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Book Recommendations: Traditional or Not

Does your local newspaper carry book reviews?

Do you even read them if they happen to appear?

The answer to both is probably no.

Chances are you rely more on word-of-mouth and Internet browsing to come upon new works. Or you read blogs by favorite writers or entrepreneurs who might recommend something. Or you have your own platform, through which you’re building an audience for your own book, and you discover things through your interactions with your tribe.

In any event, new books no longer get much press in the traditional sense. And given that the Amazon review system has been plagued by rashes of manipulation here and there by fans or non-fans, and in any event isn’t very reliable as an indicator of whether a book is worth your time or not, a new website might help fill that gap in book recommendations.

The site is called Bookish, and although it’s supported by Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA and Hachette Book Group, it will feature books from 16 other publishers, according to an announcement in The New York Times.

The site is still adding titles, but so far it’s easy to navigate and a good addition to what will surely be a growing number of sites devoted to book suggestions. There are many book-related blogs, and they’re fine if you like the blogger and share his or her point of view (or even like to be contrary with it). But this site seems to promise a more nuanced recommendation system, based on a member’s own recommendations. It will also have interviews and suggestions and articles from established authors, such as Michael Connolly.

But because this site is devoted to books published in the traditional manner, that is, by publishing houses, there’s a gap. That gap is self-published books. More and more, in our age of digital readers, people are willing to try self-published books. And now even Apple, which has its own bookstore, is going to feature recommendations for self-published books.  On its home page, the iBookstore will feature a section called “Breakout Books” and feature what Apple calls “emerging authors,” though of course, some self-published authors have already emerged and have decided to take publishing matters into their own hands.

In any event, while the Bookish site is a nice development – the iBookstore decision to focus on self-publishing is an even nicer one, and shows how profoundly publishing has changed. It’s great to have a site to recommend books. It’s even better though to have a site that recommends books of all sorts, no matter who published them.

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  • Anonymous

    Sounds very intersting. I will check it out.