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!