Yesterday, Goodreads announced that they are being purchased by Amazon. The news has been frequently discussed on Social Media already and while a lot of people seem to think this is a good thing, there are also some critical voices. I have to admit, that my first reaction is to join the critical crowd.
Obviously, the merger will give Goodreads users some new features, like being able to order books directly from the Goodreads page, reviews might be posted on Amazon directly, too. And of course, the whole database of Amazon's books will be available on Goodreads.
But while these things are all nice, they are just that, convenient features. The negatives are much more serious, because they are not about features but market dominance. There is the fear that Amazon will try to force Goodreads' readers onto the Kindle track, while disregarding other ebook formats. There's also the fear that some of Amazon's less ethical practices might spill over on Goodreads (reviews on Amazon get deleted sometimes for dubious reasons, as being posted by another Author - as if authors don't read other people's books and can have an opinion about them - or their take on owning the content people actually have on their Kindles despite the customer has paid for it).
But mainly it's about market dominance. Do we really want to have one big player completely dominate everything to do with books online? Even if that makes our favourite website a little more convenient? Historically, when a big player buys a successful website it doesn't take long before it loses its soul. We can only hope that this will not happen to Goodreads.