Not on goodreads? You will be after reading this! In this ultimate guide you’ll learn exactly how to use goodreads, but be forewarned, you might become obsessed.
What is Goodreads?
Goodreads is the largest site for connecting readers with books they will love. Keep track of books you have read, want to read, and are currently reading. Connect with other readers, leave reviews, and get book recommendations. You can even follow your favorite authors! (Follow me on goodreads)
Goodreads has been around since 2006, but it gained momentum in 2013 when it was bought by Amazon. Now you can integrate goodreads with your kindle and read book samples from Amazon straight from the goodreads site!
When most people think of goodreads, they think of book reviews and book recommendations. These are two of the most important features of goodreads, but there is so much more you can get from the website and app. Read on to learn how to use goodreads and take advantage of the lists, groups, giveaways, quotes, and so much more.
Is Goodreads Free?
Goodreads is completely free to use. You can rate and review books, connect with friends, get book recommendations, join groups, message friends, follow your favorite author, and more!
Many books on goodreads have free samples you can read. There is even a small selection of free eBooks on goodreads. The free samples are available for books that have a kindle version. If the whole book is available for free, you will see a green button that says “read ebook.” Just click the button to read the book! Here’s a list of readable excerpts and ebooks on goodreads.
If you love ebooks, I highly recommend a kindle paperwhite. I’ve had mine for two years and I love it! 🙂
Goodreads Desktop Version
Start using goodreads by creating an account. Enter your name, email address, and a password and you are good to go. You can also sign in using your facebook, twitter, google, or Amazon account. If you have a kindle, I strongly recommend you sign in with your Amazon account or at least connect to your Amazon account after you sign up.
When you join goodreads, you will have three “bookshelves.” These are labeled, “To-Read,” “Read,” and “Currently Reading.” I only use these three bookshelves right now, but you can create as many bookshelves as you want! Create bookshelves like, “Books by My Favorite Authors,” “Classics I Love,” and “Guilty Pleasure Books.” You can even create an “Abandoned” or “Didn’t Finish” bookshelf. Just make sure you mark this shelf as exclusive. If it’s exclusive, the books on that shelf can’t be on any other shelves.
The website is pretty easy to navigate once you create an account. The very first thing you should do is rate as many books as you can. Think of all the books you’ve read and rate them. The more you rate books, the better the recommendations goodreads will give you.
Search books to rate or learn more about them. Check My Books to see your bookshelves. Use the Browse tab to explore recommendations, deals, giveaways, lists, and more. Use the Community tab to see groups, discussions, quotes, and more. In the top right hand corner you can see discussions, messages, and friends.
Goodreads Lists (Listopia)
Goodreads lists or Goodreads Listopia is one of my very favorite features of Goodreads. These user created lists can be all encompassing with hundreds of books (Books that Everyone Should Read at Least Once) or ultra specific with only dozens of books (Best Science Fiction with a Female Protagonist). Users vote on the books in the list so the best books are always listed first.
Click the Browse tab and then click Lists. You will see featured lists, lists with recent activity, lists my friends have voted on, popular lists and more. It’s easy to get lost in these lists since there are so many good ones to discover. But it can be a bit overwhelming too.
I prefer a different method to find my lists. First, search for your favorite book or a book that you liked. If you’ve been on this website for more than five seconds, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. 🙂 Next, scroll down the page for your favorite book. After Friends Reviews and Reader Q&As, you find a heading that says Lists With This Book. You can click one of the top two lists or click More Lists with This Book.
Now simply choose a list that describes the book you want to read and enjoy tons of recommendations!
How to Use Goodreads App for Android or iPhone
First download the app from Play Store or from the apple App Store. Sign in or create an account. When you open the app, you’ll be taken to a news feed type page with recommendations and updates from friends. Click on My Books to see your bookshelves. You can also view your profile, scan books, get recommendations, see your friends, and more.
If you have a goodreads account and a smartphone, you NEED the goodreads app. It’s so easy to quickly search new books, update your reading progress, check on your reading challenge, send messages, and more. The goodreads app is the perfect companion while you are out shopping for books. You can look up books, read reviews, search the author and more. The goodreads app is a little trickier to navigate than the website, but I still use the app about 95% of the time.
One of the best features of the mobile app is the Scan Books feature (in the menu). You can scan the barcode of books and easily add them to your bookshelves! You can also scan the barcode of books while you are at the bookstore or library to easily read reviews or add to your To-Read shelf. While shopping, you can also search the author of a book and see if it’s an author you’ve read before and if you liked him/her.
Goodreads Book Club (Groups)
Goodreads book clubs or goodreads groups are the place to connect with other readers like you! You can search groups by title or topic. See what people in the group are currently reading. Get the scoop and add to the conversation in tons of specific discussion boards. Join the group to get notified of updates.
To find a group, click the Community tab and click Groups. You’ll find featured groups, recently active groups, new groups, goodreads author groups, and more. On the left side of the screen, you can browse by tags, see official groups, and browse by group category.
If you are social or love to talk about books, goodreads groups will be your favorite place to hang out online. Chat with fellow readers and get the nitty gritty details of your favorite books and genres. Swap quotes, gush about your favorite characters, and discuss the best tropes. With so many groups to choose from, you’re sure to find something you love. But you can always create your own group too!
Win free books with goodreads giveaways! Hundreds of giveaways are going on at any given time on goodreads. Browse giveaways by genre or by featured, ending soon, most requested, and recently listed. Many of the giveaways feature pre-release books! All winners are picked randomly.
On the giveaways page, you can easily see the book cover and title, the format book is available in (Kindle or print), when the giveaway ends, the availability (how many copies are available and how many people have entered), the giveaway dates, and the countries where the giveaway is available.
You can also browse giveaways by featured, ending soon, most requested, and recently listed. On the left side of the screen, you can also browse by genre. It’s so easy to enter a giveaway. Just click Enter Giveaway, provide a shipping address, agree to the terms and conditions, and you’re done!
The goodreads reading challenge is the perfect motivation to read more! Just choose how many books you want to read in a year. When you read a new book, it will count toward your goodreads challenge. If you re-read a book, that counts too! Check your progress at any time on the goodreads desktop version (on the left side of the screen) or in the goodreads app (in the menu). Something about that unfilled bar, always gets me motivated to read!
In 2018, more than 2.6 million users joined the Goodreads 2018 reading challenge. The average number of books pledged was 51. As of May 2018 5,808 challenges have already been completed! You can easily check your progress on your reading challenge whenever you want.
I joined the challenge at the beginning of the year when goodreads promoted it, but I’m pretty sure you can join the challenge at any time. Just find the goodreads challenge on the left side of the screen on the desktop or in the menu of the app. Choose how many books you want to read for the year and start reading!
Why Don’t My Books Show Up on My Goodreads Challenge?
If you read books this year, but they don’t show up on your challenge page, you will need to change the read date. Unfortunately, there is no way to do this on the goodreads app. But it’s very easy from the goodreads desktop version. Just go to your Read bookshelf. Across the top you will see several details like cover, title, author, average rating, etc. One of the details is date read. For each book, there should be a little date there or it will say not set. Under the date there will be a link to edit. Simply click the edit link and enter the date you finished reading the book.
To avoid this step, you can put books on your Currently Reading shelf first. When you switch it from the Currently Reading shelf to the Read shelf, it will record that day as the date read.
That’s Not All!
Goodreads has personalized recommendations, quizzes, quotes, ways to connect with authors, and the goodreads choice awards.
The goodreads recommendations are another one of my very favorite things about goodreads. The recommendations are based on the books you’ve read and the ratings you gave them. The more books you read and rate, the more personalized your recommendations will get.
You can see recommendations on the app or on the desktop version. In the app, just click the menu and click recommendations. From there, you can browse recommendations by genre. I very recently created my goodreads accounts and only have about 30 books rated. Already, the book recommendations (especially in the sci fi genre) are spot on for me!
Goodreads quizzes are a fun way to get even more out of your reading experience. There are all kinds of quizzes both about books and even authors! These are great if you like proving how much you know about a book or if you just need to be immersed in the world for another few minutes. They are even better if you had to read the book for school and want to make sure you remember everything.
On the desktop version, click Community, then click Quizzes. You can search quizzes by topic, book title, or author. You can also browse by tags. Just for you guys, I searched for a quiz on Cinder. I most definitely got 9/10! And the only one I got wrong was a true or false question that asked if Cinder is human. I said yes because does being cyborg mean you are no longer human? Personally, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I think Cinder is both human and cyborg. But apparently the creator of the quiz disagrees with me. But see what fun I had? 🙂
Goodreads is known for having a huge collection of book quotes. You can easily find quotes from your favorite books. You can vote on which quotes were your favorite (by clicking Like), and you can submit book quotes of your own. Find quotes by title, keyword, or author. Browse tags or search for a tag.
Connect with Authors
Find the author page for your favorite author by clicking their name. Their name will be on the same page as any of the books they write. On the author page, you can see a little bit of information about him/her, see a list of their books, and more. Under the author photo, you can click Follow Author. Using the arrow next to that button, you can also add as a friend, send message, or add to your favorite authors.
Sometimes authors do live Q&As Make sure you follow your favorite authors to be notified when they have new books coming out.
Goodreads Choice Awards
The goodreads choice awards are chosen exclusively by readers! In November and December you can vote on your favorite books of the year. Goodreads selects 15 nominees and readers choose the top book in each of 20 different categories. If you want to vote for a book outside of the 15 nominees, you can write in a vote.
I think we can all agree that goodreads is an incredible tool for finding books. You can be as social as you want with tons of friends, groups, discussions, etc. Or you can lurk in the background (like I do) and enjoy everything without much interaction.
Whether you use a kindle or read from paperbacks, goodreads is a fabulous way to keep track of everything!
Need some books for your To-Read shelf? Be sure to add my sci fi books or check out my Top 6 Sci Fi Books with Strong Female Leads. Read more about my genre in my What is Soft Sci Fi post.
Want more from Kay L Moody?
Join her email list for a exclusive news and updates, a chance to join her ARC team, and for a FREE copy of her short story collection!
So you can’t read novels there..??
Kay L Moody says
Goodreads is a place to write reviews for novels and to talk about them. 🙂
Great info for the newbie. Thank you:)
Dale Boddy says
Thank you. I think I will give it a go.
Danyah Toubeh says
Thank you! Glad to learn about the quizzes & quotes feature!
Joseph Cincotta says
Thank you for creating an excellent Goodreads guide.
Is there an option in goodreads or another forum to share my book highlights and notes and see the same from other readers who may want to share their book highlights and notes?
Is there an easy way to add a series of published books already in the library to “my books”, tags or shelves? Like a particular author’s series all at once.
Kay L Moody says
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a way to do this right now. Hopefully they add it though! It’s a great idea. 🙂