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December 19th, 2013

BooksILove App: Mobile Book Recommendations

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by David Rogers

booksilove-mobile-book-recommendations-app

These days technology makes it easier than ever to find recommendations on just about anything. Amazon recommends things to buy based on items you’ve bought before; Pandora plays you songs based on what you’ve listened to before.

When it comes to books, though, the algorithms that power the aforementioned services don’t work quite as well. Sure, Amazon will makes suggestions if you’ve purchased books on the site before, but in my experience those suggestions don’t tend to my expectations (particularly if I’m looking for a specific kind of read). Instead, whenever I’m at a loss for what to read next, I usually try to find a reader I trust to guide me toward my next book.

Word of Mouth in the 21st Century

A new mobile app called BooksILove aims to bring “old-fashioned” book recommendations into the 21st Century by allowing us to suggest books through mobile technology.

The beauty of the app is its simplicity. After reading, you search for the book in the app then suggest it directly to friends and family through email, Facebook or inside the app itself. Additionally – and perhaps best of all – you can also inform your “recomendee” exactly why you think he or she would enjoy the book. The app allows you to choose from preset categories including “Author,” “Character,” “Dialogue,” “Conflict” and my favorite: “Just Because.” With one-click you can send a quick recommendation to one friend or to multiple people at once. You also can include a short note if you want to customize your message.

I’ve found many of my favorite books through word of mouth and expect to find many more the same way throughout the rest of my reading career. If enough people begin using BooksILove to make it as effective as it is designed to be, it could add a great new dimension to a tradition that’s been around as long as printed books.

The book search on BooksILove is powered by Bowker’s Books In Print Global. This database holds over 19 million books you can choose from to recommend, and also includes cover art and details about the books in addition to titles.

“Buck off a Book” Support Local Campaign

In addition to supporting reading in general, BooksILove also supports local, independent books stores through its Support Local campaign. Between now and February 15, 2014, anyone that goes into a participating local bookstore and shows a recommendation from the app will receive $1 off any purchase at the store.

Right now the only participating bookstores are around the Seattle area (where the app originates), but the company is encouraging other bookstores to sign up as well. If you are a local bookstore that would like to join the Support Local program, visit the “Buck off a Book” campaign page.