How to Use Goodreads

Once you've signed up for Goodreads, it's time to start using the website!  How, you ask?  Well, that's a bit of a difficult question, since (as we demonstrated in our How does Goodreads Work tutorial) there are a lot of different things that you can do on Goodreads!  We'll be going over some of them in our later tutorials, but for now, the first step is to log into your (new) account. 

To do this, go to in your web browser.  When you reach the Goodreads website, click in the boxes in the top-right corner and type in your email address and password, respectively.  If you're using a public computer (or one that other people might use), you may want to click the check box next to "Remember Me" to prevent yourself from staying logged in after you finish; this prevents others from being able to automatically access your account by accident. 

Click Sign In when you're done.

Now that you're logged into your account, let's have a look around at some of the features that you can use on Goodreads.

Home Screen

This shows you general updates on what's going on surrounding you and the books, genres, authors, or friends that you like on Goodreads.  You can see popular books, new events, blog (online journal) posts, ratings and reviews, and more.  You can click the gear icon () here to filter your updates based on what they are or who they come from.

You can also click the Discussions tab to switch over to chats you've been having with other Goodreads groups or members about certain books.  You can filter those updates in a similar manner.

My Books

This is a list of all of the books that you have added to your collection on Goodreads, including those you have already read, are in the process of reading, or want to read next.  The left part of the screen shows you this information, organized into categories called "bookshelves".  The number next to each bookshelf shows you how many books are in the shelf.  You can also create new bookshelves by clicking Add Shelf, typing in a name for your bookshelf, and then clicking Add.

The main part of the screen lets you see details about the book, including its title, author, average rating, your rating, which bookshelf you have it on, the date you finished reading it, and the date you added it to your collection.  Some of this information can be edited by clicking Edit beside it. 

At the top of the screen, you can change how many books display at once, and what information is displayed about them, with the Settings menu.  You can also use Batch Edit to quickly move multiple books between shelves, see graphs of how quickly you read books in Stats, Print your list of books, or change how your book lists display.


Here is where you can see and link to information on the people you have connected with on Goodreads, including books that they're reading or are popular among them, as well as what you have to say about them.  You can also see information on readers or authors that you're following, as well as people who may be following you.

You can also come here to add more friends; the process is pretty much the same as it was in step 3 of our How to Sign Up for Goodreads tutorial.


If you've rated at least 20 books on Goodreads (see step 5 of our How to Sign Up for Goodreads tutorial for a bit about how to rate books), Goodreads will recommend certain books to you, based on what you like or don't like.  You can use the menus on the right to sort your recommendations by what books are on each of your bookshelves, or by what genres you like. 

You can also ask for or receive recommendations from your friends or other Goodreads users, or give some recommendations of your own.  Or, if you don't think you'll like a book, click Not Interested to remove it from your recommendations.


This screen lets you browse for books based on their genres, their popularity, how recently they've been released, and more.  It also allows you to search for books if you're looking for one with a specific name, author, or I.S.B.N.  See our Goodreads Search tutorial for in-depth instructions on how to search on Goodreads.

...and more!

Clicking the small triangle next to the Explore menu will give you even more options of things to do on Goodreads!

These include:

  • Genres -- Browse books from your favourite genres, or search for a genre by name.

  • Listopia -- View, create, and edit lists of books based on certain themes, such as "Best Fantasy Novels" or "Best Books of the 20th Century".

  • Giveaways -- Enter to win free books!  Also, check the terms of each giveaway, and review giveaways that you've entered.

  • Choice Awards -- View the most popular books on Goodreads in each genre for each year.  You may even be able to vote for your favourites on Facebook or Twitter!

  • Popular -- Browse the most popular books on Goodreads of a month or year, based on how high their ratings are and how often they are added to users' bookshelves.

  • Goodreads Voice -- Get a look between the lines of your favourite books with profiles and interviews of popular authors and users on Goodreads.

  • Ebooks -- Don't just read about books on Goodreads... actually read them!  Goodreads has a small selection of electronic books, or "e-books", that you can preview, purchase, read for free, or even download right onto your computer! 

    See our How to Read Books on Goodreads and How to Download Books from Goodreads tutorials for more information on how to use this feature.

  • Trivia / Quizzes -- How well do you know your favourite books?  "Trivia" allows you to answer random questions submitted by users about famous books, while "Quizzes" lets you answer specific sets of questions about a particular book or author.  You can even create your own quizzes!

  • Quotes -- Looking for memorable lines from your favourite books, or maybe some legendary quips by famed authors?  You'll find them here.  You can also add some of your favourites!

  • Groups -- Find and join custom book clubs of users on Goodreads and get talking about your favourite books, or create your own group!

  • Creative Writing -- Original stories and poems written by Goodreads users like you.  Browse by genre, see what's new or popular, check out what your friends have written, or share your own writing!

  • People -- See what the Goodreads community is up to.  Search for users based on whether they're currently online, where they are in the world, what they're reading or reviewing, or how popular they are.

  • Events -- Find out what's going on in the literary world in real life!  Search for an author appearance, book club meeting, book swap, or other event near where you are, see what your friends are arranging, or create your own meet-up!

There's more to discover about Goodreads, so stick with us and check out some of our other tutorials!


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