At the beginning of 2012, I predicted that Amazon would buy Goodreads.
My boldest prediction is that Amazon will purchase Goodreads for the community and its recommendation engine.
Yes, I knew that they owned Shelfari but Shelfari is the MySpace of book aggregation sites. It just made a ton of sense that Amazon would want the most vibrant and fastest growing community of readers for its own. Yet 2012 came and went without the news of such acquisition but in 2013, I remained confident that Goodreads was a great take over target. But given the Random House and Penguin merger, I thought maybe the two of them would buy it.
Alas, maybe they should have bought it but they didn’t. Yesterday afternoon, Amazon announced that it was acquiring Goodreads. What’s going to change? Goodreads claims not much. In an interview with Laura Hazard Owens, Goodreads claims that its first motto will be to do no harm.
And if you’ve ever shopped at Zappos or ABE Books or Fabric.com or Book Depository, you’ll probably agree. Those are all companies acquired by Amazon who remained robustly their own companies.
But what is likely to change is a baked in connection between Kindle and Goodreads. Here are some ways I predict will happen. When you buy a book on Amazon, it will add it to your Goodreads shelf. When you start that book in your Kindle, it will mark “date started” on your Goodreads account. You’ll be able to share your highlights and notes through Goodreads updates. When you end a book, it will note that as well and you will be able to type up a quick review and give it a star rating.
This feature will be one you can turn off like popular highlights.
On the Goodreads side, expect to see the “Buy Now” button prominently displayed. It makes sense for Goodreads to facilitate a buy directly from Goodreads. Amazon should keep the other buy links available, albeit in a smaller more obscure place. The reason is that few people will even use those links and the appearance of being a fair player will be a way for Amazon to fend off its critics. Goodreads is also likely to incorporate excerpts direct from its site.
The one thing that Amazon may be worried about is brand erosion but given that you’ll have to open your Kindle app to read a book bought at Goodreads is likely enough to remind you who your mommy/daddy is. Hugh Howey calls it a marriage, but let’s be real. This is an adoption. There is one power player here, not two.
I’m not at all shocked or perturbed by this but that’s probably because I thought it was a long time in coming. Goodreads
I wonder about the liability aspect. If a customer is delivering a package, how will Walmart keep track of whether the package is actually delivered. If a customer has a dispute, is it taken to Walmart or the delivery service? What about privacy issues?
This isn’t a new idea, rather, it is an extension of a new company called Zipments. Zipments uses “crowd sourced” delivery services. Zipments has run into problems in certain areas which require a courier’s license or other liability insurance.
I’ll stick with UPS, Fedex or the USPS for now. Reuters
“Quite a few retailers have signed up to participate, including both national chains like Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle, and Toys“R”Us, as well as local SF stores like Blue Bottle Coffee, Palo Alto Toy & Sport, and Nob Hill Foods.
All the ordering and payment is handled via a Google website, saving the users the effort of navigating numerous partner websites. Delivery is handled by a courier service, not Google.”The Digital Reader
We should asked him about the Mayan Apocalypse. The Millions