Update on Goodreads integration

Update on Goodreads integration

When Amazon bought Goodreads (the social reading site) in 2013, there was quite a bit of gnashing of teeth…but also some excitement about how that might make things more convenient.

Slowly, they’ve been bringing Goodreads functionality into the Fires/Kindles, and in a lesser way, making the Goodreads site work with your Kindle books in more ways.

I’ve noticed some big improvements recently, so I thought I’d update you. When an existing feature is improved, not everybody is always aware of it. Even if it pops up to tell you, you might blow past it because you are anxious to get to that next chapter. 😉

Let me talk about it first on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

because that’s where I first noticed the improvements. 😉 There’s actually a good reason for that. I usually read with the wireless connected on my Fire, and with it off on my Paperwhite.

When I opened a book for the first time, it offered to add it to my “Now Reading”. That was a nice touch: with one tap, it showed up on Goodreads.

When I tap towards the top middle of the screen in a book, to bring up the toolbar, I get a Goodreads choice. Tapping that lets me update my reading progress (automatically…it knows where I am in the book), and I could add a comment on that if I want. It also shows me a progress bar for where I am in the book…again, that’s nice.

Do note that it will automatically update Facebook and/or Twitter, if you have connected those on your device. I would prefer it not do that, so I uncheck Twitter before updating.

There is also a link so I can View reviews of the book on Goodreads…worked smoothly, with being able to see them in about a second. Since I’m there, I could also rate the book, ask a question about it…and open a Goodreads menu (horizontal lines in your top left corner). That gave me these choices:

  • Updates
  • My Profile
  • Recommendations
  • All Shelved Books
  • Read
  • Want To Read
  • Add Your Amazon Books
  • Friends
  • Following
  • Followers
  • Edit Profile
  • Go to Fire Library

That last one means that, although I can’t download directly from the Goodreads listing, I can simply go to my library and download a book.

One flaw: I added a shelf on Goodreads, but it didn’t seem to show as a shelf when I got to it this way.

When I finish a book, it lets me rate it and review it (both on Amazon and on Goodreads), and write a review. There is an option which lets me choose to update it just on Amazon or just on Goodreads or on both…up to me.

I would say the integration within a book is now good.

There is also the Goodreads app on my Fire. That has all the same menu choices I had from within the book…in fact, it’s pretty clear the book path just took me to the app.

Next, let’s look at it on the

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The look there is quite different.

When I tap the “g” from within a book, it shows me the book and reviews, but doesn’t give me the choice to update my reading progress.

I can check my Updates, My Shelves, and Friends.

Honestly, the Fire has a better interface on this, in my opinion.

The “app” on the Paperwhite is, again, very similar to what you see from within the book, except that it doesn’t feature that specific book.

Finally, what about from



Well, you can add books from Amazon to Goodreads, although it didn’t appear to me that it could find all of my Kindle store books.

I don’t see much other functionality relative to Amazon: you can buy a copy, but there isn’t a link that says you can have it delivered to a device if you already have it. However, if you click or tap the “Get a copy: Amazon” button, it takes you to the book’s Amazon product page. From there, you can deliver it to one of your devices if you already own the e-book…or, of course, buy it.

Overall, I’d say they’ve made great progress on the Fire, some progress on the Paperwhite, and a bit on the Goodreads website. 🙂

What do you think? Do you use the Goodreads functionality on your Fire and/or on your tablet? What’s your experience with it? Is there functionality you would like to see added? If so, what is it? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

7 Responses to “Update on Goodreads integration”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Apparently you can only access Goodreads from your Kindle if you connect via Wi-Fi. I only have 3G available. Even if I did have Wi-Fi. My Amazon account and GoodReads accounts are under different e-mail accounts, so I can’t quite figure out how to combine them. I reserve one e-mail address for websites from which I make purchases, one for friends and family, and another for non commercial web communication.

    I’ve recently become addicted to Goodreads Trivia. I find it interesting that I do better on questions about books I read in college back in the early 70’s than on books I’ve read recently. How ironic that I have yet to miss a question about Moby Dick, which I hated, but I frequently miss questions about The Hunger Games trilogy, which I loved! I know part of the problem is that the older you get, the harder it is to get information into long term memory. Perhaps that’s because when I read those books in college, I also wrote analytical papers about them, took part in class discussions about them, and was tested over their content. The books I read now, I read for pleasure, so I don’t really make an effort to remember the names of all the characters in the books. So many of the Goodreads trivia questions are about names, and after 30 years of teaching, I had to learn how to purge old names to make way for the new. Way too many of them are about the Bronte/Austen books, which I’ve read but I’ve never been able to keep straight which was where was about whom or by whom!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I’ll take a look at the multiple e-mail accounts…I’m not surprised that could creates some hurdles.

      I haven’t ever looked at trivia on Goodreads…I’ll scope it out, thanks! I’ve been pretty involved in trivia at times: for example, I twice judged the Millard Fillmore Trivia Hunt, which was a high school team based event. Quite interesting: teams (and they would come from quite a few places) would be given a list of questions on a Friday. They then spent the weekend researching them.

      Something that made it stand out (and made it more academic) was that they had to cite sources for their answers.

      If your answer fit the expected answer, you needed one source. If it didn’t, you needed two sources (and there were rules about the sources).

      Then, on Monday, there would be a judging. A lawyer from each team would argue their positions.

      That was part of the fun part. 🙂

      I started out by helping teams. Here’s one example:

      There was a question about people granted honorary citizenship to the USA. One answer, and the expected answer, was the Marquis de Lafayette. We argued that answer was insufficient: it’s not a name, it’s a title. That’s like asking who ruled England during the U.S. Revolutionary War and accepting, “The King of England” as the answer. 😉 We lost that argument, but I still think that Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette was correct and simply “the Marquis de Lafayette” should not have been accepted.

      A team I was helping lost another argument. It was in a musical category (musical cities, I think), and the clue was, “A famous shoeshine boy worked here”. They wanted Chattanooga. However, the shoeshine boy in the song doesn’t work in Chattanooga. The train is going to Chattanooga; the shoeshine boy is in Penn(sylvania) Station in New York. Although we had, I thought, good documentation (the lyrics of the song, evidence of where Pennsylvania Station was located), the judge ruled that our answer was correct, but so was Chattanooga.

      I think you’re idea that the books that you treated analytically as opposed to emotionally are the ones about which you best recall details is likely to be correct. It wouldn’t surprise me if, in some cases, people recall plot better in recreational reads, and detail better in assigned reads.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I only use my Fire HDX 8.9 for technical/professional texts, and magazine articles — so I’ve not had much interaction there with Goodreads. My PW2 is where I do most of my fiction reading. There, when I start a book, a Goodreads menu pops up which allows me to view info about the book, set it as “currently reading”, time to read it, and some info about its position in a series (if any). I appreciate this initial pop-up.

    If I pop-up goodreads in the middle of a book on the PW2, it gives a brief synopsis, and overall star rating (and number of ratings); lets me rate the book, and shows me individual reviews. There is a menu bar along the top for Updates, My Shelves, and Friends. Updates shows my recent reading history and ratings (useful). I don’t actually use the middle-of-the book Goodreads capabilities.

    At the end of the book I’m given the opportunity to assign a star rating (which I always do) to Goodreads. It also shows me the next in series (if any), and the opportunity to buy or “see in store” (I almost always buy). It also will show other titles by that author (with an option to view them in the store), and it then shows titles also bought by customers of the current book. I find the end of book menu very handy.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I appreciate (as always) your field report!

      I do the vast majority of my reading on my HDX. The PW2 is mostly used for “going to bed reading”, and I have the wireless turned off there (I certainly go weeks between charges). I’ve also been re-reading a collection of the “famous fourteen” original Oz books…so I’m not sure I’ve even switched books since they updated Goodreads integration on the PW2.

  3. Jim Colvin Says:

    Bufo, in case you aren’t aware, the ILMK blog does not seem to be updating on Kindle. I have not received any updates on my Kindle Voyage since Jan 6.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jim!

      I appreciate the heads up. A few other readers have mentioned it. I have e-mailed Amazon about it…hopefully, they’ll get it fixed soon.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Just in case you didn’t know, I discovered you can update your progress in a book from the Paperwhite 2, but it isn’t very intuitive, in my opinion. When you are reading a book and click on the top to open the menu, rather than clicking the goodreads icon, you click the “share” button just below it and a box pops up that says “Share Progress on Goodreads.” It will also share to Facebook and Twitter, unless you uncheck their boxes.

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