose this same policy on Goodreads. The publishing industry needs all the information it can get about readers and potential new customers.
Here is the official press release from Amazon.com:
SEATTLE—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Mar. 28, 2013— Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads, a leading site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.
“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “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.”
“Books – and the stories and ideas captured inside them – are part of our social fabric,” said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. “People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. 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. We’re looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally.”
“I just found out my two favorite people are getting married,” said Hugh Howey, best-selling author of WOOL. “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.”
Following the acquisition, Goodreads’s headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 2007, Goodreads now has more than 16 million members and there are more than 30,000 books clubs on the Goodreads site. Over just the past 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
“You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.”
So where does this leave advertisers and publishers? It leaves all of us looking for new ideas and wondering about the future of ad-supported media.