Today’s news of Amazon acquiring the popular book social networking site GoodReads gives one pause. That is because Amazon already owns Shelfari, and also has a 40% stake in LibraryThing — arguably three sites that offer the same basic value proposition. Allow me to speculate. And let’s be clear, that’s all this is — speculation.
Why would Amazon want to keep three different sites going that offer basically the same kind of service? Sure, what they really want is the user data — but why pay top dollar to get it by keeping three independent efforts going? Why indeed.
Jeff Bezos hasn’t gotten where he is by being a bad businesman, so my money is on a shakeout ahead. GoodReads appears to be winning the war of popularity in this space, according to Alexa Rank, so the smart money would be on GoodReads swallowing up Shelfari in a merger to gain the cost savings. LibraryThing is a bit more complex, as Amazon does not (yet) have a majority stake. Amazon could either let them keep going while siphoning user data out the back end, or it could make a play to grab it all. Whatever happens, I think the next few years will be interesting in this space.
Your own speculations are welcome in the comments.