Book recommendation engines

It’s not surprising that most of the people I converse with online are avid readers in other media as well. I have a lot of friends who are active on Goodreads, and at times I’ve used LibraryThing and Shelfari. All of those communities are designed to allow readers to recommend good books to each other.

In the past, several of my book-loving friends and I have wondered why there are no popular book recommendation engines similar to the Netflix movie recommendation engine, Amazon’s recommendations based on individual users’ activity, or even the Pandora music service. Could an algorithm replace the top picks of our favorite librarians and booksellers? We were doubtful. Nothing jumped out until recently.

Following is a list of the book recommendation sites I’ve noticed. Many of them are new or still in beta. I haven’t tested any, because I haven’t had time to register and explore them. You’ll have to let me know if they’re useful.

The Book Seer

BookFilter [updated on June 5, 2013]

Bookigee [updated on February 16, 2011]

Bookish [updated on May 6, 2011] [acquired by Apple in 2014]

BookVibe [updated on July 18, 2013]


Go Book Yourself [updated on December 8, 2013]

Goodreads Recommendations [updated on September 15, 2011]


Readgeek [updated on May 11, 2015]

What should I read next?


In theory at least, these services are cool, but even more awesome is Paul Constant, who responds to requests for book recommendations on Questionland.

[update] Coincidentally, this appeared in Publishing Perspectives today:

How Book Rental Service BookSwim Refined its Recommendation Engine

[updated on December 8, 2013] Questionland may have disappeared, but Paul Constant is The Stranger’s books editor now. That’s good to know. Also, there’s a new human-powered book recommendation site called Go Book Yourself. Email the editors for a recommendation or search the site for recommendations based on a similar title.

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