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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Mar 13

Goodreads vs. StoryGraph: Which is Better in 2024?

Goodreads vs. StoryGraph: Which is Better in 2024?

Goodreads and StoryGraph are online platforms where users can track their reading history, discover new books, leave book reviews, and interact with other readers. Think of them as a virtual bookshelf, knowledgeable librarian, and social book club all rolled into one!

Ever since its launch in 2007, Goodreads has been the de facto social network for readers, in no small part because it had virtually no competition until the introduction of StoryGraph in 2019. Goodreads users have been demanding new features for almost ten years, and finally, with its small team and publicly available product roadmap, StoryGraph looks to be delivering what they’ve been clamoring for.

Let's look at some of the features Storygraph has deployed in an effort to overtake Goodreads as the home of online user book reviews.

Bigger isn't always better

It's fair to say that Amazon’s 2014 acquisition of Goodreads was met with controversy over accusations of “shocking vertical integration” in the online bookselling market. 

In its ten-year stewardship of Goodreads, Amazon has done little to ease concerns of its growing dominance in the online book space. While Amazon’s ownership does have a few benefits to readers, like Kindle integration, their hands-off approach has led to a number of issues for Goodreads. Current issues include 'review bombing,' where armies of fake users have targeted authors and tanked their average ratings with hundreds of negative reviews.

According to their website, StoryGraph founder Nadia Odunayo built this platform to address issues she’d found with existing book apps and to give readers a full-featured option that isn’t owned by Amazon. StoryGraph has a smaller team with fewer resources than its multinational competitor, but they’ve shown readiness when responding to user feedback and implementing new features that it makes publicly available on its product roadmap.  

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Statistics

“Yes! Numbers!" might not exactly be what you think when you crack open a book. But statistics are undeniably useful when you look back on your reading progress, and it's something many readers look for in their book tracking apps.

That's where StoryGraph’s namesake feature comes into play. Want a deeper insight into your reading behaviors than the simple ‘books read’ stat on Goodreads? Want to see your reading habits visualized through every graph under the sun? You got 'em on StoryGraph, along with all sorts of interesting data about the kind of books you enjoy. 

This focus on data extends to reading goals, where StoryGraph allows for goals based on pages read (or hours listened to). There are also community generated opinions expressed as percentages for things like a book’s pacing, mood, and character details. This information is easy to understand at a glance and gives you a general feel for what other readers think.

Smart recommendation system

Given how much data Goodreads has on readers, it might be surprising to learn how widely ridiculed its book recommendation system is (with one user describing it as ‘a joke used to promote whatever Amazon wants to sell or whoever pays for advertising’). 

StoryGraph, however, is steadily building a strong reputation for its recommendation system —one that uses machine learning to provide smarter suggestions based on your own preferences for genres, mood, and themes. Many users have cited StoryGraph’s superior book recommendations as an important reason for switching platforms.

Unique social features

Where else to debate the ranking of the best sci-fi books of all time with your friends but a community of like-minded bookworms? An important StoryGraph feature is the ability to socialize with other readers! Goodreads has a solid set of social features, with reading groups and direct messaging, but do you really want another ‘social media’ to manage? StoryGraph may not have as many social features, but it still offers plenty of ways to read alongside other people.

In 2022, StoryGraph announced that it had over 1.2 million users, which is the start of a healthy community. It also has some unique social features, including:

  • Buddy Reads: these are essentially one-off mini book clubs where you can read a book alongside up to 14 of your friends.
  • Readalongs: these are intended for larger book clubs, allowing up to 1,000 people to read alongside each other. The organizer can create discussion forum checkpoints that only unlock after a set number of pages of percentage.

Better book reviewing options

Goodreads and Storygraph are both — at their hearts — platforms that aim to make reading and reviewing simpler. While Goodreads certainly gets the job done, StoryGraph has added some features to improve the reviewing experience. There are community generated content warnings to help you decide if a book is right for you, as well as the option of giving quarter-star ratings to more accurately represent your opinion. 

StoryGraph's bookshelves also go beyond the standard ‘to read’, ‘reading’ and ‘read’ tags and gives you the option to also mark books as ‘owned’ and ‘DNF’— two sorting options that readers have been clamoring for on Goodreads for years!

(Of course, you review books on Goodreads and StoryGraph for free. Want to make money reading instead? Check out this post for sites that pay you for your book reviews, or sign up directly as a book reviewer for Reedsy Discovery to learn how you could get paid to read.)

Faster loading times

Since being acquired by Amazon, Goodreads users have complained that it has become increasingly slow. With each page packed with so many different elements in the side bars, it’s no surprise that it has a laggy user experience with frustratingly long load times.

StoryGraph seems to offer much faster browsing, with a comparatively intuitive and minimalistic user interface that leads to a more enjoyable user experience. Its focus is solely on tracking and reviewing books, rather than pushing users to buy more books like Goodreads.

So what is Goodreads’ edge? 

Larger community

Despite StoryGraph’s explosive user growth, Goodreads maintains a significant lead in user base because of its age (and its integration into an estimated 100 million Kindles). In 2022, Goodreads had over a whopping 140 million users — which means that on Goodreads, you can find millions more people to befriend, more communities, and more book reviews. 

In fact, in many ways, Goodreads could be considered a social media platform with its friends lists, direct messages, discussion groups, and ability to ask authors questions. So if you like to read with a touch of socialization, then Goodreads is still unbeatable.

Kindle integration

If you’re one of millions of readers who own a Kindle or a Kindle Unlimited subscription, Goodreads, as a subsidiary of Amazon, gains a significant advantage for its convenience. Reading lists, reviews and nearly everything that Goodreads offers can be updated directly from your Kindle. StoryGraph is obviously not in a position to start manufacturing their own e-readers so competing in this space is impossible unless they reach an agreement with an e-reader company like Kobo.

The Verdict

Overall, StoryGraph is an excellent alternative to Goodreads. Data-driven, intuitive, and independently owned — it modernizes book tracking. The platform is also in active development with room to grow, while Goodreads has stagnated in recent years with increasing user dissatisfaction.

If you’re curious about making the switch, importing your Goodreads account to Storygraph is as simple as a few clicks.

How to import your Goodreads data to StoryGraph

If you’ve decided you want to try out StoryGraph, here’s how to do it!

  1. Click on your profile image in the top right corner.
  2. Select the ‘manage account’ option.
  3. Scroll until you see the ‘Import Goodreads Library’ option.
  4. Carefully read through the instructions to export your Goodreads data and then import them to StoryGraph.

It's important to note that although complaints seem rare, some users have reported being unable to import large book catalogs — but given Storygraph’s agile customer service, this issue should hopefully be fixed quickly.

Making the switch to StoryGraph might seem daunting, but if you’ve found yourself frustrated with Goodreads, then it's worth taking the time to jump ship! StoryGraph is an excellent alternative and is in many ways better than Goodreads.




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