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Amazon snaps up book recommendation site Goodreads

goodreadsE-commerce giant Amazon has been shopping. The Seattle-based company said Thursday it’s set to acquire book recommendation site Goodreads, a move it hopes will help drive more Web traffic its way and ultimately help it to sell more books, both print and digital. The deal, the value of which was not disclosed, will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Goodreads CEO and co-founder Otis Chandler said the acquisition would help his site to “move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world”, adding that he looked forward to integrating the Goodreads and Kindle experiences, something he said many of the site’s 16 million users have long been asking for.

Commenting on the deal, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle content, said in a release, “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world.”

He continued, “In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

The deal is all the more interesting for the reason that it comes just over a year after Goodreads stopped using Amazon’s API to source basic book data. In the book recommendation site’s opinion, Amazon’s terms of use had become too restrictive, forcing Goodreads to link back to Amazon books exclusively. While Goodreads continues to link to a number of online retailers, one wonders what changes are on the horizon now that Amazon’s pulling the strings.

Goodreads, a social network for book lovers, began life in Chandler’s living room seven years ago. Together with wife Elizabeth, the pair worked to build a community of readers passionate about books. Today, the San Francisco startup has more than 30,000 book clubs on its site and holds information on more than half a billion books, with some 23 million reviews added by bookworms from all around the world.

In a message posted on the Goodreads blog on Thursday, Chandler reassured members of the site that it would continue in much the same way as before, and despite moves to integrate the Goodreads and Kindle experiences, would not be abandoning print readers.

“It’s incredibly important to us that we remain a home for all types of readers, no matter if you read on paper, audio, digitally, from scrolls, or even stone tablets,” Chandler wrote.

Goodreads’ headquarters will remain in San Francisco, Amazon confirmed.