New-ish book discovery engines and websites.
A couple of years ago, I put together an exhaustive—for then—list of book recommendation engines and book discovery websites.
Since then, more have launched.
Let's take a look! (As before, when applicable, I will use Howl's Moving Castle and The Book Thief as test subjects.)
Readgeek: "We use statistics and some calculations to find out would you would like. Besides, Readgeek is also a social network. Link with your friends and family to be up to date what is being red around you. Also you can create a wishlist and post it on Facebook to finally get matching presents."
I'm going to be blunt: typos on the About page of a book recommendation site seem like a bad sign to me. That said, it's a German-based site, and they're pretty new, so.
But. Another bad sign? Getting errors every time I try to search for a book title. So... I'm going to go ahead and back away from that one for a few months, anyway.
My Independent Bookshop: "Simply pick the 12 books you love and put them on display. Write recommendations and share them with friends. Then change your collection as often as you like, by season, genre or mood – the possibilities are endless. ... And if you’re more of a window shopper, take a walk down our virtual streets. You’ll find shops run by book lovers, favourite authors and bloggers, maybe your best friend or even local librarian. Along the way you might stumble across a host of unexpected new reads."
This site doesn't rely on robo-recommendations—it's a social-ish site owned by Penguin Random House. People set up "shops" featuring their favorite books—from which you can buy actual copies from whatever local indie you merge your online shop with—and that appears to be it? Or something like that?
A search for Howl's Moving Castle brought me to a shop also featuring Dr. Seuss' If I Ran the Circus and Robert Aickman's Dark Entries; a search for The Book Thief brought me to a shop also featuring The Great Gatsby and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch.
Riffle: Back in 2012, Riffle got compared to Pinterest a lot—as in Could Riffle Be the Pinterest of Book Discovery? and Is Riffle a New Kind of Pinterest And Will It Save Books? (ugh, nice headline, Forbes)—and after trying it out then, I found it astoundingly annoying and I distinctly remember thinking, "Um, no. If I want a Pinterest For Books, I'll, you know, USE PINTEREST FOR BOOKS."
I did TRY to log in this morning to take it for a spin—I figure that a lot has probably changed in three years—but the account creation process was longgggg and then there was an error that made me start overrrrrrr and also I hate when these sites won't let you look around without signing uppppppp, so I apologize, but you're going to have to do your own research on that one.
Jellybooks: "We have created a cover-centric interface, because it is beautiful and simple and helps you discover great books. We do judge a book by its cover, but it is also simpler and faster to explore a large number of books by just scrolling the covers. Any form of text or numbers below the covers would put an extra burden on our brains and inhibit serendipity. In many ways, we have taken our inspiration from how we would stroll around a physical book shop exploring the shelves for your next read."
So, really, this site is purely about browsing: Jellybooks provides a screen of book covers, you click on one, and get the title, author, and a synopsis, and then options to download a sample, to share the info, or to sign up for sale info. They don't offer a search function because "if you already know the title of the book or the author, then you already know what you want".
Favobooks and The Books Project. Both of these sites provide recommendations based on the favorite books of famous people. Currently, every single featured "great thinker, entrepreneur, pioneer and visionary" on the front page of Favobooks is male; of the 28 "influential thought leaders" profiled at The Books Project, 3 are female.
So... yeah. I'm thinking those sites might not be the best fit for the likes of me.
Between this post and the Big List, am I missing anything?
Previously: New book recommendation engine.