Goodreads is a “social cataloging” website founded in December 2006 and launched in January 2007 by Otis Chandler, a software engineer and entrepreneur, and Elizabeth Chandler. The website allows individuals to freely search Goodreads’ extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. In December 2007, the site had over 650,000 members and over 10,000,000 books had been added. As of July 2012, the site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and 30 employees. On July 23, 2013, it was announced on their website that the user base had grown to 20 million members, doubling in close to 11 months. The website’s offices are in San Francisco.
On the Goodreads website, users can add books to their personal bookshelves, rate and review books, see what their friends are reading, participate in discussion boards and groups on a variety of topics, and get suggestions for future reading choices based on their reviews of previously read books. Once a user has added friends to his profile, he will see the friends’ shelves and reviews and can comment on friends’ pages. Goodreads features a rating system of one to five stars, with the option of accompanying the rating with a written review. The site provides default bookshelves—read, currently-reading, to-read—and the opportunity to create customized shelves to categorize a user’s books. It also offers quizzes and trivia, quotations, and book lists. Members can receive the regular newsletter of new books, suggestions, author interviews, and poetry.
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