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Goodreads reaches 10 million users

August 14, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • Otis Chandler founded Goodreads on 2007; he was photographed at the Santa Monica Public Library.
Otis Chandler founded Goodreads on 2007; he was photographed at the Santa… (Michael Robinson Chavez )

On Monday, the good folks at Goodreads announced they'd reached a milestone: 10 million registered users.  "We've come a long way since Elizabeth and I built Goodreads from our living room, motivated by the belief that there was a better way to discover and discuss good books — and that we could build it," wrote founder Otis Chandler on the Goodreads blog.

When Goodreads launched in January 2007 as a social networking site for book lovers, it was the new kid on the block. Another social reading site, LibraryThing, was performing a similar service, allowing people to catalog their libraries online and share ideas around books. Goodreads, however, expanded the social elements of its site to include book clubs and live chats, and has grown into the leader in the online social reading space. It even goes offline, too, with IRL book swaps and literary pub crawls.

It took the site four and a half years to reach 5 million users; in the last 15 months, it doubled its membership — which is free — to 10 million.

Goodreads' largest discussion groups are Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, with 12,507, and the Sword & Laser, connected to the science fiction and fantasy website and podcast, which has 11,395. And — surprise — Poetry is the fifth-most-popular discussion group, with 7,771 members.

"I think we are doing very well as an advertising platform for books," Chandler told The Times in 2010, "and I have other ideas to increase that. To be a really big media business, I think you need other [revenue] streams. We have several other ideas to create those." At the time, the company had 10 staff members; that number has grown to 30.

But it's the members that are making the site vibrant. "Today," Chandler wrote in his post, "six books are added on Goodreads per second." So far, the site has cataloged 360 million books.

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