Most avid readers will know of Goodreads, even if they don’t use it directly. The book-tracking service has been around for years, but it’s barely changed since Amazon took over in 2013. The interface feels dated and bloated. The overwhelming popularity of Goodreads still makes it the place to be for those who value plentiful user reviews, although you’ll increasingly find authors gaming the system with fake ratings in order to inflate sales.
Thankfully, an independent competitor has been gaining steam over the last couple of years, offering a fresh take on what a book-tracking service should be. StoryGraph differentiates itself with a dedication to quality over quantity: out goes the emphasis on stats-based reading challenges, in comes a robust recommendations system to help find something you’ll really enjoy.
Upon finishing a book, users are prompted to ‘review’ it in a qualitative sense. How did it make you feel? Was it plot-driven or character-driven? Fast-paced or slow? These responses are amalgamated into a remarkably helpful data set that allows users to track down exactly what they’re in the mood for.
Fancy a short, snappy sci-fi thriller with lovable yet flawed characters? No problem. Or maybe you’re in the mood for a dark, reflective, historical romance? Here’s just the thing! Filters and recommendations make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, and there’s even a questionnaire about your reading tastes to fine-tune the algorithm further. Numerical book ratings are present too, but not given much sway; the collective vibe check is much more important. StoryGraph encourages diversity of reading, in all senses of the word.
Beyond that, the app offers everything you might reasonably expect from a book tracker. You can log progress through current reads, add to a virtual to-read pile, peruse stats on your reading habits, connect with friends and influencers, review your completed books, and discover your next read with surprising ease. It does a lot without overwhelming the user interface.
StoryGraph also has the benefit of not being owned by or affiliated with Amazon, a company that has roots in book sales but today monopolizes the industry, squeezing out publishers and bookstores alike. For some people, that alone is reason enough to make the swap. And thankfully, the swap easy to make. Long-time Goodreads users will be pleased to hear their data can be easily imported into StoryGraph, so years of book tracking don’t go to waste.
StoryGraph’s core iteration is free with no ads. Those who want to support the project can do so with a $4.99/£3.49 monthly fee, unlocking advanced stats, unlimited recommendations, and more personalized suggestions. Goodreads is also free, with the benefit of experience and a much larger user base. If you’re deep into the Kindle, Audible, or Amazon ecosystems, Goodreads is a natural bedfellow – but with more and more readers searching for an alternative, StoryGraph might just hit the spot.