As indie authors, we are being encouraged in many quarters to engage more with Goodreads, especially since Amazon ended its forums for CS, KDP, etc.  Many of us, including me, have used the GR platform for Goodreads giveaways

This is one author who will not be engaging in any more Goodreads giveaways. They are a waste of time and money. I know many of you say the same as I do.

It’s not just that they do not produce any reviews or sales (well, they didn’t in my case), it’s the scam that operates using the Goodreads giveaways as cover.

What scam?

The scam operated by some Goodreads members who clearly do not read or review the books they win in giveaways but sell them on to third party sellers on Amazon.

How else do you think these sellers get hold of paperbacks within days of them being published? It’s not through CreateSpace expanded distribution channels. If it was, I would have seen a measly few cents for expanded distribution royalties.

How else do you explain this?

goodreads giveaways

That is the book list of one of my giveaway winners. Nearly 19,000 books he wants to read! I noted my book isn’t even listed though he won it.

From nearly 19,000 books he has read 36. There are about 5 reviews and the same number of books rated.

Let me put that screenshot into context so you may fully understand. The following is part of a “conversation” I took part in on Goodreads:

John (an author) wrote –

I have had the same experience of so-called reviewers winning books. Of 89 given away last September, I have had 4 reviews. When I checked the profiles of some of the recipients I found that one had over 11,000 and another 4,000 books to read. It is disturbing to hear that some on-sell them! I have often wondered in the past why 2nd hand copies of my book are reflected as for sale when my original sales haven’t reflected such sales.

My reply –

I does beg the question as to why Goodreads permits this? If you can discover that, surely GR can weed them out.
Not only is this practice despicable, it is also fraud as they clearly have no intention of reading/reviewing those books but solely to resell them.

Yikes! Just checked my last print giveaway. One winner with almost 19k books to read and another with 4k. Not good!

And another author commented –

Same point from John. Must say these huge numbers of books that would take most a lifetime, or two if they are normal, to read ought to be a red flag for GR – Of course maybe they are all world champion speed readers!!

Having run one paid giveaway I can only report that I see no difference in the result or any effort by GR to improve the position. I guess the truth is that as a sub of Amazon it’s grist to their corporate mill. I enjoy GR and the interactions on forums, but seriously doubt its value in marketing.

It’s a shame if Goodreads becomes tarred with the same brush of distrust as its parent, Amazon. I say that for a number of reasons. One being the unsatisfactory ‘Customer Review’ system existing on Amazon. Two, I would like Goodreads to become THE place to leave reviews along with BookBub and leaving Amazon to the trolls who inhabit its pages.

But it will become less trusted if they don’t clean up their act. A good place to start would be to weed out some of these dubious profiles such as the one in my screenshot.

On a lighter note, and thanks to my newest subscriber, this is an interesting read about a genuine Goodreads reviewer.

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