Goodreads vs. The StoryGraph: A Reader’s Thoughts

Say goodbye to Amazon and choose to support a Black woman-owned business.

Jamie Perkins, Staff Writer

Here’s the deal: I like to read. A lot. 

Here’s the other deal: I love keeping track of things. So an app that tracks all of my books, reviews, ratings, to-be-read piles, and gives me book recommendations? Right up my alley. 

Here’s the last deal (I promise!): I’m as averse to Amazon as the rest of you. And I utilize it on a regular basis. That’s bad; I know it’s bad! 

I’m slowly trying to find alternatives to Amazon, beginning with its subsidiary Goodreads. At the separate recommendations of two people in two weeks, I finally switched to The StoryGraph, which is owned and created by a Black woman and her team. 

The StoryGraph knows its target audience and their attachment to Goodreads. According to their website, The StoryGraph is “a fully-featured Amazon-free alternative to Goodreads.” 

Upon making an account, you are able to directly import your Goodreads data. I was skeptical that it would get messed up along the way, but within minutes all of my books, ratings, reviews, and shelves were there! 

The first step was to set my reading preferences. I entered genres I like and dislike, characteristics I appreciate the most, and common tropes or themes I want to avoid. I was even able to enter custom features I appreciate in a book. I wrote “LGBTQ+ authors, family drama, authors of color, quirky characters.” 

The StoryGraph then uses AI technology, which is “like your trusted go-to friend for book recommendations.” 

You are able to change these preferences at any time, and even use them to organize your shelves. For example, I chose my latest read, “Sold on a Monday” by Kristina McMorris, by selecting “fast paced,” “reflective,” and “emotional” in my shelf of books I own. This was my first time using this feature, and I’m thoroughly impressed. I always struggle with picking my next book, but not anymore; The StoryGraph did the work for me!

The StoryGraph has built in options to mark books as “did not finish” and “owned,” while on Goodreads you have to make your own shelves to do so. Also, when rating books, rather than rounding up or down to the nearest star like on Goodreads, The StoryGraph allows you to use half, and even quarter stars. 

Another perk of The StoryGraph is that both users and authors can submit content warnings, which are categorized as graphic, moderate, and minor. If only I had switched to The StoryGraph one book earlier than I did!

If I haven’t won you over yet, fear not; I’ve arrived at the grand finale! You may be thinking “Wow, Jamie, you’ve made so many good points! But tell me, what about the ‘graph’ part of The StoryGraph?” 

There are so many graphs. 

I was a big fan of the Goodreads reading challenge. I don’t have an uncompetitive bone in my body. I loved challenging myself to read a certain amount of books each year. On The StoryGraph, not only can you track the number of books you read, but you can also track pages read, and minutes read if you listen to audiobooks. Additionally, there are graphs and charts for moods, pace, page number, fiction/nonfiction, and star ratings, among others. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss parts of Goodreads; namely, the social aspect of it. The StoryGraph wasn’t designed to replicate social media. This may be good for a solitary reader, but I love keeping up with my fellow readers, and many of my friends refuse to leave Goodreads. Maybe one day!

There are many features that I didn’t mention, and most likely more that I haven’t even discovered. The app is frequently updated based on suggestions from users. Take the leap! Say goodbye to Amazon and choose to support a Black woman-owned business. Change can be hard, but I’ll be awaiting your friend request.