I have decided to remove the Goodreads widget from the right hand column of this blog, because I am going to delete my Goodreads account, and move all my books, reviews, and data to BookLikes, a rival book/networking site.
The move will mean a lot of extra work, adding covers, adding data on
self-published books and books not found on conventional book seller sites,
etc., but it will be worth it to be able to freely express my opinions of books
to friends, and shelve/tag my books as I see fit without interference (read:
censorship) from the website owners. I have been a member of Goodreads for many years, with
over 900 books listed, (virtually) met lots of fellow pagan readers, and was a
librarian: editing covers; inserting book summaries; inviting fellow authors I
admired to join groups and enter into discussions about their work; and adding
books from obscure publishers, many of which were pagan and/or occult related,
to the ever-expanding database. I am not the only librarian to leave
under protest and, this appears to have resulted in a slower response time to
requests from members of Goodreads
to make amendments to books, as many super-librarians - those who have
made thousands of edits or more to the Goodreadsdatabase -
Normally, I detach myself from spats between authors, readers, fans, and
member but when Goodreads decided
to edit its policy on reviews and how their membership named bookshelves
without informing their membership of the same, and then began deleting
personalised shelves without rhyme, reason or informing infringing members
first (to provide them with time to amend or save the content), I felt it was
time I moved on – being a believer in self-censorship, but little beyond that.
I was taken aback when I learned one member’s shelf, innocuously titled
"Tain", relating to Táin Bó Cúailnge was deleted
without warning. Perhaps Goodreads staff felt they
were able to read the mind of the member, and came to the conclusion that the
name "Tain" was a comment on the behaviour of the authors – as
this is the only reason for deleting shelves according to the scant comments from Goodreads staff on the unannounced policy change Where is the logic in deleting a shelf
entitled “bad authors” but leaving
another shelf, belonging to the very same member account, called “cool authors”?
It all seems hypocritical: instigating a policy supposedly to end the
targeting of authors, only to bully their own members by saying that staff know
what a member is really thinking when naming a shelf “authors I want to avoid”, i.e. it’s a comment on the author’s
Oddly, the policy change, censoring of book shelf titles, ensuing furore,
and mass exodus of members occurred during Banned Book Week.
For now, it seems BookLikes
are keen to hear the suggestions of their new members, and have promised to
provide lots of new goodies including a private messaging system, and groups
function for socialising, and will be developing apps for those of us who read
on the go, but like to update our progress.
I’m pretty hopeful my celtic myth shelves will be at BookLikes for a long time to come.