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Letterboxd and Goodreads Turn Entertainment into Social Discovery

Letterboxd is a platform in which you can track and rate every movie you have ever watched, share your reviews, and see what your friends are watching. And Goodreads does much the same for books. They are both major hubs online for lovers of films and books. And they have in their own right become social discovery platforms that service their audience.

Both have been around for over 10 plus years, but it could be argued it was the pandemic that really boosted their numbers. Goodreads is now owned by Amazon, and is often credited with making or breaking the success of authors and books. And Letterboxd boasts over 9 million users. At the start of the pandemic, that number was only 1.3 million.

Through both platforms you can respectively see what books or films your friends are watching and what they think of them. One survey showed that it is in user generated content like this that makes social discovery platforms enticing and useful to users. The survey showed that people did not take the recommendations of influencers too seriously, and are much more swayed by recommendations of friends they know and can trust.

Letterboxd was created by New Zealand pair Matthew Buchanan and Karl Von Randow, and operates a free and subscription based model. That site is free to read for all, but only signed up users can leave reviews. Subsequently, fee paying members gain access to a host of features such as a “year in Review” of their watching. 

Social discovery apps are growing in popularity, partly because they are smaller than the world of traditional social media, where everything and everyone is fighting for attention and spotlight. On sites that explore one particular topic, one niche, it is much easier to find a community that is like minded with you, and to be heard. They might have huge user bases, but used in the right way,Letterboxd and Goodreads can be places of community and social discovery for you and your friends.

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