Good Reads 9/27/12

goodreads iconGood Reads does not require an account. You can simply start searching for author, title or ISBN. The search works great and books are listed with star ratings so you can easily get more information about the book. If you want to purchase the book it’s easy to access a price list. “Add to shelves” allows you to mark whether you have read the book, are currently reading it or would like to read the book.

To take Good Reads to the next level I decided to sign in. One option is to use your existing Facebook account. Why not use an existing account? I don’t need to create a good reads account and have yet one more username and password to remember. So that’s what I did. Once I was logged in, I read a disclaimer announcing that I would have to allow Good Reads to make posts on my Facebook page. Having companies like WalMart and Good Reads make posts on my page is turning Facebook into one big advertising marquee, but I digress. The next step was to set up the Good Reads /  Facebook relationship. It appeared that I could disallow Good Reads from posting to Facebook but if you choose this you don’t really get anywhere. You must allow posting on your behalf and then you can find your Facebook friends who are also on Good Reads. I was surprised to see, a few of my friends are already using Good Reads. This additional social element is pretty neat, and an easy way to communicate with a book club. I did get an email verification message from Good Reads, and that’s when I learned I could access my Good Reads account from their website.

Next, I tried another feature of the Good Reads app. The ‘Scan’. I scanned in barcodes of books I have already sitting on my desk.  After attempting, and failing, to scan six books on an Android device, I scanned with an iPad. Scanning went smoothly on the iPad and I liked the immediate rating feedback. I can scan quicker than type info to get the Good Reads rating before I buy. I gave my Android device another chance and did get one book to scan. The scan feature is handy if you’re in a bookstore and would like to know what others think about the book or to scan books you use in your classroom. Once scanned, you can choose to add the book to your ‘Read Shelf’ or ‘To-Read Shelf’. The app also includes a ‘Currently Reading’ shelf so you can let your Facebook friends know what you’re up to.  There are slight differences between how the app is laid out for Apple vs Android and a few features available in the Apple version but are minor.

The Apple version and the website also include an ‘Explore’ section which provides lists to help you get started searching and a connection to eBooks. I saw that the list of eBooks that appeared were mainly public domain books, but there were others. I quickly grabbed “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and tested it out. FeedBooks supplied this eBook and it’s good to know once you have added the book to your shelf you can access it without wi-fi. So, you can load up with a few ‘Good Reads’ (pun intended) and read while traveling or anywhere you like. One disappointment is that you can’t search the eBooks through the Apple App, but you can search through the website. The Good Reads website also includes trivia, quizzes and quotes. I really like the RSS feature of your bookshelf on the Good Reads Website. This way, a teacher can post recommended reading for class by posting the RSS feed in moodle or on a classroom webpage. Even better, you can add a Good Reads widget if you go to your account on their website and click ‘widgets’.

The ratings don’t lie, and now you know a little more about Good Reads.

Thanks go to Tom Grandy for suggesting this app for review. If you know of an app, or are interested in having an app reviewed, please drop me a message


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