Yesterday one of the many Book Riot emails to hit my inbox came with an intriguing title, and it happened to be the title of an article. Carina Pereira wrote Why I Deleted My Goodreads TBR (And You Probably Should, Too) And the title was so intriguing I had to read it. I do encourage you to read the article too, but in summary, Carina had been using her Goodreads TBR shelf as a “to-purchase” list, it had grown to over 400 titles, and when she made the switch to Storygraph some things didn’t transfer smoothly. This included the monstrous to-purchase list and she chose to let it go, use Goodreads as an archive of her past reading, and use Storygraphy for her future reading going forward.
I was also using my Goodreads TBR shelf as a to-purchase list back around the time I launched this blog but I, too, have done away with using it. I cleared mine a few months ago and now I keep it clear. My reasons are different, but I’m sure I’m not alone in my reasons, so why not discuss? Drop a comment down below if you, too, have re-evaluated your relationship with your Goodreads shelves (or Goodreads in general) or if this post made you consider things you hadn’t before. I love starting a discussion!
I’ve heard many people are distancing themselves from Goodreads as part of an effort to remove Amazon from their lives (because yes, actually, despite having the same design they’ve had for well over a decade, Goodreads is indeed owned by a major corporation.) Some don’t like it as a social platform. Some strongly disagree with the way the annual awards run like a high school popularity contest. Some would just rather move to fresher platforms.
I’m mostly fine with Goodreads as a platform, besides agreeing that their awards system is messed up, but I don’t view it as a social platform and my physical location in this modern world has made me unfortunately reliant on companies like Amazon whether I like it or not, so… why bite the hand that feeds you, I guess? No, I have no desire to leave Goodreads. I don’t have any major problems with Goodreads. I also feel obligated to stay even if I wanted to add a different book platform like Storygraph because Goodreads is still a default big name in book reviews, and I’m out here trying to be as professional as possible as a book reviewer. Not every book can be reviewed directly on Amazon, and not every review submitted to Amazon ever goes live, but every book can have a Goodreads review. (Well, provided the book is on Goodreads, and that’s almost all of them.)
So why did I clear off my Goodreads TBR shelf? A few reasons.
First, same as Carina, it was mostly a wishlist. It was getting insanely long, true, but it was also collecting titles that truly didn’t belong on the same list as books I intended to purchase or wanted to request as birthday gifts. I used to also use it to save the exact Goodreads URL for books I had upcoming tour dates for, both for convenience and because clicking a link within Goodreads to get to a book’s listing provides a cleaner URL to copy & paste than selecting it from the search function does. That’s still not bad, though. Once I read them for the tour I would move them from the TBR shelf to the read shelf, no harm done. Except when the site glitched and kept the title on both, or the book has multiple listings so your review goes to a different listing than the one on your TBR and it never actually updates the TBR, or it wasn’t even a review title so I forgot to remove it because I never had a copy to read in the first place.
I was also using it to remind myself to re-read books I’d read before and wanted to read fresh before I wrote my reviews, or to flag books I planned to borrow from the library. Again, all theoretically fine, review it and it moves shelves, but see above.
Then there are the Goodreads giveaways.
I don’t know why I continue to try to win books off of Goodreads because the odds of winning one of five copies in a contest entered by 300,000 other Goodreads users are pretty much zero. But do you know what happens when you enter a Goodreads giveaway? That title gets added to your TBR shelf. Given the extremely low chance of ever actually winning these giveaways, when I enter, I’ll enter everything marked as a genre I read. Sometimes that means I look at my TBR shelf and have absolutely no idea why a particular title is there and worry that I’ve forgotten a tour read. This sends me on a wild goose chase searching through my schedule and my inbox until I finally realize, no less than 10 minutes later, that it must have been a contest title. Then it’s time to check to see if it’s still being given away or if that contest ended. Then it’s time to remove it from my shelf, because clearly I’m not excited enough to buy it. Guess what? If you delete a book from your Goodreads TBR shelf instead of marking it as currently reading or read, you lose everything you’ve saved on that book. Accidentally put a reviewed book back on the TBR list and then remove it? Review gone. Pre-added it to custom additional shelves to label it? Nope, it’s not on those shelves anymore. The Goodreads TBR shelf is a contract!
So to save myself from all of those TBR shelf headaches, I just don’t use it anymore except for the titles that add themselves when I try my luck at giveaways. At least now I know exactly why those titles are there and I clean the list once a month or so.
How about you?