I’ve been using Goodreads for about eight years now, and although I don’t hate it as much as some people do, I do think it has become lacking in certain aspects over the years. A few years ago, The StoryGraph appeared on the scene and a lot of people enthusiastically switched to this new, independent platform. I’ve been curious about it ever since, but since Goodreads still fit most of my needs in terms of tracking my reading, I was too lazy to make the switch. At the end of 2021, though, I decided to make the move (or, more accurately, start using The StoryGraph in addition to using Goodreads) and after using it for a couple of weeks, I figured I’d share my thoughts!
This post isn’t an extensive overview of The StoryGraph and its features, so if you’re looking for something like that, I highly recommend this post by Reader Voracious.
What’s wrong with Goodreads?
You might be wondering why so many people want to switch from Goodreads to something else. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me there are a few reasons. Goodreads hasn’t had a real update in a very long time, which means it’s had the same layout and (more importantly) the same features for years now. Goodreads works fine if you just want to track what you’ve read and when you’ve read it, but it doesn’t go much beyond that (although there’s also a Community aspect that I don’t make much use of). Plus, the rating system is very basic: you can give books anything between 1 and 5 stars. People have been clamouring for half stars to be added (so you can give a book 4.5 stars instead of just 4 or 5) for years and years, but to no avail. I think the main reason why Goodreads hasn’t been listening to user feedback a lot is because it’s owned by Amazon – Amazon is so big that it really doesn’t need to listen to its users.
But back to the half star thing. I’ve always thought it’s a little annoying that there isn’t a half star option, but over the past year it actually started to bug me a lot more. I kept giving books a 4 star rating and I really wanted some more nuance to it. I’d also realised I’d like to keep track of some more statistics (preferably using pie charts – I love pie charts) than Goodreads allowed for. Both of those things lead me to The StoryGraph…
What’s so great about The StoryGraph?
The star ratings on The StoryGraph are in increments of 0.25. Yep. There’s the nuance I’d been looking for! I have to admit that I would’ve been fine with just 0.5 increments (0.25 is almost too much nuance for me – yes, you are allowed to roll your eyes at that), but I think many users are elated by this star rating system. Besides that, The StoryGraph also tracks your reading in terms of genre, mood, pacing, whether a book is character-focused or plot-focused, whether there’s diversity, and much more. I really enjoy this aspect of The StoryGraph, because I love seeing these kinds of statistics; it allows me to see whether I read mostly slow-paced or fast-paced books, for example. I love that it tracks those details.
There’s a lot more to The StoryGraph than those two aspects, though. The platform has a much more intricate and finetuned mechanism of giving its users book recommendations that are tailored to them. I’ve seen people be really excited about this feature, but it’s not something that I’m really interested in, as I have plenty of books to read and don’t really need recommendations from any other source. I’ve got Instagram, BookTube and this place for that. I like that it’s there, though.
Also, if you’re worried about the work (and time) it would take to start from scratch on The StoryGraph when you’ve got hundreds of books logged on Goodreads: don’t! There’s a handy dandy tool that lets you import all of your Goodreads shelves into The StoryGraph.
Which is better?
I think most people reading this will now expect me to tell you that The StoryGraph is definitely better than Goodreads, but I’m honestly not sure. For all its fun features, The StoryGraph does have one big fault: it doesn’t have nearly as many books on there as Goodreads and, more importantly, it doesn’t let you add any (or at least, not that I’ve found – if you know of a way that you can add books in the free version of the app, please tell me!). In practice, that means that I cannot log most of the Dutch books I read on The StoryGraph, and that means that my stats aren’t complete and are therefore inaccurate. This bugs me enormously because at the end of the year, I want to have a full overview of all of the books that I’ve read that year. (Update: you actually can add your own books! Find out more down below!)
For me, this is enough reason to not switch to The StoryGraph entirely yet, and to keep on using Goodreads. I might not be able to give half stars, but at least I can actually track all of the books I’m reading. It also helps that I’m just completely used to how Goodreads works; I find The Storygraph’s interface a little confusing still. I’m also not a huge fan of the layout, which seems rather bare.
For now, my conclusion is that The StoryGraph is definitely a lot of fun and it has some good features that I love using, but I’m quite disappointed with the lack of an option to add books to the database. I’m honestly still thinking I might have overlooked something, because it seems strange to alienate international readers in this way, but I truly can’t find the option in the app. That means that for now, I’ll be logging my books in both The StoryGraph and Goodreads, since neither platform fits my needs completely.
The lovely Jennifer left a comment telling me you actually can add books in The StoryGraph and that you can also add another language in your settings page, which helps a lot. Here’s her explanation:
Good news: you can add your own books! In the app, search for the title or isbn. At the results page, it will say “Can’t find a book that you’re looking for?” And allow you to import manually or via isbn. Once your book is created, a librarian reviews it to add any other required info, and/or you can submit a ticket from the new book page with any requests for info to be added. And you can set the language to Dutch when adding.
Do you use Goodreads or The StoryGraph to track your reading, or something completely different? I’d love to hear your thoughts!