Amazon is buying the web's largest online books community Goodreads, it was announced yesterday. Details of the purchase weren't revealed, but Forbes columnist Jeff Bercovici said that it was "likely to have been in the low eight digits."
With 16 million members, Goodreads had become the leading site for user-submitted book reviews and forums. Users can add books to their own lists, leave written reviews or give star ratings. Founded in 2007 by Elizabeth Chandler and her then-fiancé (now husband) Otis, the site was primarily funded through book-related advertising and publisher-sponsored pages and giveaways. He told the Stanford alumni magazine back in 2012 that Amazon had a fundamental role to play in its founding:
"I would hear about a book and put it on my Amazon Wish List... I thought that if I could share my wish lists with other people, that would be social and that would be valuable data."
Following the merger, Goodreads will keep its headquarters in San Francisco, while Amazon, which acquired a similar startup called Shelfari in 2008, will remain based in Seattle.
In an interview with PaidContent, Otis Chandler sought to calm users' fears about the deal, saying that the site will remain "an independent subsidiary of Amazon, like Zappos or IMDB." Amazon VP of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti added: “Our mentality here is to first do no harm, and make sure that if we’re going to do integrations, users genuinely find it to be a big benefit.”
"I just found out my two favorite people are getting married," self-published author and publishing sensation Hugh Howey said of the news in a statement.
However, Twitter is aflame with negative reactions to the takeover. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!