We'll see how long it lasts.
In case it doesn't:
This book is called "The Big Question." I haven't read it, and don't intend to. I, in fact, couldn't give less of a shit about this book.
But I do want to talk about Big Questions.
Like this one: does anyone really think that Goodreads will continue to succeed when it is nothing more than the review/bookfeed branch of amazon.com?
I mean, think about it: Amazon bought shelfari in August 2008. Far from being a robust site full of booklovers that is readying for kindle integration, shelfari is, for all intents and purposes a dead site walking. There is nothing going on over there. Total deadsville. Check out their wikipedia page, which hasn't been updated since amazon acquired the site in 2008. It was a fairly robust place until then. Now, not so much. Amazon killed it, sure as sure can be.
Shelfari sucks, so amazon had to buy Goodreads. They had their own social media book site, and they had to acquire this one any way. This tells us that they don't know dick about social media - they've owned a site for five fucking years and they couldn't make anyone want to hang out there.
Now, let's talk about the amazon forums, which used to be a place to talk about books, but which were killed deader than a doornail by self-publishing author spam in 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Amazon implemented a no-self-promotion-in-the-forums rule in the genre forums and sent all of the SPA's to the Meet Our Authors forum.
Everyone, raise your hands if you think that was successful.
Hint. Keep your hands down.
Because it wasn't. Many of the forums are still full of author spam. The ones that aren't full of author spam aren't full of author spam because there are vigilant forum users who try to keep the spam down. They have been repeatedly insulted and reviled by asshole authors who are convinced that the rules do not apply to them, and that everyone, everyone wants to read their shitty book.
Two places where people used to gather to talk about books have been destroyed so far by their association with the amazon.com marketing juggernaut.
Goodreads is next. The Big Question is: why didn't we figure it out before?
Because, my friends, GR isn't catering to a bunch of butthurt authors. This is all much. more. nefarious. than. that. I simply cannot imagine that TPTB really give a crap about a few whiny authors who account for an infinitesmal number of book sales a year. No, this is about more than that.
Goodreads wants us - the passionate users, the activists - gone. We are a fly in the ointment, a gnat in the white wine of marketing feeds. They can't use our reviews on amazon.com. They contain .gifs, and profanity, and they are full of social stuff. We are talking to each other and not to the anonymous amazon customer who might want to buy the book in question.
Here are my answer to The Big Questions:
Question: Does Goodreads even want us here?
Answer: No. They will make it more and more inhospitable until we leave. If they aren't upset that their top reviewers are threatening to leave, and they aren't, it's because they don't want them here. Manny's reviews are awesome, but they aren't going to help amazon sell very many books, and they will confuse the shit out of amazon customers when they show up on the sales page.
Question: What's next?
Answer: Minimum word requirements. Mandatory shelf names. No profanity, no images, and no gifs. The same rules that apply to amazon reviewers. This is all about the coming paperwhite sync. They can't have amazon's plain vanilla customers reading our highly flavored reviews. Their heads will explode.
Question: How will it end?
Answer: See shelfari and the amazon customer forums. It'll be a ghost town five years from now. There will be more authors self-promoting to each other in an endless circle jerk of five star review rings. There will be more users, less activity, and it'll be the third most boring place on the internet, after shelfari and the amazon forums.
Question: Where will the book people go?
Answer: Somewhere else.
Question: How long will this review last?
Answer: Probably not very long.