Amazon, which bought book recommendation site Goodreads in March 2013, is now integrating Goodreads functions into the Kindle and all other Amazon e-reader and tablet devices in the UK. Quoting Goo dreads CEO Otis Chandler, TheBookseller.com shared: “The UK is the largest market for Goodreads in Europe and bringing Goodreads onto Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets has been one of the most popular requests from our members.” Last April, Amazon enabled US Goodreads users to “add both print and Kindle books purchased on Amazon to their Goodreads accounts”. In November 2014, Goodreads announced, via their blog, that users in North America and Australia could also share progress updates via Kindle.
It’s not clear why the integration is rolling out so slowly, one or two countries at a time, but I’m guessing it has something to do with European resistance to the e-tail behemoth. In March 2013, then-French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti announced she was putting a €5m fund in place to subsidize booksellers with cash-flow problems and support them against costly litigation, blaming Amazon for destroying bookshops. In April 2013, indie booksellers in the UK petitioned Prime Minister David Cameron to force Amazon to pay UK taxes. (The online bookseller is said to report its European sales through a Luxembourg-based unit so it does not have to pay UK taxes.) In September 2014, Swedish publishing conglomerate Bonnier joined Japanese publishers in expressing frustration with Amazon too, saying they were being bullied into disadvantageous pricing models.
Though American laws and its judicial process have been relatively supportive of Amazon’s ventures, even as former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was named Amazon’s Senior Vice President for Worldwide Corporate Affairs in March 2015, the company’s bruising and costly battle with Hachette Book Group over e-book pricing caused a cadre of influential writers including Nora Roberts, Malcolm Gladwell and John Grisham to form Authors United and led Stephen Colbert to challenge viewers of his show to boycott Amazon and purchase books from indie bookseller Powells instead.
In spite of the multilateral resistance, Amazon continues to expand its international borders and corporate portfolio. The retailer, for which books are just a fraction of its business, has successfully ventured into entertainment with its acclaimed series Transparent winning a 2015 Golden Globe. When Amazon acquired Goodreads in March 2013, the social book recommendation platform boasted 13 million members. Today, Goodreads has 40 million members.