How to Use Goodreads: Adding Books

Goodreads Mobile App
Goodreads Mobile App

A few weeks ago when I posted my Word Nerd’s Guide to Goodreads, I got a great response.  Some word nerds offered more helpful tips, and a few voiced concerns about the time necessary to set up a Goodreads account.

I’ve done some more field work, and I have good news.  With the clever applications available through Goodreads, setting up your bookshelves will take little time.

Thank you so much to Brandy Heineman of Bookishness and Other Beauties for sharing great tips.

Amazon Bookmarklet

While shopping in Amazon, you can easily add books to your Goodreads profile.  You must GR widgetssimply get the Amazon Bookmarklet for the bookmarks bar of your browser.

Log in to Goodreads and go to “edit profile”.  On your profile page, click on the tab called “widgets”.  On the right hand side you should see a blurb about plug ins and the logo.  Drag the “Add to Goodreads” link up into your bookmarks bar and presto!  You’ve got a new bookmarklet.

Once you’re in Amazon, when you are on the page of a book you’d like to read or buy, just click on the “Add to Goodreads” bookmarklet, and that book will be added to your Goodreads account.  You can click “Want to read” or sort it to another shelf.  Super easy!

Scanning ISBN Codes

Do you want to feel like a real librarian?  Or maybe a book store owner?  Well, you’ve got to try the scanning feature on your Android or iPhone Goodreads app.

From the home screen of the app,  choose “scan”, and a small window will appear on your ISBNphone screen.  Line up the ISBN code from the back of any book within the window.  The phone will focus and an official sounding BEEP will tell you that the code has been successfully scanned.  The title, author, and average rating for the book will appear on your phone.

You can scan a batch and add it to either the “read” or “to read” shelves of your Goodreads profile.  So much faster than searching and clicking on the site.

Warning: older books may not scan.  My phone said it required an “ISBN 13” to work, so my slightly antiquated copy of The Catcher in the Rye wouldn’t scan.  (Don’t ask me when I went to high school- although I have read it since then and still didn’t like it.  I guess you have to be a guy.)

The scanning feature makes it easy to add books to the “to read” pile even while you browse in a real brick and mortar store as well.  How convenient!

Now, if we could find a way to link Amazon, Goodreads, and Pinterest, we’d really rock!

How else do you use Goodreads?  Feel free to share any other helpful hints!

Thanks for stopping by!



Julia Tomiak
I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and


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    this web site is actually remarkable.

  2. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing
    a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it
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  3. I know this may be off topic but I need your help anyway, how can one read books online @ Goodreads? please I need your explicit steps on this. Thanks for your understanding.

    1. Hi Christopher. To my knowledge, you cannot read books through Goodreads. You can find books via recommendations and keep track of books you’ve read or want to read. There are other sites for reading e-books, including Oyster or Scribd. Hope this helps.

  4. This is a great post! I recently scanned in about 500 books. The other couple of hundred, I manually entered. For books before 1965, I think, there are no ISBNs. In some older paperbacks (like ones from my high school years in the ’80s), the ISBN is in the inside cover and not the back cover, so make sure you look there as well. Do not scan the UPC code, which is the bookstore’s organizational tool. It’s often pasted over the ISBN on the back of the book (I’m looking at you Barnes & Noble). Even with searching for the older books, it took me about 4 hours to organize my 630+ books. When scanning, you can scan into specific shelves. I created a shelf called Recently Added and scanned everything into that. Then from my computer, I did a batch edit from Recently Added and sorted all of those books into more specific category shelves, eventually leaving Recently Added empty. 🙂 Great post though, because I didn’t know about the bookmarklet. I’m also trying to figure out why GoodReads didn’t bring in all my books from my Kindle account, so that’s probably an Amazon issue. (I have to sort into Physical Books and Kindle books too.)

    1. Wow! Over 500 books! I am impressed. Thanks for the tips, including the “recently added” shelf idea and the points about older books. I’m amazed that it only took four hours. Now you have all of your books cataloged- fantastic! Good luck resolving the Kindle books issue (if you find any info to share on that front, please come back and tell us!)
      Have a wonderful day.

  5. I havee kindle good reads app, I like the concept of the scanner but when I go to use the scanner and try to scan a book it tells me “not an isbn…really long number” what am I doing wrong??

    1. Hi Robert! I had that problem with some of my older books- I guess maybe they have changed the format of ISBN numbers? I might do a little more research on this and get back to you. Thanks for stopping by and sharing this question!

  6. Yikes! To set up my account I did it the old fashioned way! Maybe in the future I will try something more expedient. Thanks for doing the work of figuring it all out.

  7. What great tips, Julia! I don’t use Goodreads as much as I should, mainly because it’s one more social network to learn. Thanks for passing along such great tips!

  8. Julia,

    I appreciate you sharing from your research — truly, it helps me when others have done it and I can learn from them. I often get frustrated when I “try” to learn tech things on my own and I don’t get it. 😉

    Bless you dear,
    Hester, 🙂

  9. Two things-
    1. The Amazon bookmarklet tool sounds great. I often buy Amazon books for my kindle, and this would be an easy way to add the books to my shelf.
    2. I also don’t like Catcher in the Rye. In fact, I can’t stand it! Glad I’m not alone!

    1. Glad you found this useful.
      My book club was just talking this week about how we just don’t get Catcher in the Rye, but how male teens love it. And then in a Q and A this week, author John Green said that “all YA starts with Salinger.” Must be the Y chromosome or something…

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