About a week ago, I came across a nifty little website called Goodreads. Goodreads is a social networking site that is built around reading and literature. You can keep track of and post reviews of the books you've read, as well as those you're reading and want to read. It's similar to facebook's weRead application. In addition to that, you can also answer trivia questions submitted by other readers, and unlike the facebook application, these questions are organized much more appropriately (and aren't all about Harry Potter and Twilight!). As with other social networking sites you can find your friends and keep them informed of what you're doing by updating your status-- which also incorporates how far along you are in the book you're reading. Generally, it's a really nifty site.
I was keen on Goodreads anyway, but over the weekend I stumbled across another feature of the website (a little harder to find than the others). It was Goodread's giveaway page. On this page, publishers [and presumably individuals] are allowed to set up book giveaways, open to the goodreads community. A member simply clicks "Enter to Win" and fills out their information (name and address) for the chance to win a copy of whatever book listed they're interested in winning. The number of copies available varies depending on who is listing the giveaway, but seems to very from 1 to 50 with about 10 being the average. Readers have the opportunity to get some free books, and publishers get some word of mouth going on their new titles-- the fact that up to 1500 people enter to win your book doesn't hurt publicity either.
I wasn't very optimistic about winning anything, and therefore not too hot on entering to win any books but to my surprise, I recognized one of the titles up for grabs. It was Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz-- a book I had seen a positive review for in Entertainment Weekly the week before. So with some trepidation, I joined the other 804 hopefuls for a free copy of the novel. I woke up at 7AM this morning, and had the pleasure of stating my day with an e-mail from Goodreads telling me I was one of the lucky 25 winners!
Now, I still have some concerns about the entire giveaway set up. After all, what's to stop a person from just listing some random book to get a bunch of personal information? This isn't to say I understand what they'd have to gain, but I'm a cynical person. Maybe they plan to send me countless sears ads and Martha Stuart catalogs. I did some googling and found a handful of publishers talking about these listings on their blogs, so at least a number of them are genuine. I feel pretty confident about the person who listed Admission, and I expect that I'll get my copy with no trouble at all but I still have that bit of doubt in me for safety's sake. You'll know if I got it if I post a review of Admission within the next two months or not.
Anyway, I just wanted to pass on some information on Goodreads. If you have no shame and don't mind collecting clutter then you might as well make yourself an account and enter to win all the listings. After all, they save your information. If you enter one, all you need to do from then on out is click "enter to win" two times, and agree to the terms and conditions. Pretty nice, right?