Oct 24 2013
Salon has an extensive article about the small but growing faction of longtime, deeply involved Goodreads members who are up in arms about recent changes to the site's enforcement of its policies on what members are permitted to say when reviewing books, and many of them blame the crackdown on the Amazon deal.
One protestor, Alf Aldavan, explained to Salon that longtime Goodreads members "don’t feel like users or customers. They feel like contributors, because they are: library data and reviews content are their work, as well as the actual data GR sells. In a community of people contributing work/content for free, contributors have expectations of respect for that work. Top contributors’ reviews were removed and there were threats to close their account."
While many Goodreads members tend to see the site as existing "for readers," and the spokesperson for the company reiterated to me its stated mission "to help readers find good books to read," the site also markets itself to authors as a place to promote their work. Goodreads’ founder and CEO Otis Chandler told an interviewer earlier this year, "We’re in the business of helping authors and publishers market their books to readers. And that's where we make our money..."
In conclusion, Salon writes: "As for disaffected Goodreads members, they’re learning a hard lesson often overlooked by the boosters of digital utopianism: Sooner or later people need to get paid, and sooner or later you get what you pay for. Goodreads’ staff may be small, but they can’t run the site for nothing, and attempts to monetize it could not be postponed indefinitely."
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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