What every author should know about Goodreads

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Think of it as a social network where readers can see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings of their favorite (or least favorite) reads. You can also post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future. You don’t have to stop there – join a discussion group, start a book club, contact an author, and even post your own writing.

Signing up is simple — you just enter your name, email, and a password. If you are a published author, take a look at the Goodreads Author Program.

How to Start

To start using Goodreads, you should select books that you have read, that you are reading, or that you want to read and add them to “your books.” You can do this by searching for books (the catalogue already has most books), by looking at your friends’ lists, or by entering a book Goodreads does not have yet. Rating a book automatically adds it to your books (and to your “read” shelf).

We suggest that authors:

  • Write reviews for books that fit their brand
  • Shelves books in your genre or books that may have the same audience as your own book
  • Create a “books that inspired me” shelf
  • Shelve about 25 books to establish a presence


Users start with three default shelves (read, currently-reading, and to-read), but you can also create your own bookshelves. Shelf names range from classics and coffee-table- books to childrens-lit and sci-fi — you can create any category that suits your personal taste.

Add Your Books

To add books to your shelves, search by author name or book title. If the book is on Amazon, you’ll find it (and they carry almost everything) — if not, then you have the option to add it manually as a new title. When you find the book you want, you can either click on one of the five stars to rate the book immediately, or click on “add to my books” to choose a shelf, write a review, record the date your read the book, and even note whether you own a copy.

Sort Your Books

Click on the “my books” tab to see all the different “views” available on Goodreads. You can sort by author, title, rating, date read, and more. One view shows you all your book covers, another shows your reviews, still another helps you shelve groups of books at

once, and there’s even one that is printer-friendly. You can change your shelves, reviews, and ratings at any time.

Book Editions

Many books are listed in Goodreads in several editions, such as hardback and paperback. Just add the one you have (or the closest to it) to your books. We have built a feature where our librarians combine editions of each book, so all reviews and ratings are aggregated across all editions when you view a book.

You can request a change be made in the librarians’ group found here.


Show off your books and reviews by adding a widget to your blog or website (a widget is a dynamic image that you can add to almost any site that allows html code).