Last Updated: 23 September, 2020
There are many methods of choosing books, but recommendations has been a popular method for a long time. However there are limitations with recommendations because they usually only consider one book and are based on one person’s thoughts so it is easy to be ‘misled’. However through interactive sites, the web is able to provide personalised recommendations based on your own reading habits.
Here are some of my favourite places to get book recommendations
Amazon collects trends from the sales made and voting of products to generate several different methods of recommending books, based on many different people’s opinions.
On a product page there are two sections for recommendations that can be useful if you have enjoyed a particular book
At the bottom of a product page you will find a link to Visit the page you made. This takes you to a page where you can see the items you have browsed recently and click through to see recommendations based on those items. This can be useful if you are not sure what you want, but you know you want something on a similar topic or theme to several other books.
You can also build up your own recommendations based on the books you have read. If you are registered on amazon you can rate each book you read on the product page, it does not need to be an amazon purchase. Once you have several ratings the site will start recommending books (and other items) through the recommendations page you can access from the home page or the Your Store tab.
I have used this for almost 10 years and have bought many books recommended through the pages and many of them have been spot on. My first few recommendations are shown below, however I usually have a list of several hundred books that I can narrow down using the filter on the left hand side.
Story code (UK USA)
Storycode takes the amazon approach of collecting people’s rating on books to help recommend other similar books, but takes it a stage further. Reviewers are asked to ‘code’ fiction books using a 5 page questionnaire that uses slide bars to collect information on different aspects of the book, such as characters and plot.
This information is collated and used to produce a list of books that have a similar makeup rather than just books that have a similar rating. The books are listed in order of similarity, but also includes figures for reader rating, readability and a recommended reading age, which can be useful if you are looking for books for children.
Unfortunately they do not collate the books you have coded and make recommendations based on your reading. However, it is something they are planning to do, but they seem to be a bit behind on their timescales.
However, there is a commercial version of the tool that you may see on other book websites, for example the screenshot below is from Foyles Bookshop and shows the StoryCode recommendations embedded in the product page for Cloud Atlas .
Bookmooch is a website that enables the sharing of free books that I discussed in my previous post on how to get cheap books . Although the point of the site is to facilitate the sharing of books, it has recently included some new recommendations features.
On an individual book page there is a drop down list showing other recommended books. This list is generated by looking through the bookmooch membership for those people who have interacted with this book e.g. its on their wishlist, they have it available, they have requested it and compiling a list of all the other books they have interacted with, which is then sorted in most popular. An interesting feature of the list is that only books available through bookmooch during the last 7 days are shown so it is always recommending books you are likely to pick up for free from the website.
The site also makes recommendations on the books you have interacted with e.g those on your wishlist, those you have requested and again goes through the membership (you can access this feature through the browse tab). As well as the actual recommendations there are two nice features. Firstly the list shows how many copies of that book are available through bookmooch and secondly there is an option to hide books, so you can tailor the page so you are not shown books you have already read or books you are not interested in reading.
Librarything is an online book cataloguing site that is free for the first 200 books you register. The site has gone beyond just allowing the listing of books and uses the data from members list to generate recommendations based on what is in your library.
There are a variety of recommendation methodologies, including separate lists for fiction and non fiction. They include:
People with your books also have
Most popular books you don’t have
There are also lists generated from all members of the site for topics such as top books by rating, most reviewed books, top books by copies
Google My Library
I have only recently come across My Library from Google , which enables you to store books you find using google book search . Mashable have reported that they are moving towards personalised recommendations, so this could be a site to watch.
How do you get book recommendations?