Most popular Goodreads reviewers in the USA

Most popular Goodreads reviewers in the USA

I’m always looking for new paths to discovery of books to read.

After all, the challenge nowadays isn’t just finding books…it’s choosing them.

It used to be entirely possible that I would have read every book in, say, the science fiction section of my local bookstore…and I’d have to wait for them to get more.

The way it is today, the USA Kindle store averages more than 1,000 books added a day. My record is reading 3 1/2 novels in a day…I clearly can’t keep up. 🙂

The future is about curation: about finding someone (or conceivably, some other mechanism, like software or an aggregator of the opinions of a bunch of readers/reviewers) with whom you tend to agree.

Oh, or finding people with whom you consistently disagree. 🙂 That’s often been how I work with movie reviewers…I know some whose tastes are different from mine…if they don’t like something, I probably will.

One source for reviews is Goodreads, the social reading site (owned by Amazon).

You can “follow” someone’s reviews, so you find out when they post new ones.

Here’s the Goodreads page for the most popular reviewers in the USA:

You can, by the way, choose other countries (I have readers around the world).

The most popular reviewer this week (you can also pick other timeframes, including all time) is karen from Woodside, NY.

karen (sic) has 1,102 votes  this week…which doesn’t  seem like that many to me, given the number of users Goodreads has.

Looking at recent activity, karen is reading some books which might interest me.

For example, the first book I see is

How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attackat Amazonsmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping* by Andrew Shaffer

Even though it’s from Random House, I hadn’t heard of it…that’s the discovery part.

I wouldn’t pay $9.99 for it…but, after I check it out a bit more, I might add it to my wish list. It has a 4.8 stars rating (out of 5) with 85 customer reviews, which is quite good.

I do like that sort of movie (although I tend to prefer movies which sincerely tried to be good, and weren’t), and I’ve liked books like The Worst Case Scenario survival series.

I have to admit, I would have to overcome my unreasonable reaction to karen’s use of all small case all the time (even the word “i”). However, I know that’s an emotional reaction, and shouldn’t affect my assessment of the content. For some people with certain disabilities, using the shift key is a challenge, and it could be that…although that isn’t my intuition.

Interestingly, Felicia Day, an actor and writer I enjoy (if you haven’t seen The Guild series, I recommend it…you’ll know quickly whether or  not it  is your cup of geekery), is #4 on the list.

I would have guessed that the list might be dominated by celebrities, but on reflection, I can see a strong reason why it might not be.

The most followed list is, but this one is based on the number of votes someone’s reviews get.

Celebrities, I assume, are probably not the ones who write the most reviews…and I think that’s probably a big factor.

karen has 2,022 reviews on Goodreads, and joined in April of 2007. Well, if we just call that 100 months, that’s an average of about 20 reviews a month…maybe one every one and a half days.

Felicia Day has written 560 reviews since December of 2007…a bit more than a quarter of the reviews.

Celebrities may simply be too busy, or may need to focus their creative output in potentially more revenue-generating places than Goodreads.

I understand that.

I’d love to write a review at Goodreads for every book I read, but I just don’t have the time and creative energy to do that.

I do some reviews there…you can follow me, if you like:

I have eight followers right now. 🙂

Totally understandable…I wouldn’t say I’m a great “citizen” of the Goodreads community. I only have so much time and energy, and I don’t prioritize it very highly. It’s a bit like Facebook: I know it would take a lot out of me if I started being active there, so I haven’t. I have a page, but it’s as stealth as I can possibly make it. I just have it so I can see pictures my adult kid posts. 🙂

I think it may be worth you taking a look at the top reviewers to see if there is one whose tastes align with yours.

I also do see quite a few books in my “friends” feed on Goodreads…I have a lot more friends than followers, although not so many of those, either.

How about you? Do you find things to read on Goodreads? If so, what mechanism there for you works the best? If not, how do you do book discovery? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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! :) 

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.

10 Responses to “Most popular Goodreads reviewers in the USA”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I viscerally dislike the whole notion of “curation” which to me is a form of gate-keeping: what we get to see of a museum’s collection, what books get published, etc. I dislike the notion of someone preventing access to things. OTOH I have no problem at all with reviews — the more the merrier. Reviews are ex post; curation is ex ante — that’s how I judge content filtering approaches FWIW.

    As to Goodreads, I have to say that I, too, am an indifferent participant. At the end of every book that I read on my PW2, there is a popup asking for my star rating — I am religious about doing this, but as yet I haven’t followed up with any written reviews (as you say time is limited :grin). One thing that the end-of-book Goodreads popup also does: it tells you what the next in series is with a link to Amazon so you can buy it. As, these days, I am mostly reading series, I make extensive use of this feature.

    Goodreads also has a start-of-book popup on my PW2, which gives me the option of marking the book as “currently reading” — I do this religiously also (:grin)

    I have found that Goodreads is the best place to find out the correct sequence for a series (both by published date, and internal chronology). I have about 15 titles in my TBR collection on the device (34 overall), so I do occasionally use reviews to decide what next to read — although I tend to rely more on the reviews on the site than those on Goodreads. (I also have hundreds of titles on my Kindle wishlist — so I’m never at a loss for something to read :grin).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      While we agree on the post and ante differences with reviews and curation, are emotional responses to them are different. 🙂

      I’ll admit that might be influenced by my having been a bookstore manager…in a brick-and-mortar store, curation is a large part of it.

      When I chose to put a book in the window, or on an end cap, or at the check-out, that was all curation. When a regular customer walked in the store, and I said, “We’ve got a new book I think you might like,” that was curation.

      Reviews are: “This is what I read and what I think about it.”

      Curation is: “These are books I think you might like.”

      Reviews are about me. Curation is about you. 🙂

      Now, of course, the “you” for whom I am curating may not line up with the you that is you 🙂 very much. That’s why you have to find curators with whom you tend to agree (or disagree).

      When I refer to curation in terms of discovery, I don’t see it as preventing you from getting to anything…it’s just a question of what you see first, where the focus is.

      I would never (well, I don’t like that word) suggest that someone just simply read whatever a particular curator presents, and that’s it. You use a curator, like a Goodreads reviewer, to give you a lead for something to consider. You can still go through and give all 1000+ books added to the Kindle store every day equal scrutiny, if you’d like. 😉

      I also tend to mark the books I’m reading, and I may update the progress from time to time…it’s the reviewing that takes time.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I wouldn’t call what you did in your bookstore “curation” rather I would call it “merchandising”. Motivations matter — the kind of activity (curation whatever you want to call it) I object to is that which prevents things from ever being created (curation as practiced by big 5 editors and literary agents) or seen ( as practiced by museum curators).

        I have no problem with bookstore staff giving me their personal recommendations — that is not “curation” to me. About 20 years ago in NYC there used to be a bookstore specializing in mysteries. It was quite small, but close to my home — I was in there two or three times a month — sometimes for hours. One day the manager approached me and asked why I took so long. I explained that my stable of favorite authors were getting old, and some had passed on — so there wasn’t much that I hadn’t already read. He asked me what kinds of mysteries I liked. I said that sub-genre didn’t matter — I liked characters that evolved from story to story with interesting back stories. He gave me 6 or 7 authors — all relatively new none having published more than two or three books; half British, half American.
        Every one of them were excellent choices, and became the nucleus of my new stable — everyone of those authors became very popular, and at this point they are on their 20 or 25th books. They too are now getting old; not writing as much anymore.

        I wish that bookstore, and its manager were still around — sadly it closed a few months after I got those recommendations.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Well, we just have a different take on the word, I guess. 🙂 I’d say mine is more similar to this:

        When I talk about curation being the future, I’m talking about people selectively presenting content…not about prevention of creation, or preventing people from seeing things.

        Sounds like a great bookstore manager!

  2. Zebras Says:


    Wish we could have had you over for Sharknado 3! Usually I watch my bad scifi movies alone, but we had just moved next door to friends, so I invited them over to watch together, and we had a blast. Ever since I watched one of these movies where it was supposed to take place in the alps in a hotel with all sorts of evil avalanches, and not one person had a foreign accent, I’ve been hooked on these silly movies. Snowmaggedon gets watch at holiday time along with the Peanuts.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      That would have been fun! I’ve actually only seen the first Sharknado. One of my favorite things, though, was watching a “Golden Turkeys” film festival in a theatre, overnight. People wore pyjamas, and we saw some really bad movies, including The Creeping Terror (which may be one of the worst).

      I’ve just finished rewatching the TV series The Time Tunnel…I’m thinking I may write something about that in The Measured Circle, and might, at some point, do a short book. They have that same thing…everybody speaks contemporary English, except in one episode. Oh, there are some accents, but it’s all English.

  3. Zebras Says:

    One tidbit that you will appreciate about a cameo in Sharknado 3…. A certain author is who is famous for his harshness to beloved characters gets eaten by a shark!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      While I do make a conscious effort to avoid spoilers, I had seen that one. 🙂

  4. tuxgirl Says:

    Sad to say that my most common method of book discovery is that when I’m bored I will sometimes read through ereaderiq’s freebie list. It yields mixed results, though, although at least they are free.

    I do sometimes mark books mentioned in other books, and go find those. Often, the marked book is old enough to be public domain, but unfortunately, many of them have been obscure enough to not even be on Gutenberg… (It takes a special level of obscurity to not be there!!!)

    Unfortunately, the beginner chapter books that make it onto ereaderiq’s freebie list somehow tend to have lower quality on average than the rest of the books there, and I’ve found fewer of those that catch the interest of a young reader in Gutenberg, so I’m having to branch out a bit more on book discovery. The munchkin read 3 magic tree house books in one day yesterday!

    I think I may try giving her some slightly longer books on the kindle, though. Longer books in paper were intimidating and she wouldn’t start them, but I’m hoping that the kindle will disguise that and she might find some that she likes that she doesn’t go through quite so fast…..

    I’m going to check out goodreads more in depth tonight, though… I’ve mostly ignored it so far.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tuxgirl!

      When you check out Goodreads, try the Free Book Giveaway group:

      You might find a chance to get books more liking there.

      Actually, I think it takes an odd bit of serendipity to get in Gutenberg. Digitizing a book is not easy, and there are millions of books not in it. 🙂

      I think it’s the right thing to give your daughter slightly longer books, at least as an option. At some point, the switch will flip, and she’ll be into chapter books, but you won’t discourage her from it by exposing her “too soon”.

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