Is Goodreads Free?

One thing you may want to know before you start using Goodreads is: "is the website free to use?"  The answer is "yes, for the most part."  It costs you no money to do the following things on Goodreads:

  • Create an account

  • Rate and review books

  • Add books to your virtual bookshelves

  • Search for books

  • Read certain e-books

  • Join groups of people who enjoy certain types of books

  • Post a message in a discussion forum about a book or book-related issue

  • Do other fun things such as take quizzes, participate in giveaways, and sign up for newsletters

In fact, there are really only two things that you can do on Goodreads that will cost you money: purchase books and advertise.

Purchasing books on Goodreads

Goodreads doesn't sell books itself; instead, it directs people to retailer websites, where they can purchase books.  Some books will have previews on Goodreads; if you like the preview, you can proceed to a retailer website and purchase the full book.  Goodreads gets a cut of any sale made this way. 

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

Advertising on Goodreads

If you're an author on Goodreads, you can place advertisements on the website to promote your book.  It's a cost-per-mention system, so the more people who click your link, the more you have to pay. 

For more information on advertising with Goodreads, click this link.


Anyway, that's a little bit of information on what's free or not free on Goodreads!

Goodreads Review

Thinking of joining your fellow bookworms on Goodreads?  Here are some quick good and not-so-good points about the website.


  • Free for all book lovers — Goodreads doesn't cost any money to sign up for or use.

  • Join a virtual book club… or two, or three! — Goodreads is a very social-focused website, so you can join groups of people who like the same kinds of books that you do and have discussions about your favourite works.

  • Connect with fellow bookworms — Goodreads also offers support to link your email and social media accounts, so it's easy to keep in touch with friends who are already members on Goodreads.  You can also use these social media connections to let your friends know what you're reading now.

  • Keep your library neat and tidy — You can organize your books by putting them on virtual "shelves" that indicate if you've read them, are reading them now, or want to read them in the future.  You can also create custom shelves if you want.

  • Find a new favourite tome — By reading, reviewing, and rating books, you'll get suggestions on which ones that you might want to read next.

  • Get your hands on a copy — Goodreads includes tools that help you buy books from online retailers, or borrow them from libraries.


  • Don't judge a book review by its cover — There are instances where people leave reviews or ratings based not on the quality of a book, but on a personal relationship with the author.  They may give their own books (or those of their friends) good ratings or reviews, and trash-talk books by rival authors.  As with most other websites that allow reviews, it doesn't hurt to maintain a little skepticism.

  • No support for loaning books — Certain other reading-oriented websites have "loan-out" features where you can keep track of who has borrowed your books and who wants to borrow them next.  Goodreads doesn't have anything like that.

  • Interface is a little lacking — Some people just generally don't like the layout or formatting of the Goodreads website, or think that there is too little cataloguing information for books.  They claim that this makes the website difficult to use.

The Bottom Line: 8.5/10

If you love books, Goodreads is one website you're definitely going to want to get to know.  As one of the most popular literature-oriented social networks, you'll not only find tools to help you organize and expand your collection of great reads, but also join conversations with other people who like to turn pages as much as you do!  Fun little games and activities give you a way to pass the time, and it's all free of charge to use!

The main things to be aware of when using this website is that its interface might take a bit of getting used to, and not everyone's opinion will be totally credible or one that you will agree with.  Once you learn how to use the website and stick to its best features, it's both a great tool and a great entertainment and social hub for book lovers, whether you're into hard-covers or paperbacks.

What Is Goodreads?

If you love to read books, Goodreads is one website you should definitely have a look at.  It's a huge online catalogue of literature from every genre, from science fiction to romance to mystery, from biographies and non-fiction to graphic novels and comic books.

But it's so much more than that.  With the host of social media features it uses, Goodreads isn't just a static archive; it's a dynamic community of book-lovers. 

  • Tell Goodreads some books that are your favourites, or that you're thinking of reading next, and you'll get suggestions on other, similar books to read that you may not have thought of before.

  • If you've got your eye on a certain book that you want to read next, but don't already have it, Goodreads will help you buy it off an online bookstore, or borrow it from a local library.

  • Feel like releasing your inner critic?  Rate and review a book after you've read it to let GoodReads users know what you liked or disliked about a certain title.

  • Connect with people who are into the same (types of) books as you are, and have discussions in online forums about everything from character development to plot points.

  • Quizzes, trivia, author quotes and interviews, "Top 10" lists, poetry, and more give you plenty of ways, both heavy and light, to get your literary fix.