Amazon marries Goodreads: Nook, Apple uninvited?

MANILA, Philippines - Move over Romeo and Juliet! There's a new power couple in the literature world.

But not everyone may be happy with this marriage.

The world's largest book retail store Amazon.com's acquisition of book lovers social network Goodreads gives a social component edge to Kindle, Amazon's electronic reading device.

Techcrunch.com said this type of social integration could give Amazon an advantage over e-sellers like Apple and Barnes & Noble, which still does not have social components to their products.

"With people actually discussing and sharing the books that they’re into, having an Amazon direct connect makes complete sense. The site can offer special deals to Goodreads users, which in essence is now Amazon’s book-reading social network," it said.

Techcrunch added that the closest that Apple has come to socializing the sale of digital goods was Ping, its music “social network” that never took off and closed down last October.

As for Barnes & Noble, Thad McIlroy, a Vancouver-based publishing consultant, told Digitalbookworld.com the acquisition by its toughest competitor could be "another nail in the coffin."

“With the collapse of the (Barnes & Noble's) Nook they’ve lost the online game and we just have to count out the final steps,” he said.

In an interview with paidContent, Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder said the Barnes & Noble buy buttons will probably stay on Goodreads if "users really want those links."

Focus on Kindle

"For all of you Kindle readers, there's obviously an extra bonus in this announcement. You've asked us for a long time to be able to integrate your Kindle and Goodreads experiences. Making that option a reality is one of our top priorities," Chandler said.

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content.

“Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Chandler said  the move would complement reader reviews provided at Amazon.com's online shop for digital titles in 3 ways:

1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.


2. Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we're looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.


3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture.

“With this acquisition, there’s now no significant single presence other than Amazon to find out what people think about books,” McIlroy told Digitalbookworld.com.

“Out of all the commenting about books, Goodreads was the most powerful ecosystem for recommending what you read next and Amazon was a close second. Now it’s just Amazon,” he said.

In the Philippines, e-books are not yet considered widespread. Data from the National Book Development Board (NBDB) Readership Survey of 2012 show that the least preferred medium is digital or e-books, 90% of respondents still prefer books that are printed.

The second preferred format is photocopied books. - Rappler.com