Readerpocolypse, GRamazon and other first world problems

Several shakeups in the world that surrounds my reading have taken place lately, and in each case I’ve completely failed to predict how I would handle them.

Readerpocolypse

RSSWhen Google announced last month it would be turning off its RSS Reader at the end of June this year I didn’t worry. I do use the product daily to keep track of the 150-odd blogs I follow (about 3/4 of which are book-ish blogs of one sort or another) but I figured I’d simply switch to another product, even a paid one, and not even notice a bump in my blog consumption practices.

I started trialling the various options being talked about in the techosphere almost straight away and now, a month or so later, I am worried. None of the alternatives have taken my fancy, primarily because none of them have an iOS presence to save themselves (whereas there are a gazillion third party apps which hook into Google Reader and I had found just the one to suit me). I’ve tried Feedly (which is awful as it installs background clunk on the desktop and has an iOS app that is determined to present itself as a magazine rather than my preferred list, refusing to retain my settings each time I close it) and Netvibes (which is better but has to be used via a browser on the iPad and I do prefer a dedicated app on my mobile device) and Newsblur (which I found clunky wherever I used it). I am sick of them all demanding I be more social and /or recommending feeds in which I have zero interest and the entire exercise has made me extremely cranky.

So, apologies if I have not visited or commented at your blog in a while…it’s not a lack of interest but a lack of a good road to get me there. Anyone tried any other Google Reader alternatives they like that work well on both a windows desktop and in the iOS environment?

GRamazon

goodreadsamazonI reacted to Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads by deleting my Goodreads account which, I thought I would miss quite a lot. Turns out, I don’t miss it at all and quickly realised I hadn’t been getting a lot out of the site anyway. I’ve had a terrific month reading-wise but my best recommendations came from the same great places they always have (like Laura and Barbara and Sarah, thanks ladies), any bookish chatting I’ve had time for has taken place at the Friend Feed Crime and Mystery Fiction room (a truly delightful group) and I did reactivate (and pay for) my Library Thing account to have an alternative place to catalogue my reading (other than this blog and my Collectorz database). Even though they’re not handily all in one place these avenues serve my purposes much better than Goodreads ever has and the fact that none of them are plastered with ads or covert Amazonification makes them that much more valuable to me.

Another first world problem

eReaderAbout 2 and a half years ago I bought an eReader in the hope that I would be able to rid myself of the problem of having too many books (and yes I do know how utterly pretentious that sounds). But with limited storage space, a voracious consumption speed and a need to be increasingly creative in the ways I get rid of my physical books I was serious about wanting to make a total switch within five years.

I know now I’m not going to make it.

While I’m perfectly happy to read in the format I just don’t find myself doing it all that much. In my pointless but determined struggle not to be owned by Amazon I didn’t buy a kindle and so it’s generally more of a pain for me to buy eBooks than it ought to be (thanks Adobe, you’re almost as annoying as Amazon) (you did after all have to be shamed by our Government into reconsidering your years-long practice of charging Australians more than double the price Americans pay for the same products but that’s a whole different story) and they’re often not much (or at all) cheaper than their physical counterparts. While I can, now, understand the pricing (a book’s value is not in its physical form, it’s in its content) I do baulk at paying $20+ to rent something that could disappear in a flash and that I can’t loan or donate or leave on a bus for some weary traveller. It’s not uncommon for mainstream published eBooks to cost that much or more here and I am aiming to do all my book shopping within Australia this year which has really added to the slow down of my eBook consumption.

I really thought I would make the switch to eBooks with ease but, so far anyway, it has proven a pricklier problem than anticipated. Though a recent Big Ideas lecture offered the startling prediction that within 7 years 70% of books published in the UK would be published digitally only. If that does prove even vaguely accurate I suppose I’ll have to work on this one.

What about you? Have you found an alternative to Google Reader that works for you? Do you have a Good Reads account? Have you noticed any changes since they ‘joined the Amazon family’? How about eBooks? Have you made the switch? Not interested? 

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28 Responses to Readerpocolypse, GRamazon and other first world problems

  1. vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas) says:

    I’m OK with feedly on my desktop (using Chrome), set up as a list, but, like you, the app version is not meeting my needs, which is to blast my way down a simple list. Its ‘list’ look just isn’t a damned list! I hope you find something that works for you soon.

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  2. westwoodrich says:

    I also began to switch to Librarything, then a friend pointed out they were part owned by Abebooks, in turn owned by guess who… Definitely a first world problem.

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    • Indeed Rich Amazon does have that relationship with LT but the founder still has a controlling interest in LT and has a completely different funding model (real world libraries use LT services for a fee) and says he’s never been on the lookout for VC funding (unlike Goodreads which was looking to be bought from the get go).

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  3. LauraR says:

    Thanks for linking the Mari Strachan review :). I have part switched to e-books, lured into kindle purchasing by the bargains, but am frustrated like you by the lack of transferability of the e-copies. E-books are excellent for review copies as well (have signed up to netgalley) as you don’t have to rely on the vagaries of the postal service! I have a goodreads account, as amazon will be well aware of my reading tastes due to my kindle purchases, I suspect the goodreads acquisition will make little difference in terms of their information on me as a customer. The only change I have noticed since the purchase is being asked my age for giveaways on the site, supposedly so they are assured that I am over 18 (hmm)

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    • Oh that was a great book Laura…I’m going to get the audio version and listen too it as well as I liked it so much.

      I wasn’t so concerned about amazon knowing what books I’ve bought but I did not feel like giving them the intellectual property of my reviews and comments and the ‘back office’ work I did as a goodreads librarian – I didn’t mind helping to keep the site accurate when it was its own entity but I have zero interest in doing that kind of thing for a company with the profit margins of amazon

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      • LauraR says:

        Glad you enjoyed it so much! Oh good point re:reviews, I have always been far too lazy to regularly prepare proper in-depth reviews for any “entity” rather than for trusted blogholding individuals so fortunately that side of it doesn’t affect me, but I appreciate how frustrating it must be for those who made a big contribution for the good of the general reader.

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  4. icewineanne says:

    With respect to the Goodreads site, now it’s filled with ads to buy books on all of its pages. These annoying ads cover part of the photo of the book selected, so that in order to add the book to your reading list, you have to close the ad first before you can select the book as a currently reading, wanting to read, or read book. Before you could easily mouse across the photos of an author’s other books, and a small pop up box would tell you the name, and if the book was a series book, often it would let readers know what # the book was in the series. Now, often, readers get a pop up that says “opening” followed by a “window shopper” box offering a deal on purchasing the book. I don’t want to buy every book I look up, many of them I borrow from the library, or if I do purchase them, I have a great independent book dealer that deals in new & used books. Not happy with the new Goodreads site!

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    • I’m glad I don’t have to bother with the ads…sounds awful. Library Thing doesn’t have any ads if you’re logged in as a member (I think there are a few if you visit the site as a guest).

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    • LauraR says:

      I don’t have as many issues with ads, they are there on the side bar but not as obtrusive as you describe icewineann, probably as I use a Linux PC.

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    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

      Maybe its a US thing cause I haven’t seen any changes with ads or mouseovers or anything

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  5. Bernadette – It’s a little clunky but I use my email account to get blog updates. I admit it means having to click an email to get to the post I want to read, but it lumps along all right for me, and it does let me focus on blogs I want to read. As for Goodreads, I admit I’ve kept my Goodreads account because I want an ‘author presence’ there. But I don’t do a lot with it either. I don’t blame you one bit for not wanting Amazon to run every aspect of your reading life…

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    • I think authors need to have a presence on Good Reads these days so that makes perfect sense Margot.

      I did try email subscriptions for blogs in the early days but it doesn’t work well for me…I think of email as the annoying thing I have to do before I can do the good stuff whereas blog reading is something I enjoy and I like to devote blocks of time to it where I’m not distracted by other things. I’m glad you’ve got a system that works for you though

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  6. Kathy D. says:

    This is way too high tech for me, a confirmed Luddite.
    However, I use two tried and true methods to find books that appeal to me: I read book reviews from print media and bloggers whose opinions I trust.
    And as far as keeping track of books I’ve read, I just keep a page in Word, adding on each book’s title as I finish it, listed by country and continent. Also, I keep track of the gender of the author and if she/he is new to me. Simple. No hassles. Doesn’t take time.
    My only limitations are time, wish there was more for reading all of the good books out there, frustration with the library system, which is ordering less than ever, and budgetary concerns.

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  7. Belle Wong says:

    I tried out a few feed readers and have decided on Feedly. I rather like it on my browser, but I do have issues with the mobile apps. On my iPad, it doesn’t seem to let you add a new feed (or at least, I can’t find the place for this) and it also doesn’t “mark as read” when I scroll down, which is the way I have it set on my browser. There’s no settings link that I can spot on the iPad version so I don’t know if I can actually adjust this or not. On my iPhone, it’s a complete washout, probably because I have an older iPhone – it just won’t open! But overall, since I mainly use Feedly on my iPad to read and share links, and on my browser to comment (it’s too time-consuming to comment while on my iPad), I’ve been pretty happy with it.

    I haven’t seen any of the issues with ads on Goodreads that one of the comments above describe – actually, the site looks very much the same to me. But I only use it to keep track of books that I want to read, and when I do remember to mark a book as read, I often just rate it. If I review it on my blog, I’ll summarize the review at Goodreads and end it with a link to the full review on my blog.

    Whew, this is a long comment – sorry about that! I have a Kobo mini and used to have a regular Kobo, which I gave to my nephew because I read all my ebooks on my iPad. But I like the Kobo mini because I can keep it in my purse and it’s great for when I have to wait at a doctor’s office or something. Ever since we moved to Toronto, I haven’t been buying a lot of fiction because the library here has such an extensive collection (I still buy a bit of non-fiction, though), and their ebook collection is really good, too, and it’s easy to get the books I borrow onto my iPad and the Kobo mini. I dislike buying ebooks when the ebook price is more than the print version, and I do think ebooks should be cheaper simply because the publisher doesn’t have the extra costs associated with print books. They don’t have to be a whole lot cheaper, but they should be somewhat cheaper.

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    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

      To add a feed on the iPad, tap the menu symbol in the top left corner and then scroll down to the bottom to Add Content.

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    • No need to apologise for the long comment Belle…I did ask ). I like the ‘mini’ nature of the e-Reader too, my Sony is small enough to always have in my purse. Unfortunately Australian libraries have a fairly sad collection of eBooks available for loan at this point though it’s a fairly new thing so perhaps that will improve. I hope so because most of the books I’m borrowing these days are heavy hardbacks and they’re a pain to carry around.

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  8. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I switched to Bloglovin, but it’s app had trouble coping with the 500+ posts a day and then I got a an iPad for my birthday the other week and discovered it doesn’t have a compatible iPad app so I have switched to Feedly which I am really liking. There is a list only layout option, just like Google readers, you can choose. You just need to tap the layout option in the right hand corner to change it.

    I haven’t notice any changes at Goodreads and I still visit at least once a day.

    I read about as many ebooks as I do print books, the majority of ebooks are from NetGalley though I just read my first ebook borrowed from the library. I very rarely buy any ebook’s though. I read on both my Kindle, iPhone and iPad

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    • Looks like I am going to have to persist with Feedly Shelleyrae…I had found that list function but two things annoy me about it…you have to set it for each folder (I have about a dozen) and at least on my iPad it does not seem to remember that is my preferred way of viewing so each time I open the app I have to re-set it to the list view for each of my folders. I want it to be a global setting and I want it to remember because I have no interest in the magazine style format that it defaults to each time.

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      • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

        Hmm I don’t use folders, but yes when I open up the app it defaults to the mag style, but I just open the menu and choose All and it defaults to the list view. Maybe if you set the view on the actual web page it will stick?

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  9. col says:

    I like the Goodreads site and to be honest haven’t noticed any change in the presentation of the site (so far)!

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  10. Pingback: Books of the Month – April 2013 | Reactions to Reading

  11. Keishon says:

    Never cared for Goodreads. I get my recommendations like you do: from the blogs of other readers. Plus, I’m trying to stick to reading what I own for the month of May. Hope I succeed in not making any purchases. As for a replacement for Google Reader, I use NewsBlur, I paid for the service to support it. I like what I see so far. You can train stories (picking tags you are interested in and not interested in and it will highlight those posts for you, love that feature.) Didn’t care for Feedly at all. Too busy.

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  12. Maureen says:

    Hello – I wanted to say that I really enjoy your posts about books and have purchased several. I should use ebooks but have not started and ,as you have found, I am running out of room. And no one seems to want my murder mysteries I list on ebay but I can’t abandon them. Have you found an e -reader that is worthy? A Nook perhaps? Sincerely, Maureen

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    • Thanks for the kind words Maureen.

      I have a sony eReader – it’s about 2 years old. We don’t have Nooks on sale in Australia (no Barnes and Noble here) so if I didn’t want a kindle I was a bit limited in choice to the sony or the kobo. I like the sony well enough when I use it – but somehow it just doesn’t call to me in the same way that physical books do. Also this year I am a bit financially strapped so am relying more on my library and though we do have eBook borrowing the range is not big so I tend to go for the physical books there.

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      • dreamchasers@mindspring.com says:

        body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}Hello! Thank you for your reply. If I can help you get a reader I would – but I have to wonder if the reader is the problem or acquiring the e-books. It is weird to imagine a place where everything is not available by a few clicks of a keyboard! Let me know if I can help – Sincerely, Maureen

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