If you find that Goodreads isn't for you despite being a book lover, or you just want to read up on the popular book cataloguing website's competition, here are five alternatives to Goodreads.
Shelfari is very similar to Goodreads, but with a few key differences. One is how you can categorize (and thus search for) books. On Goodreads, you can categorize books indirectly based on what shelves you put them on, but on Shelfari, you can categorize books directly by adding "tags" -- descriptive keywords or sentences, such as "coming of age" -- to books (as many as you want!).
Another thing that sets Shelfari apart is that it takes sort of a Wikipedia-like approach to its database. That is, it allows users to contribute and edit information about books and authors on file. This includes adding new books, merging duplicate entries about the same book into one entry, writing author biographies, and contributing plot summaries, character summaries, setting descriptions, memorable quotes, and more.
The one major downside to Shelfari is that it has limited support for reading books right on the website, or purchasing them from online book suppliers. The website is free to use, though.
LibraryThing is one of the largest Goodreads alternatives; as of the writing of this article, it had over 1.9 million users and over 95 million catalogued books. Like Shelfari, it allows you to contribute to information about a book or author, such as character names, plot summaries, awards won, and so on; it also supports "tagging". With that said, LibraryThing draws information on books from over 700 libraries worldwide, including the American Library of Congress. So if a book exists, you're bound to find something on it anyway.
Similar to Goodreads, LibraryThing offers plenty of support for buying or borrowing copies of books, or even reading free electronic versions. It also has an "Early Reviewer" program that allows you to win free copies of books in exchange for reviewing them.
One major drawback to LibraryThing is that it places a 200-book limit on your collection. You can eliminate this restriction with a $10 yearly subscription, or a $25 lifetime subscription.
The Reading Room is a website like Goodreads, but it has more of a professional edge to it. What we mean by this is that it's designed to be more of an authoritative database on books than a community of book enthusiasts.
Books are organized not only according to genre, but also by those that have won awards, are on the New York Times Bestseller List, have been recently released, or are on sale right now. The website also shows professional book reviews from the newspapers The New York Times and The Guardian.
Like most book-cataloguing websites, The Reading Room lets users create virtual bookshelves, and rate and review books. However, users are not allowed to edit book or author information, but they can report incorrect information to the website's administrators.
The website also has preview chapters, free giveaways for advanced reviews, and even some free e-books. However, you have to be signed up for the website to get any of these things.
The somewhat curious name of this book cataloging website comes from the scientific name of a common species of bookworm. It offers many of the same features as Goodreads, including being able to create and organize your own custom virtual bookshelves. You can base your bookshelves on books you have read, want to read, are your favourites, and so on.
You can also add personal or public notes to a book's information, along with famous quotes, and even sometimes music and video accompaniments. And, of course, you can rate and review books, join groups and discussions about your favourite books/authors/genres, and get or give recommendations on new books to read.
Note that aNobii has very little support for purchasing, borrowing, or reading books (though it does have some trade functions). It is also more popular among Europeans than some of the other sites on this list.
This is a relatively new rival to Goodreads, and it takes a bit of a different approach. In contrast to the more text-heavy layout that Goodreads uses, Riffle focuses heavily on visual elements, not only in terms of book covers and images, but also in terms of the website's overall design. Specifically, Riffle is designed to help people explore and discover books, with a heavy emphasis on connecting with and following the activity of other users.
In addition to the usual rate-and-review systems that Goodreads and other similar websites use, Riffle allows you to organize books based on which ones you've recommended, are reading now, or want to read. You can even create your own custom lists. You can also ask questions to other users, answer questions from them, or participate in groups and discussions. And, of course, Riffle also has support for purchasing books or reading (free) electronic copies.
Riffle has been compared primarily to Pinterest, so if you like those kinds of visual cataloguing websites, maybe Riffle will be just what you're looking for.
Have you used any of these websites like Goodreads? Was your experience good or bad? Is there something more that you can tell us about them? Are there other book cataloguing websites besides these ones and Goodreads that you've used, and think our users would like to know how to use? We'd appreciate it if you could share what you know in our comment section below!
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