Goodreads is a combination virtual library and online book club, bringing a social networking element to mobile reading. Launched in 2006, Goodreads boasts more than 5 million members who have added 170 million book reviews [source: Goodreads]. Here's how it works: A reader signs up and selects people that he or she would like to become friends with, growing a network of contacts. As you finish a book, you write a review that all of your friends can see. The idea is that people are more likely to read a book that someone they know recommends rather than reading what a stranger thought about it on a typical review Web site.
And Goodreads offers a couple of snazzy features that really make this a cool offering. First is the Reader, which lets users read books directly from the app. As of August 2011, they offer more than 2,000 public domain titles and growing, providing free and instant access to these works [source: Goodreads].
Second, users can actually scan the bar codes on their books to add titles to their profile. This works by using the digital camera on your smartphone to snap a picture of the book's bar code. This is particularly handy if you find yourself perusing the local library or your favorite bookstore and want to know what your friends think of a certain selection. Simply use this feature to access reviews and instantly determine if it's worth your time.
Goodreads is currently available for iOS and Android platforms.