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What Amazon Is Getting From Goodreads

A community of reviewers that's many times as active as Amazon's.

Posted on March 29, 2013, at 10:53 a.m. ET

Amazon mentioned "literary discussion" several times when it announced its acquisition of review site Goodreads — and indeed, part of what the e-commerce giant has bought is a more active reviewing community than it's so far been able to build. Amazon gets about eight times the monthly traffic of Goodreads, but recent top books got far more reviews on the smaller site than the larger.

Amazon's "editors' picks" for this month are featured prominently on the site and have attracted a decent number of reviews. But the same titles at Goodreads have, on average, almost four times as many — the 10 books got an average of almost 44 reviews on Amazon, compared with almost 160 on Goodreads.

Amazon may not be buying Goodreads for the reviews per se, but reviews are one measure of the activity of Goodreads' social network — and a network of extremely engaged and active readers could be very useful to Amazon's bottom line.

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