[website] Review: BookLikes

So, a little while ago, there was a BIG hoopla over Goodreads starting to censor its users. From what I gathered, if a review says anything negative about an author, it could be deleted (and some perfectly normal reviews have ALSO been deleted, from what I’ve seen). Also, if you have shelves that put attention towards bad author behaviour, they could be deleted, too.

Now, I don’t think I actually write any reviews that say anything negative about authors, nor do I have any questionable shelves, but it’s the whole idea of censoring that bugs me. The reason I loved Goodreads was because it allowed me to get the honest truth from readers about books and authors. I used to get books based on Amazon reviews, but a lot of them turned out to be crap, but I’ve gotten way better results after using Goodreads to help me with my book finding.

There are some GREAT bloggers out there who’s reviews and shelves are being deleted and I think it’s just wrong.

booklikes

At any rate, I decided to stop using Goodreads for my reviews. I’ve slowly begun the import to BookLikes and have really been enjoying it. I will still use Goodreads for shelving my books, reading discussions, and whatnot. I will also (hopefully) post links to my reviews, but not the full review. Ultimately, my blog will ALWAYS have my reviews, but it’s nice to crosspost and help out the awesome authors who are out there.

First impressions: 

Total confusion. I joined one afternoon and set up my page and started the LONG process of uploading my books. Naturally, I started uploading when everyone else would upload, so I’m thinking it will take MONTHS to get all my books in it. But I’ve been going in bit by bit and making sure my book covers are there, my reviews are formatted correctly, etc. It’s kind of tedious, but kind of fun, as well. To me, BookLikes seemed to be like a Tumblr, but for total bookishness, which is awesome. Read on for more thoughts!

What I Like: 

  • The look. I love that I can say which page is the front page for my BookLikes account — the timeline, the blog, or the shelf. I think that the blog looks the cleanest and I can have my reviews and reblogs from other users on it. Not only am I sharing my reviews, but I’m sharing the bookish love of OTHERS’ posts as well.
  • The customization. Just like Tumblr, I can add in links to my other pages, including my official blog, change the colours, and the look of my page. I can add a background picture, or a header picture, as well as my Twitter feed.
  • The linking. When I add a review, I can add in a link of the source of the review — I link back to my own page where the review was originally posted, or to another blogger’s blog if I’ve guest reviewed it there.
  • Spoiler alerts. I like that I can just click a button for this. I mean, sure that’s what you did in Goodreads, but it’s nice that it’s still so simple.
  • Half stars! So many times, I’d write “More like 3.5 stars” or the like in Goodreads. It’s nice that I can finally use half stars! I also like the look of the rating on my page. It’s fancy.

What I Don’t Like: 

  • The look. While there are certain things I like, I wish that I was savvy enough to do things like change the font of my ‘blog’ name on BookLikes, just to make it stand out more. There’s also room for a tagline, but there’s no real customization for that (like colours, etc.).
  • The customization. I wish that I could add in more than one custom URL, as well as arrange the order of the links I have on my page.
  • The import. Not only does it take FOREVER (maybe not when it’s in such high demand), but I have to go through and update my reviews because there’s no line spacing and it looks horrible. I don’t mind doing this, but eventually, it’s going to be a pain in the butt.
  • Spoiler alerts. Whereas in Goodreads, the review would be hidden for spoilers, in BookLikes, there’s a small red warning above the review to alert readers of spoilers. I’m not sure if I would catch it right off the bat.
  • Unable to select different versions of books on your shelf. This might be because they’re being imported — obviously I could select a certain version when adding a book in manually, but I wish I could click on a cover and select a different version right from my shelves.
  • Feature shelves. On the blog, you can share your recently added, currently reading, or favourites shelf. I want to show a recently read shelf. I can’t figure out how to do that.
  • Customizing posts. It still seems limited on what you can do when customizing posts. I’m not sure if it’s easier if you understand CSS (which I do not), but it would be nice to have the option of centering photos when posting images.
  • Searching. I really, really wish I could search my shelves when I go to add a review. I’m not usually one to write and post a review immediately after reading, so this would be great.

Overall impressions? 

So far, I’m really liking BookLikes. I might not stop using my Goodreads account, but like I said, I’ll be limiting what I do in Goodreads. BookLikes seems like it’s a fun thing to use, mainly because I can post things OTHER than my reviews on it (like sharing bookish pictures, or new covers and the like). While it might not have discussion boards or anything, it’ll still be a nice way to stay social in the community.

Are you using BookLikes? What do you like and dislike about it? 

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32 thoughts on “[website] Review: BookLikes

  1. I’ve been playing around on BookLikes for a while as well, and I basically agree with everything you said about your likes and dislikes. Not being able to simply switch between book editions / covers bothers me the most, especially since the import messed up a little and it would be nice to change easily not manually add another version and then delete the old one so you don’t have duplicates. And going through reviews to reformat them nicely will bet tedious.

    But generally I like the way it looks and the combination of blog/bookshelves. I think as more people join and it grows, they will make it more easily customizable add some features. Also, I think there are things that can be done, I just have to take time and explore to find out.

    BTW, you CAN search your book shelves – from the top bar search box where you would usually search to add books from amazon, BD, etc. just select from the search drop down menu where to search, it says “my shelves” or something like that.

    • Oh, awesome, thanks for letting me know! Much better than me going through page by page of my shelf to find something …

      The creator sent me a message on Facebook that new features will be released every Thursday, which is great. I believe discussions will be one of them. I’m interested to see where the site goes!

    • It really is different! I’ve only used Tumblr a handful of times, so I’m familiar with the format, but like I said — I’ll still use Goodreads for certain things. I do like lists on Goodreads, among other things.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Kristilyn. Your experience with BL seems very similar to mine, and the negatives are really why I haven’t delved deeper into the site. After 1 or 2 reviews, I got tired of editing them for line breaks, etc. and just quit.

    And I had a very frustrating experience when I had already manually added all my (60+) books read in 2013 manually before I found the import option. So when I imported all my books from Goodreads, it duplicated all of those 60+ books! Then when I went back and deleted the duplicates from my shelves (and I made sure to delete the ones I had manually added; it was easy to tell because I’d tagged them differently), it ended up removing ALL of those books from my Goodreads account also, because I had synced my BookLikes account to my GR account. Needless to say, I was irritated as I had to re-add ALL my 2013 books BACK onto GR, complete with tags, reviews, ratings, and read dates. SIGH.

    Anyway… Sorry for ranting.

    • I’ve been going in every day to see if new reviews are added and updating them … then I go to GR and remove my review and add a link to the review on my own blog. It hasn’t been that bad so far …

      I’m sorry about your importing experience! I downloaded the CSV file from Goodreads and went that way. It seems to be the easiest, even if it takes forever. At least all of my reviews are on my blog, so I’m not too worried about a time frame — I just hope they all make the move!

  3. I’ve heard their getting discussion boards soon 😀 That is one thing I like about BookLikes: they have made it clear that they are going to be taking and using suggestions as fast as they can so that we have all the features we want. You should definitely email them your list of dislikes so that they know to add more features 😀

    • Yes! I’ve heard that, too! They’ve been really friendly so far and open to suggestions and concerns, which is great. I’m pretty sure that the creator already checked out my post, since he tweeted back at me! He said that new things will come up every Thursday. I’m not looking for something that is exactly like Goodreads, but just something that has more functionality.

  4. I wasn’t too happy when I found out what was happening either, but as it is I hardly post my reviews on Goodreads anyway. I’m just going to keep all my reviews on the blog for now, and use Goodreads to find books and update my shelves. I might check out BookLikes eventually. Does it help when you cross-post reviews?
    Yeah I can’t use Amazon for finding books either, I end up not trusting most of the reviews, because I can’t tell if it’s a real reviewer or not, especially if there’s only 5 stars for everything.

    • I think it helps when I crosspost … and at least then reviews are out there somewhere else. It’s nice that BookLikes can be an extension of Reading In Winter. I can share bookish videos, or cover releases, or bookish quotes without cluttering up the blog.

      Amazon drives me NUTS when I search for books! I had a huge pile of really crappy books I bought through them before I discovered the honesty of Goodreads. It’s nice that we’re such a great community that we can even ask opinions about a book on Facebook or Twitter and readers will respond, but I’m still sad that Goodreads finds it necessary to censor negative reviews — even if they aren’t negative and attacking.

  5. I’ve started checking out BookLikes briefly. It’s still confusing for me now but the more I use it, the more I’ll start to get used to it I think. I am not going to post my full reviews on GR anymore – just rate, shelve, and a brief review with a link to my blog.

  6. Just created my account tonight. I am not sure I will stick with it because even with the synching –I have to do a ton of redoing the review in goodreads after the synch. I am still to new to make a determination but pretty much everything you listed is where my pros/cons stand after a few hours.

  7. This is the first I’ve ever heard of BookLikes! I just signed up. I don’t see myself being any less active on Goodreads, since I’m so invested there, but having another place to interact with other book bloggers, authors, etc. can’t hurt (except maybe my productivity)! 🙂

  8. I really hate what goodreads did and I’ve been looking into BookLikes for the same reason. So far I like it — but not really love it. I wish I could customize it more too and the importing … ugh. Great review though 🙂

    • It does sound like it’s going to get better. The creators are really friendly and open to suggestions, which is wonderful. It sounds like new features will be released every Thursday!

    • I’m still playing with it, so we’ll see how I like it! I know ultimately my blog will be the best place to go for reviews, but it’s nice to have other places to post, too.

  9. Yay! It makes me happy to see BookLikes getting some attention. I like it, though I haven’t started using it for reviews yet (and maybe I should, but copying & pasting over from my blog just seems silly). I think the only drawbacks for me so far are that there aren’t many people I know on it yet, & I’m waiting for a mobile app. I love that it’s basically a bookish Tumblr though, that’s awesome. And I like the shelving function – it’s so similar to GR. I didn’t bother importing though, since I haven’t used GR is years, but the shelves are one of the things I missed.

  10. I haven’t had time to really try out BookLikes. New stuff always has that annoying learning curve, and I’ve been super-busy. So we’ll see how it goes.
    And .. I’m sad. I love Goodreads. I was nervous when Amazon bought it, but decided to hang around and see. I really hope that Goodreads doesn’t turn into a book selling and promotion site, as there are plenty of those already. For me, it’s the best place to get a wide variety of opinions on a book.

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  13. After 2 months, how did your opinion change?
    I’ve just (yesterday) joined booklikes. The biggest drawback for me is a lack of good Asian sources in it. On GR there is a big Indonesian community, with Indonesian books, etc. Here it’s more centred around blogging. Not a lot of groups and users on BL, I think.

    • Uh, sorry. I should state it differently. Booklikes is European-centred, which is far better than the other Polish-only site I’m in, but ultimately, only GR covers the whole range of books I’m reading.

    • You know, I do like visiting it sometimes, but I still don’t use it ALL the time. I like using Goodreads to track my books and reading, but find myself rarely visiting BookLikes. It might be because I don’t know a lot of bloggers who use the site, or maybe it’s just not for me yet. Regardless, I do see where you’re coming from. It could be a great site, but I think it’ll take some time to get to the same kind of idea as Goodreads.

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