May 14, 2013

Amazon launches “Kindle Love Stories” podcast and Goodreads book club, eats itself


You didn’t think that Amazon would just leave Goodreads alone did you, after subsuming it into its gaping maw earlier this year? No, rather than maintaining Goodreads as the user-generated reading social network it once was, they’re going to make members discuss romance novels—specifically, Amazon’s romance novels.

According to Laura Hazard Owen of paidContent, Amazon has launched a weekly romance novel podcast sponsored by Amazon Publishing’s romance imprint, Montlake Romance, which will include a related discussion group on Goodreads:

“Amazon hopes to harness the large community of romance readers with a new weekly romance podcast, “Kindle Love Stories.” It will feature author interviews, reviews and trends in romance books, and is accompanied by a book discussion group on Goodreads, the reading social network that Amazon acquired in March.”

The first podcast excerpts Tracy Brogan’s debut novel, Crazy Little Thing, which is published by, you guessed it, Montlake Romance. By asking readers to read the book Amazon published, listen to the podcast Amazon produced and discuss it on the Amazon-owned discussion board, this thing is practically eating itself.

According to Joyce Lamb in USA Today, the podcast will get to the books of other publishers down the track, although next week’s book features yet another Montlake book, Alison Kent’s The Second Chance Café. The only two books the Goodreads page currently displays are both Montlake books.

According to Lamb, the podcast will sometimes cover independently published books, although as Hazard Owen notes, these “indie” books will most likely come from Amazon’s own Kindle Direct Publishing store, an outlet to help authors self-publish.

Owen also writes that “One possible advantage of “Kindle Love Stories” is that, if it focuses primarily on titles published by Amazon, all of those titles should be available free to Kindle owners through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

Joyce Lamb, in talking to the first Amazon author to be featured, Tracy Brogan, didn’t really ask the hard-hitting questions on these issues, but did include this indecipherable gem:

“Joyce: LOL. RWA should declare the RITAs Spanx-free.”

It was only a matter of time until Amazon started some sort of podcast promoting its wares, but it’s a shame that GoodRead’s independence has been so quickly compromised.


Ariel Bogle is a publicist at Melville House.