Enhancing Book Discovery and Social Annotation: Exploring Goodreads and Glasp


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 16, 2023

3 min read


Enhancing Book Discovery and Social Annotation: Exploring Goodreads and Glasp


In the digital age, platforms like Goodreads and Glasp have revolutionized the way we discover and engage with books. Goodreads, known for its vast community of book lovers, offers features like the Yearly Challenge and social sharing, while Glasp focuses on social web highlighting and annotation. Despite their unique offerings, both platforms face certain limitations. In this article, we will explore the common points between Goodreads and Glasp and discuss actionable advice to enhance their usability and features.

Connecting with Others:

Both Goodreads and Glasp allow users to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar interests. Glasp employs a tag system, also known as topics, to facilitate the discovery of related content. By using these tags, users can find and interact with others who have annotated and highlighted similar entries. Similarly, Goodreads enables users to follow their friends and view their activities. However, it is important to consider the privacy concerns associated with publicly displaying reading habits. Goodreads should provide users with the option to customize their homepage display to avoid spamming users with friends' activities.

Improving Usability:

Usability is a crucial aspect of any platform, and both Goodreads and Glasp have areas that can be enhanced. Goodreads users often struggle with the search functionality, which sometimes fails to deliver accurate results even after typing the complete book name. To improve usability, Goodreads should focus on making the search feature more intuitive and reliable. Additionally, Glasp's commitment to public availability of content can be controversial for some users. Introducing a separate "Do Not Finish Bookshelf" on Goodreads, where users can track their progress on abandoned books, would provide valuable feedback and enhance the utility of the platform.

Enhancing Recommendations:

The recommendation systems of both platforms play a significant role in book discovery. Goodreads users have expressed dissatisfaction with the current recommendation system, which lacks personalization and fails to cater to different user personas. To address this issue, Goodreads should collaborate with famous publications, book clubs, organizations, and public figures to improve the credibility and relevance of their recommendations. Additionally, allowing users to create customized lists, which can be made public or private, would not only increase engagement but also foster a sense of community and enable authors to connect better with their readers.


Goodreads and Glasp have transformed the way we engage with books, yet there is room for improvement in terms of connecting with others, improving usability, and enhancing recommendations. By implementing the actionable advice discussed in this article, these platforms can provide users with a more seamless and enriching experience. Whether it is through social annotation on Glasp or book discovery on Goodreads, these platforms have the potential to shape the future of reading in the digital era.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. For Goodreads: Enhance the search functionality to provide accurate results, even with partial book titles. This will improve the overall usability and user experience.
  • 2. For Glasp: Introduce privacy options for users who wish to keep their annotations and highlights private, allowing them to control the visibility of their contributions.
  • 3. For both platforms: Collaborate with renowned book clubs, organizations, and public figures to improve the credibility and relevance of recommendations. This will broaden the range of books discovered by users and enhance their reading experience.

Incorporating these actionable advice will not only address the limitations of Goodreads and Glasp but also elevate their offerings, making them indispensable tools for book enthusiasts worldwide.

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