The most popular post on my blog by far is my post discussing GoodReads, The StoryGraph, and BookSloth. Everyone in the reading community loves reading trackers, it seems, so it made sense to bring you a new post, all about new app Readerly.
What is Readerly?
I describe Readerly as a cross between GoodReads and Twitter. Currently, it’s only available as an app in beta mode. You can join a waiting list to get access to the app, or if you follow me on Twitter, I have a few access codes I can share with you (these will be first come first served!), just DM me to ask. The main feature Readerly has to offer is Gists. These are an alternative to traditional reviews, and appear like a carousel on Instagram. Gists can feature a 200-character ‘review’, as well as additional slides to add quotes, character information, ‘You Should Know’ slides, and similar books. You can save other readers’ Gists, which adds the book to your saved list.
How does Readerly work?
Currently, it’s in Beta, so new features are appearing all the time. When you sign up, you have the option to add a bio, a website link, and a tag if you’re a reviewer, librarian, agent, publisher, author, or a bookseller. You also get the opportunity to select genres you are interested in, so Readerly can prioritise Gists to show you. To find friends to follow, you can either scroll through your Explore feed, which will display Gists for books relevant to your interests, or search for friends by username on the Search tab (make sure to select Readers not Books!). When you see a Gist, you can like it by clicking the heart above the Gist, or you can click Save to add the book to your saved list, Hide to stop seeing Gists about that book, or you can mark the book as Read. Reading, Read, and Hidden books can all be viewed from your profile (these can be public or private), and your Saved books have their own tab on the bottom row. From your profile, you can also view your follower and following lists. Currently, there is no way to block other users on the app, but there is also no way to message or directly interact with other users (for example, there is no comments section).
How do I publish a Gist?
To write a Gist, you need to find the book you want to write about by using the Search tab. Mark it as Read, and then you can choose whether you recommend it, and then start creating your gist. The first slide available is for your mini-review (200 characters maximum), then you can add extra slides in whatever order you choose. You can add slides including To Know, Reminds me of, Favourite Quote, Character, Read this…, Dislikes, and Warnings. There is also the option to add a link to your Gist, allowing you to link to your blog, or a full-length review you’ve published elsewhere. Once you’re satisfied with the amount of slides you’ve added, preview your Gist, and then share it! Keep an eye on your notifications to see who’s liked your Gist, or if anyone saved a book from your Gist!
Pros and Cons of Readerly
For me, the big pro is the presentation. The Gists offer succinct opinions on books that are reminiscent of the blurb reviews found on physical copies. I also really like the slideshow format, and it’s also great that there’s a dedicated slide for warnings, so it’s easy to add trigger warnings to your Gist to help other users decide if the book is suitable for them. As the community is currently quite small, books aren’t overwhelmed with reviews, so you’re more likely to have your review of a popular book seen by other users. I also like that you can link to your full-length review when you write a Gist, so your Gist is like a sneak preview of your blog. The other thing I like about Readerly is the balance between the social aspect and the functional. As I said, there are no direct messages, and no comments. I really like how this keeps the focus on books, and makes the site feel like quite a safe place.
Now, the cons. As Readerly is in Beta, some of these may be worked out in future updates, so I will try to update this section if changes are made to the app. There is currently no way to import from GoodReads, so you start Readerly with a blank slate. As Readerly currently doesn’t really function as a tracker app, exactly, this isn’t too much of an issue. Readerly also currently lacks reading challenges, or the ability to add read dates to a book which links back into what I just said about it not being a tracker app so much as a platform to share reviews and find new books. I have no idea if Readerly plans to add in features to make it function as a tracker as well, and I personally would prefer if they did, but I also recognise that that simply may not be the aim of the app. The ‘Hide’ function could also be improved, as it would be nice to hide all books by a certain author, or to hide all Gists from a certain user. Readerly’s categorisation of books isn’t always perfect as well, though I think this is something that will be ironed out as more users tag books with different genres and provide more data for Readerly to use in order to categorise books.
Overall, I really like the Readerly app. As it’s only in Beta, I’m not yet entirely sure whether I’ll stick with the app, as it depends on future updates. Right now, I do think it offers something different enough to the other popular platforms to be worth checking out, and I really like the condensed nature of the Gists, especially with the additional slides to add extra important information. Do you use Readerly? Let me know what you think of it in the comments!