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I stopped using Goodreads after 5 years

I stopped using Goodreads after 5 years

I stopped using Goodreads recently. I logged into my account, hit the delete button and all my reading lists and comments disappeared forever! Here are some reasons why I quit my account and why I don't regret it.

It wasn't very social

I had been talked into getting a Goodreads account about 5 years ago by a friend. Since that time, I don't think we've ever interacted on the app, which says a lot. As for other friends, I would occasionally "like" that someone had started reading a book I knew. I would leave the odd review. Overall though, it just didn't feel very social space.

I don't need to share what I read

I'm working on reducing what I share online. I've stopped using Instagram recently as well. I just don't need to share with everyone what books I'm reading. I especially don't need to tell you when I'm on page 39 of a book and update when I read 10 more pages. No-one needs to know this information! It should be obvious, but this sharing of tiny details of insignificant parts of our lives is meaningless.

I also really don't need to know what books I read, when. I have a bookshelf for the books I love. At no time do I need to know what books I read in 2018 though or keep a list of all the books I've ever read.

I found as well that at times I didn't add a controversial book onto my Goodreads account. Sometimes there are books about sensitive subjects that I'll read but I don't want "Pete is reading a book by this person you hate" to come up on my friends' feed. Of course, you can read a book by someone awful or just dislike to see what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately, with cancel culture what it is, it feels strange to share what you are reading online. It's sad but I'd rather not have the drama and just not share a book that some people might object to.

Comparison culture on Goodreads

Another downside to Goodreads is that it invites comparisons with other readers. Lots of people share how many books they intend to/have read in a year and so it's hard not to compare yourself with others and feel bad for not reading as much as they do. I would see people with huge lists of books completed and just think "how on earth are they reading so much?!"

The challenges are flawed for lots of reasons of course - how do you know if everyone even read these books? I know a lot of people skim non-fiction and then count that as having read the whole book.

This is embarrassing but back when I was really into Goodreads I also almost put off reading one of the greatest works of fiction, Crime and Punishment, because it's considerable length meant I could have read several shorter books in the same time and I would have had a bigger annual reading total as a result.

Someone can read 100 tiny books in a year and appear to be more of a reader than someone who reads 10 long, challenging novels. It also seems evident that making goals for the number of books to read in a year totally robs the joy out of reading. You're no longer in the moment, enjoying a new book - you're in a race with yourself and everyone else!

I wasn't discovering new books

Maybe it's because not many of my close friends were using it, but I never got any good book recommendations to read from Goodreads, which you would think is sort of the main point of the site. I think there is possibly one book that I read as a result of the site but I can't remember what it was.

I often made long lists of 'books to read someday' whenever books in my feed took my interest. Inevitably, once I would leave the site, I would never look at or think of this sprawling list again. The way I actually discover new books is pretty offline - I hear about them in other books, friends and family tell me about them or I see them in a bookshop.


It felt weird hitting that delete button and wiping out my Goodreads account but I really don't miss it! Life is a lot better when you're not spending half your time telling everyone what you are up to.

I'm no longer seeing how many more books people have read and feeling guilty as a result. I'm not wasting time by updating the exact page I'm up to on book, as if anyone really cares. I'm picking great books to read, regardless of their length, and I'm definitely not aiming to read a certain number of books per year. I'm a lot happier as a result. Cast off the chains of Goodreads and go read a book!

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