Popular book discovery and sharing site Goodreads has released an Android app, bringing the ability to manage and share book information to Android phones. The Goodreads app, which has been been available for the iPhone, is free and available now in the Android Market.
While you can use Goodreads to store information about books you want to read and are currently reading, the biggest value of Goodreads comes from viewing what your friends are reading, and reading book reviews written by other Goodreads members. You need to add friends using the Goodreads web site on a PC because you cannot do so from within the mobile apps.
One noticable difference between the Android and iPhone versions of Goodreads is shown in the screenshot. When you start the iPhone app you see an update feed from your Goodreads friends, with the different app sections displayed as buttons along the bottom of the screen. I don’t know why the developers felt they had to make the Android version function differently, I would prefer it to be the same as the iPhone version.
Another problem I have with the Android version is how it buries the ability to add your friend’s books to your To Read shelve. After you open a friend’s review of a book, which appears in the Updates section, you need to tap the thumbnail of the book to open Goodread’s information about the book, which includes an Add To My Shelves link..
The Android version of Goodreads does not have the Explore section like the iPhone app, which is where you can browse through different lists of books. It appears that right now the Android version of Goodreads is intended for managing your book shelves, either by updating your reading status or searching for new books to add to your To Read shelve. I am shocked to find that the search section does not include a bar code scanner, which would seem to be an obviously quick way to enter a search. Another problem with search is that it doesn’t have simple way to clear a previous search term, the fastest way is to go back to the main screen and re-enter Search.
As I was testing Goodreads an issue with using Barnes and Noble’s Nook eReader became obvious, there is no way to export information from your Nook library to import into Goodreads. Barnes and Noble does not list ISBN numbers in your library, which prevents Goodreads from scraping that information, nor do they provide a simple way to export your library listing to a text file. Frankly, I am really disappointed with how little you can share from your Nook library, and I think users should be able store their library information in third party apps like Goodreads.
While I am disappointed that the Android version of Goodreads does not have all the features as the iPhone version, I am hopeful that those features will be added in a future update. The Goodreads web site does provide the ability to export your information so that you can share it with other apps.