GoodReads started testing sponsored books in different areas on the site—you might have seen the sponsored book at the top of the recommendations page recently. In the near future these will be available to all users and there is no way to turn them off. The only option you will have is to flag a book as “not interested” and a new title will take its place.
Many longtime users of GoodReads are not very keen about more advertising infiltrating the platform. Becky lamented “Because there’s just not enough advertising to us already. Banners, and sidebar ad, sponsored ads in the sidebar, bookpage ads, and mandatory sidebar “editorial” content, update feed “editorial” content, and probably more that I’ve forgotten, and now this. I’m starting to feel like nothing more than a wallet.”
I think GoodReads is trying very hard to monetize the site and implement broad book campaigns to try and get people to buy the title. Whenever a user purchases a title from Amazon, GoodReads earns a commission. It is no small wonder they are trying to force books down our throats.
Suzanne Skyvara the VP of Communications at GoodReads told me that “We are starting to to move towards more personalized ads. Our long-term goal is to deliver an experience where there are fewer, but more relevant, ads. As Goodreads has an advertising-supported business model, introducing native ads like sponsored books is a natural next step for our company. ” She went on to say “We are currently in learning mode during the test phase, looking at data on how these ads resonate with our members, and listening to feedback before rolling out the ads to other pages.”
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.