By Melanie Walsh and Maria Antoniak

Why do Goodreads users love and love to hate the “classics” ? Which books are “classics” according to millions of readers? Why does Amazon seem to care about the classics, too?

We explore these questions and more in our essay, “The Goodreads ‘Classics’: A Computational Study of Readers, Amazon, and Crowdsourced Amateur Criticism,” in which we analyze more than 120,000 user reviews.

This website hosts interactive versions of some of the data visualizations featured in our essay — as well as a few bonus visualizations 🎉 We hope you have fun exploring and taking a data-driven view of the “classics.”

What books are “classics” according to Goodreads users?

Explore a sortable table:

Explore a plot of Goodreads ratings vs publication date:

Which “classic” books do Goodreads users love and love to hate?

Explore a plot of classic books by average Goodreads rating:

What do Goodreads users talk about in their reviews of “classic” books?

Explore a heatmap of Goodreads review topic modeling results:

How can I collect Goodreads data for myself?

You can check out Goodreads Scraper, a set of Python scripts that we used to collect Goodreads book metadata and reviews for our article.