Goodreads: Otis and Elizabeth Chandler As a young programmer in the mid-2000s, Otis Chandler watched as dozens of niche web sites began to take off. When he decided to launch his own site just for book lovers, a respected colleague told him there was "probably not a very big market there." Otis figured he might prove him wrong, and in 2007, launched Goodreads, a book catalog and review site that he coded from his LA apartment. His soon-to-be-wife Elizabeth joined the project, and they slowly built a following—without an office, a business model, or a single employee. In 2013, Goodreads sold to Amazon for an undisclosed sum; and today, it's the world's largest site for readers, with 125 million users.
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Goodreads: Otis and Elizabeth Chandler

Goodreads: Otis and Elizabeth Chandler

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Otis and Elizabeth Chandler are founders of Goodreads. Scott Everett for NPR hide caption

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Scott Everett for NPR

Otis and Elizabeth Chandler are founders of Goodreads.

Scott Everett for NPR

As a young programmer in the mid-2000s, Otis Chandler watched as dozens of niche web sites began to take off. When he decided to launch his own site just for book lovers, a respected colleague told him there was "probably not a very big market there."

Otis figured he might prove him wrong, and in 2007, launched Goodreads, a book catalog and review site that he coded from his LA apartment. His soon-to-be-wife Elizabeth joined the project, and they slowly built a following—without an office, a business model, or a single employee.

In 2013, Goodreads sold to Amazon for an undisclosed sum; and today, it's the world's largest site for readers, with 125 million users.

This episode of How I Built This was produced by Casey Herman and edited by Neva Grant. Research help from Claire Murashima. Additional support from Jeff Rogers, J.C. Howard, Julia Carney, Elaine Coates, Farrah Safari, Liz Metzger, Harrison Vijay Tsui and Katherine Sypher, and Margaret Cirino. You can follow us on Twitter @HowIBuiltThis, on Instagram @HowIBuiltThisNPR and email us at hibt@npr.org.

Special Series

How I Built This

For all new episodes, go to the How I Built This page on Wondery.com Listen early and ad-free on Wondery+ Listen on Amazon Music