January 4, 2024

Black Woman-Founded Reading Platform StoryGraph Surges In Popularity

The StoryGraph

The StoryGraph, a Black woman-owned cataloging web platform for books, took to X, formerly Twitter, announcing they have had to take their platform offline to upgrade its servers.

The StoryGraph

The StoryGraph, founded by Nadia Odunayo, is a competitor of Amazon-owned social cataloging platform Goodreads as it uses a freemium model, with some features only available in a subscription plan.

Founded in 2019, StoryGraph was initially a side project for tracking books.

After studying at Oxford University, Odunayo went into the world of software engineering but, in 2019, decided to work on other ideas.

Like many book lovers, she had used Goodreads to catalog her reading journey, but there was one feature the Amazon-owned platform didn’t have – private, sharable lists.

So she created The StoryGraph as a companion app to Goodreads, but after speaking with others, she realized it could be so much more.

“What if you could build the ultimate friend? They get you and your mood on any given day and all of the books in the world,” Odunayo told Bustle.

Why Is StoryGraph So Popular?

The StoryGraph offers an in-depth data panel with information about a user’s reading habits, the ability to check out a book’s mood or pacing, and customizable reading goals.

There is also a dedicated content warnings section, which helps people skip potentially triggering materials.

With no ads and recommendations through AI technology as soon as you open the homepage based on what you’ve read, StoryGraph has become increasingly popular.

“On The StoryGraph, not only can you track the number of books you read, but you can also track pages read and minutes read if you listen to audiobooks,” said Jamie Perkins on Simmons Voice.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss parts of Goodreads. The StoryGraph wasn’t designed to replicate social media. This may be good for a solitary reader,” Perkins said.

“I still have doubts of, “Is it different enough? Is it going to survive?” Odunayo said.

However, with over 322,000 users amassed from 2019 to 2021, Odunayo recently took her app offline due to its popularity. 

A Surge Of New Signups

“Due to an unprecedented number of new signups, we’ve had to take the app offline in order to upgrade our servers. We’re very sorry for the downtime!” StoryGraph tweeted on January 2nd, 2024.

“You’ll be able to backdate your reading progress to maintain your streaks/ January Pages Challenge once we’re back online!”

They have now, however, announced they are back online and apologized for any inconvenience caused.

Update: This article was amended on January 11, 2024, to state that The StoryGraph was first created as a companion app to Goodreads and not a rival.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.