No, That’s Not What I Meant!

Posted 28 July, 2011 by Amanda / 20 Comments

A possible new feature at On a Book Bender

Have you ever noticed how Goodreads’ search capabilities are… odd?  Let me demonstrate.

Days later, and I am still wondering how you get Ray Rankins from rearranging stars.

But this phenomenon is not exactly uncommon.


And in my infinite wisdom, I thought: I should totally take screen shots of all the crazy Goodreads search suggestions and post them to my blog.  I’ve had more weird search suggestions than these two examples, but they were the only ones I thought to capture.

What kind of suggestions has Goodreads given you?

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20 Responses to “No, That’s Not What I Meant!”

  1. Blahahahah! Yes, I’ve noticed. It’s happened to me, though I’m blanking on examples but it always leaves me wondering how the heck those connections came up.

    Gotta love goodreads.

  2. The thing that drives me nuts is that I can’t seem to search one word only. So when I don’t know the author, common titles pose a problem.

    • Yeah, I had that problem the other day (although I don’t remember what exactly I was searching for) and it’s super annoying. Sometimes I’ll just give up and go search for it in Amazon, then back to Goodreads.

  3. Felicia

    Goodreads a source of entertainment for me on a daily basis because of their “did you mean this” search :)

    As a technical person, I look at it like this—their wildcard search capabilities are not very good which is probably due to the fact that it is a full-text index and not a more in-depth search tool.

    Still enjoyable sometimes when it isn’t frustrating :)

    • The thing that gets me most is that although they offer a weird suggestion, they ALWAYS have the book I want in the search results.

      Felicia, you might enjoy/be able to provide some technical information to my post tomorrow — I’m talking spell check. :)

      • Felicia


        In the product I support from a server side, the spell check (it is part of the office suite of products–sharepoint) is one of the most complained about features. I have done a lot of research into that area and it is interesting to say the least why spell check products don’t really work.

        • Awesome. I’m starting an “editing myths” feature tomorrow, and my first myth is that spell check is your friend. Ha. :) I honestly think that spell check is over-relied on.

    • Felicia

      I am guessing they use an “in-house” product that can’t leverage a search engine such as google because of restrictions to the database lines. Plus, I am guessing that they also can’t leverage “best bets” (more popular picks) or “clicked-on” topology for their search results. Which can be frustrating when searching.

  4. Haha, I think the techies at Goodreads must also work for my company. You type something simple into the intranet, and get every other phrase *but* the one you were looking for.

    Or, hey, maybe they just typed Google into Google and broke the internet. :)