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Amazon announces it will buy book-recommendations site Goodreads

March 29, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • Amazon has agreed to buy book recommendations site Goodreads. Above, Goodreads co-founder and Chief Executive Otis Chandler.
Amazon has agreed to buy book recommendations site Goodreads. Above, Goodreads… (Michael Robinson Chavez…)

Amazon.com Inc., which started as an online bookseller before becoming the e-commerce behemoth it is today, is buying book-recommendations site Goodreads.

Amazon announced the deal Thursday. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Goodreads, a San Francisco company, launched in 2007. On the website, members can list, rate and review books they’ve read and discover new books by using the site’s recommendation tool.

It's also become a social network for avid readers: Members can see what their friends are reading and comment on their reviews, and join online discussions on books they've read. 

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Despite offering “Earth’s biggest selection,” Amazon has long had an interest in books. The Seattle company was founded in 1994 as an Internet bookseller and expanded its presence in the reading world when it introduced the Kindle e-reader.

That shared interest for “reinventing reading” made the deal a good fit, said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle Content.

“Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world,” Grandinetti said. “In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

Goodreads has more than 16 million members who have added more than 530 million books to their digital shelves and written 23 million reviews. There are more than 30,000 book clubs on the site.

In a blog post on Goodreads’ website Thursday, co-founder and Chief Executive Otis Chandler (and grandson of former Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler) called Amazon a “perfect partner” whose reach and resources would help his company “create an even better experience” for members.

“For all of you Kindle readers, there's obviously an extra bonus in this announcement. You've asked us for a long time to be able to integrate your Kindle and Goodreads experiences. Making that option a reality is one of our top priorities,” Chandler said.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter. Goodreads will continue to be based in San Francisco, and Chandler said members’ reviews and ratings will remain on the Goodreads site.

“Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture,” he said.

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