Does Goodreads ruin our reading experience?

Over the weekend, I read the Yellow Lighted Bookshop, a book that celebrates that beautiful feeling of going into a physical store. I agreed, for the most part; e-books are never quite the same as a real book. Thinking about it, though, I realised that it’s been a long time since I’ve properly browsed a library or bookshop. Why is that? I think the answer may be Goodreads, or the general bookish world. Yellow Lighted Bookshop.jpg

Because I follow so many book blogs, I’m constantly being bombarded with hype for new books, or love for an older series, etc etc. When I see a lot of bloggers I love talking about something great, I obviously want to read it myself. Consequently, my TBR is around 500 books long (and I know that’s pretty small compared to some people!).

Here’s where it becomes a problem. I barely ever browse anymore, because I know I have so many books I’ve already decided I want to read. I reserve books from the library, or buy them online, and even when I go in to browse I come out with books I’ve already heard good things about. It’s been so long since I browsed without some set books in mind, and came out with something unexpected. I choose from an already made list based on my mood, not based on whichever cover grabs my attention first. 

Is this a problem, though? Is it somehow better to choose a surprise book, or better to have a TBR? I used to love browsing shops, especially a second hand bookshop, and it took reading this book for me to realise how long it’s been since I’ve done that. There’s nothing better than the feeling of finding the perfect book, especially when you weren’t even sure what book you were looking for. 

I feel like it’s a problem that I can’t change now, though. I think it’s too late. When I go into a bookshop now, I can’t get the popular books out of my head, because I’m seeing them everywhere. If I did pick up something else, I don’t think I’d be able to stop feeling uneasy. What if it’s terrible? Have I seen some negative reviews somewhere? Am I really choosing this over the latest most popular book? It actually makes book shopping stressful, instead of the relaxing experience it should be!Sheldon Stress.gif

In saying that, though, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reserving library books to ensure you get a chance to read those popular ones. And if I didn’t have a TBR, how could I remember I wanted to read those more obscure fantastic ones? Is there some sort of balance I’m not aware of, or am I not alone in this problem? Let me know how you shop, I’m interested!

20 thoughts on “Does Goodreads ruin our reading experience?

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  1. Oh yeah, I definitely have a most bloated TBR, and that’s OK. I do, however, try to go into an actual bookstore and browse every now and then. I have to say, though, that where I live, it isn’t all that easy to find English books (in Geneva, Switzerland) and so, ever since amazon appeared, that’s where I’ve done most of my book shopping.
    Also, I think of checking out books, and reading reviews on Goodreads as browsing. And, of course, I spend way too much time ‘browsing’ NetGalley and Edelweiss as well 😀
    Great topic, Victoria!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can totally relate! It kind of ruins the fun of discovering a new book by actually holding it in your hands and reading the dust jacket. Instead I walk into a book store and am overwhelmed because it’s like my TBR list is mobbing me.

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  3. I’ve been feel the same way, but I don’t think goodreads is making it worse. I think it is just different. I’ve been on goodreads since I was in high school (over 10 years) so I don’t think anything is going to change soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, I’m not sure if this way has to be a bad thing! I’ve only been on there for 2 ish years, so it’s definitely different between the two of us 🙂


  4. I like the idea that we are browsing when we read blogs and goodreads. I definitely reserve library books more now and don’t go browse. That’s because I’m already excited by a book I’ve found online.

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  5. I have an extremely insane Goodreads TBR list as well. However, I always still end up browsing whether I’m at the bookstore, online, or in the library and always end up with at least a few books that just grabbed my attention. Unless I’m just looking for a particular book, I tend to not even bother checking my TBR list before I go looking. I don’t feel the need to read the latest hyped book, or anything. I just go and enjoy spending an hour browsing. Never feel pressured to read something just because its popular, read what you want! 🙂

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  6. My GR list is exploding at over 300, but I still visit bookstores and the library often. Actually I feel that Goodreads enhances that experience personally. I add to my list and categorize, then head into the books, open the app and use it to help me browse sections based on genres I am in the mood for. The reviews are of a huge help. There are a lot of bloggers I really trust on the site when it comes to feedback. So it is a useful tool. But I still linger for an hour or two as normal. Great post!

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  7. Great post! The internet has definitely taken away a bit of that serendipitous discovery of books in a store or library. I also have a 500-some long to-read list on Goodreads, but I don’t use it as a strict TBR, but rather an “at some point in my life I want to read this book” list, haha. I still do a lot of bookstore browsing, and I use Goodreads a lot. I will wander the shelves of a bookstore and use the nifty barcode scan to add books to my Goodreads. When I go into a store I usually end up adding like 5 books to my Goodreads list, lol. I also have a rule about book shopping in indie stores especially: never buy a book I’ve heard of before. I usually only get books I already know of from online shopping, used book stores, or the library. That way I keep the feeling of discovery; it works well for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I feel like I’ll never completely conquer my tbr! I completely forgot you could scan books, I have to start using that. And that’s a really good rule, I should start using that, I think it’ll help a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post, Victoria! I personally feel like there’s no one way for every reader – like, everyone does things a bit differently, and some people prefer having a TBR, some people don’t, etc. For me I like that I’m surrounded by recs (and the anti-recs) because I always know what to read (although too many options can also be a problem), and I have a better idea of what books I’ll enjoy and more importantly why. I don’t really get stressed out by book shopping, but to be fair, I do utilise the library a whole lot and DNF books quite liberally. 😛

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  9. I find Goodreads actually helps me keep my books sorted out, personally. I don’t get the chance, right now, to go to bookstores often (because at the moment, I don’t live anywhere NEAR one…) but when I used to get to bookstores, I found that knowing what books were on my goodreads “want to read” list (somehow I manage to remember the titles of the ones I’m most looking forward to, even if there are, like… hundreds of them…) helped me to actually FIND those books in the store.

    Granted, I do also pick up books on a whim–I like going into my reads totally blind, though, so I’m a bit weird like that. I’ll usually glance at a book’s blurb on goodreads, MAYBE peek at what the rating is…but other than that, I’m diving in knowing NOTHING, man! Haha.

    Great question–thanks so much for asking and sharing your thoughts! ❤


  10. My TBR is definitely out of control, but that’s okay. I see it more as being prepared in the case of an apocalypse than anything else. 🙂

    Goodreads has actually helped my browsing, if anything. If I find something I might like, I’ll read a chapter or two in store and probably buy it, but if I’m still not sure, I might check Goodreads for reviews or ratings. In the second case they help me avoid some really bad ones, like 1 or 2 stars that I’m glad I set aside so I could read something more time worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, good point! And yeah, that’s really useful, I’m sure I’ve escaped some really terrible books from looking at other reviews. Especially when you follow people who have the same sort of taste, and you know if they hated it you probably will too


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