Whether you’re trying to find good books to read during your commute or planning out your summer reading early, there is nothing more daunting than going to a bookstore without a prepared list with at least a few titles or authors to look up. If you want to be sure that you’re next read is going to be a good one, there’s a variety of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, your favorite authors, favorite titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character.
Whether user generated, based on recommendations or based on customer purchases, there’s a variety of ways that these sites are able to provide some pretty accurate results, while others are still working out a few kinks and growing pains.
With YourNextRead, you can look up specific titles to get recommendations on similar books. In some cases, the list consists only of titles by the very same author, which completely defeats the purpose, but in other cases it actually does generate an interesting list. Recommendations are also accompanied by Amazon blurbs, reviews and price information, making it easy to purchase a recommended book online.
With, the more you use the site, the more in tune it will become with your taste. Sign up for a free account and start out by filling in a list of your favourite authors and titles:
Filling in some basic information about your reading habits:
And then filling in some information about your personality:
BookYap will then make recommendations on the information you provided.
In some cases the recommendations for good books to read were a bit absurd, where one favorite author, simply led to another favorite author already on my list and so forth. Where BookYap really sets itself apart from other similar sites is how it combines the answers to your reading habits with the answers to your personality to come up with reading suggestions. Although these results weren’t free from quirks either, with the Official Nintendo Super Paper Mario Player’s Guide making it onto the list of Quick Reads for ‘Smarty Pants.’ BookYap is a site to keep an eye on, and with time, the search results may become more accurate and relevant.
Gnooks is probably the simplest of any of the sites of this kind, with absolutely no bells and whistles. Search for an author’s name and you will be presented with a visual map of similar authors. The closer the suggestions are to the search word, the more similar they are. Clicking on a name in the map will lead you to another visualization of similar authors.
Goodreads needs no introduction. The popular bookshelf social network also provides user-generated recommendations of sorts. Users can create lists of books, so for example, searching for The Alexandria Quartet is featured on a variety of lists such as best post World War II fiction, alongside other greats such as Catch 22. But then it also does wind up on a list of best books ever alongside Twilight. If you’re going to benefit from Goodreads’ lists, you’ll obviously have to rely on a bit of common sense as well. The Goodreads community itself can also serve as a great way to discover new books, simply by interacting with other users.
AllReaders is another no-frills, awful UI website, but not only does it provide a small list of titles that are similar to any given book, you can also search for books based on plot, setting or even details about the protagonists. Titles are also accompanied by a plot summary, as well as setting and character information.
Amazon is an obvious but often overlooked option for getting reading recommendations. When looking up any given book, you can find similar titles since the search result is accompanied by a ‘Customers who bought this also bought’ list.
In addition, you can also find similar authors using their ‘Customers also bought items by’ list.
TasteKid is a great site for both book and author recommendations. Just enter the title of your favorite book, or your favorite author, and TasteKid will generate some of the most relevant and accurate results out of all the sites listed here. TasteKid also provides more than just book recommendations and can also be used for music, movies and TV shows.
Other great ways to get recommendations on good books to read are with other sites similar to Good Reads, where you can catalog your book collection and also benefit from the community’s wisdom on what to read next. Shelfari and Library Thing are two such examples that have been reviewed alongside Good Reads in the post, 4 Great Ways To Keep Track Of Your Expanding Book Collection. Other great sites worth checking out that have already been reviewed at MakeUseOf, include What Should I Read Next, WhichBook.net and The Book Seer.
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What sites do you use to decide what your next read is going to be? Let us know in the comments.
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