In information publishing, the more you publish, the bigger your opportunity to develop a community can be, and that basic tenet is what is behind the rise of Goodreads. To put it really simply, the publication of information on the web attracts readers with similar interests. As they congregate around this information, relationships develop.
From the TechCrunch article:
[Co-founder and CEO Otis ] Chandler notes that “the publishing industry has a huge discovery problem, because books are going digital” and brick-and-mortar bookstores are disappearing. Amazon.com is trying to solve the problem with its own book recommendations, but Chandler says this creates “a huge opportunity” for Goodreads — after all, one of the main benefits of a social reading site is finding friends’ recommendations for books to read, and he hassaid in the past that Goodreads has “the best book recommendations on the internet right now.”
Goodreads claims to have more catalogued 360 million books, with 22 million (and climbing) added per month. The site sees about 140 million monthly pageviews, Chandler says, and receives about 22 million monthly unique visitors — so Goodreads can deliver a big audience to its advertisers, and also provide them unique data about whether their campaigns are driving engagement in the Goodreads community.
When I say that the book is dead, I am lying. It's not that the book is dead, it's that the way we use the book is dead. What people gather around when it comes to published works of literature is not the message in any one book. they gather around the possibility -- or the expectation - that someone will react in a similar way to us when they read that book. We are looking for a family.
Publishers had a good model going. Publish great works of literature. People will soak them up.
But the web tacked on a secondary, and more important, action to the purchasing of published words of art. Now, people buy books, and then want to konw what other people think, who also bought that book, or borrowed it from the library.
We're all publishers now. And while publishers may think they are competing with information, I think what they are really doing is feeding the many different layers of quality, quanitity, and information styles that are reactions to the published work they model.