Goodbye Shelfari. Hello Goodreads.

Last weekend when I logged onto the computer, I saw my world crashing down. Hours of labor gone. The blackboard erased.

Here’s what I saw.


Shelfari’s New Temporary Homepage (Yes, I read a lot. And quickly.)

Goodbye, Shelfari and thanks for the last eight years.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t care about the social network component. Occasionally people have reached out to recommend books or authors have asked for feedback on their work. Well, this was back four or five years ago when people actually used the site. I’m guessing that some people thought that Shelfari went the way of MySpace years ago. Yet it hung on, the ugly stepsister to Goodreads.


A glimpse into my “favorites.” Seems I love young adult romance and poetry, and American authors. Yeah, I’d be pretty much thrilled for people to read any of these.

If it’s not for social networking, and it’s not for the technology, per se, why will I miss Shelfari?

-For three years before I joined Shelfari, I kept a word document where I wrote a list of all titles I read. In parentheses, I’d put a one word description of the type of book, but there was no real summary. It was unwieldy and long. Shelfari loads the book and helpfully includes all publication information and a summary.

-I am an oddly (some have said freakishly) visual learner. While I may not remember the names of characters in a book I’ve read, I can describe the cover and shape in detail. This is a skill that is hugely helpful working as a school librarian, but Shelfari gives me a quick reminder when I can picture a book but can’t immediately draw up the title in my mind.

-It’s fun to examine the stats and make sure that I’m reading across a range of genres. It’s also easy to see if there are certain “types” of books that I rate higher than others. Basically it provides me the data to metacognitively examine my reading patterns.

-But really it all boils down to my comfort with the site. I wasn’t going to leave until I was forced out.

general stats

I think about this frequently with kids and the “must have” messaging apps. To communicate with my best friend in Germany, I was happy with the Viber app until she stopped using it. I followed her to Telegraph. If she finds something new, I’ll diligently follow along. The important part is the function of the technology, not the name brand.

What bothered me most as I opened my screen and the pink bar jumped forth was not the demise of Shelfari, but the immediate realization of the tenuous connection that I have in maintaining access to all sorts of my data online.

What’s next?

My YahooMail account with emails from the last 15 years? Backup photos on Shutterfly? Google Drive files from presentations I’ve given? Podcast recommendations on Wunderlist? I already lost access to all the library’s Delicious links I so diligently marked and labeled years ago because I got locked out my account when I got a new computer. The cloud giveth, and the cloud can taketh away. I reminded that the best protection for preservation of data, physical or virtual, is having it located in more than one place. And it’s good to have that as a reminder rather than as a cautionary tale.

In good news, I did click on the link in the pink bar.


I downloaded my data to a csv file and imported it. This is easier than work I do with technology on a daily basis. Also, they actually do it for you, linking your account through Amazon. It’s just button pushing step by step. Plus, now you’ll be able to find me, and maybe I can get into the social side of reading recommendations. Welcome to Goodreads, and remember to back up your data.

9 thoughts on “Goodbye Shelfari. Hello Goodreads.

  1. Hi, Christina,
    Thanks for this glance at the temporary status of all things technical, and the importance of universal backup. Which prompts the idea that it’s a pretty good bet that Amazon will end up managing every technical angle that is connected with books. I love them cause they’re just so darn smooth, but don’t trust them to have my best interests at heart. Reminds me of a high school boyfriend… 😉
    Thanks for your interesting post!

  2. Dear Christina,

    In our English class yesterday, we read “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” And yes, with technology especially, I feel as soon as I’m comfortable, BAM. Upgrade. Discontinued. Change. I do like Goodreads, but I’m not addicted to the social media component either. I just use it to keep a loose track of what I’ve read. I look forward to seeing you there!

    Happy reading, LC

    • Browsing through Library Thing, I do like their interface a bit more than Goodreads. Now it’s time to think whether I want to be on two sites or follow my friends who have been insistent about the charms of Goodreads.
      That’s awesome that they are making it so easy to import the data, and it’s a great way to get new users.

  3. Christina, get out of my head! I, too, need a visual record to remember my books; like sticking to a platform/tool that I’m comfortable with long after a similar platform/tools becomes more popular (thinking vs Pinterest…I dislike that I as a non-Pinterest user, Pinterest puts a big black shield over people’s posts which is the main reason I just don’t click on Pinterest stuff–I hate feeling coerced); and recently, I’ve been worrying about all the personal data I’ve been giving away. What happens if the data for my finger print login at 24-hr Fitness gets hacked? It’s not like I can change my finger print to a more secure one! Oy! Thanks for a great read!

    • Nope, you’re the one in my head! I wanted to include all my thoughts about sharing my personal information online and what privacy I expect in the digital realm. But it seemed like that was too much for one post. Perhaps now we’ll race each other to write about that!
      I second the Pinterest black box veto! I use it to teach my kids the minus search and how to do an image search to find the image elsewhere.

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