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Amazon Acquires Goodreads, Twitter Shock Ensues

By Hannah Johnson

Amazon.com announced on Thursday that it would acquire Goodreads, a social networking site for readers and book recommendations. With 16 million members and 23 million book reviews on the site, Goodreads is hub for avid readers and one of the leading sites where publishers promote books.

Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler appears regularly at publishing conferences to present data on how Goodreads users share, recommend and buy books. With a limited number of sources for focused data like this, Chandler’s willingness to share this valuable data is a boon to many book marketers and publicists.

It’s safe to assume that Amazon.com also gathers a lot of data about book buyers, though the online retailer has been reluctant to share much of it with publishers. Following the acquisition, will Goodreads become subject to Amazon’s tight-lipped policy?

Moments after the news broke, Twitter erupted with reactions from publishing folks, readers and authors:

Continue to follow the Twitter deluge about the Amazon-Goodreads acquisition here.

Read the press release from Amazon below:

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 28, 2013– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Goodreads, a leading site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

“Books – and the stories and ideas captured inside them – are part of our social fabric,” said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. “People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world. We’re looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally.”

“I just found out my two favorite people are getting married,” said Hugh Howey, best-selling author of WOOL. “The best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books – To Be Read piles everywhere must be groaning in anticipation.”

Following the acquisition, Goodreads’s headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 2007, Goodreads now has more than 16 million members and there are more than 30,000 books clubs on the Goodreads site. Over just the past 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Way to sell out, Goodreads. Now all your reading are belong to Amazon.

  2. Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Crazy smart move on the part of Amazon and goodreads. Congratulations. Honest.

    Sad move for readers and writers. Neutrality is now a relative term.

    And yet another missed opportunity by B&N.

  3. Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    “And yet another missed opportunity by B&N.”

    I think B&N are getting used to ‘egges in one basket’ and missed opportunities!

  4. Bill
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Fiona, this is not in any way a sad move for readers and writers. Amazon is the reader and writer’s savior. The bad guys are the NY publishers and the chain bookstores who have run the show for decades, ripped off authors right and left, and turned publishing into a corporate run monopoly where good books are pushed aside or ignored for celebrity biographies and derivative 50 Shades books. Amazon came along and blew the doors open, created a new distribution network, and saved countless authors from obscurity. As a reader, or a writer, you should be thanking them for what they’ve done.

    B&N is evil. They destroyed the indie bookstores in this country a long long time ago, and they deserve to go out of business along with the big NY publishers. Yes, change is tough, but it’s not always a bad thing. And this is far from a bad thing.

  5. Sandy Thatcher
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Hate to disagree with you, Bill, but as a former university press director I can tell you stories about how appalling Amazon’s behavior has been toward non-profits like university presses.

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