The StoryGraph // A New Goodreads Competitor

If you didn't know, there is a new reading site that's making strides. It's called The StoryGraph. It's a book recommendation site so you can discover new books. According to its website - The StoryGraph helps you track your reading and choose your next book based on your mood and your favorite topics and themes.

I was lucky enough to find it in the beta stage last year with the help of Leena Norms video. It's run by a small amount of dedicated creators. The creators are continually making changes to make the site better even after the beta testing is over. What I want to do here is show you all the features. Discuss what I like and what changes I think can be added for the better.

When you sign up, you'll be able to import your Goodreads information. It's not entirely accurate as in books that I reread, children's picture books, and even graphic novels I needed to cross-reference with my Goodreads challenge. I haven't done all of them but it was a bit tedious. Still, at least I don't have to import all the data one by one. 

Since this is a book recommendation site, there is a page where you write out your preferences. This is one of my favorite and least favorite aspects of the website. You write your favorite genres, what types of books you like to read, characteristics you appreciate the most, genres you don't like/aren't interested in reading right now, things that turn you off books the most, and books you are never in the mood for.

Why this part is one of my least favorites is because I have fiddled around for it for ages. Which is fine. I like testing things out. It's actually pretty fun. I've been kind of holding off on doing so even more than I already have until I could create this post. The creators are so responsive you can send them an e-mail or even a Twitter DM like I did to ask for help. I was able to improve my recommendations based on their feedback which was to be more specific with each keyword. Although later on, I did add more keywords instead of the limited amount I had before to help the recommendations better. I am such a rebel lol. What frustrates me about my recommendations is that I get cool horror recs. The sci-fi recs are getting better. The fantasy is alright. But the contemporary and romance... not good. They did recommend me one that was on my radar but the others are not good. And even if I find a book that looks interesting that I've never heard of it usually has a low rating. I don't want to even look at books below a 3.7 average rating. It's funny, I get some recs that are so me. Like a small southern town setting with witches but the ratings are terrible so why bother?

How can they make this feature better? I think if there were a list of keywords that you can work with while also writing in your own that would help. Or maybe it won't. I don't know much about programming a website. But if there was a tutorial on keywords for fantasy books and what type of books you would get would be great. Also, with some of my recs (it's gotten better) there are a lot of older books that I'm just not interested in straight off the bat with the cover. I'm not into reading older fantasy that I probably won't be able to get my hands on. I want more of a mix of newer and older recommendations. If there was a way to sort by publication date that would be great too.

Now that I think about it. It might be good to have a section of what you like in romance, what do you like in fantasy, etc. so you can better isolate what you like in each section.



This is the first page that comes up when you get on StoryGraph. I think it looks great. It's nicer than it was in beta. You can explore your recommendations, your to-read pile, what you are currently reading, and more.


Here's the recommendations page. You can sort your recommendations by what you are in the mood for which each book has. It can be something adventurous, challenging, dark, funny, hopeful, informative, inspiring, lighthearted, mysterious, reflective, relaxing, tense, or a combination of a few of them. You can select any of the moods or all f the moods you click on. You can sort books by pace, genres (you can exclude some too which is great since I may just want to read a romance, not a fantasy romance), number of pages, and you can choose to not show books in your to-read pile or your owned books.

I love this sorting feature but it's not going to be available to me soon (or it's going to be limited?) since it's going to be part of the paid version of the website. I support that there is going to be a paid version. If I feel like it's worth it in the future, I'll consider buying the year for extra things like the similar books feature.


They revamped the actual page for each book and it looks really nice. When you add a review you can also add content warnings, the mood, pace, whether the book is plot and/or character-driven, if there is strong character development, loveable characters, a diverse cast of characters, the flaws of the main character the main focus, and half star/quarter star ratings. 

I really like the content warning feature because if a book has some graphic content they will let you know. I don't need to be reading sad books all the time even if that was my niche a few years ago.

If they added a feature where you can find books by their publishers that would be interesting. I feel like that would open up an avenue to find some cool indie horror publishers.

There's a way you can see people's reviews on this page. I think if you could sort through five stars, four stars, three stars, etc. it would be helpful because as a librarian I do like to preview what people are saying before the book comes out and whether it's worth getting. Along with that if I could see the amount of people who have put it on their to-read pile that would help as well.

You can also flag a piece of incorrect book information which is great because before you would e-mail all this info. I would feel bad that I was e-mailing them so much but again they are always so responsive.



You can also create your own reading challenges! Which is cool because I have a bunch. The only thing about this feature that I would like changed is the option of having an amount rather than a prompt. I wish I didn't have to create a prompt for let say every foodie read I wanted to get to in 2021. I wish I could say I want to read eight foodie reads and attach all the books to the challenge instead of individual prompts like you can see below.


You can make your reading challenges private or public for others to be able to search and join along. I like keeping my reading challenges private so that works out for me.


All the public challenges are on here as well. You just have to press the plus sign on the side of your reading challenges page. They recently added a way to filter through challenges which I am excited about. I think it's perfect since there were so many initially creating public reading challenges.


So, this site doesn't want to be Goodreads. It's a book recommendation site but it doesn't allow people to comment on your review (thankfully) nor does it really have a place where people can talk about books. That may be a drawback to some people. I kind of like that feature because I can have this private space to just add in what I'm reading, see some data, and get some recommendations. You can also follow people and see what they are doing which is something I'll have to try to do in the future. Above is the community page but you don't really get anything out of it unless you are following someone. Otherwise, I like that this site isn't about likes or comments. It's refreshing but it does make Goodreads more necessary. It's a more established site where people can follow you. That way I might get more ARC's. Also, there are groups where you can talk about books and have monthly challenges that are fun. 

One more thing I would say that the StoryGraph is missing is all those lists. As a librarian, those lists of new books coming out are the best thing ever. They help you plan and see what my particular library forgot to add or needs. If there was a way for them to eventually curate their own lists and not have too many to filter through that needs to be edited all the time it would be a game changer. I would be spending a lot more time on the StoryGraph.


A great feature that the StoryGraph has is the ability to create tags. I've been using them to keep track of possible reading projects and to make sure I read some diverse books this year.


This is how you see what you want to read. You can filter your to read pile based on mood, genre, pace... you get it. I do wish there was a way to see a large number of the books at a time like Goodreads only as an overview. If I want to see what is at the bottom of my to-read pile then it takes a while to get there.



Another great feature is all the statistics. To see what mood you mostly read is pretty cool. If you are in the plus program you can compare one month or one year to another. 


The pace and page number statistics also make me happy. It makes me think maybe I should read longer books... nah.


Okay, so this is where I have a small issue. Honestly, I like my stats a certain way so this is okay for the site. I think it's cool but I would categorize some books differently or at least have the ages somewhere else because YA and children's books are not a genre. 


The number of books and pages each month is one of the most fun stats. I think it's awesome. And as you can see, I am using the half-star ratings to it's fullest potential.

Conclusion

Overall, there's a lot of great features on the StoryGraph. I am excited to see how they continue to improve the site. I think if they made some more improvements it would be almost perfect. I don't think I'll ever get rid of my Goodreads but I think I might use it a little less which I have been doing lately. I think for sure more readers should give it a try. I'd love to know what you all think. How has the site been for you? Do you like your recommendations, if so what keywords are you using? 

Comments

  1. Interesting! I've been using Goodreads for quite awhile, so I'm not sure I would switch at this point, but this site has some fun options. I think the keywords thing can go either way - it's nice to get recommendations that are tailored to you, but you could be missing out on a lot of great books just because they don't specifically match them. I find so many books myself or through other bloggers that I'm not always looking for even more recommendations.

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