Books And What To Do With Them!, I thought that it was time to add a few more options for book-lovers to that list…
Several sites have emerged that attempt to offer the avid reader suggestions for what to read next, based on various formulae. Whether they're any good at doing it or are just trying to push books they can sell you will depend on trying them out. Here are a few worth checking out…
Whichbook - This site presents the reader with a list of paired criteria like happy or sad, funny or serious, safe or disturbing, short or long, etc. You can then use a slider to choose the level between each pair that suits what kind of book you want to read next. If that scenario doesn't suit, then you can try choosing the character, plot and setting. For example, you get to choose your main character's race, age, sexuality and gender and you can even make him or her an alien. There are seven plot types to pick from and you can choose to set the story anywhere in the world.
What Should I Read Next - This uses a much simpler system in that you enter a book you like and the site will analyse its favourites database of over 47,000 books to suggest what you could read next. It produces the recommendations based purely on collective taste of its registered readers. When books are entered into the same favourites list, they become associated with each other and the more often particular books appear on different lists, the stronger that association becomes. Over time the recommendations should get better and better as the database grows.
BookLamp - This site suggests books through an analysis of writing styles similar to the way that Pandora.com matches its listeners to new music. BookLamp allows you to find books with a similar level of tone, tense, perspective, action, description, and dialog - while at the same time allowing you to specify details like… half the length. It’s supposedly impervious to outside influences, like advertising, that impact most socially driven recommendation systems, and isn’t reliant on a large user base to work. It's still in private beta but looks promising (and my name's down).
BookHuddle is another free book cataloguing site but with a more social networking slant to help you discover, organize, and share book information. It also includes reviews, discussion forums and you can even set up or join book clubs in there.
Shelfari titles itself as a free social network for book lovers. It lets you create a virtual shelf to show off your books. You can then see what your friends are reading and discover new books or at least that's the general idea. It also has groups that you can join to keep the social aspect going.
If you want to catalogue more than just books, then there are more general collection list sites like Listology and iTrackmine.
BookHopper - a free, swap-by-post book service. It is international but only allows swapping within your own national boundaries to keep postage costs down. Like similar services, you can request a book when you meet certain criteria. Here you need to offer at least 10 books and leave up-to-date feedback. There are also limits on how many books you can request in a given time period.
WhatsOnMyBookShelf - a book trading community that allows members to exchange their books using a simple credit system. Users maintain their own profile page with friends, book inventory and wishlists. For every 5 books registered you will receive one credit as a promotion and each book registered is designated a credit value based upon its new book price. Users request a book by redeeming some of their credits to order the book from the current holder, who then gets those credits.
Well, that's enough on books for the moment. I was going to add a bit on book price comparison engines but maybe later.
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