Monday, September 23, 2013

Jumping to BookLikes

by Kathy F.

A few days ago, I emerged from my nearly internet-free cave to find much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Goodreads. Considering it was a day ending in "y," discovering more Goodreads drama among the book reviewer set was not a surprise. Finding mention after mention of bloggers trying out BookLikes, however, that was new for me.

Last week Goodreads started deleting shelves and reviews that they deemed were more about the author than the book. I've heard complaints that many reviews that allegedly were not against the guidelines were also removed. Considering how many reviews are on Goodreads, this doesn't exactly shock me. I doubt a person reviewed each one and bots are not known for their discretion. Small consolation when you find your reviews gone, but the jaded me has come to expect this when sites make sweeping changes. Here is the Goodreads announcement regarding their policy. At the end they note that in the future they will send deletion warnings.

I don't think any of my reviews were removed. I didn't have any "authors who should eat shit and die" shelves, so I doubt I had much to worry about. However, it did remind me that I've put a few years of reviews and TBR lists into Goodreads, so backing up that information seemed prudent. A cursory look at BookLikes showed that not only could I import my Goodreads shelves, but also synch my two accounts. It looked like a solution was there, wrapped up in a neat, tidy bow.

I started by exporting my shelves from Goodreads. First, click My Books, then Import/Export (it's on the left of the screen, scroll down past your shelves to Tools). Then click "export to a csv file" (on the far right, it's a smaller link so look carefully). That's it.

Now I was ready to back everything up on BookLikes. Sign up was easy, although the site did seem a little slow. I started the import process and BAM - Estimated Time Left: 2,175 hours.


I should probably note that I had over 3,400 books on my shelves, as well as over 900 reviews. Also, I'm pretty sure a lot of the folks who have jumped to BookLikes have similar, if not higher, book totals. Happily, in the 36 hours since I started the process, the estimated time has gone down to 1,610 hours, so I'm sure my books will be populated ahead of the estimate.

Until then I am slowly following some reviewers and authors. I'm not going to do anything to my blog, timeline or shelves until the import process is complete, so I can't write about the ease of that just  yet. The interface feels pretty intuitive at first glance. I did add a profile pic without any issue. If you are on BookLikes too, you can find me at We can talk books.

Does this mean I am abandoning Goodreads for the new, shiny, pretty site? No. Goodreads has been good to me. I feel like I've carved out a little space for myself that has been relatively drama free and I've met some phenomenal fellow readers. However, with the ability to synch my reviews across both sites, I might replace my current little book blog with my BookLikes blog. Time will tell. Also, I am sure that very soon we will be hearing about the latest "BookLikes drama." It's inevitable. I'll just keep on my usual course and try to remember the real reason I started reviewing books: I love them and like to talk about them. And I really try to not be a dick when dealing with people.

How about you, are you jumping to BookLikes or another site?

Pin It


  1. I'm on Booklikes (and followed you) and I'm importing my book list - 2,100 hours for only 100 books! *yikes*
    My issue is that it doesn't have the groups/communities like GR, nor can you easily find reviews. Clicking on a book just brings up buy links. It will be interesting to see if/how it evolves as a site.

    1. I'm down to 27 hours!

      It will be interesting to see how the site evolves.

  2. I somehow missed all of the hullabaloo but it doesn't surprise me at all. I have my GR shelves stored in an excel file and update it regularly so I don't see a real need to jump ship just yet. The reviews? Eh, no big deal. I'm not worried about those, most of them is just me rambling anyway so they are no big loss if they get accidentally deleted or whatever.

    People having shelves that can be described as 'eat shit and die' seem to be asking for some sort of response. I've got no problem with saying I don't like a book but some people take it too far 'because they can'. There is no point to it. Discuss the merits or lack thereof of specific books? Feel free. Attack people for the 'fun' of it? No.

    Plus, I'm old and stodgy and used to GR now. Not sure I could handle trying to learn something new. I might blow a gasket or something.

    1. I had a conversation with my uncle about "the good ol' days" of the internet where you could have a conversation with others without the trolling. It's our version of "In my day I walked 15 miles through the snow..."

      I didn't have any backup, so I did need to do something. We'll see if BookLikes ends up being something to use for the long haul.

  3. I've been following this issue the last few days, and am torn. I don't post many reviews (I prefer to use my blog for that) and really focus on using it as a catalogue/reminder system. That being said, all these other book networks do sound interesting. And the new GoodReads policy is pretty annoying. And damn that wait time!? I'm on the fence.