So, I’ve been a member of Goodreads for years now. It’s a lovely place to keep track of the books I want to read, those I’ve read, and those I’m currently reading (though I tend to forget to update that part fairly frequently). Its interface is a little basic for my tastes, but in general, it’s pretty functional.

Goodreads bookshelf with cover view.

Plus, I’m a bit of a loyalist, sometimes. If I felt like Xanga had kept their systems/interface current, I’d probably still be blogging over there (well, that and if it still had a substantial community). I like sticking with the companies and products that have served me well. So, I have a desire to stick with Goodreads.

But, as I mentioned, Goodreads’ interface is a bit dated. (Though I did just discover that they have a “Cover” view, and it looks pretty nice.)

Their method for entering books on your various “shelves” has improved, but things are still a bit clunky. And… I’m kind of an interface snob. There’s a credit union here in town that I love, but I don’t use them as my primary bank simply because their online banking website is so frakking hideous.

Enter Shelfari. Amazon’s much prettier version of Goodreads. Not only is their interface pretty gorgeous, the books you add to your “shelves” are linked directly to the Amazon page for each book. Much more streamlined; much more intuitive.

But it’s Amazon. Don’t they pretty much own the world already? Do I really want to invest more of my life in yet another conglomerate corporation?

Not really.

Shelfari’s cover view.

So, why the debate? Well, the main reason I’m a little frustrated with Goodreads is the community. Sure, the friends I have on there are great. Their recommendations and suggestions are always helpful and thoughtful.

But the general community on Goodreads? Some of my favorite books have the most scathingly negative reviews. And hey, you are more than welcome to dislike some of my favorite books. But these reviews are vicious. We’re not talking “this wasn’t my favorite book – I would have liked to see more of blahblahblah and less of blahblah,” we’re talking “THIS IS THE MOST TERRIBLE THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, EXCEPT THE OTHER 400 BOOKS I HAVE REVIEWED ON THIS SITE, WHICH WERE ALSO THE WORST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ.”

And it’s not just a few books here and there, there is a consistent theme of incredibly, and unnecessarily, negative reviews.

I’m just not a fan.

So… What do you think? Stick with the tried and true Goodreads, and deal with the crazies? Or try out the uber pretty Shelfari, and give in to corporate America a little more?

Interested to hear what you guys think!

Tagged with: