The somewhat curious thing about this is that GoodReads’ primary revenue source appears to be Amazon affiliate links. But they don’t have an exclusive deal from Amazon, as it stands the “buy” options link you to a number of sites. If GoodReads is becomes fully integrated as an Amazon-only property, it won’t necessarily make any money at all but it will cut off sales to other companies while perhaps providing Amazon’s algorithmic recommendations with valuable strategic insights. More grandly, it’s a foray into the world of social networking. Once upon a time, Amazon was but a humble bookseller. Now it’s a world-destroying retail juggernaut. Once upon a time, Kindle was but a humble book-reading-implement. Now it’s a full-fledged tablet platform. Today, GoodReads is about book recommendations. But tomorrow could it dethrone Facebook?
Probably not. But maybe. Amazon is an impressive company. Freed from shareholder demands to show meaningful profits, and led by a strategically daring and technologically skilled team they’re the competitor I don’t think anyone wants to face.