It’s this sort of meddling that is destroying the book-reading world. This stuff, and Twitter. And reality television. And Hulkmania! Is that still a thing? I don’t have cable. Anyway this is just what Jonathan Franzen was talking about in that one article which caused a bit of a “ruckus” if you’ll pardon the slang, shawty, in which he said that technology and things were destroying our ability to read men who write essays in German.

Jeff and Rebecca break down the new Goodreads review guidelines, James Patterson’s $1 million donation to indie bookstores, and more bookish news.

Critical Linking: September 5th, 2013
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

With Goodreads on Kindle, you’ll be able to

  • see what your Goodreads friend are reading,
  • share highlights to Goodreads from inside the book
  • rate books
  • see your want-to-read, currently-reading, and read shelves
  • add your Amazon book purchases to your Goodreads shelves, all without putting down your Kindle.

Seems to me that this will be great for heavy Goodreads users who have Kindles. And maybe move some people from Kindle to Goodreads and vice versa.


The wonderful wordplay of Dr Seuss will be appearing electronically after Random House Children’s Books announced that 41 of his books will come out as e-books, starting on September 24.

Among the first group will be his classics The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, followed by additional publications in October and November.

Now we can all sentimentally give high school grads digital copies of Oh, The Places You’ll Go


Fifty years ago, editors just picked the books and the sales department had to sell them. Thirty years ago, editors picked the books, but checked in with the sales departments about what they thought about them first. Ten years from now, marketing departments (or the marketing “function”) will be telling editors that the audiences the house can touch need or want a book on this subject or filling that need. Osprey and some other vertical publishers are already anticipating this notion by making editorial decisions in consultation with their online audiences.

Only in publishing does giving people what they want seem heretical.


When Franco finally took the stage at the Comedy Central roast last night, he poked fun at himself (and, consequently, his brand) by saying, “The joke’s on all of you. This is not a roast. This is my greatest most elaborate art installation ever. I’m not the real guest of honor, these aren’t real comedians and we’re not even on a real network. What you’ve seen tonight was my brilliant opus to sequester an artistic visionary and subject him to the mindless incoherent trashings of talentless abnormalities. I call it Genius Unscathed and this is my masterpiece.”

Back on the James Franco bandwagon over here.

12 Alternatives to Goodreads

Since last week’s announcement that Amazon bought Goodreads, many of the users over there are looking for alternative book cataloguing/bookish social networking sites. I’ve gathered several into a list here, with a few notes obtained by poking at them:

LibraryThing- Extensive and impressive book cataloguing functionality, lighter on the social media aspect (or at least not as heavy as Goodreads). No mobile app. You can catalogue up to 200 books for free, then there is a pay-what-you-will annual option or a lifetime membership option. They’re offering a free year membership if you sign up by Friday. Amazon has a minority but not controlling share in ownership obtained when they purchased AbeBooks.

Shelfari- Owned and controlled by Amazon. I’ve encountered a lot of complaints about how Amazon has functionally abandoned Shelfari, so user concerns are not being addressed, updates aren’t happening, etc. Who knows what will become of it now that the big A has Goodreads. New users must sign-in with an Amazon ID.

weRead- Well they haven’t tweeted since June of last year, but that might not mean anything. There’s a never-ending book quiz that’ll make some Goodreads refugees pretty happy. Doesn’t seem to have an import function, so you’ll have to add your books one by one (unless I’m missing something). The site itself seems very buggy and it’s possible it’s been abandoned.

The Reading Room- Has an import function! Heavy on the book clubs (though when I click on their first Featured Book Club, The Bookanistas, it says the club doesn’t allow negative reviews…ew.) and heavy on the ebook sales.

Libib- For book/movie/video game cataloguing. Options to make your libraries public or private. Uses tags. Not much social media going on. Has an import function.

Booklamp- If you use Goodreads mainly to get recommendations, this is an interesting option for you. The site uses the “Book Genome Project” to analyze the “DNA” of books, and gives you Pandora-style recommendations based on the actual contents of books you’ve selected (as opposed to giving recs based on genre, author, whatever).

Reader2- Book list making site, lets you use tags and search other user lists via tags. Doesn’t let you have separate collections, and only seems to have Amazon links for each book. The UI is wayyyyy outdated- worse than LibraryThing, which says a good bit.

Anobii- Allows GR import, but only for books with ISBNs. Allows reviews- also includes reviews from critics on the books’ pages.

These are in beta:

Riffle Books- focuses on lists and social media, not a heavy cataloguing function. Has a Pinterest-type feel. PRETTY COVERS! Facebook-only login right now, but they should have Twitter login within the next week. Great for people who loved the visual aspect of GR.

BookLikes- this looks like the closest thing to the Goodreads experience that I could find. It uses the “shelves” system like GR, there’s star ratings, reviews, a personal timeline-type activity feed, heavy social aspect. When you sign up, you’re actually creating a kind of mini-blog (so it’s Allows you to connect your affiliate links to your newly created blog-type-page.

Thirdscribe- This one hasn’t even launched the beta yet, but it sounds like it’s going to be interesting: “ThirdScribe is a social networking service designed from the ground up to connect authors and their audience. It does this by combining a social stream with forums, book pages, reviews, member profiles, and a blog network to form a giant discussion about books.” Will be supported by author fees (so no ads- but also no dead authors?).

Slice Bookshelf- Facebook log-in. Allows you to import from GR. Automatically put the books I’ve “liked” on Facebook on my “Favorites” shelf, which I don’t like. Shows the book activity of my Facebook friends automatically, which I also don’t care for (I don’t care what my second cousin is reading, let’s be real). But if you’re into integrated Facebook stuff, this would be a good option.

The Goodreads “No Sexual Roleplaying” Policy, in GIFs

Goodreads is the largest bookish social network, with over 13 million users- and apparently some of those users have been using the site for something other than book reviewing: sexual roleplay. On Goodreads. Sexual roleplay…on Goodreads. Just marinate on that for a second. In response to the presence of some naughty-goings on, Goodreads has updated their guidelines and sent out a mass e-mail to the group mods. I found a copy on the Goodreads Feedback forum, and have been unable to resist a totally tongue-in-cheek GIF response.

From the e-mail:Dear Group Moderator, We wanted to give you a heads up on some updates to our policies for groups on Goodreads. Groups are an important part of our vibrant community and we appreciate and value all you do as a group moderator. For many of our members, groups are a highlight of the time they spend on Goodreads.

the office

As you may have already seen, we have made a few changes to how adults only (18+) groups work. As we have members who are age 13 to 17 on Goodreads, it’s important that we clarify how adults only (18+) groups should be operated on our site. We have therefore updated our guidelines for people creating and moderating groups on our site and you can view these here.

the simpsons gif

The two key points are:

• Anyone who wants to be a member of an adults only (18+) group, must have provided their birth date, and must be age 18 or older. • Sexual role play is now not permitted in any group or any other part of the site.


leonardo dicaprio gif

From the Updated Guidelines:

"Romance is permitted in role-play games, but pornographic content and explicitly sexual content or scenarios are not permitted. We’ve made the decision that this is not appropriate for our site."

les mis mean girls

So for those of you who were getting it on virtual style in some imaginative re-playing of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, you will, alas, have to take your shenanigans elsewhere. Like, oh, the rest of the entire internet.

Did you know this? What do you think?