Reading Rivalry: StoryGraph vs. Goodreads

Charlise Lin

As the reading community continues to expand at Terra Linda High School, so does the variety of reading platforms at the students’ disposal. Throughout the years, readers have used various apps such as Goodreads which was launched in 2006, and StoryGraph which was launched in 2019 to research, review, track reading progress, and discover new books. 

According to Goodreads founder Otis Chandler, “Goodreads is a website where you can view what you and your friends are currently reading.  You can find your next favorite book. In this journey with your friends, you can explore new territories, gather information, and expand your mind.” Goodreads creates a unique opportunity to socialize in a community solely dedicated to reading and books.

On the other hand, there is StoryGraph, which according to their website, is a “fully-featured Amazon-free alternative to Goodreads.” Their website claims the platform is “the all-in-one platform for your bookish needs.” The platform is fully equipped with custom tags and lists, reading challenges, content warnings, half & quarter star ratings, built-in DNF [Did not finish] & owned, reading journals, up-next queue, and book clubs.

Online reading platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. As stated by TL Junior Rebecca Levy, “On Goodreads you have this sort of community, personally as an extrovert I would really like the opportunity to engage in conversations, to message the author, stuff like that.” Goodreads has amazing resources on a social level, there are many opportunities for discussing  book related topics. It’s also extremely useful when it comes to researching books, and looking at book reviews. TL’s Head Librarian, Kendra Rose, remarks, “I also use Goodreads to determine the genre of books for our different genre sections, especially if there’s a book that’s multigenre.” According to TL’s English Teacher Mackenzie Bedford, at times, due to both the Goodreads platform and Kindle app being owned by Amazon, they automatically connected and logged her reading progress via the Kindle app. Goodreads has proven to be very convenient, beneficial on a social spectrum, and favorable when it comes to research. It’s even been essential to TL’s own library. 

A flaw that comes with using Goodreads is they’re lacking when it comes to the book tracking functions, they don’t have nearly as specific data. Bedford says in regards to StoryGraph, “I think there’s more specificity in the data, it can give you more specific recommendations.” 

StoryGraph is an amazing alternative to Goodreads. A convenient feature that StoryGraph provides is if you started with Goodreads but would like to transition to StoryGraph, it’s an easy procedure. All you have to do is export your Goodreads library and import it into your StoryGraphs account. Another pro to StoryGraph is the algorithm is able to create graphs and is able to recommend books to you according to your reading statistics. TL’s English Teachers Mackenzie Bedford and Caroline McNally attest to this advantageous function. The data StoryGraph offers seems to be a fan favorite among users, right alongside the yearly reading wrap-up they create for you filled with your reading statistics throughout the year. Levy states that “I really like how it gave us almost a Spotify Wrapped of books at the end of the year, kind of tracking your progress that way. I feel like this feature of the app is really beneficial for a lot of people.” A downside to StoryGraph is that it’s relatively new. Goodreads has been around for over a decade longer, naturally has a larger user population, and is more well known and widely used. 

Both platforms have been proven to be reasonably user friendly. After a quick walkthrough of both platforms and not being familiar with either platform previous to the interview, Levy states that, “StoryGraph I think aesthetically is a lot more pleasing. Also, I feel like it’s more modern compared to Goodreads, I think that’d be more user friendly.” On the other hand, McNally says, “I think they’re both pretty straightforward, simple, I wouldn’t call one a better interface than the other” and how they’re both “easy to navigate.”

When it comes to transitioning to Goodreads from StoryGraph, Sophomore Isobel Ganguly, says, “I don’t think I will, partly because I’m really stubborn, but also although it does seem like Goodreads has a lot of factors that StoryGraph doesn’t have, in the end, all that matters to me is logging in the books”. We also hear from TL Sophomore Emma Onstott; she says “I would not transition to it. I did see some things that I thought were cool, but the layout felt really busy.” It’s apparent that it really depends on the person and what they’re looking to gain from the usage of each app.

No matter which platform is used, they all have a big impact on modern day reading. Rose says, “I think the social media aspect, that there are all these platforms that we have to share parts of our lives with each other. It’s cool that there are some that are devoted specifically to reading, we’ve seen a huge rise in reading books as a pastime.” Readers have been further encouraged to read more and have been given the tools to diversify their reading as well with apps such as these. McNally voices, “It’s nice to have an incentive, it’s nice to have a goal.” No matter which app you use, you’re guaranteed to have an enjoyable time regardless!