GoodReads, Book Sloth, The StoryGraph… What Are All These Reading Trackers?

If you’re on Book Twitter, you’ve probably seen everyone talking about GoodReads, BookSloth and The StoryGraph this week! A lot of people are getting confused about what exactly they are, what differentiates them, and which is the best for them, so I wanted to offer a guide to all three to help you figure them all out.

The first thing to say is that they are all reading tracker sites. GoodReads is the most established, having been founded in 2006, and having tens of millions of users. The StoryGraph and BookSloth are both new services, and are still in development, so everything is quite subject to change regarding these two services.

This is going to be pretty detailed, so if you’re looking for a quick overview, I’ve put a table at the bottom!

Let’s start with the big one!

What is GoodReads?

GoodReads is the original reading tracker site, if you like. It’s an app as well as a website, so can be used on phones, tablets, laptops, PCs… you name it. It has a large social element to it, allowing you to add friends, create groups, and interact with other reviewers. You can create your own exclusive shelves (exclusive shelves means a book can only be on any one of these shelves at a time) to add to the default Read, Currently Reading and Want to Read shelves. You can also create as many additional tags as you want to categorise books by genre, by when you read them, by how much you liked them, anything you want! You can make as many tags as you want, and add as many tags as you want to books.
The reviewing side of the site allows you to rate the book from 1-5 stars as well as providing a more detailed review. You can like and comment on other people’s reviews, ask questions about books, and add the dates you read the book (and add multiple reads). Adding the dates you read the book counts it towards your Reading Challenge, if you’ve set one. Your Reading Challenge is however many books you’ve said you want to read in the year.
There are also a lot of bonus features on GoodReads as well as these basic logging/reviewing ones. You can see all editions of a book and attach your review to the correct edition, mark books as owned, scan ISBN numbers or book covers to find them, add favourite quotes from books, and add friends or follow other reviewers (and probably more!). The site also hosts giveaways, Q&As, and has a group function that allows reading groups to discuss a book. Your profile is also very customisable: you can add a profile picture, set a username, add a bio, link to your website and you can also link GoodReads to other social media to have automatic posting to Twitter, for example.

The Pros of GoodReads

  • Well-established — authors and publishers like reviews on GR.
  • Ability to make groups.
  • Wide range of functions — can be as detailed or simple as the user wishes.
  • Has author Q&As and giveaways.
  • App and website available.

The Cons of GoodReads

  • Owned by Amazon
  • No half stars!
  • The Search bar is notoriously… unreliable.
  • Error messages and glitches are pretty common.
  • The app and site don’t have all the same features, so a user needs to use both to get all the features on offer.
  • Recommendations are generally based off your logging of a single book, rather than your reading habits more broadly.

That’s GoodReads! So, what is Book Sloth?

Book Sloth is a new app. Similarly to GoodReads, there is a social element to the site. You are able to follow other users and see who follows you, and can search for friends easily. The community tab allows you to interact with the wider community on the app as well, with posts and comments.
The app asks you for your favourite genres and reading elements in order to customise recommendations for you. You can tag books as Read, To Be Read, Currently Reading or Not for me.
When you mark a book as finished, you are encouraged to give it a rating out of 5, a review (up to 600 characters), and give it endorsements for elements you enjoyed (e.g. characters, plot, world-building, writing style). You can also mark a book as ‘recommended’.
As to your profile, you are able to customise your display name and profile picture. Your profile also shows the books you’ve logged (except those you’ve marked as ‘not for me’!), with your current reads given pride position at the top.
One feature fairly unique to this app is the ‘Upcoming’ feature! This shows upcoming releases in chronological order with two feeds — ‘recommended for you’, and ‘to be read’.
The final element this app currently has is the Discover feature, which spotlights a lot of diverse books, as well as personalised recommendations and popular books in the community.

Pros of Book Sloth

  • It encourages community interaction and following friends.
  • The user interface is very simple and easy to understand.
  • There will be the ability to import your GoodReads library soon!
  • The recommendations are based on your chosen favourite genres and elements. Elements are attributed to a book by users.
  • As the app is still in development, there is more opportunity for user feedback to influence what features are added to the app in the long-term.
  • The app is run by a small indie team!

Cons of Book Sloth
Before we get into this, I just want to reiterate that this app is still in development, so some of these issues may well be ironed out. This is purely from my clicking around on the app as it currently is.

  • Despite being able to follow friends, I can’t find a channel that will show me my friends’ reviews.
  • Little option for interaction outside the community tab.
  • No half stars!
  • The Search bar does seem a little temperamental.
  • Not all books are logged on there, though if you search for a book and find it isn’t present, there is a Google Form to fill out to request it be added. New books are added every 1-3 days according to this form.
  • It is only an app.
  • As it is less established, it has fewer users, and fewer special unique features than GoodReads.
  • It also has less advanced features generally — e.g. no opportunity to create your own tags, no reading challenge, and simplistic profiles.
  • The reviews are limited to 600 characters.

And finally… The StoryGraph!


The StoryGraph is a website, currently in beta mode. StoryGraph are trying to move away from the social element, and have it as a more personal reading tracker. As such, you can follow users (but currently to do so requires a direct link to their profile), but you cannot see who is following you. The site does have two news feeds — one for all users, and one for users you follow, and you are able to like these updates.
Your profile again is fairly simplistic, with just your profile picture and username visible.
You can set a reading goal similar to GoodReads on your profile as well, and see a breakdown of what you like to read, which is based on the genres of the books you read, as well as things such as the length, tone, pace, and mood. There’s also a detailed breakdown of your stats in the form of pie charts showing your reading habits (which obviously gets better the more you log). You are also invited to take an ‘Organised for You’ survey to help personalise your reading recommendations.
Once you ‘organised for you’ survey has been processed and your recommendations have been generated, you can filter these further by using the filter function to find something to fit your mood.
You can log books as To Read, Read, Currently Reading, or Did Not Finish. There’s also the opportunity to tick a box to say you own a copy of the book.
When you mark a book as read, you can opt to add a review. You are asked a couple of questions about the mood and pacing of the book and can also rate it (with quarter stars!) and write a review. The ‘Your Books’ tab reflects how you have tagged the books, with an additional shelf for books you own.

Pros of The StoryGraph

  • Not focused on social aspect (quite refreshing maybe?)
  • Straightforward user interface that looks good on desktop and mobile
  • Half stars! Quarter stars!
  • It has the ability to import your GoodReads library.
  • Reading Challange available, and challenges other than the ‘read X books in 2020’.
  • The recommendations are based on a detailed questionnaire and it uses user feedback to help it to categorise books.
  • The team is active on Twitter, looking for feedback, so the chance to suggest future features is available.
  • The app is run by a small indie team!

Cons of The StoryGraph
Before we get into this, I just want to reiterate that this site is still in beta, so some of these issues may well be ironed out. This is purely from my clicking around on the site as it currently is.

  • Only a website currently (though this is accessible on smartphones/tablets).
  • Less comprehensive database than GoodReads, but there is the option to request new books to be added if they aren’t already.
  • Lack of social element (many people like the social aspect of GR!)
  • Fewer special unique features than GoodReads (e.g. giveaways, Q&As).
  • It also has fewer features generally than GoodReads. While it has a lot of stats tracking, this is all aggregated, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to categorise your reads in a searchable way.
  • No way to see your reach by looking at amount of friends/followers makes it less appealing to authors/publishers.

Overview

GoodReadsBookSlothThe StoryGraph
PlatformApp/WebsiteAppWebsite
Social ElementYesSomeLimited
Half-StarsNoNoYes – even 1/4!
RecommendationsBadBased on preferencesBased on survey
Search BarKnown for being unreliableSome issuesSeems fine!
Quality of DatabaseExcellentUnder constructionUnder construction
Profile CustomisabilityLotsLittleLittle
OwnershipAmazon IndieIndie
Ability to ImportYesComingYes
TaggingYesOnly BasicOnly Basic
Unique FeaturesAuthor Q&A, giveaways, customisable shelves/tags, metadata, reading challengeCommunity tab and Upcoming ReleasesDetailed charts of stats, reading challenge

I’ve tried to keep this as unbiased, and provide as much information about the functions these different sites offer as possible! Of course, some of the pros and cons are a bit subjective, but I tried to go with what the majority of readers/users of these sites seem to want.

From my point of view, I’m still going to use GoodReads for the foreseeable future. It has more functions, and more users, and is incredibly useful for both authors and publishers to generate interest in books. Personally, I don’t know if BookSloth is for me at the minute, though I do like the upcoming releases section and UI. It just has so few of the functions I like on GoodReads (no tags to add, limited review length, no newsfeed for my friends, no groups for reading clubs) and little to offer in return.
I do, however, like The StoryGraph as a very aesthetically pleasing (read: minimalistic) user interface, and I think the recommendations will be really good because of the amount of information it collects. I’m going to keep using all three for a little while and see how it goes, but I can imagine myself drifting away from BookSloth pretty quickly.

26 thoughts on “GoodReads, Book Sloth, The StoryGraph… What Are All These Reading Trackers?

  1. i really enjoy storygraph! i love the way it’s set up in regards to the info you can input once you’ve finished reading a book. unfortunately, i feel it’s lacking the community (like what GR has), so a lot of books don’t have the info that’s required (things such as the pacing of a book is quite handy to know for me; if it’s character driven; etc,etc.) more users could populate this info but i feel that not many people use it (or i’m reading unpopular books lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I wish it had more of a community feel but apparently the developers want to keep it as more of a tracker than a social site 😦 I feel like Readerly (another new app!) is a bit more social, but doesn’t have many users yet, so has a similar issue! Hopefully they’ll both take off a bit more and get more info added!

      Like

  2. I haven’t used Booksloth but have read about it. I’ve been searching through for library cataloguing and reading tracker apps, but more like Bookly eg timer apps.

    I really enjoyed this post. I’m trialing Storygraph as I’ve never been sold on GR, the UI is clunky and I don’t know if I’m the only one that finds the group threads terribly difficult to follow and sort through the comments. I love the buddy read groups but they never seem to take off completely which is sad, but this isn’t on the app.

    I would love a complete alternative to GR where users don’t have to have separate accounts, fingers crossed Storygraph is it. I love the minimalistic design and I think it’s got so much potential, they’ve also been updating quite regularly. Can’t wait till it’s completely open to the public.

    Like

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