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Goodreads is more than just a place to find new books to read. It’s more than just a place to track your library and post reviews. No, it’s a full-blown social networking site that has several awesome features that are often overlooked, even by regular users.
If you’re new to the site as a whole, check out our Goodreads review to see if it’s something that interests you. If you’re a book lover, chances are you’ll love it. Afterwards, you’ll want to catch up with these essential Goodreads tips that cover everything from book searches to library management.
Once you’ve gotten yourself familiar with it, you’ll be ready to take full advantage of the site with these important social features.
Run A Private Book Club
The Groups feature in Goodreads allows users to create their own miniature forums. Groups can be used however you wish as long as you adhere to the rules of the site.
Groups can be restricted (only certain email domains are allowed), private (membership applications must be approved by group moderators), secret (same as private but hidden from search results and profiles), or simply public.
But in my experience, groups are best when used as private book clubs. Readers can gather together to read and discuss their favorite books, building a close-knit community that doubles as a source of trusted book recommendations from like-minded individuals.
“Ask The Author” & “Reader Q&A”
Back in Summer 2014, Goodreads rolled out two new features called Ask The Author and Reader Q&A, which are two sides of the same coin.
Ask The Author allows readers to submit questions directly to authors on Goodreads. Author responses are public and displayed on the author’s profile page. Questions can be about anything, though it’s up to the author to answer or ignore the questions coming their way. The Ask The Author program must be opted-in.
If you’re a fan of AMAs on Reddit, then you’ll love this. At any time you can ask questions to your favorite authors, and if your questions have any substance, you’ll probably receive a meaningful response. If your favorite authors aren’t enrolled in the program, ask them to do so!
Reader Q&A is similar in concept except operated on a per-book basis. Any reader can ask questions on a book’s profile page and any reader can answer said questions. Answers are ranked by the number of Likes they receive, shifting the best ones to the top.
Market Your Own Books
What’s great about Goodreads is that it’s not just a social network for readers; it’s also a network for authors. Readers are using the site to find new books to read, so it makes sense for authors to use the site as a way to promote their own books. If you’re really keen, you can check out our full guide on Goodreads for readers and authors.
If you’re an author and you’re not on Goodreads, you’re missing out on a lot of potential. There are so many social features that benefit both you, the author, and your audience, the readers. This is especially true for self-publishing indies.
Claim your books. You can tie books to your Goodreads account by claiming them as your own. This centralizes all of your books under one account, making it easier for fans and potential readers to find everything you’ve ever written in one place.
Connect your social accounts. Goodreads allows you to connect third-party social networks like Twitter and Facebook so that your non-Goodreads followers can keep up with your Goodreads activity.
Conduct book giveaways. Authors can give away free copies of their books up to 6 months after publication date. These giveaways show up on the First Reads page, which can give your books a lot of free publicity and awareness.
Use Bookshelves As Wish Lists
One of Goodreads’ primary functions is to track your books, both the ones you’ve read and the ones you want to read. This is done with the built-in “To Read” bookshelf, which could also be looked at as a Wish List of books.
The To Read bookshelf is public by default, meaning you can look at anyone’s To Read bookshelf simply by visiting their profile.
This can come in handy for all manner of gift-giving situations, including birthdays and holidays. All you have to do is check out their To Read shelf, find one or more books that they really want to read, and buy them
The To Read shelf also combines well with the Groups feature for a Pollyanna or Secret Santa event. Everyone is randomly assigned another member of the group for whom they need to purchase a book from their To Read list. Everyone walks away with a gift and everyone is happy.
Take Goodreads On-The-Go
The Goodreads mobile app has always been a must-have for avid readers, but not too long ago it received a makeover. The update makes it a much smoother, faster, and more modern experience and you’ll love it more than ever before. If you weren’t using Goodreads on a mobile device already, now would be a great time to start.
Most Goodreads functions are available in the app, but the barcode scanner is an especially useful feature that lets you read ISBNs into your bookshelves OR pull up book profile pages for quick information access. It’s also useful for keeping up with friend updates, posting comments, and taking part in group discussions from anywhere.
What Are Your Tips For Goodreads?
How do you make the most of Goodreads? Do you know of any secret features or pieces of advice? Share them with us in the comments!