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Goodreads was the future of book reviews. Then Amazon bought it.

Washington Post: “A prominent author’s decision to pull her new novel from publication after being ‘review bombed’ highlights Goodreads’s power in publishing — and raises questions about its longtime owner. Goodreads — an Amazon-owned review site beloved by the bookish — has grown beleaguered. The site is built on outdated technological infrastructure, which made the cost of overhauling and updating it a challenge that was ultimately not worth it for the e-commerce giant, according to former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Meanwhile, limited manual content moderation and a lack of protective features allow users to engage in targeted harassment known as “review bombing” — behavior that has resulted in the cancellation of books and their authors. Former employees said Amazon seemed happy to mine Goodreads for its user-generated data and otherwise let it limp along with limited resources. In Amazon’s more than 20-year history, the company has made dozens of acquisitions, and it is not unusual for it to try to cheaply acquire properties in markets that it wants to dominate, only to let them languish. Until recently, Amazon owned Book Depository and camera-enthusiast favorite DPReview, and it still operates discount marketplace Woot, collectibles website AbeBooks and movie database IMDb. Goodreads “hasn’t been all that well maintained, or updated, or kept up with what you would expect from social communities or apps in 2023,” said Jane Friedman, a publishing industry consultant. “It does feel like Amazon bought it and then abandoned it.” Amazon spokesperson Ashely Vanicek said that “By joining Amazon, Goodreads has accelerated their mission to delight customers with the help of Amazon’s resources and technology.”

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