Liked How I turned my Goodreads data into a self-hosted website with Eleventy by Hidde de Vries (@hdv) is a freelance front-end and accessibility specialist in Rotterdam (NL), conference speaker and workshop teacher. Currently, he works for the W3C in the WAI team (views are his own). Previously he was at Mozilla, the Dutch government and various other organisations and businesses. (

In the last week of 2020, I decided to export my Goodreads data to display it on my personal website. This post is about what I did and how. Screenshot Why export?
First, I quite like Goodreads. It lets me see the reads of friends and acquaintances. It lets me share my own. This is all splendid, but…

Replied to |k| clippings: 2020-11-01 — race for the bautumn (

I used LibraryThing extensively for a long time. Then moved to GoodReads. It’s about time there was a potential competitor → Literal

Chris, as good as Literal looks, I wonder about the possibility of not only building a library but also owning your reading data? I am more interested in a decentralised alternative possibly built around RSS.
Replied to Library JSON – A Proposal for a Decentralized Goodreads (

Thinking through building some kind of “web of books” I realized that we could use something similar to RSS to build a kind of decentralized GoodReads powered by indie sites and an underlying easy to parse format.

I created a proof of concept by converting my own bookshelf into a JSON file

This maybe the beginnings of a federated site to support book clubs etc. I too keep my books on my site, the next step is a reader and incorporating a bit more nuance. I was also interested in Cory Doctorow’s thread on Twitter, as well as Matt Webb’s call to build on top of RSS in a similar way to podcasts.

I know that using RSS instead of JSON objects looks more complicated on the face of it… but RSS is already battle-tested and there’s no point reinventing the wheel. And in terms of building an ecosystem, it’s faster to start with RSS rather than doing something bespoke. It worked for podcasting!

Bookmarked Almost Everything About Goodreads Is Broken (Medium)

What Goodreads is good for is keeping your own list of books you want to read or have read this year. It’s a list-making app. And while that’s useful, it doesn’t live up to the company’s full promise of being a haven for readers. Readers and authors deserve a better online community. And while Amazon has at least some nominal interest in improving many of its other products — Alexa, for example, becomes more advanced with each passing year — Goodreads lingers in the dustbin of the early aughts, doomed to the hideous beige design and uninspiring organization of a strip mall doctor’s office.

Angela Lashbrook analyses Goodreads and highlights a raft of limitations associated with the site. I wonder if a future possibility would be to create a federated site to support book clubs etc, in the same way that Pixelfed and Mastadon offer alternatives to Instagram and Twitter. This could be supported by micropub clients like indiebookclub which allows users to provide updates on what they are reading.