Reviewing the Reviewers!

I love keeping track of my books, yet like many readers, I have my issues with Goodreads. Aside from being pretty clunky, I have many issues with the site: the recs are at random; it has poorly defined genres; the “choice” awards only highlight bestsellers; and there are fake reviews in the vein of “this author is a bad person 1*” or “I’m looking forward to reading this 5*”. All in all, there are a lot of areas that could be improved upon. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to check out now… which is exactly what I decided to do.

Inspired by Kristin Krave’s wonderful post, I decided to look at two emerging competitors: The Storygraph and Book Sloth. I started with Storygraph and I’ve got to say I was pretty dang impressed. Firstly, it was a cleaner, more attractive site. Secondly, I loved the “Ordered For You” element. I was genuinely excited by some of the suggestions- especially since they were things I wouldn’t have thought about. I could clearly see if a book had elements I desired or if it was well liked. I really appreciated that you could break it down by mood and individual elements like character development.

Now, it didn’t manage to import all of my 1500 books- which is understandable, since I often have problems with my end of year exports and the site is only in beta. Personally, I didn’t love it as a database, as personally I’m often looking for something a bit more stat-heavy and I’d like to be able to isolate books by rating or genre. However, the site does what it intends to do well. It has a fun challenges section that could gamify your reading if that’s what you’re looking for. And if you treat it as a recommendations site and you’ll be very happy indeed.

Next, I checked out the Book Sloth app. There was a lot to like about this too- not just the brilliant name and cute style. This also had some good recommendations by topic- from “meet cute romances” to “classic retelling” to “astonishing fantasy”- although it was less personalised than the Storygraph.

screenshot bookslothTruth be told, I’m something of an app minimalist… but I’ve kept this on my phone and keep finding myself going back to it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get really into using it to keep track of my reading, especially since it doesn’t really work like a database, yet I do really like checking it out every so often. It’s so easy to use and gives me a good idea of what’s coming out soon. I’ve also got to admit, one of my favourite elements of this app was how the sloth puts on funky glasses whenever you refresh the page. I think the sloth may slowly gain in popularity 😉

Encouraged by Bookstooge’s post, I also briefly perused Library Thing. For me, this wasn’t a huge success. While it had a solid database, it’s very similar in style to Goodreads. A lot of my data that was imported had the wrong date (which I’m much too lazy to spend time fixing). I didn’t find anything particularly intriguing in the recs section either. To my mind, it didn’t offer anything especially unique and has only made me more eager to just build my database to allow for interesting stats offline (which I’ve been doing for the last couple of years). The one big plus is that doesn’t seem to have the toxicity as some parts of GR- so if you’re looking for a quieter place to hang out and record your book collection in peace, then it’s definitely the place to go.

And that’s all for now! Do you use any of these platforms? Are you tempted to check them out? Let me know in the comments!

47 thoughts on “Reviewing the Reviewers!

  1. I recently joined Bookhype because I know Ashley was talking about creating a GR alternative for years, but I admit I don’t currently use it as much as GR–because OTHER people are on GR. So I haven’t tried the apps you list here just because I don’t want to be on five different book tracking sites. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes I get what you mean- I think one of the pros of goodreads (which I probably should’ve talked more about) is that it has the most people (though of course for some people this is a con). And yeah, for me I’m currently already tracking my reading through GR and an excel spreadsheet, so unless I find something that does more for me, I’m unlikely to use any of these to track my reading too.


  2. This is why I have my own spreadsheet for keeping track of my books and their stats. There isn’t an app out there that tracks/does exactly what I want. So while I like using Goodreads just to log the books I read, I keep a spreadsheet for specific stats.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used Library Thing for a while. The level of discussion within groups is far more considered and thoughtful than those in Goodreads. But I found the technology upon which the site was based wasn’t very intuitive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I signed up for Storygraph after reading Kristins post and really liked it. The recommendations seem spot on but I hate to admit it I just use Goodreads out of habit at this point. I’ll remember Storygraph once in a full moon and be like oh, yeah! But it’s like ingrained whenever I finish a book to go to Goodreads. Breaking people’s habits might wind up the hardest draw of any of these newbies!

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  5. I signed up for a Library Thing account a little while, but I still need to start trying it out!! The Storygraph sounds super intriguing as well, I remember seeing someone post about it on Instagram as well. I’d love to find a more seamless experience than GR, which is what I use atm!

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  6. I recently started using The Story Graph, and I’ve enjoyed using it so far. The recommendations are spot-on (as opposed to the ones from Goodreads…), and I like the fact that you can state if a book has character development or not, or what the pace is like. I’m looking forward to the upcoming features.

    I also use Library Thing, but mostly to keep track of my book collection. I spent an evening scanning all my books into it (and tracking down the vintage and antiques that didn’t have bar codes), so now it’s just a matter of keeping things up to date when I buy new ones or get rid of old ones. And it makes it easy to see how many unread books I own. I don’t use it for keeping track of what I’m reading or reviewing or anything like that. It’s purely for being able to see what I own.


  7. I’ve been playing with The Storygraph site too this past week. I like that it gives me prompts to do the reviews (and you can write a review). It reminds me a little of how when I was actively subscribed to book of the month I could click on a few options. They also have a place to write a review too.


  8. I used to use LibraryThing as well, but iirc at that time they had a maximum number of books for the free version. Storygraph and Book Sloth do sound intriguing, but all I need right now is a place to track my reading (which Goodreads does okay) – for book reccs I get plenty from blogs and instagram. Still, I’ll probably try both sites at some time!


  9. I haven’t tried any of these. In regards to the type of reviews you pointed out, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get rid of them completely. People will put what they want, which is why I don’t base my choices on reviews. I’ve bought too many popular books and couldn’t stand them. Plus, I don’t normally read today’s bestsellers today. I might get to them in about five years. LOL! I’m definitely going to check out Storygraph and Book Sloth. Thanks for the suggestions.


  10. I use LT mainly as a way to have yet another backup of my books. I keep my books reviews offline in a program called Calibre. Considering the creator is my age and he’s making his living off of it (it’s free but he gets a lot of donations from happy customers) I don’t see it suddenly disappearing. LT is definitely clunkier than devilreads, but they are slowly re-doing the site so hopefully it will look better and be easier to navigate. Plus, you can’t put pictures in reviews. No damned gif filled reviews causing epileptic shock!

    I just started exploring bookhype and I’ll decide at new years if I want to keep up with it. Very minimal, which I’m a big fan of.

    For me, I don’t use book sites to get recommendations. Or if I do, it’s about the last thing on my priority list. First and foremost is being able to say/write whatever you want in your review. I actually support those who do the kind of 1star and 5star you mentioned. Telling people what has to be, or not be, in their reviews is actually why I left devilreads in ’13. But obviously, not everyone feels that way 😀

    Good luck finding a place that works!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I’m currently using GR as my main backup (but have started moving over to excel- I think that’s how I want my books stored in the future, because it’s the only way I can get the *exact* stats I want, it’s just more of an effort setting it up). Oh that’s good that they’re redoing it- cos it’s about the same as GR at the moment (but they have no intention of giving that site an overhaul… even though it’s long overdue!)

      A few people have been mentioning bookhype and I’m intrigued! (just looked it up- it’s very sleek and I think more what I’m looking for! 😀 Thanks for the tip!!)

      Yeah I really don’t prioritise book recs- I think that’s just something other people have been complaining about for GR (cos apparently that’s the feedback people gave the most to the creators of booksloth and storygraph). For me personally, I’d rather have recommendations from actual people (though it’s a nice perk to see a few recommended randomly).

      Ah I understand that- I don’t like people being dictated to- it’s just the (literally fake) reviews I object to. There are just so many people saying they haven’t read the book but are going to give it 5* because they love the author or 1* because they hate them… and to me this just isn’t great. Nothing wrong with a “this book sucks, 1*” review or a DNF review- I just find so many of the reviewing sections have become offshoots of either celebrity worship culture and cancel culture. Of course you’re free to feel differently!

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Not gonna lie, I had no idea these sites even existed, but who doesn’t want a better alternative to Goodreads? Booksloth wins for the best name for sure, but I’ve no room for more apps on my phone haha.


  12. Interesting post! Goodreads has flaws for sure, but I’ve spent so many years updating it that I can’t see transferring my database of books to a new site. (But yes, the type of “reviews” you mention drive me nuts, and I don’t take the average ratings seriously at all). For database purposes, I started using Libib a couple of years ago as a way of keeping track of what books I own and which I still need to read, and it’s really good for that! I know it can be used in a more sophisticated way to keep track of loaning and collections, but I just like it as a reference point to see what’s already on my shelves.


  13. I keep seeing people who venture outside the world of Goodreads and I applaud everyone for that, cause I am just far too lazy. I guess it’s to be expected that some of these don’t have all the features (yet?) or still need some tinkering, but it’s cool that there’s at least some sort of alternatives. I have to say I don’t really use Goodreads as a means to get recommendations, I just like to keep track of what I read and have a database to check on and compare with friends.


  14. I’d be interested in hearing more about your findings after you’ve tried these apps because like you I find Goodreads so annoying! I’ve heard The Storygraph is supposed to be pretty good x
    Gemma |


  15. Ah love this post!! I haven’t yet really migrated to anything but Goodreads yet because though I lowkey hate it, none of these new services are quite the same yet. Not the biggest fan of their layouts just yet. But I’m very excited to see what StoryGraph does because I adore their initiative!!


  16. I’ve moved over to Story Graph and I like it a lot, although, like you, I’d prefer to be able to zone in a bit more than I can at present. Still, the recs are really VERY good and I like the pie charts! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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