A website like GoodReads that also lets you write/edit booksummaries?
February 15, 2017 7:40 PM   Subscribe

When I read a good book I like to take notes, and cut-and-paste excerpts for future reference. I've been using Word to do this, but is there a book website that provides this function built-in?GoodReads allows the posting of "reviews" using a tiny text window but I want to have a place to store and view private notes (while at the same time having access to all the nifty GoodRead-type features!)
posted by storybored to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Goodreads does have this function, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity. If you go to the settings on any of your bookshelves, you can click the box that says "notes" and voila, you have a private notes field for each book on that shelf! It can't hold a huge amount of text, but I've found it useful for short synopses and personal reactions I didn't want to put in a public review.
posted by darchildre at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2017

Response by poster: I found the Notes window as you say a little too small. When you click on Notes, you get a tiny text window and you have to scroll up and down to read it. (Assuming I'm not missing anything in the way it works).
posted by storybored at 8:16 PM on February 15, 2017

It's true it's a smallish text entry window, but you only scroll up and down while typing in it--after you save the entry, you see the whole piece of text at once just as you would your public review.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:26 PM on February 15, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion. Sadly it only seems to accept a few lines of text. I have a summary of a book that's 2500 words long :(. I tried to put it into GoodReads just now and it only took the first four paragraphs.
posted by storybored at 8:38 PM on February 15, 2017

It's asking me to link my Google Profile to Google Books, which I'm not willing to do at exactly this stage, so I can't test it, but I imagine Google Books would have this functionality once you get the title into your Library. You can then choose to make your review/summary public, or share it on G+.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:48 PM on February 15, 2017

Response by poster: I gave Google Books a try and it looks like I can't mark my review as Private. It seems to make everything public?
posted by storybored at 9:03 PM on February 15, 2017

posted by Violet Hour at 9:16 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ah, that's a shame.

The Wikipedia page for Goodreads lists a few possible leads under "See also".

If you use an e-reader of some kind, you can certainly use the very powerful Calibre to do all sorts of things (but only for your ebooks, of course).
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:37 PM on February 15, 2017

Try LibraryThing. It has many of the same features as GoodReads, but it predates GR slightly and has a bit of an older-web feel.

There is a Private Comments field in the default book page. It shows up initially as very small, but there is a "more space" link that you can use to make it appear larger on the page. You also have the option to make an entire book record private, so you could store reviews privately that way as well.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:46 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

A gormless hack, but if nothing else suits what about getting a free blog and marking it private? Put your notes there (one post per book) and link to the post in the goodreads section.

Basically the blog becomes overflow space for the goodreads reviews, which provides the shelves and indexing.
posted by mark k at 10:30 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd also suggest LibraryThing.

Also, in most browsers the text box has a little hashed thing in the lower-right corner. If you grab that you can re-size the box to more comfortably see what you're typing. It doesn't help if the site only gives you a limited space but it takes away the cramped feeling of typing a long entry when you can only see a few lines of your text.
posted by Awfki at 4:12 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for LibraryThing.
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2017

If you can't find an in app solution, you could always put the summary into a Google Doc (or any other cloud based text file) and then use your private notes field to hold the link to the document.
posted by soelo at 9:56 AM on February 16, 2017

Nthing Library Thing. I just opened a Goodreads account after having a lifetime Library Thing account for more than a decade and can say with probably only a little bit of bias that Library Thing is leaps and bounds ahead of Goodreads for someone like me who likes lots of data and keeping track of what I'm reading. The private comments thing will suit your need nicely.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2017

Just FYI, Library Thing is only free to a point: "Enter 200 items for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life)."
posted by soelo at 1:00 PM on February 16, 2017

(Full disclosure: I work for Goodreads) If you are someone who reads Kindle books, we have a new feature on Goodreads that allows you to share your Kindle Notes & Highlights to your Goodreads account to create a summary of the points in the book that were most noteworthy to you. These notes are automatically private (or you can choose to make them visible). You can find more info on our blog post (One update on that post: you can now also view your Kindle notes and highlights in the Goodreads iOS app.)

storybored - it sounds like you're already on Goodreads, so this means you can have your book rating, review (if you want to write one) and notes all in one place.
posted by goodreads at 3:03 PM on February 17, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks goodreads for coming to AskMeFi to tackle my question. The Kindle feature sounds nifty and exactly what I need. The only thing is I'm sadly not a Kindle user. I'm looking for essentially the same feature for regular paper books.
posted by storybored at 6:10 PM on February 22, 2017

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