All GoodReads alternatives,
updated for 2021
Books
Why even consider alternatives?

Goodreads is an arm of its parent company's marketing department.

If you're cool with that, no worries. You can stop reading this.
How do I move?

Emigrating from Goodreads to a new book service takes 3 steps:
1)
Pick a new book service.
2)
Get your books out of goodreads, and safely into the new place.
3)
Tell your friends you switched.


It's not as easy as pushing a button. But really, what is?

Take inspiration from your tenacious ancestors back in the old hard times. Think of their shrewdness and grit.

We're just switching websites here. Not fighting for suffrage or battling corrupt sherrifs or anything.
1)
Pick a new book service.
So many alternatives!

Rated with stars, just like you'd rate a book.

But each star here means something specific:
Can you easily get books in?
Can you easily get books out?
Can you organize your books?
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Is there a phone app?

A green-glowing star signifies a really standout feature.

Riffle
(no stars)
rifflebooks.com

Can you easily get books in?
Nope. There's an import feature, but it appears to be broken. There was no response to my please-help email.

The import feature is tricky to to locate (Settings -> Goodreads History Import).

Riffle import accepts a GoodReads .csv file. The import runs in the background, and you get an email when it completes.

It says "the books will start to appear momentarily, though the import can take up to 24 hours."

After 5 minutes, no books had appeared. I tried the .csv upload again, and it restarted (I think.) I wondered if this would create duplicates.
Can you easily get books out?
Unknown.

Without an import, it's hard to evaluate this.
Can you organize your books?
Unknown.

Without an import, it's hard to evaluate this.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Unknown
Is there a phone app?
Nope.
 
Riffle General impressions
Riffle doesn't meet the functionality bar to be a replacement for GoodReads. If they fix the import issue, I'll re-evaluate.

ItalicType
(no stars)
italictype.com

Can you easily get books in?
No. There is no goodreads import function.
Can you easily get books out?
No.

There is no data-export function.
Can you organize your books?
No.

You can't search within your list of books (called a queue in ItalicType). Nor can you group books.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Unknown
Is there a phone app?
There is no phone app.
 
ItalicType General impressions
ItalicType is extremely bare-bones. It's been around since early 2019. The look & feel of the site is nice.

BookSloth
BookSloth.com

Can you easily get books in?
No you can't. There's no bulk import.

You are limited to adding books one by one from BookSloth's crappy search.
Can you easily get books out?
Nope. Not at all.
Can you organize your books?
Kind of. You can put books in one of 5 categories.

There is no facility to group, tag, or in any other way catalog your books.

You cannot search within your books.

I'm not even giving a half star for an app that doesn't even list your books.
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Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Presumably, yes.
Is there a phone app?
Yes! BookSloth is only an app. There's no website interface.
 
BookSloth General impressions
Avoid BookSloth.

Did I mention the search was crappy? It's beyond crappy.
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I'm guessing the business model is to charge publishers for prominent placement on BookSloth's browse pages. The digital equivalent of endcap placement at a bookstore.

Readng
readng.co

Can you easily get books in?
Readng imports DIRECTLY from goodreads. No .csv file needed!

This takes a few minutes, and runs while you wait. You don't get to know when it's done. You can reload the page to see your book totals steadily increase.

It imported 292 out of my 308 want-to-read books from GR

It imported 330 out of my 351 already-read books from GR

Which ones were left behind? I don't get to know.
Can you easily get books out?
Nope. There is no data export.
And that's why I'll never know which books failed to import.
Can you organize your books?
There's no screen that lists all your books.

You can create collections and add books to them.

You cannot search within your books.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Yes. Notifications appear in your feed. You don't get an email though.
Is there a phone app?
There is not.
 
Readng General impressions
Readng has solid potential. It has decent search.

To be decently feature-compatible with GR, it needs a straightforward list of all books. And data export.

Readng is new and in beta. Expect this review to change in the future.

Bookhype
bookhype.com

Can you easily get books in?
Yes!. The goodreads-import feature is phenomenal. Even better than Bookdigits' import.

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My list of 659 books took 4 seconds to import.

It didn't import 21 books. But these are presented in a list, with options to manually match them. No other import offers this convenience.

Not only that, but import data is preserved. I can go back and match those 21 not-found books any time I want.
Can you easily get books out?
Nope.

Unfortunately, there is no .csv export.
Can you organize your books?
Yes. The "My Books" screen is exactly what you'd expect.

You can search within your catalog of books.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Yes and no. There is a nice activity-feed page, with events from friends you follow.

However, there is no email version of this feed.

Also, friends are not discoverable or invitable. If you want to invite a friend, Bookhype won't email them for you.
Is there a phone app?
There is not.
 
Bookhype General impressions
Bookhype is very new (mid-2020), and has a very impressive set of features.

Its design is clean, and clearly inspired by Goodreads.

Bookhype lacks Goodreads' social features, and I'm curious if those are in the works.

Open Library
openlibrary.org

Can you easily get books in?
Yes, but it's confusing!

Settings -> Import and Export options

.csv files from goodreads import just fine - and there's a nice progress bar. With a list of all records imported, and polite error messages for the rejected ones.

It imported 262 out of my 308 want-to-read books from GR

It imported 312 out of my 351 already-read books from GR
Can you easily get books out?
Yes! There's a .csv download on the Import and Export screen.
Can you organize your books?
Yes, there's a screen that lists all your books. "My Books -> My Reading Log."

You cannot group or catalog your books. Only mark them as to-read, currently-reading, or read.

You cannot search within your books.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
No. OpenLibrary isn't a social network whatsoever.
Is there a phone app?
There is no phone app.

There are some unofficial knockoff apps that probably wrap the website in ads.
 
OpenLibrary General impressions
OpenLibrary is not a GoodReads alternative. It's a whole other thing entirely.

You can literally check out and view digitized copies of books.

OpenLibrary is part of a larger project - The Internet Archive. They share a common account system, which is confusing. It's also a crappy account system.

BookDigits
bookdigits.com

Can you easily get books in?
Yes, and it's great.

BookDigits' import accepts a GoodReads .csv file, and has clear instructions for anyone who hasn't created such a file before.

The import shows a preview of all records to be imported, and a beautiful progress bar:
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It imported all but THREE of the items in my file - even the ones with no ISBNs!

All fields were mapped automatically.

Other book sites take note - this is the gold standard for file import. Damn near magical.
Can you easily get books out?
Yep. There's a .csv export option.
Can you organize your books?
Yes, there's a screen that lists all your books.

To mark a book as read, you have to rate it.

BookDigits' rating system is comprehensive.

Accdictiveness? Movie Potential?

Fortunately, you can skip the deep-analysis ratings, and just use the 1-5 scale. But you must rate a book to mark it as read. Can't just fill in the completed date.

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Unfortunately, you cannot search within your books.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
No. You can't even add friends inside the application.
Is there a phone app?
Nope.
 
BookDigits General impressions
BookDigits honestly has a lot going for it. The import is just stellar, really.

Unfortunately, anyone expecting a social reading experience won't find it here.

Libib
libib.com

Can you easily get books in?
Yes!

Libib has a rather nice .csv importer. It lets you map incoming fields to Libib record fields.

Imports run in the background, and you get an email when it's complete. Mine took about 10 minutes to finish.

It imported all but 42 books. The email included a nice list of all the ones that didn't import:
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Can you easily get books out?
Yes!

There's a .csv download option, though it's not easy to find: "Settings -> Libraries -> Export Library".
Can you organize your books?
Yes, but it's not great. Specifically, there's no way to distinguish to-read and not-yet-read books. This is a real problem.

The import process has a field for "completed_date", so the site knows which books I've read. But this isn't exposed in the UI at all

Libib has a "status" field on its books, which holds started/complete/not-begun state.

This field is NOT part of the import mapping, so it's blank even for books with completed date.
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Confusingly, you can add lots of statuses by hand.
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Libib does let you search your collection. It has tags and groups, though the difference is extremely unclear.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Unknown. You can't invite anyone outside the app.
Is there a phone app?
There sure is!
 
Libib General impressions
Libib has potential. It's marketed as a cataloging tool for more than just books.

For instance, you might have a separate library to catalog your video games. Or the herbs in your herb garden.

If you're a Goodreads refugee, Libib will feel unfamiliar. The data mapping and social features are far from a perfect match.

The StoryGraph
thestorygraph.com

Can you easily get books in?
Yes. StoryGraph handily imports from a .csv.

After you upload the .csv, the import runs in the background. There's no progress indicator, but you get an email when it completes, and it politely declines to start another while the first is running.

The import imported 658 of my 659 books. It did a great job.

The import page has helpful instructions for helping new users deal with inconsistencies in Goodreads' data.
Can you easily get books out?
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Yes! Theres a .csv download option:
Manage Account -> Manage Your Data -> Export Storygraph library.

The data export was very helpful in verifying correctness of the import.

One minor quibble - Only 13 of the books in my export had non-blank ISBNs!
Can you organize your books?
Yes. But it's a little tricky. The main page has a "to-read pile" section, with a link a screen where you can search within your unread books.
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The corresponding screen for your already-read books is harder to find:
Upper-right menu -> Your StoryGraph -> "Read Recently" section -> "View all"
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You can add tags to books. To see those tags:
Upper-right menu -> Your StoryGraph -> "Books tagged" section

I wish very much The StoryGraph had a unified list of all my books in the system. One I can search.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Yes!
Upper-right menu -> Your StoryGraph -> "Community"

This shows a list of reviews and started-reading notifications from followers.

At the time of this writing, I could not find any way to invite people via email, or get email update notifications.
Is there a phone app?
Yes there is! And it works rather well.
 
StoryGraph General impressions
The StoryGraph has great potential and momentum. If it had easy friend invites, email notifications, and a spreadsheet-like list of your books, it would be literally better than with GoodReads.

The UI is clean and spacious. The tradeoff for this is needing to tunnel through the hamburger menu to reach many commonly used screens.

The StoryGraph is under rapid development. Expect this review to change in the future.

LibraryThing
librarything.com

Can you easily get books in?
Definitely. LibraryThing imports .csv files, and other formats too. There's a handy 1-2-3 guide for goodreads users.

The import includes a preview, which nicely shows any records that don't match, and why.

It imported nearly all of my GR books, except some which didn't have an ISBN or ASIN number (GR's fault, more on that later)
Can you easily get books out?
Oh yes. You can get books out as a spreadsheet, or json, or other formats.

So, I had signed up for LibraryThing years ago, and added some books.

After adding my current export from GoodReads, I had a superset of old and just-added books. Of which, some might be missing.

To sort this out, I exported the list and diffed it.

Good data export makes things like this possible. It's table stakes for a book tracking tool.
Can you organize your books?
Oh my goodness yes. Cataloging books is LibraryThing's whole deal.

Though you have to adjust your brain slightly. Your records in LibraryThing are called "works", not books.

A work is a version of a book. A paper book and an audiobook are two different works, for example.

Most of the time, you won't care. But LibraryThing cares. Goodreads also cares - it does a half-decent job of distinguishing editions.

LibraryThing has excellent search. You can search and filter your books six ways from Sunday.
Does it tell you when your friends add a book, or finish one?
Yes. But not as fancily as GR.

This is probably a good place to point out that LibraryThing has an incredible community, with a self-contained forum and groups.
Is there a phone app?
There is. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done.
 
LibraryThing General impressions
LibraryThing is probably what you want. It does a much better job of cataloging books than GR.

LibraryThing has the coolest are-you-human test I've come across:
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LibraryThing's UI is...dense. There's a lot, lot, lot of stuff there.

At first glance, some of it looks like a mishmash of earlier strata of the internet.

You know what? It is a mishmash of earlier strata of the internet.

Have you ever bemoaned the corporate-fenced, advertising-addicted skinner box the internet has become?

Ever waxed nostalgic for that ancient internet of better, more innocent days? When the internet looked like some sort of frontier of knowledge and human connection?

Well it's still around. And it cares about books.
2)
Get your books out of goodreads, and safely into the new place.


I'm just going to link to LibraryThing's directions.

Unfortunately, GoodReads does a bad job exporting data.

Look at these books without ISBNs!
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Those are not obscure works!

Despite being owned by Amazon, GoodReads does not include the ASIN as a field. Though they absolutely know it.

For any books that don't have ISBN's, you'll have to add them by hand. Get ready to spend a few minutes clicking.
3)
Tell your friends you switched.


Goodreads actually lets you send direct messages to friends!

This feature is just slighty difficult to find:

On each friend's page, you'll see a grey "More" menu with a "Message" entry.
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Upon clicking it, you'll be asked for your password again.
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Then you can send your friend a DM.
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Repeat for your other friends.

The End
Happy Reading!
You can reach me by email to request a correction or addition to this page.