If you were to pull up Kobo’s website right now, you would notice that all of the book ratings and reviews previously on the site are now suddenly gone.
It appears the online bookstore has suddenly stopped using the Goodreads API. Goodreads, a social networking site that revolves around book reviews and recommendations, boasts over 16 million members. For the last few years at least, Kobo has relied on Goodread’s data to enhance its site and guide its customers on what books to buy.
The problem is, about five months ago Kobo’s competitor Amazon went ahead and bought up Goodreads. Obviously, this creates a conflict of interest. What remains unclear is whether Kobo’s move to stop using the API was driven by Kobo or by Amazon.
Good E-Reader, which first broke the story, writes on its blog that Kobo is in the midst of completely revising its online bookstore with a new look and a responsive design. While undergoing the transition, the company has decided to suspend use of the API.
Suspend use of its API? Is Kobo taking a breather? It seems odd that Kobo would do such a thing without first notifying its customers. Another guess might be that Amazon simply cut the cord.
Kobo has been criticized in the past for its over reliance on social networks Pinterest, Facebook, and the use of the Goodreads API. Perhaps now the time is ripe for the e-book reader to develop a social community all its own?