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As someone who reads a lot, I like to track my books so I can remember everything I’ve read. The GoodReads app and website make it easy to track what I have read, what I am currently reading, and what I want to read in the future.
I first started using GoodReads in June of 2021. When I created my account, I decided to start over fresh and not log any of the books I had previously read. I logged everything as “want to read”, giving me an opportunity to re-read some of the books I haven’t read in a while.
This absolutely is not something that you need to do, I just wanted to share how I have used GoodReads! For most people, it makes the most sense to log the books you have already read and mark them as such.
Now, before we get into how to use GoodReads, it will be super helpful to understand what it is, when it started, etc. Let’s take a look at it now!
What is GoodReads?
GoodReads was launched in 2007, but it wasn’t really well-known until about 2013 (when they were bought by Amazon). The app/website was created with the purpose of letting people track their books, write and read reviews, and get book recommendations from others.
Think of it as a social media platform, but ONLY for books. You can see what others are reading, like and comment on their reviews, add friends, and find and share books that you love.
Easily find new books to add to your account with the search function using an author name or book title. GoodReads also gives you personalized book recommendations based on what you have read in the past!
The app and website also make it easy for you to browse book lists for new releases, themed lists, and specific genres to help you find your next read.
Is GoodReads Free to Use?
Yes! GoodReads is free to use for everyone. There is no monthly fee, no “add-on” charges, and no upgrades! All of the features offered by the app and website are always free to use.
How to Use GoodReads
Using GoodReads is actually really easy! They designed the website and app to be very user-friendly so everyone can use it without having any issues.
First, you will either download the app on your App Store or visit the website.
When you get to the GoodReads website, or open the app, you will see a section that allows you to create an account or sign in. As a new user, you will need to create an account.
There are a few different ways you can sign up. First, you can sign up using your Facebook account. By signing up with Facebook, the two accounts connect and share data with each other.
You can also sign up with your Amazon account. GoodReads is owned by Amazon, so signing up with your existing Amazon account can make tracking your books easier. If you have a Kindle, this might be the best option as you can easily mark books as “currently reading” right from your device!
Signing up with your Apple ID is also an option when signing up with GoodReads. You can choose whether you want to share your email when you sign up, which is good for privacy.
Google also has a signup option on GoodReads. This option lets you sign up with an existing Gmail account, avoiding the need to create a new password.
Finally, there is the option of just signing up with your email. You just enter any email address, enter some information, such as your name, and create a password.
After you sign up, you will be prompted to add in any books you have already read. These books will be added to your “read” shelf, allowing you to keep track and allowing GoodReads to give you personalized book recommendations.
There are three shelves automatically set up when you start. They are “read”, “to-read”, and “currently reading”. These are the only shelves I use on my account, but you can add as many shelves as you want. For example, some people add shelves for “DNF” (did not finish), or “Books By My Favorite Author”.
As you start adding books to your “read” shelf, make sure you rate them. GoodReads takes your ratings into consideration when recommending you books. If you just add a book, but you didn’t like it and didn’t give it a rating, you will receive recommendations based on that book.
If you can remember when you read the book you are adding, you can also add the dates that you read it. This is helpful for keeping track of what books you read when, but it isn’t a required entry!
As you start reading a new book, you can mark it as “currently reading” in GoodReads. This adds a start date, making it easy to track how long it took you to read a book.
While a book is marked on your “currently reading” shelf, you can easily update your progress as you read. You can do so by either entering the page number you are on, or entering a percentage (easiest when using a Kindle device as it tells you the percentage through the book).
When you finish the book, you just need to click “I’ve finished!”, and the book moves to your “read” shelf. In most cases, when you mark a book as finished, GoodReads automatically adds the end date. If this doesn’t happen, you can adjust the end date yourself.
Utilizing a start and end date is a great way to help you understand your reading speed. It also helps you track which books you read when, which is helpful should you ever want to create a monthly reading wrap up of your own!
Using the “To Read” Shelf
The “To Read” shelf is by far one of my favorite parts of GoodReads. I can’t even tell you how many times I have seen a book, thought “wow, I really want to read that”, then completely forgot what it was called and have never remembered.
Thanks to GoodReads, you never have to worry about that. All you need to do is head to the app or website, search for the book title while you are thinking of it, and add it to your “to read” shelf!
When you are about to start reading a book that you have shelved on “to read”, you can just navigate to your profile, click on your “to read” shelf, and change the status of the book to “currently reading”.
If you have a massive “to read” shelf like me, you can also use the search function to look for the book, open the book page, and change the status there.
For each book you read, you can give a rating of up to 5 stars. Your rating system is completely up to you – there aren’t any special requirements. However, it is important to keep in mind that the higher you rate a book, the more likely you are to receive recommendations similar to that book.
With your rating, you can also leave a written review of your thoughts on the book. These reviews are public, but you can hide your review if you are leaving spoilers.
Now that you know how to generally use GoodReads, let’s take a look at some of the other features offered. These features are meant to make your reading and book finding experience easier and more enjoyable!
When you search for a book on GoodReads, you can click into its book page. On the book page, you will see all of the information about the book, including which of your friends have shelved the book and how many people are currently reading it.
As you scroll down the page, you will see an author bio section. Here, you can learn about the author, see how many books they’ve written, and follow them to get updates on new releases.
After the author bio, there are recommendations based on what other readers of the book have liked. This helps you find other books to read based on what you already know you like.
Below the recommendations is ratings and reviews. If you are on the page of a book you have previously rated on GoodReads, your rating will show here. You will also see your friend’s ratings of the book in this section. Finally, you will see the average rating of everyone who has read and rated the book along with any written reviews.
On the bottom of this page, you can also see popular quotes from the book, discussions you can join, and questions that have been asked. You can also see other books in the series, other books by the author, and book lists on GoodReads that feature the book.
Another one of my favorite things about GoodReads: giveaways. Authors and publishers will list a giveaway for free books on GoodReads that you can enter for free!
You can enter as many giveaways as you want – there is no limit. If you win a giveaway, the publisher or author will send you the book you won completely free.
GoodReads is all about connecting with others that have a love of reading like you do. That’s where the community comes in! On the website, you can access the community in the top menu bar. Hovering over the community tab, you will see a link for “groups”, “discussions”, “quotes”, “ask the author”, and “people”.
When you click into the “groups” page, you will first see an area for featured groups, popular groups, and groups reading your “to read” and “currently reading” books. You can click through these groups and find one that fits you, or you can look for groups based on tags found on the right side of the screen.
When you click into a group page, you will see a description of the group, the category of book the group reads, tags that are used by the group, videos, currently reading, announcements, members, and their bookshelf.
If the group is public, anyone can join and invite friends. If the group is public, you need to have an invitation to join the group and friends can’t be invited.
Discussions allow you to connect with other people who have read the same book as you and want to talk about it. There are a few different ways you can use the discussion page.
First, you can see discussion topics you might have already joined in on. They will appear on the left side of the screen and you can see any updates or responses to your participation.
There is also the option to start a new discussion topic. If you want to discuss a book that isn’t already being talked about, or you just want to start a new discussion about it, you can!
You can also use the right side of the screen to search for discussions by book or by author.
Here, you can see popular quotes from books, add your own quotes, and like other people’s quotes. These don’t necessarily have to be from a book, but they mostly are!
Ask the Author
On this page, you will see featured authors and any authors you follow. You can click the “ask” button next to their name and ask them those burning questions you have about their books. You can also view other questions that have been asked and answered by the author.
Use this page to view top readers and reviewers of the week, month, year, and all time. This is an interesting way to see how others read, rate, and review the books they reader your own inspiration!
Browse is a great way to find new books. You can browse by recommendations, which pulls the books on your shelves and analyzes them to determine what you would like to read.
You can also browse by Choice Awards. This allows you to see the best books of the year and vote for your favorites. You can also see what the most voted books have been and choose one to read!
Next, you can browse giveaways. You can see which books on your shelves are part of a giveaway and find new giveaways to be a part of yourself. This is a great way to find new and upcoming books to read!
If you are looking for a brand new book, you can browse by New Releases. This page will show you new books coming out by author you have previously read and new releases by genre.
Listopia is another great way to find books you might like. You can browse through lists created by others based on specific tags, you can create your own lists, you can vote for lists, and you can like lists.
The friends feature makes it easy to connect with people you know that also like to read. You can add them to your friends list and keep up with what each other is reading!
You can also make new friends on GoodReads who have the same taste in books that you do. You can like and comment on what your friends share, so they know what you are thinking about what they’ve read!
There you have it! Now you know how to use GoodReads and what some of their best features are. Head over and sign up now to easily track the books you read and want to read!
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